Ditch the TV, Says Portland Marriage Counseling

March 26, 2013 by

No one ever says they’re coming to Portland marriage counseling because they watch too much television and need relationship help but, when you really break down how people are spending their time, TV is a pretty big culprit.

Outside of “distractions” that we can’t get rid of—work, kids, and sleep—TV is the single biggest time suck in most Americans’ lives. How big? The average American over age 2 watches 34 hours of live TV a week – that’s just under 5 hours every single day!

All kinds of experts have spoken out about how bad it is to have a TV in your bedroom (you lose out on sleep and sex, just to name a few problems), but I think it goes well beyond that when it comes to lost intimacy. I think that many couples would do well to severely limit their TV watching.

Portland Marriage Counseling: Problems with TV

The problems with all this TV watching are twofold—first, we’re incredibly busy people. In order to fit in all of that TV viewing, we’re giving other parts of our life the short shrift in various ways. Maybe that means not really paying attention to each other during dinner or other parts of the day because we’ve got the TV on in the background. Even if you’re not “really” watching it, part of your attention is divided so you’re not engaging in the same way.

And the second issue is also one of the main reasons TV is so popular: it allows us to just veg out. Every once in a while, that’s fine but not 30+ hours a week. This matters for relationships because all too often we see TV viewing time as something that we can do together and feel a connection because of it.

Unfortunately, all too often that’s not the case. On average, couples who watch a lot of TV fight more, are less healthy, have sex less often, and are just not as happy overall.

Portland Marriage Counseling: Escape the Boob Tube

Those who have broken free from television find it difficult but usually only for a short time. After that, many are surprised with how much more time they have for things that they forgot they cared about—reading, talking to each other, hobbies. People who watch less television even report lower levels of stress in their lives.

I haven’t really tried this with many of my clients yet but maybe I’ve stumbled onto a new kind of relationship help. Want to get along better with your spouse? Portland marriage counseling advises you to stop watching Game of Thrones and NCIS and start talking to each other.