Marriage Advice

My Spouse Watches Too Much TV

Did you know that the average American household has more televisions in the home than people? And, did you know that the average time spent per month watching television for the AVERAGE television viewer is over 151 hours per month. 151 hours per month equates to around 37.75 hours per week, and just over 5 hours per day.


According to market studies, this number is on the constant increase as television viewing availability is becoming more and more convenient. Several years ago, without 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi and other forms of internet access that makes television viewing on the go possible, it was not possible to spend your time away from home watching your favorite sitcom or sports program. Today, people are stuck to the boob tube in their vehicles, on public transportation and can even access their favorite shows on wireless mobile devices (including phones) from nearly anywhere on the planet. Suffice it to say that we are quickly becoming a society of couch potato television addicts.

But what happens when television viewing becomes an obsession? What should you do if your spouse watches too much TV and it begins to affect the management of day-to-day life? How do you respond to someone when they are constantly complaining that they don’t have enough hours in the day to get their work done, or tend to chores yet haven’t missed an episode of their favorite show in 6 months straight? After all, 37.5 hours per week which is on the ‘average’’ end of television viewing time, is quite a bit of time spent in front of a television screen.

According to Thriving Now psychologists that offer an online resource to empower people to live their best lives, television watching is one of the most accepted forms of passive entertainment and self-soothing mechanisms known to society today. Unfortunately, because it is so generally accepted, most people have a difficult time admitting that they are watching too much TV, or that TV in general is getting in the way of their happiness and effectiveness in life. The website also goes on to say that a spouse who spends their time watching TV, rather than interacting with their family and in lieu of getting associated tasks done is simply using television as an escape.

it’s easy for you or for other people to pinpoint the problem in someone else’s life. The busy wife would have time to get everything done in the course of the day if she was willing to turn off the television a few hours per day. Or, the husband whose life is scheduled around the different seasons of sporting events, so much so that he would rather stay home and watch TV than leave the house and who stays up so late that he is left tired day after day, would benefit greatly from knowing when to say when as it pertains to his television viewing. But it is not so easy to force someone else to change.

If your spouse watches too much TV, or is watching too many movies or is spending an exuberant amount of time playing online video games or Facebooking, it is no doubt disruptive to the relationship. One of the only things that YOU can do, is to shine a light on the situation and let them know how YOU feel. Before you go on the attack, you might want to spend a week or two keeping accurate track of how much time they spend on passive entertainment so that you have facts to present them with. When you show them that they just sat down and watched 41 hours of television in a week’s time, or played online for 60 hours per week it becomes sort of difficult for them to refute your claims that they might be obsessed. Plus, presenting them with facts void of emotion and nagging enables you to get your point across without causing anger or resentment. Most often, in relationships, when a spouse is constantly nagging the ‘nagged’’ partner will often react in a manner that is counter productive. For instance, by tuning out even more or watching more television.

According to, a group designed to help people break free from the addiction of TV viewing TV is an addiction when the following occurs:

‘when the habit interferes with the ability to grow, to learn new things, to lead an active life, then it does constitute a kind of dependence and should be taken seriously.”

As far back as 1990, a time in life when television viewing was less accessible than it is today The American Psychological Association dubbed television addiction as an addiction similar to pathological gambling. In 1990, a symposium at the convention of the American Psychological Association developed the definition of TV addiction as “heavy television watching that is subjectively experienced as being to some extent involuntary, displacing more productive activities, and difficult to stop or curtail.”

When changing any habits in life, it is important to replace them rather than try to simply give them up or quit cold turkey. If you are married to someone who watches TV too much, you can be extremely helpful in helping him or her find other, more useful things to do with their time. Perhaps your entire family can learn to monitor and restrict television viewing. It is also important to come up with activities that will help you and your spouse connect to one another that do not involve television watching. Slowly, but surely replacing TV time with other more meaningful activities will help to curb the TV addiction.

At the end of the day, it is your partner’s decision whether or not they will break the excessive TV habit or not. For many people the obsession with the television can and will cause such a divide in the relationship that it may difficult to fix and separation may be necessary. If you are at this point, you may want to hand your partner an ultimatum and let them decide for themselves whether their virtual world is more important than their real world.

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Eli August 16, 2017 at 5:02 PM

My husband is retired & we have 23 year age difference
I almost died 3 x in the first year of our marriage
We just celebrated our 4 th year anniversary in July &!were hit head on
So with all this being said
We both can’t drive we are both injured
I have dealt with the tv addiction he did his 33 years of labor & I understand that
He’s wonderful around the house he treats me like a queen but he’s addicted tv like I’ve never seen politics sports reruns
The remote lays over his chest & I said what would you do if you lost it
He said I would tear the house apart
I asked again
What would you do if you lost the remote
He said
Order a new one
I said
You can’t order a new wife
If I decorate the remote with silky nightgown material put a cord on it
He’s happy
Ive said treat me like your remote

Chris December 26, 2017 at 1:58 PM

“Life is not a remote, get up and change it yourself.”

Milla August 15, 2018 at 3:14 AM

My guys needs to have all the channels . Sports . + Netflix , and starz play. Apple TV and all that extra … And a tv in the bedroom and living Room with full surround sound . Out tv in the living room
Broke last week . He got a new tv , he almost died without a TV I’m sure . The volume is aooo loud and I keep telling him to turn it down. I don’t wanna sound Naggy, but whyyyyy dosent he get it that it’s 1pm in the afternoon and we don’t have to have the volume on surround loud cinema feeling all day every day,? Why do I need to tell him
Over and over again to turn it down, is he deaf?! my head is so exhausted from the series and loud sounds , I become depressed , tot day I didn’t even bother getting up from bed because I don’t wanna go down to the living room , my bedroom door is open and I can still hear everything that is going on on the tv. And I pray that the tv will break and the Netflix and everything will be frozen just for a week. But I don’t get it why he can’t thjnk for himself that he actually dosent live alone and he can be a bit more considerate that he now lives with someone and it’s not nice to be on the TV all the effing time . Other than that we’re great. We been living together for a year. This is my only problem with him. But this annoys me so much so one day I will explode . I’ve asked him nicely to turn the volume down. A thousand times. So I don’t understand why he can’t remember this in his own. And now I don’t wanna be Naggy… so I’m sharing my frustration here. Haha . How can I tell him in a nice , pedagogical way , to just keep it to a normal level . We’re not a cinema all day erryday. Right?! I want him to understand that it’s ok to watch tv but we don’t have to be in a cave with the volume so loud that I can’t focus on work… even the dogs avoid the living room because it’s so loud.

SUSAN Alspaugh May 17, 2020 at 2:44 PM

Get out while you can. Been married 30 years and things might get better for a few days or a week, but then back to TV whenever he is home.
I am so lonely!!!!!
Have tried talking and even professional counseling….guess he just doesn’t care.

John November 19, 2018 at 11:05 PM

My wife averages 5 hours a day on the iPad alone. I can’t even track tv time. And somehow she never has enough time in a day and is ALWAYS TIRED. When I come home I clean up, put the kids down for bed while she goes upstairs and has a break. Wish I knew what a break was like. Never mind a sex life. Lol. Sex 2 times in nearly 2 years just doesn’t cut it. I brought home flowers today as a surprise and she liked them but these small grstures become forgotten about very quickly. Oh my youngest is crying and she literally just texted me to go get her…she can’t be bothered to stop watching her show in our bedroom or reading her book she has on iPad.

Steven Corner November 9, 2019 at 4:03 PM

Get out now while it’s not too late

Don December 8, 2019 at 3:33 PM

I’ve been married since 1979. my wife gets up at 8 am, turns on the TV, starts up her laptop, and iphone and nothing happens till 5:30 pm. I’m so tired of this nonsense! The TV is her life and cause she isn’t active, she’s now over 350 pounds with all sorts of medical conditions. I’ve purchase a sports car and drive it whenever I get down, which is almost everyday. I’m not a clean freak, but if I don’t do it, the house doesn’t get cleaned. Cheaper to her used to apply, but at this stae since we’re both over 66, I don’t want to split the hard earned dollars with her with a divorce.

Cory February 1, 2019 at 10:25 PM

My gf of ten years watches bones and a few other series that have corpses. Its almost 24/7. Tv in the bedroom, livingroom, but its melted bodies, unless its something from the 80s she’s watched 40+ times. I for one, do not like tv, anywhere in the house. Its negative, useless and that’s it. Ruined any feels for her because she is dead inside to me. She can find another guy to fix thing and leach money and services from. 100% RELATIONSHIP KILLER

Engineer forever February 2, 2019 at 8:38 AM

I’ve given up expecting my wife will change her addiction to spy movies and TV. Her male siblings are the same way, but they are buried in their smart phones. I don’t invite one of her brothers over anymore because he stays up until 3:00 a.m. watching TV and keeps the volume excessive when we’re trying to sleep. I have come to the conclusion I’m being used and will now present a separation agreement and file for divorce. She can go live with herself and her lover, the Television.

Replaced by tv September 23, 2019 at 6:12 AM

I like reading your comment. I am in the same situation but a female married to a tv. He shuts the tv off after 4hrs at night and says I am going to bed, gets himself a bowl of pretzels. Then goes to bed but turns the tv on to fall asleep with his pretzels on his stomach. He hasn’t once asked me to join him but his pretzels do get the intimate chance of going to bed with him. . So 2 bags of pretzels a week and the remote. I have come to the same conclusion since he is really blinded by tv and the addictiveness. But then again he has an addictive personality to begin with, cigarettes, beer, scratch offs. He is comfortable in that world. For me, nah… Curious did you file or have you given her more hope, like I do with him. I have found myself spending to much energy trying to make it work.

D April 4, 2020 at 1:28 AM

Where are you from?living?

Stephanie Anne Roberts October 22, 2019 at 8:14 PM

I think it’s just best to say the truth. That you just don’t feel loved. That you forgive them but you can’t enjoy this one life wasting away watching Tv. It’s ok that the relationship ends. Embrace it and be kind. Just walk away and if they come back to you then things will change for the better. Things will change for the better anyway because you are standing up against addiction. Addiction comes in many forms. Tv, scratch tickets, shopping, gambling, porn, drinking, hoarding – it all stems from us not feeling loved or needed or having a purpose. We don’t have to sink into the addiction to love this person we can just be truthful and have the grit and integrity to take a stand. Kindly.


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