This is a controversial subject for many couples. You may become defensive or, perhaps, vindicated by the perspective offered in this offering. After listening to couples, and serving as a mediator, for thirty years as a Marriage and Family therapist, I have a strong recommendation to make that will upset many of you.
Ok, here’s the recommendation. Do not allow animals or televisions in the bedroom. I cannot begin to tell you how many times this issue has been brought up in marriage counseling. It is an argumentative issue!
The mail reason for this recommendation is that it blocks intimacy, communication, and connection. AND it causes hurt feelings or rejection or sanctifies couples living as “roommates”, not being spousal partners – with at least a hint of romance and sensual connection. I’m afraid some of you are thinking, ”yep, that’s the point”, so what?” If that is your preference, have at it.
I have heard a jillion upset spouses discuss this topic. Many a husband and, surprisingly, some women object to a cat or dog being in the bedroom. Often a spouse, usually the husband, has said, “I feel second, or third” to the dog/cat”. This is not a good feeling! (I believe the goal is that your marriage partner, needs to be number one in your life – or at least co-equal to your kids emotionally and behaviorally).
People love their animals – and they should, within reason. BUT, they are animals – and your spouse is higher on the evolutionary chain – and is your life partner – therefore that relationship should be the higher priority. Thus, please keep your beloved pets out of the bedroom. Now if you do not like such an admonition look deep in your heart and tell me why you object – if you do.
Television in the bedroom is a bit trickier and challenging. It’s tough to argue against the two of you, at different times getting comfy – in your negligee and boxer shorts, respectively – and watching a TV show that you might possibly agree on. Good luck on that! Or, one spouse may choose to read while the other person watches a show. The net result of this style, however, is another way to avoid, block, any sensual connection or wonderful “pillow talk”.
Another related scenario. Here’s what I hear from many couples. One person, usually the husband is watching FOX news and ranting about politics. The wife is usually bored with this and goes to bed to read or watch the stimulating Desperate Housewives. A little later her husband comes to bed. He wants to cuddle, or more, but she either fakes being asleep or still very into the program. He harrumphs and angrily turns over and fumes.
Believe me this is the reality of way to many disconnected couples. You may change the gender or
the TV show, but you will not change the fact that the TV is blocking more meaningful “pillow talk”, snuggling, and occasional sensual encounter.
Okay, how many of you are going to hide this article so your spouse won’t see it? Perhaps you will send me a nasty email for suggesting that your bedroom be animal and TV free. Or, might some of you validated individuals leave the article on the kitchen table and perhaps send a “high five” message to me?
A side note to this recommendation. Many of you have difficulty getting to sleep. This is another reason to not have an animal or TV in the bedroom. The bedroom is for sleep and couple connection. Ask any of the professional sleep consultant for confirmation of this.
This article may serve as an occasion for a meaningful spousal dialogue about bedroom bedtime. Do you go to bed together? Is it a time when you can end the day in each other’s arms, appreciating that you have this life partner? If such appreciation and closeness does not exist, why not? An opportunity to address this emptiness?
“The unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates