Love in the Time of TV: How TV-Watching Habits Reflect Marriage

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Favorite Part of the Show

There are also technological problems. While Diane claims she wants her own remote, the truth is that when she's left alone with ours, she invariably pushes the wrong button, or combination of buttons, instantly blanking out the TV screen. And then she proceeds to push pretty much every other button, until the TV screen itself has turned a lovely shade of blue, the VCR is scheduled to tape a show in 2009 and the cable box is set to a channel number that requires a trigonometric solution. Then she calls me on my cell phone, and I can't tell you the number of interviews -- or sound sleeps in different time zones -- I've had interrupted to help her undo her handiwork.

In her defense, I've had my own technology issues. At the house we lived in for 15 years we had the old TV and VCR I brought into the marriage -- fairly low tech, but we both knew how to use them and even had jury-rigged a system for taping one show while watching another. When we moved, we bought a new flat-screen TV with a picture-in-picture feature, which I told Diane was worth the extra money because I'd be able to monitor games on the little screen while still watching a show we could both enjoy. Two years later, however, I am still unable to get the little screen up and working -- something Diane likes to tell pretty much everyone we meet at cocktail parties. We also got a new DVD/VCR, which is supposedly much more user friendly, yet it ignores most of my recording requests.

I find this deeply emasculating. But not as emasculating as asking someone for help.

Actually, my biggest complaint about our marital TV viewing involves where we sit. When we were young marrieds, all we could afford in the den was a brown sleeper sofa where you couldn't help but sit close and snuggle. Today Diane has this great leather mission chair and ottoman, and I lord it over a very cozy black leather couch. She's only six feet away, but I must admit I kinda miss her. Sometimes during commercials, I'll go over and visit her, or she'll come visit me.

It's my favorite part of the show.


Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal magazine, February 2006.


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