If I told you that one simple thing could double your marital satisfaction, takes two seconds, costs no money, and has all-but-guaranteed results, would you do it? Then turn off the TV.
Click that big button at the top of the remote; push the power switch on the control panel; unplug it from the wall; heck, put it out on the front step for the Salvation Army if you want. But however you do it, turn off the TV.
Or even better, don't turn it on to begin with.
In an age where people have become addicted to news, are entranced by the stock market fluctuations, and quickly develop Zombie-like characteristics if left without noise for more than three minutes, the "habit" of keeping the TV on is increasingly common, which has led to an increasingly common complaint being voiced in my counseling office. It's a red-flag signal that couples have let the routine of living intrude upon the responsibility of loving.
It's not that I've got anything against TV. I live in the techno age. I have a pager, a cell phone, a PC, even a Palm Pilot. And in our home you'll find a couple TVs—sometimes they're even on. The important questions are "When?" and "How often?"
This is a familiar scenario. She's preparing dinner (whether or not she's just come home from work herself) when he cruises in with a quick "Hey" to the kids, a "Hi, Hon," to the wife (maybe even a kiss on the cheek) as he sets his briefcase down. Then he grabs the TV remote and switches on the pregame show (it's Monday night, after all). If he says anything else to the wife, it's usually, "Honey, where's the mail?"1