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.