Get your mind out of the gutter! It’s probably not what you think it is…
As a single guy and for the first 11 years of our marriage, I had a television in my bedroom. I rationalized this decision under the excuse that I/we don’t watch a lot of television. Whether you watch a lot of television, watch in moderation or are one of those people who doesn’t watch television at all, studies show that the average American watches 35 hours of TV per week!
A few friends lovingly challenged Kristen and me to get rid of the television in the bedroom. I argued, made excuses and rationalized, but finally decided to get rid of the bedroom TV. Do we regret it? Read along and find out.
9 reasons why we are glad we got rid of our bedroom TV.
1. We’re not watching trash on television we don’t need to watch.
We are very careful about what we watch on TV and in movies. We don’t watch shows or movies with nudity and we certainly don’t want our kids to watch anything along those lines. But, having a TV in our bedroom allowed me to compromise in the past what we watch. In other words, we watched things in the bedroom that we probably would not have watched in our family room.
2. We get more and better sleep.
Kristen and I already compromise when it comes to sleep. Having a TV in our bedroom further compromised this issue. Even when we were tired, we found ourselves turning on the TV and losing a few more minutes of sleep every night. Watching TV late at night also has the potential of messing with our sleep cycles (really any bright light can do this). We get to bed earlier and get the rest our bodies need.
3. The alternatives are much better.
We get to:
- Talk more. Our days are full. Four boys, busy jobs, ministry, school involvement and sports. By the time we reach the end of the day, Kristen and I have not had much time to catch up on our days. Sometimes our time to catch-up is when we plop down in bed at night. We’d lose our connection time if we were consumed by TV. Watching TV helps me avoid conversations and can mask marital problems. When the TV is gone I have more time and attention to give to the most important person in my life.
- Pray more. We have always struggled with praying in marriage. Having a television in our bedroom certainly did not lead us to spend more time in prayer together as a couple.
- Read more. I love to read, and bedtime provides one of the best times to read. More TV = less reading. Get rid of that TV! I love what Michael Hyatt says about the benefits of reading.
- When the TV is on, we don’t talk, pray, read or enjoy relations (see #9 below).
4. Save some money
You only have to pay for cable in one room and you can sell your extra television! #stewardship
5. Benefit from the Counsel of Others
Getting rid of our bedroom TV is the application of wise counsel from friends who love us and care for our marriage. I don’t always agree with and adhere to the counsel and wisdom of friends/community, but when our friends suggested we get rid of the TV, I had no good arguments and figured it was worth a try. We always want to be people who are willing to listen to the counsel and wisdom of friends. I hope we’re teachable and open to wise counsel (Proverbs 13:20, 27:6). Consider this post wise counsel from a friend.
6. Saves you time.
We learn this lesson every time we turn on the TV downstairs to catch up on the previous day’s sports scores. The average time for our kids to get ready for school multiplies by what seems like a factor of 10 when we have the TV on. Same for you and me – when the TV is on, it takes longer to get ready for bed and longer to get ready in the morning. I can use every spare minute I can find most days. Something I recently discovered is that the key to success for me tomorrow is by preparing for tomorrow, today! If I can plan ahead the night before, lay out my clothes, pack my lunch and clear my desk for Bible study in the morning, I will accomplish more. Watching TV at night will only distract me from reaching my goals tomorrow.
7. Provides an example for our kids.
Getting rid of the television in your bedroom provides a great example for your children. We won’t allow a television in our kid’s bedroom and we know our decision to not have one in our room provides us with more integrity as we have this conversation with our children.
8. Provides a safe place to work on our marriage.
I don’t have any research-based response on this, but having a TV in your bedroom cannot possibly help your marriage. Our bedroom is about the only room in our house where our kids don’t rule/control/have access to. By keeping our kids and television out of our bedroom, we have more time to focus on each other.
9. More time for intimacy
You knew this one would be on the list: more time for intimacy. I put it as last on the list, because I don’t want this to be the sole motivation for getting rid of the television in your bedroom. It should be one of top reasons, but it can’t be the only reason. The better goal is to grow your marriage. Consequently, more intimacy is one of the best ways to grow your marriage.
Let me keep it real… There are times we regret not having a television in the bedroom; specifically during college football season. There are Saturday nights when we wish we could watch the late night college football games in the comfort of our bedroom. Or some nights we would like to snuggle in bed and watch a movie together. In the long run, we still stand by our decision to get rid of the bedroom TV.
You know how sometimes you can feel judged by the decisions someone else makes? For instance, I, at times, feel judged by people who don’t watch television period. Because of my own insecurities, I believe they are judging me because I watch television.
In his excellent book Respectable Sins, Jerry Bridges says judgmentalism is when we equate our opinions with truth. My opinion about bedroom TVs is not truth; it’s an opinion. My intent is not to ‘judge you’ if you have a television in your bedroom. I am not saying you’re sinning by having a television in your bedroom (Scott 3:16 “Though shalt not have a TV in thy bedroom!). My hope is to spur on some conversation for you and your spouse.
By the way, as a friend just reminded me – this applies to you single men and women as well. Don’t start a habit now as a single individual that you may wish you could change down the road if you get married.
- Have a conversation. Do you have a television in your bedroom? If so, why? And if not, then why not?
- If you have a TV in your bedroom, would you be willing to take it out of your room for 30 days and see what happens?