Argument over the TV


Disagreement over the TV is the one topic where my husband and I CAN NOT see eye to eye. We have argued about this for over 7 years (since we started dating) - and we have never figured out how to compromise on this issue or come to any real conclusion as to how to deal with it.

I wish we didn’t have one (or had it in the closet and just pulled it out for movies, etc…), primarily because of the immorality displayed. It really desensitizes us to evil. I also really lack the discipline to limit how much I watch. I just get sucked in by it. My husband doesn’t see the tv as any big deal. He would see no problem with the tv being on most of the day- just playing in the background - And he really doesn’t watch that much tv - some sports and 1-3 shows a week.

I really want my husband and I to get to point where we argee on this topic (really I just want him to agree with me :o ) . Especially for the sake of our baby and any other kids we may have. We can’t keep on arguing for another 7 years!

Does anyone else disagree with their spouse about the television? What do you do about it?
Do you have limits on the TV and how often it is on (for yourself and/or your children)? What are the limits?
If you don’t have a TV in your home - how did you come to this decision?


One thing that we have done is get rid of cable. We can get the major networks over a simple set of rabbit ears. When we had cable, we watched all kinds of things because it was available. The availability of shows on the major networks is considerably less so we don’t watch much TV at all. Not to mention how much money we save by not paying for cable.


You sound familiar, just like me. I used to feel that way about TV, like it was always on, we were watching too much of it, and there was really never even anything actually good to watch. About 3 years ago our cable company doubled the rate of digital cable, saying that the $30/mo we had been paying for three years was really just an “introductory rate” and we would have to start paying $60/mo. We got ticked at them thinking just because they have a monopoly they can charge outrageous sums. So, we canceled the cable and got those bunny ears for the TV. We found we could get most major broadcast stations plus PBS. It was enough so that we still felt like we had some shows and news to watch, but that the TV was not this ominpresense in our house anymore. A year and a half ago when we moved into our current home, we never even hooked up the bunny ears, so we don’t even get any TV at all. No one has complained. We watch the occasional DVD and the kids have found that they can watch what they want on YouTube or the Disney Channel.

About 9 months ago though I left my husband (for good reason). In the end, I ended up moving back into our house a week later and he ended up moving into an apartment. He got cable and my kids watch it at his place now. I never realized how wonderful it was to have them away from commercials for all that time. They never aked me for stuff when they didn’t watch TV. If they got money for their birthday, it went into their savings accounts because they really didn’t want anything. They were happy with what they already had. Now though, they are constantly telling me all about the various toys that they want. At the grocery store, they demand certain brand names of food because they see it advertised on TV. It is really amazing to me the night and day difference TV has made on them as consumers.


I have an idea - why not incorporate ‘not watching TV’ into your Lenten Plan with your Hubby? Maybe 40 days of not watching anything but one newsbroadcast a day, together, would lessen the friction?

It’s just a thought!


I disagree with the person who just said get rid of cable. Network tv is just as bad if not worse and at least with cable you can CHOOSE family channels, disney channel, EWTN, Discovery or other channels. I really fail to see why TV cant be a tool or safe entertainment especially now with DVR or TVO because you can skip the comercials which are sometimes the worst offenders. Look at CAF, it is on the internet which is much worse than TV Yet here you are, on certain raftboats in a sea of sludge. It sounds as if your way and your pride are doing more damage to your marriage than any TV. If the TV goes so does the radio, internet and even certain print news.


We got rid of our cable (and it saves us money too!) and use it only for movies.



would you rather him go to a sports bar and leave you alone all the time to watch his games?


We have tv, but no cable. Mostly because of the cost, but we do appreciate the fact that we are not as tempted to turn it on as we otherwise would be.

My opinion is that this is not simply about the tv, but also about a difference in spirituality between you and your dh. Are you leading the way in the path to holiness? Is he resistant to some of your attempts at getting closer to God? Is it possible that in your own excitement for your faith, you are dragging him along a little faster than he’s ready? I only say this because that is a major pitfall of mine. It’s not the tv with me and dh, but when we have these types of disagreements, it is usually because we are in different places spiritually speaking, and we have different standards of holiness to live up to. And what I’m (hopefully) learning is that I can’t push him too hard to see it my way, and I can’t drag him along on my spiritual journey and expect him to understand where I’m at.

If any of this is true for you, maybe it really is asking alot of him to actually get rid of the tv altogether, especially when he doesn’t seem all that obssessed with tv. Maybe a compromise would be better. Like, he’ll agree to only have the tv on if there’s something he really wants to watch and turn it off when it becomes “background.” Or you could make groundrules about what can be on tv when the baby is around, but you won’t set limits for his tv otherwise. For your own self-discipline, you may want to make a list of the shows you will allow yourself to watch, post it by the tv, and then really try to stick to that list. Or if not specific shows, maybe set certain times of the day when you will allow yourself to watch. Thing is, much as you want him to agree with you, you can’t force it. If there is a spiritual component to this argument, he may just have to have some time of spiritual growth before he is able to look at the tv any differently. So for now, better to find a way to compromise so that he respects your concern for your kids than go to extremes and have him resent you (and influence your kids the same way).

God Bless,


well our arguement has been going on for 38 years. I should have seen the handwriting on the wall when we spent the first day of our honeymoon in my in-law’s den watching football. I can still see FIL’s smirk, and he gave us guess what as a wedding present. had to leave a suitcase at my mom’s so we could get the dang TV in the back seat of our tiny foreign car.

my usual attitude toward TV is to either ignore it or fight the urge to throw a brick through it. we argue about
TV in the bedroom or not
TV limits for kids
TV in the living room at center stage like a home altar
3 TVs for 5 people
TV in kid’s rooms (I won that battle)
cost of cable
cost of satellite
big ugly antenna on the house
big ugly satellite on the house
what to watch and when to watch it
of course, should I happen to find a show I would genuinely like to see it will compete with the wrist-wrestling tournament or Podunk U vs. Whatsis state college playing ping pong.

could the men out there explain to me what is the thing with one TV showing a golf match, one TV with a football game, a radio with a baseball playoff game–and he is outside washing the car or cutting grass. is there some kind of sports immersion experience I should know about?


yes if it meant I didn’t have to hear them
he doesn’t drink and doesn’t smoke so he hates bars, but we always have to sit where he can see the TV that has a game on it when we eat in that kind of place.


My husband and I argue about the volume of the TV. He likes it loud, and I don’t. When I say loud, I mean when I can hear the TV through a closed door in another part of the house, or when I can hear it through the floor of the master bedroom when I am trying to go to sleep.

We also argue about the TV in the bedroom. I can’t stand having the thing in there. We have reached a truce that if I want to go to sleep before he does he will turn off the TV when I ask.


Thanks for the replies.
My husband and I have agreed on some rules for the TV for Lent. Only 1 hr a day each - plus the few shows we watch together (We aren’t ready to quit cold-turkey). He agreed to not just turn the TV on and watch - it has to be something he Planned on watching beforehand. Hopefully this discipline will continue after Lent is over (for both of us).

As far as our son is concerned we think that we will get DVR in a couple years and only let him watch what has been prerecorded and previewed by us. This will help to limit his TV viewing and keep him from the advertising geered towards children.

So we have declared a cease fire… for now… Yeah!


I agree with you - Cable with DVR is the ideal situation. Network TV can be really bad.

I disagree with you that getting rid of the TV will automatically lead to living like hermits - completely cut off from the outside world. My problem really lies with a lack of discipline - and if something is causing me to sin, shouldn’t I get rid of it? (And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Mt. 5:30) Am I wrong to think that my husband should help me with this struggle?

As for your suggestion that “my way and my pride” doing more damage to my marriage than the TV, I kindly disagree. I know I am far from being canonized a saint - but my Vocation is to get my family to heaven - and I really want to please God with all that we do, say, and watch. If this is my ultimate desire, am I really being stubborn and prideful?:o


Absolutely. I got rid of my television years ago and I have never been happier. I’m sorry that this doesn’t directly address the problem of spouses and TV, since I am unmarried, but I can tell you that, far from turning me into a hermit, the television-free life has expanded my horizons infinitely. Only when you have shunned mass media for a while do you realise just how much of your opinions and thought processes were coming from it. I feel like someone who has woken from a trance or a deep sleep: my thoughts are once again my own. Also, have you ever noticed that in many homes, the television set has THE position of prominence in the house; almost like an altar? Food for thought.


You bring up a lot of good points - things I needed to hear - there really is a spiritual component to this arguement. My husband really is a godly man - he is definately the spiritual leader in many regards. We just disagree with how to achieve the holiness we both desire. I can tend to be more idealistic, emotional, and extreme. He is a lot more moderate in his approach. He encourages me to spend more time in prayer and immerse myself in the sacraments. I encourage him to be bold and counter cultural. We are a great match!

You are right - I need to focus on my own self-discipline before I work my self up over this. I think I will just let this issue alone. I will focus on my prayer life - that will be more productive than continuing to argue over this.



My husband and I also disagree about the tv, hence I developed a Catholic Answers Forum addiction. :wave:

Our family’s tv viewing went down when we cut out cable because there wasn’t as much worth watching. We did this as a lenten sacrifice and kept it up for a lot longer. Eventually, we returned to satelite tv because the children began to settle for watching yuckier shows and my husband missed the greater selection.

Internet and television are on the same bill, so the same company gets our time and our money. My husband and I don’t really argue, but we disagree. We compromise: I frequently come here to chat with you lovely folks at Catholic Answers while he watches the shows he likes. Several times a year we review our family’s internet and television use, and we make changes from time to time. Lent and Advent seem to be good times to make those changes. But Lent’s here again, and here I sit on Catholic Answers.:whistle: Anyway, giving up the cable or satelite is a great way to find a little extra money for alm’s giving during Lent. That argument sometimes works, but not every year.:wink:


I’m an expert on this subject. I went to a college at which there were never many TVs around, so I got used to not watching it. I went to grad school, which kept me too busy.

One night I was watching TV, it was 2 a.m., and I realized I’d been channel surfing, for something worth watching, for four hours! It suddenly hit me that TV was an insult to my even modest intelligence, and it was okay to acknowledge this, not a snooty thing.

So I’ve been TV-free for about 16 years or so. (I do watch when I’m at someone’s house and they have it on). The thing you GAIN is your LIFE—there’s a lot more free hours in a day. And next you find you get to DO things: you bike, read, etc., rather than spectate on life. I definitely believe being TV-free allows you better communications with your spouse. And really, you do not miss much.


We do have a TV and do have cable. We even have a TV in our bedroom (but it just has rabbit ears). I hate TV and don’t watch it very often. But my husband does like sports, old movies, and the occasional popular show (CSI somewhere).

I did 2 things that really helped with TV watching in our house. (Although I will say that my hubby has never been the type to just keep the TV on). One is that when the kids were little, I never watched TV during the day. No kiddie shows, no soaps, nothing. That can be hard to go cold turkey if you really like TV, but if you just don’t turn it on, you can’t get sucked in.

But I also, made time to watch a show with my husband. After the kids were asleep we would watch ER or Friends or some specific show. Making it a “date”, made it special and meant that it had a starting and ending time. When that show was over, we turned off the TV.

For the past several years, we have also given up TV watching for Lent. Not hard for me, except in that I often end up reading aloud to my youngest in the evenings. I wonderful time, but hard on the voice!

Thinking of other ways to fill the time rather than just vegging in front of the TV that will be fun for your family also helps. Rather than yelling at themn to turn off the TV, make it worth their while. Maybe a game in a room without a TV, reading aloud or books on tape, working on a project together, listening to music and dancing, taking a walk. Anything you can think of that will fill that time more fruitfully.

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