My wife and I constantly battle about TV, the cable bill and who gets the remote. What can we do?
Though the issue you bring up may seem so simple, there really are a lot of different aspects to it. Let’s see if we can tease them apart.
Paying for Cable
You raise the fact you and your spouse are disagreeing about the amount of money being spent on the cable. Money issues are generally not really about money, per se. Rather, they represent some underlying concern. It may have to do with feeling a need for attention. Perhaps, it signifies a need for more control.
It is also possible the two of you have different styles of spending. In other words, each of you may have a different outlook on how you see the earmarking of items in the budget.
Money issues are one of the more difficult areas in a marriage. It’s important, however, to discuss them. So, when there is quiet time, so to speak, and emotions are not running high, have a talk about what it means to each of you to be spending money and the feelings that are associated with that spending.
The next issue is one that is very typical between the genders—what gets watched and who is in charge of the remote!
First let me say it is really important that you spend time together. Though spending some downtime enjoying a TV show together while holding hands is perfectly acceptable, you don’t want this to be the sum and substance of your quality time with one another. This is a passive activity that clearly doesn’t involve much sharing.
Now, about that remote. My spouse and I had this very same argument and I just never understood it. Interestingly, the answer to this puzzlement came out of the literature on the biological differences of the genders. It seems that in order for a man’s energy level vis-à-vis his hormones to stay elevated, he needs stimulation. By channel surfing, this goal is accomplished!
Men and Women are Different
One final piece regarding the matter you bring up about disagreeing. Dr. John Gottman has done some very impressive research which indicates couples will not be compatible 69 percent of the time. I think it’s really important couples know this information. When you have realistic expectations of what your relationship should look like, it allows you to be more satisfied and enjoy one another more.
So, what’s the bottom line on all of this? Make sure the focus moves from the cable connection to the connection between the two of you and the rest will follow.
Karen Sherman, Ph.D., (www.drkarensherman.com) is a practicing psychologist in relationships and lifestyle issues for over 20 years. She offers teleseminars and is co-author of Marriage Magic! Find It! Make It Last.