On Thu, 10th February 2005 at 17:09 Jenny wrote:
I've noticed that some times when my man exerts his authority, I feel great, but other times—like when I told him I wanted to watch something on TV and he decided that we'd watch something he wanted us to watch instead—I feel bad. I don't think my man is a pig who's self-serving in general, but sometimes it can feel like it.
Before the days of easy Internet access, my wife and I did away with television. Without television we actually had to talk to each other and work out our problems if we were going to live with each other.
Then, we let the box back in the house, as the children got older. At one point, they each had a television set.
Yet, we always seemed to gather around the family box in the evening to watch some silly sitcom of the younger generation's choice for perhaps an hour before they disappeared to do their homework with their televisions serving as background entertainment. (I still have not figured out how children can work better with the distraction, but they do it nevertheless.)
At other times, especially when they were younger, they would prefer me to read from some favorite book. Whether using the book or television programming as a springboard, we would sometimes try to relate the entertainment to life.
Continuing that tradition, I would add parenthetically that any battle over the remote these days is probably little more than a continuation of the old battles over sex and money within marriage.
All are a symptom of a deeper struggle within the marriage.
The secret to a successful marriage is to get beyond the self. That, in fact, is one of the ultimate struggles in life. We all come into this life very self-centered. Our wants, our wishes, our desires come first. Some people never get beyond it. The only god they ever know is named MeAndMyAndMine.
These days, with the children on their own, my wife likes to unwind while watching television. While not always daily, it is something she enjoys. When we got the dish, I tried to get a selection of channels that she might like.
If she is in the mood to watch the tube, the challenge for me is to try to pick the program that she might most like to see. Sometimes the choice is a no-brainer or I can pick an old safe warm and fuzzy fallback. At times, she will tell me that I have made a wrong choice and we will search for something else.
Yet, as a personal challenge, finding the right channel keeps me in touch with what she is thinking. That I sometimes fail is not nearly so important as that I try.
Most of the time, it is not what is on that is so important to me so much as just being near the woman that I married almost four decades ago. Even after all these years I still like the feel of her hand, the warmth of her touch. Perhaps that is why she still says that, absent any entertainment, she just wants to be held.
In the end, the secret to watching television becomes the same as the secret to taking a woman in hand. It merely involves asking what is good for her, what is good for the relationship, and then acting decisively on that knowledge.
[Submitted by Noone on Fri, 11/02/2005—15:07—The Editor]