Hax: Wife must talk to couch potato

The Washington PostJuly 25, 2013 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Carolyn: When my husband and I were dating (we did not live together before marriage), we loved being around each other so much that what we DID was less important than the fact that we were together. I think I actually remember saying, “I don’t mind if you watch SportsCenter! Just so long as I’m with you.”

Now that we’re about two years into our marriage, I am bored with just sitting around. I sit all day at work, and the last thing I want to do when I get home is plant my butt on the couch. Also I think it’s really unhealthy.

When I let him enjoy his screen time while I do constructive things around the house, or go out on my own, he is hurt that “I don’t want to spend time with him.” Do I need to redefine “quality time” to match his understanding? Or is it reasonable to make that time valuable for the both of us?

TV IS NOT ROMANTIC

How much of “I sit all day at work” have you explained? Does he know you’re all for the together time, just not all the TV?

Ideally, you’ll both give a little on the other’s understanding of quality time. Maybe you can manage a couple of couch nights, and maybe that will soften him to your doing your “constructive things” on others, and the mutual good will fuel interest in going out each week.

If you can think of it roughly in thirds, his way/your way/separate ways, then you might both find more satisfaction in your marriage without changing a whole lot. It all starts, though, with communicating and not judging.

... and acknowledging that your “I love SportsCenter as long as I’m with you!” declaration was a bait-and-switch — a crime of passion, though, not premeditation.

Re: TV: The husband would apparently rather sit on the couch than go out. Doesn’t he want to spend time with her?

ANONYMOUS

It’s a great habit to get into — to turn manipulation around on someone, to make the point that it’s not productive to guilt-trip people.

Email tellme@washpost.com. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

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