Some couples never squabble over TV time, but for others, remote wars are real: A 32-inch flat screen — and what flashes across it — can be the biggest problem in an otherwise affable apartment.
"The tone of television has changed," poses April Masini, relationship expert and advice columnist. "You can barely turn on a channel without seeing near nudity, cheating, off-color jokes or violence that induces nightmares and general anxiety. It should be no surprise that these emotions creep into the relationship of the viewers. Think: You're watching TV with your husband, and he stares a little too hard at one of the Kardashians, or laughs a little too meanly at a political issue you support, and before you know it, you're fighting."
If one of you is craving a little quality one-on-one time while the other is bent on seeing the his or her favorite show live, "jealousy over the television — yes, the television — can come between you," Masini says. "The television can become a third party in the marriage."
Plus, TV tension can make you feel as if you're incompatible with your spouse. "Snuggling up with a great show on a weekend — or going out and partying with friends?" asks Masini. "When one of you would rather enjoy the couch and the remote, and the other is ready for a Saturday night that includes dinner out and a movie or parties, hitting a bar or even bowling, it can feel as if you can have a serious incompatibility on your hands."
If you and your spouse need a TV treaty, here's what you can do: Consider a trade-off. "Say, 'one weekend we'll do this, and another we'll do that — or we'll watch my shows for an hour, then your shows for an hour,'" suggests Masini. "Easy, as long as both parties are willing."
This will work, she says, as long as your trade-offs are equitable, not equal. "For instance, if one of you wants the TV in the bedroom with free reign on the remote control, maybe the other one gets the romantic vacation he or she's been craving," Masini says. "You can go big or small, but try thinking outside of the box. This works!"