This last week we did something unthinkable (for us) – we packed away our TV. We unplugged it and it is sitting in our spare room leaning up against a wall. It has most certainly changed the dynamic in our home drastically.
A couple of immediate things have come from this:
1. We talk more. Every time we would sit down for dinner it would be chicken with a side of Friday Night Light or salmon with an appetizer of Wayward Pines.
2. We waste time in other ways. I dink around the apartment picking up random things & weaving. Michael reads more & plays pool on his iPad.
3. We have sex more. I debated about whether or not to include this one because, hello mom, but it’s the truth. With more free time to interact this is an unexpected but reasonable by product.
4. We cry more. Cry you say? Absolutely.
We cry because without that TV for some reason we are more vulnerable. Maybe the TV is some black soul sucking device and we just didn’t know it. Vulnerability has been a buzz word in our marriage every since we learned about the glory that is Brene Brown. She has taught us about shame and wholeheartedness. Being vulnerable essentially allows you to be seen by another person.
Now the internet is weird and I think it is hard/annoying when people are vague, but vagueness for the sake of privacy is sometimes needed. There are things in marriage that should not be discussed outside of marriage and some of things Michael and I struggle with fall into the category.
With the specific challenges that we are facing we both sometimes get lost because I don’t really understand what he is going through and he doesn’t really understand what I am going through. The fact that our challenges are so different makes it hard to really allow yourself to be seen because you are a little afraid of the judgement that so often comes from a lack of understanding. It is hard to forgive someone who doesn’t understand. I’m not sure why but it is. So we close off and hide beneath our struggles giving off the outward appearance of okayness because we think that is what the other person needs, for us to seem okay.
That us acting like we are ok will make the struggle for the other person easier somehow.
But something about not having a TV means that you can’t really move on. This state of “I’m Ok” crumbles beneath hours of uninterrupted contact. Instead of numbing out with TV you kind of just have to sit with your thoughts. And talk. And listen. And talk. And fight. And talk. And listen.
And it’s exhausting.
I have had the best sleep of my life over the past week because at the end of some nights I am so emotionally drained that I can no longer function. This may sound kind of terrible I realize. But I promise that is also incredibly rewarding. It probably won’t always be this way. We are working through a lot of stuff and if you know us, you know the TV can’t stay unplugged forever, but maybe it will help us recalibrate a few things. Watch a little less here and there to really work on being honest, seen and heard.
For now the TV stays off.