click here to jump to start of article
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​

The Sacred Place
Mom with a View

The Sacred Place

Too many couples have sacrificed closeness to the call of The Late Show.


The New York Times recent ran a piece entitled "Questions Couples should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying." Since there was no author cited, I feel free to say that the list was boring and fairly basic. I know some people do forget, but the need to discuss whether or not you want children before you get married seems rather obvious (or does it?).

One question did strike me however, especially since there were only 15 listed. I was surprised that "Will there be a television in the bedroom?" ranked among these crucial queries. I guess it is a serious problem.

I'm assuming (based on no evidence or studies and purely my own speculation) that many couples are missing out on that late night chance to bond -- to review the day, to raise issues of deep concern, to further intimacy -- because of the presence of strangers in the room.

Watching television is certainly easier than talking. It's easier than being attentive to your spouse. It's easier than making yourself vulnerable to another human being. It's the ultimate copout. And it thwarts the opportunity for true togetherness.

It's not done maliciously. It's not done with forethought (unless they read the NY Times list!). It's been taken for granted. But it has clearly taken its toll.

Too many couples have sacrificed intimacy -- emotional, psychological, physical -- to the call of The Late Show. Too many movies or inane sitcoms have distracted couples from their relationship and the work involved.

For many families this may be the marital couple's only private time. Yet they allow it to be hijacked by Jay Leno or Conan O'Brien or...

Make your bedroom a refuge from the noise of the world.

A straw poll of married couples who have relegated the television to the family room suggests that they feel closer and more connected to their spouses. There is a particular intimacy to those nighttime discussions in darkened rooms, a particular vulnerability, a particular openness. It's a space that can't be recreated in daytime's harsh light.

Maybe some nights there are shows you really want to watch that are on late at night. Watch them in the den and then go into your room

Keep the bedroom a special spot for you and your spouse. It should be your refuge from the noise of the world. The bedroom is your place to reconnect and build a strong core that allows you to face the external world and raise your family with emotional stability and intact values.

Modern media has commandeered so much of our lives. It will intrude on our consciousness 24/7 if we allow it. Our minds reel and we struggle to stay in one place. The television is watched during breakfast, while working out at the gym, during afternoon chores and the evening meal. Blackberries are checked during movies, concerts and at fancy romantic restaurants. There needs to be a sacred place where we turn it all off, where we take control. The bedroom is a good place to start.

February 3, 2007

Give Tzedakah! Help create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.
The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 13

(12) Anonymous, February 16, 2007 2:54 PM

maybe TV helps make the best of things

Not everyone has an ideal relationship, where the partners are really good matches. Yet, the couple stays together because of solid reasons: They can raise children in a two- parent home; one spouse helps the other manage some ongoing health problems; they have shared religious values; they trust each other. Also, there is the fact that as time goes by and aging begins, it's just plain good to have a sense of family.
So, television shows - with their engaging plots and drama - can be of enormous value in filling a void that in a perfect world, would be filled in other ways. As readers of AISH know, however, it's not a perfect world.
I think the author would be wise to understand that her advice, while thoughtful, can not apply to every married couple who watches a lot of TV.

anna, August 12, 2012 7:16 PM

can T V be of benefit?

I am married 45 years and can truly tell you that I must agree with Eumina. Instead of watching T.V. you can spend time reading the Word as well. T.V. can be very addictive as well the computer and playing games. One thing that came forward must love yourself(not in an egoistic way) or it will be hard to love someone else.

(11) aliza, February 13, 2007 6:25 PM

reading, too

It's a valid question - I was adamant about no tv in the bedroom when I got married; my husband disagreed (I won). But it's not just tv. We started reading before bed, so we each have our noses stuck in our books, instead of talking to each other. Although we do share interesting things from our books with each other, it's still not the same.

(10) Anonymous, February 11, 2007 3:08 AM

Great article...

My wife and I have 2 little ones and both are self employed health care practitioners with our own private practices...we find that the t.v. AND the computer(emails especially) have hijacked our private time together. Except for Thursday nights Grey's Anatomy I'm turning off the t.v. in the bedroom now thanks to this article.

Shabbat Shalom,

(9) Arwen Kuttner, February 9, 2007 9:53 AM

public tv

I agree with your article and am grateful to sleep in a TV-free bedroom. I also find, though, that my husband and I really value the time to watch a show in the evening together. It's a nice fun way to unwind and does not interfere with our talking time.

On another note, I would encourage other readers to try to get public TV's silenced. I hate that whenever I go to a Dr.'s office or airport I'm bombarded by TV whether or not I want it. Most of the time no one is even looking so I am trying to find the courage to ask for the TV to be turned off.

See All Comments

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment