It started shortly after we were married, and it escalated and intensified after each baby joined our family. Since Garrett was born last summer, it’s gotten a lot worse.
We are two educated, talented, thoughtful adult human beings, but the Hubs and I suffer from a common American addiction.
Shortly after we returned from our honeymoon and settled into married life, Peter and I discovered a common love for “vegging” in front of a television show later in the evening. While the shows we watched were entertaining, and we loved snuggling together on the couch, often with a bowl of popcorn or a fun beverage, without realizing it we started slipping into a habit of putting the television on almost every single night after all of our chores were done and the kiddos were in bed.
I’m not really surprised we became TV addicts. After all, life with little kids is exhausting, and there is something so relaxing and calming to just collapse on the couch when the day is done, and let your brain rest a bit while the TV entertains you.
After our third baby was born, we both noticed that our TV-vegging habit had become our almost-every-night routine. Without discussing “what would you like to do together tonight?” we’d just automatically crash on the couch, reach for the remote, and snuggle in for the latest TiVo-ed episode of Shark Tank or Homeland or Downtown Abbey.
For Lent this year, in addition to our personal sacrifices, we decided to give up TV together as a family. At first it was a difficult little sacrifice to make, because it had become such a routine in our lives. But after only a few short days we realized that our little Lenten sacrifice was turning into one of the biggest blessings our marriage had experienced in a long time.
Friends, it was like rediscovering DATING on a whole new, renewed level. In those first few days and weeks of Lent, my husband and I had some of the best deep, interesting, soul-sharing conversations we’ve had in a loooong time. We even discovered things about each other’s worldview and thoughts on deep subjects that we’d never talked about before. It. Was. Awesome.
During Lent, we renewed our favorite old
addiction hobby of playing Scrabble together. We LOVE Scrabble. In fact, we have a little memo book that we keep in our Scrabble board dating back to our first year of marriage, and it lists by date the scores and wins of every Scrabble game we’ve played together. It’s fun to look back on the old tournament dates. Our favorite game to look back on was played on June 10, 2010, when I was in full active labor with our firstborn. Needless to say I lost that game…badly. :0)
During our Lenten TV fast, the Hubs and I also rediscovered our love for reading. All types of books. I went to the library and loaded up with titles, and the Hubs ordered some new books off Amazon that he’s been wanting to dig into for…forever. In the last few weeks I’ve read FOUR whole, entire, to-the-last-page books. Do you know how long it’s been since I finished a whole book? A huge while, that’s how long.
So here’s the kicker: when Easter came and our six week TV fast was over, Peter and I decided that we LOVED our new life without TV. So we’ve committed to keeping the Tube off during the week, and watching shows or movies only on the weekends. We still love to watch our favorite shows or the latest Netflix or Redbox release, but now turning on the Tube will be a more date-night/special occasion kind of thing.
So far, we haven’t even wanted to turn it on – we’ve been so busy with our long talks over a glass of vino or had our noses firmly buried in a good book.
I share this with y’all because if you too are suffering from a TV addiction, I want to encourage you to try a six week TV fast with your spouse, and see if it makes a difference in your lives and in your marriage.
My guess and my hope is that you’ll discover, like we did, a whole renewed world outside of the Time-Sucker.
Ultimately, you’ll rediscover the things you love most about your best friend.
I hope you’ll try it!