Why We Gave Up Most of Our TV Time {and why it has been awesome}

{Photo by Situation Interactive.}

{Photo by Situation Interactive.}

It was kind of a random decision.

Husband just got home from work, and I was giving him an unsolicited back rub.

“Why are you being so nice to me?” he asked, as this was a rare occurrence. “Are you going to ask me for something later?”

He was mostly kidding, as I try not to use my wifely powers for selfish gain more than once per month. But since he asked, I blurted out what had been on my mind that day.

“Well, I was actually thinking about giving up TV.”

I had no idea how he’d react. I mean, we aren’t addicts or anything; we don’t even have cable. But we do have access to Netflix, we are geeky about documentaries, and we love basic channel sitcoms.

Husband just shrugged his shoulders, said, "Okay," and that was that.

When we talked more about it later, I explained a few reasons that brought me to this decision, to this desire to give up TV most of the time.

1. TV had become a priority.

We are in a strange, overwhelming stage of life figuring out Husband’s new job, preparing for the release of my book, attempting to parent two children, and trying to get to know our city. Every minute from 5:30 a.m. when Husband leaves for work until 9:30 p.m. when we go to sleep feels precious right now. {I know, that’s everyone, right?}

But turning on the TV after our kids went to sleep became such a habit that I was starting to put pressure on myself to watch television for at least a half hour before bed every night. As in, "Well, I'm exhausted, and I really should go to bed, but of course I can't until I watch an old rerun of this TV show I have seen seventeen times."

What in the actual what?!

I don’t even know where this unnecessary pressure was coming from, but I don’t want to feel that way anymore. I don’t want something meant for entertainment to become a priority in my life, to take away time from things I enjoy working on and wish to accomplish. To take away from my actual priorities.

2. TV was monopolizing my rest time.

Let me be clear by saying this is not a post about giving up much needed time to rest and recharge. This is a post about rethinking how I rest and recharge. Sometimes, sitting on the couch and putting my feet up and mindlessly watching TV is relaxing. But, I felt TV was taking away from other ways I enjoy resting.

See Exhibit A below.

{Exhibit A: Mmmmm...books. I shall now devour you.}

{Exhibit A: Mmmmm...books. I shall now devour you.}

3. TV was prohibiting me from intentionally connecting with my spouse.

Maybe other couples don’t have this issue, but sometimes it is 9:30 p.m. before Husband and I have a real conversation without any interruptions. Sometimes our heads hit the pillows after being together in the same apartment for four hours, and we realize we were never actually together the entire day.

Dinnertime is chaotic. And then there are the post-traumatic Witching Hours until our kids' bedtimes. And then there are laptops, lesson plans, and writing. And then there is TV for background noise, or watching a specific show, or sometimes indecisively browsing titles on Netflix. And then there are two tired bodies dragging themselves to bed without even knowing how the other person's day went. 

Um...no thank you.

I was talking to a friend who made a similar decision to give up TV the same day we did. She said, “We were at a place where we were fed up about life just happening to us instead of being intentional about how we spend our time. We went on a date and played speed scrabble while having a drink, and we realized that would be so easy to do at home, so why don’t we?!”

“Distracted days lead to distracted lives,” she said. “And I want a thriving marriage.”

Um…yes, please. That right there.

Friends, I wouldn’t take precious time to blog about this if it hadn’t been such an awesome decision for us. 

We have not missed TV at all. 

I read a whole book last week, which makes me excited to dig into the other books in my stack. I did some writing that I probably wouldn’t have made time for otherwise. Husband and I have had real conversations about boring stuff like our week’s schedule, and looking up which doctors are covered by our temporary health insurance, and Zillowing homes we hope to buy next summer.

We have even gone to bed at a decent hour instead of being roped in to watching “one more episode,” and the extra rest has been awesome for our mental and physical health right now too.

We used to say, "We need to work but we can't focus," or, "We want to rest and relax and connect in other ways, but we don't have time." But now we have recovered this precious time. Now we are giving ourselves a little space to breathe, and breathe together.

Yes, we'll still watch TV sometimes.

We'll still watch it on weekends, because of sports and movies. I will still let Threenager watch some PBS, because of my sanity. We won’t allow this to become a legalistic rule that will prevent our intentional boundaries from being life-giving.

But right now, this is a healthy change that I have truly appreciated in our home. Right now, this is good for us.

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. {Galatians 5:13}

 

Grace and Peace,
Kendra

 

P.S. Have you ever given something up to make room for something else in your life? Have you ever set boundaries that strangely provided you with more freedom?