Why We Took The Television Out Of Our Bedroom
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14
David and I celebrated eleven years of marriage in February. For the last ten years, we have had a television in our bedroom. Usually, the evening routine consisted of homework for the kids, chores, checking backpacks for papers to sign, dinner, last minute work details for David and myself and then every one doing whatever it is they wanted to do until bedtime.
Typically, bedtime came too soon. There never seemed to be enough hours in the day to get it all done. Once the boys were tucked in, David and I would begin to unwind. We have been married long enough that we aren't very "needy" when it comes to spending time together. Sometimes he played a video game while I painted or text a friend. Sometimes we both checked emails.
But most of the time, we sat side by side in bed. He would watch t.v. and I would retreat to Facebook to chat with friends or see what everyone was doing in the world of social media. Occasionally, we would exchange meaningless chatter with one another. Or we would both laugh at whatever was on television. Every now and then, I would giggle to myself when I read a message from a friend, and he would ask what was so funny.
Nothing seemed to be wrong with what we were doing. There's nothing innately wrong with doing any of the activities listed above, yet, something was wrong.
David and I were totally oblivious to the fact that we weren't truly connecting with one another. We were busy trains passing one another long enough to give a quick "I love you" and exchange a hug.
We were both "happy," and we had no real complaints about our relationship or our marriage. But we had gotten too comfortable and stuck in our own routines to see what we were missing with one another.
A series of events led us to realizing this was happening in our marriage, and we were both shocked at how something so innocent had slowly wedged its way in between us.
But isn't that how Satan likes to work? No, I am not saying that all television, work or hobbies are of the devil or that you shouldn't have a television in your bedroom, but be aware. Be on watch!
As soon as David had the realization that he had gotten very distracted, he immediately removed his main distraction, the television, from our bedroom. I will never forget seeing him unplug it, scoop it up in his arms, and leave the room with it. Our dresser looked so empty, but he quickly filled it back up with his Bible and other books.
We both agreed not to check our phones, emails or social media accounts after 8:30 p.m. unless there was some dire emergency, and then we would do so together. After all, if it is an emergency, it probably involves both of us.
We now have a new evening routine. At 8 p.m., we have family time. My oldest son calls it "God Time Sessions." We sit down as a family and talk about God, read the word, listen to worship music, and talk to one another. For thirty minutes, we are distraction free. Well, as distraction free as a family can be with two little boys who seem to be A.D.D. SQUIRREL!
We have realized the importance of attempting to teach our sons how to be leaders in their own home one day. We've always known that was the goal, but we weren't 100% sure how to walk it out. We decided that the best way to teach this is to lead by example. So far, they love our time together. They get excited about it and seem to sleep better once we are finished.
It's easy to think children don't need to hear the word or be prayed over as much as adults, but that is a lie from the enemy. The word is like a living water, even to children.
At 8:30 p.m. the boys go to bed, and David and I have what we call "Us Time." We talk to one another...really talk to one another...about our day, our insecurities, our thoughts, our dreams, our prayer requests, and anything else that is on our minds. We read Bible verses or devotionals together.
Some of the conversations have been tough conversations as we peel back the layers of our inner most thoughts, sharing secrets with one another that we have never shared with anyone else. We thank one another and God for allowing us another day together.
And we laugh. Everyone needs to laugh. It can't all be awkward and intense eye gazing.
No phones, no iPads, no laptops. Just two human beings authentically connecting. Two human beings connecting that had completely lost sight of how disconnected they had become.
It's sometimes hard, but it's worth it. We have to be very protective of and intentional with this time, not allowing other things to steal it away. It's amazing what it has done for us over the past couple of weeks.
We end with David and I praising God in prayer for his goodness, mercy, and grace while asking him to sustain us and keep us focused. It's overwhelming to think about keeping it up long term, but we know with God all things are possible. We have to look to him to keep us on track.
Life is full of distractions. So many distractions. Too much busyness, even if it is for a good cause, is a marriage killer--even if you and your spouse think everything is okay, all of the activities could be more straining than you realize.
It's like the movie theater example. You walk in to the theater and it seems dark, and you can't see the people sitting near you. But as time passes, your eyes begin to adjust to your surroundings and things appear "normal." The same thing happens to our marriages. Our eyes get used to the same ole, same ole, and we don't realize anything is wrong until we are jolted awake.
David and I are forming new habits. We are trying very hard to focus on God, first, and our family second. We both work, so that is third, and then everything else has to fall where it may.
I have stepped back from a couple of activities to free myself up a little more, and David will be traveling less in the upcoming years. It's a time to slow down and refocus on the Creator of our souls and on our family.
I don't want my children growing up thinking they have to be all things to all people. And while a lot of activities are fulfilling, most are stealing time that is so very valuable--time that could be spent with God or with a spouse or child.
This blog is not meant to be condemning in any way. I believe God wants us to have joy and have fun in our lives. He wants us to fulfill our dreams and desires, and we have to work hard to do so, but balance is a must.
Balance is sometimes so very hard to find. It takes work every day. It takes making intentional decisions. It takes being able to tell friends, "Hey, I won't be available after 8:30 p.m." or "If we do such and such activity, how do we get our God/Family Time in today?" It takes asking ourselves as Lysa Teukeurst would, "Is this my best yes?" before agreeing to take on yet another project or responsibility.
And that, folks, is why we took the television, and several other distractions, out of our bedroom.
For the sake of your marriage, ask yourself what is stealing your time. Ask God to reveal to you how to best use your time. Ask him what is standing in your way of forming deeper connections with those that you love. Ask him to reveal any areas of your life where you are being deceived by the enemy. Because when we get distracted, Satan attacks. He looks for gaps in your relationship with the Lord and with your spouse. He plays on these weaknesses.We have to stay WIDE AWAKE and guard our hearts and our families!
I almost didn't share this blog, because it felt too personal, but the Holy Spirit kept prompting me to share. I feel like there are others out there that need to read this and be proactive in taking back your marriage. And like I always say, if my story can help one person, or one family, my vulnerability is worth it.
Father, thank you for being such a good, good Father. We are so blessed to serve such an amazing God. We know that you want what is best for us and our families. We know that you want us to follow your word and seek you first. We thank you that all things are added unto us when we keep you number one. With tons of distractions in our faces every single day, Father, please help us to make good decisions and stay focused. We love you. In Jesus name, Amen.