His favorite thing is torture.

14 Sep

The post I wrote yesterday caused someone to comment the phrase “I, like most women, have watched one too many romantic comedies”  and this spurred something in me instantaneously that I don’t think I’ve ever fully tackled here before — so buckle up, this one’s intense.

I’m absolutely confident that I’ve talked a few different times about how over the last 12 years, we’ve had countless talks, arguments, and even hurtful fights over the television in our home.  Both of us heavily had an opinion and even though we were listening to what each other was saying, we almost grew MORE angry because we felt so polar opposite that it didn’t feel like the truth to hear a different dissection of the situation.  For me – and hang with me women because I believe this ONE statement destroys us over and over again in so many areas –

I was incredibly angry about the issue at hand, but I was enraged that he didn’t feel the same as me. And because my feelings were so on target, he couldn’t just have a different opinion, he was DEAD WRONG.

It took me until roughly a year ago to come to grips that he wasn’t wrong.  If he was telling me his “side” of things, I had to believe him instead of hating him.  I saw how I was taking my convictions, struggles, temptations and truths and demanding that he had all the same and was constantly pointing them out to try to break him down into just admitting it.

It never worked.  It pushed us apart.

My husband absolutely loves the television.  This magic black box allows him to escape to thinking nothing, being responsible for nothing, finding rest, enjoyment, contentedness, relaxation, and entertainment.  And practically anything can be on to fulfill these feelings.  With the exception of a few annoying cartoons, reality shows, and intensely derogatory shows, he’ll gladly watch anything.

I’m the opposite.  And the only way I know how to explain this well is to give a few examples.

First and foremost, when the television goes on, I battle jealousy.  Why can’t I be that love in his life?  (Which I addressed in another post about having him as an idol in my life.) How come he isn’t running in the door to be with me? Why isn’t hanging out with me enough, but rather the television has to be on all the time?

Then comes the show options:

Scary/Horror shows or films – If I’m not scared out of my mind watching them (which I always am) I am plagued with intense nightmares for weeks.  Even that have nothing to do with the exact story line, once I’m frightened – Satan has a hay day with my paralyzing fears.  I’ll lie awake at 2:00 in the morning in tears battling thoughts about my kids being kidnapped and sold into the sex trade and I can’t find them and they’re suffering.

Romantic shows/comedies – These are the worst.  You know how most women absolutely LOVE a good chick flick?  NOT ME.  I hate them!! Of course there is the obvious problem that it paints this picture that men are capable of swooning over the love in their life in romantic and creative ways.  It causes anger and jealousy toward my own husband because I have always wanted that kind of romantic marriage.  And when it looks so attainable, ESPECIALLY When he’s watching it too and doesn’t pick up any pointers, I’m furious with him.

But so much worse than that is the women in the film. They have flawless bodies, and flawless skin.  I can get on board that models are airbrushed.  Actress can’t be airbrushed and filmed at the same time.  They’re gorgeous.  And the movies make them appear that they are naturally gorgeous.  Like first thing in the morning with messy hair and seemingly no makeup – that kind of beauty is SO out of reach for me.  And then they always end up naked (or mostly) at some point in the movie.  And I’m staring at the screen thinking “you’re hot.  holy crap, there is no possible way my husband isn’t turned on right now — I mean, I’m even a little turned on for crying out loud.  he’s gonna think about this scene later.  and if he initiates anything with me tonight, it’s not gonna be because of me, it’s gonna be because he’s turned on by this incredibly gorgeous woman.”

Action shows/movies – I don’t find them entertaining at all.  The whole time I’m struggling to understand how destruction, evil forces, death, or make-believe is captivating and enjoyable.  I’m so uncomfortable and often fighting back tears because I can’t take the display of innocent lives being slayed.  I also sit there dumbfounded at the screen wondering how when I ask my husband a question about something that hasn’t happened but I want to know what he’d think/do/feel if we were in that situation, he can’t answer and seems annoyed.  Yet here he is completely engaged and desperately hanging on his seat for the next super-hero movie to come out and I’m like, what in the heck?  It’s seriously make-believe.  It can NEVER happen.  This is so stupid.  Why the double-standard???

I could go on because this type of thing happens with almost every type of entertainment.  But I think this paints a good enough picture to make the point.

I have to stay away from the television because other wise I grow jealous, angry, unfulfilled, dissatisfied, accusatory, bitter, and most of all unsatisfied with my own looks, skills and abilities.

And when my husband’s favorite activity in the whole world in watching television/movies and he loves for me to sit in the chair or on the couch with him and *enjoy* this too and it’s literally one of the most painful activities in the world for me…. it stinks, bad.

I try to do it every so often.  I want to love him in the ways he feels it most.  I want to spend quality time with him doing things HE likes too.  I want him to feel like he married someone who accepts him and appreciates his recreational desires.

But it’s tough.

Practical Application –

I don’t know that I have any real good advice to put in here.  If you don’t struggle in this way, it’s easy to be judgmental (just like I was of him for so many years for NOT struggling in the same ways I do.)  I just pray a lot that God allows this to be something that doesn’t tear us apart.  That we can accept these truths about each other and exercise love for each other to protect each others hearts.

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18 Responses to “His favorite thing is torture.”

  1. Rick@RomanticHusbands.com September 14, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    Wow…You did warn me that this would be intense and you were right.

    I love romantic comedies. They are lighthearted, romantic, and all of them have virtually the same plot. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, bot get girl back again. Yes, the men and women are all beautiful people. So what? We like looking at beautiful people. It’s a fantasy! Lighten up!

    Romantic comedies give us a positive image about love and romance and even sex. The intention is to put you in a GOOD mood. Husbands are not thinking about the actresses when we make love to our wives. We deserve more credit than that. We are thinking about our beautiful wives and how grateful we are to have them in our lives.

    I am tempted to prescribe a romantic comedy therapy for you. I want to give you a list of some of the all time favorites a tell you to snuggle up on the couch with your husband and watch at least one a week until you show signs of improvement.

    • Kayla Gulick September 14, 2013 at 10:43 am #

      Oh, if only that would work.

      Do you know that what you just said to me would be like me saying to you….

      “I’m tempted to pick out a list of porn sites and tell you to sit down and look at them and lighten up.”

      You are viewing your non-struggle with romantic comedies and telling me to feel the same.

      In fact, you’re doing to me what I am tempted to do to my husband. Expect him to feel the same way I do.

      That’s not fair.

      But it is good to hear that you don’t struggle in that way– and as long as your wife doesn’t either, I hope you enjoy many romantic comedies together!!

      • Rick@RomanticHusbands.com September 16, 2013 at 8:29 am #

        Men…we want to fix everything. Forgive me.

        As I read your post, I hoped that you wrote it with some lighthearted sarcasm. I was wrong. I get it now… You were just sharing your feelings and looking for understanding.

        My wife and I do enjoy romantic comedies. Date night at the movies to see a romantic comedy is one of our favorite activities. It’s provocative to see you and others equate romantic comedies to porn. I never considered that point of view, but I kinda’ understand now.

      • Kayla Gulick September 16, 2013 at 8:38 am #

        Thank you so much for saying that. Not that I needed an apology because I certainly understood that you didn’t fully grasp what I was saying (most people don’t who don’t struggle in that way) and that you were trying to be light hearted about the post.

        But I’m thankful you shared that you kinda understand that romantic comedies for some women can create a false sense of romance, love, attraction, fulfillment, and expectations – just as visual porn can do to some men.

        No one ever needed anyone to have all the same problems as them – but for a spouse to simply understand his/her spouse — that’s when intimacy ignites on fire and marriages are glued for life.

  2. Gleniece September 14, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    I understand (to a degree) where your coming from, Kayla. We all have body issues to deal with and when watching achingly good looking women in movies, I can’t help squirming with inadequacy. And, sometimes, pure jealosy. But my husband’s love and attraction for me has never failed. (even after breast cancer surgery two years ago when I was at my lowest in self acceptance). My point here is that our godly husbands truly love US. And like us, need time to wind down their way. For years I would get furious because my husband had a beer in his hand. Constantly. My self-righteous judgment wouldn’t let him have his downtime his way. Thank God, I’ve relaxed and given him his space. It has been hard, but the harmony in our marriage is SO worth it. Love to you, Kayla

    • Kayla Gulick September 14, 2013 at 10:47 am #

      I agree whole heartedly — which is why I don’t get angry with him anymore that he enjoys them. But just because your husband has a beer in his hand, doesn’t mean that you have to too to appreciate what he needs.

      I don’t have to like TV. I just have to appreciate that he does.

      Thank you for the understanding and for reminding us all that our husbands can still be attracted to us even if we don’t look like perfection 🙂

  3. howsyourlovelife September 14, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    Yep, I’m 100% right there with you. I do watch the first 20 minutes of Good Morning America most every day to be informed, but other than that would chuck the black box forever. My guy loves to sit in front of it. After 20 years of marriage I haven’t found a solution, the closest thing to a compromise is his choosing HGTV to watch, assuming its what I prefer. I do not prefer it because it helps me be discontent with the amazing things we have! I feel like he is inviting me into sin, sin of discontent, fear, doubt. Because they are so different, I don’t think they can get it, we seem to be overreacting. I find myself praying that God would guard my heart.

    • Kayla Gulick September 14, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

      Thank you. You will never know how much healing you’ve brought just because you understand what I’m saying. You’re right – most people think we’re insane, over-reacting, a pathetic insecure drama queen…. I’ve heard them all.

      I’m so thankful you shared. I’ll love you forever just for understanding where I’m at. ❤

  4. learning1 September 14, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    Wow, Kayla. I hear you on this one. Let me share a few thoughts that I think are helping me on this issue in my journey.

    Romantic (books or TV) for me is dangerous right now. If you haven’t come across it yet, there are thoughts out there that Romance (anything) is equal to porn for men. It is unrealistic and an escape to something that SEEMS easy with the opposite sex. I have had to grapple with this issue. Now, I have never read anything other than Victoria Holt or Christian fiction. However, I started to have a break-through one time when I got done reading a fabulous book and sobbed that my life wasn’t like “that”. It was the gamut. We didn’t live a certain place, he didn’t do certain things, he didn’t get certain things, he didn’t care about certain things – but the man in this book did. It wasn’t about some “steamy” scene; it was about idols (I know that now – I didn’t then). And it scared me to realize how instantly unhappy I could be just from reading.

    I’ve discovered it other places too – like HGTV, or Pinterest. I am sensitive now to my capacity for enjoying life and ideals and taking it too far and coveting them. I am learning to give these things to God. If He wants to give them to me, He will. Otherwise, I continue to work on seeing the blessings He has given me, and when I have the volume up too loud on certain things – I can’t hear those blessings AT ALL. So I have to watch myself. Right now, most fiction books and romantic movies are TOO much. Maybe one day they won’t be. I tend to use them as an escape – almost fantasizing (living another life)- because I am, in fact, not happy with the world God gave me. That doesn’t mean they “are” bad – but they are for ME right now.

    That isn’t to say “now you know what your husband is doing when he is watching TV”. I view how my husband uses it (or computer) as a decompression chamber. When I see him using it past a certain amount, then I KNOW something is getting to him and I know it is time for me to be there for HIM even more. It usually means the decompression isn’t working. I also notice that the more time he spends with family – the less the decompression time. So I feel, if he got to be here with us, maybe he wouldn’t have to decompress from the world so much. (I wouldn’t like to be out there either. I used to work out there for awhile). I am blessed by my husband, to be home. It is a blessing your husband wants to be with you while he decompresses. I wait on God to work on him (if He deems it good) to find other ways to decompress.

    One other thing I want to mention, and that is – God can actually speak through TV. I’ve even heard His voice in those same Christian books I’ve put away for now. One of the movies that spoke loudest to my heart was Batman Begins. No joke! Look for God’s lessons in the movies. It helps get past the fiction into the reality. Kind of like a classic book. They are classics because of the messages people get from them. This literally can happen on TV series, or movies that I watch with my husband.

    I am inspired at times by HGTV (a channel I no longer have) and Pinterest. I have to watch myself. So, you can ask your husband for things that are more tolerable to you. That’s ok. My husband and I are able to laugh at ridiculous shows together (I talking cooking shows that have things we would never eat, picky people finding houses, etc.), or watch documentaries and learn and discuss together (usually he doesn’t pick these – too somber – but sometimes he does), movies based on real life, and even superhero movies. He usually saves the kill-them-to-death movies for a time without me. (I think those movies appeal to their protector/strength side). There will be times to put a request out there like, “I’d rather not watch that, how about this one?” and not force it or maybe sit next to him and mentally look for God’s messages to MY heart (not what my husband should or should not be doing). It helps.

    I hope this is a help to you!

    • Kayla Gulick September 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

      This is awesome!! Great points and awesome suggestions. Thanks for sharing!!!

      I do try to watch shows with him that are more safe for me. For example “Shark Tank” was on last night and I did fine and he got to relax with me.

      I’ll continue to hunt for shows I can handle so I have some to suggest when needed. Thanks again!!!

  5. Crafts4others September 14, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    My husband and I for the most part watch a lot of the same shows. However, this is not always the case. I also read a lot, so if he wants to watch something I don’t I will read, write letters, cook, talk to family or friends, and even do crafts such as counted cross stitch instead. Vice versa if I am watching a show or movie and it doesn’t appeal to him, he will watch a movie on his iPad (we only have one tv). It both gives us a little of our own time for ourselves to relax for a little bit. This doesn’t occur ever day though. Not sure if any of this will help you.

    • Kayla Gulick September 14, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

      Thanks for the comment and suggestions. I usually spend time on the computer when I don’t want to watch what he is, but I think the bigger problem is that it feels like every night we’re just co-existing in the same house instead of spending any time together. A little time to do your own thing is a GREAT idea…..but it’s also good to come together. And that’s where the struggle comes in – agreeing on how to come together in a way we both appreciate and truly enjoy.

  6. shortnsweet September 18, 2013 at 2:28 am #

    The title got me: “His favorite thing is torture,” and then, “buckle up, this one’s intense.” I thought that (gasp) he liked to torture people or animals. Whew! SO relieved to find out that’s not the case!

    Nevertheless, the thoughts and feelings you shared in this article are touching. I, too, am extra sensitive to what I read and see and hear. It sometimes causes a physical reaction. TV and movies can be very divisive. It does help to have other hobbies, but I know how much we want to be with our husbands and enjoy what they enjoy. I’m kind of with you–not much advice except that it helps to be full-up on love–from family, friends, even pets. We seem to have way more need to show love and be loved than men do. It’s taken me a long time to get away from expecting hubby to be my all and fulfill all my needs, especially after he’s had a hard day at work. If I’m pretty filled up with love from other sources, I’m much more apt to let him do what he wants to do, even if that means hours of TV. Prayers–this is a tough one to work through.

    • Kayla Gulick September 18, 2013 at 6:25 am #

      Thanks for the comment! I totally agree that for me it can be really tempting to want my husband to be my everything.
      Although, he does want me around. In the evenings if I was constantly going in the other room all night long while he watched TV, he’d be upset. For one night he wouldn’t care, but he’d feel like I was mad at him or ignoring him if I wouldn’t sit in the living room with him. So I usually do and just spend the entire time on my laptop. So I don’t have to watch, but I can be in the same room. (Which you an I both know, women don’t feel that sitting in the same room is spending time together – but men do.)

  7. SU January 5, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    Kayla
    You are 100 percent right about the tv, spiritually this is what the devil is using to enforce his views and send spirits into the houses of everyone. HORROR movies are the worst it opens up a portal to your life.Tv is a vision and subconsciously we will walk out what is pumped into your ear and heart gates without even knowing it. It is one of the many tricks of the enemy that people are not aware of. Proverbs states Guard your heart because out of it comes the issues of life. Tv pumps ideas, concepts, perceptions, and the list goes on into your heart based on Satan ideas…. so those who think romantic comedies are harmless is deceived, they are made to trigger any lack that you are having in your relationship, once the door is open Satan has something to work with. People don’t see it because of the platform it is being presented on, it is as many things PANDORA BOX. You are wise to shield yourself, entertainment is killing many households. NOW how do you convey that with your husband? I wonder if he would agree to fast from Tv for 1 week? When my husband and I did that we realized how filthy and spiritually despicable Tv was even the so call romantic comedies, your eyes are truly open. I will wrap this up in saying TV is one of Satan tools to bring emotional issues to households so they can walk them out…….you will only know this truth with fasting of tv and prayer…..

  8. lindagreeneyes March 10, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    wow Kayla , just love your comments and your wisdom. I struggle with a ‘tv loving ‘husband as well. He is a great guy and we’ve been married over 40 years. I read Neil Anderson’s books a few years ago, and if you haven’t I highly recommend his teaching on the voices we hear. Good for you for talking about this issue. When I have brought it up with many Christian women friends of mine, they have all looked at me in shock, and said, Yes, I hear that/those accusing voices in my head too! Ladies these voices are a big issue! There is a way to deal with them, scripturally as Kayla has suggested, and there are also ‘clearing’ things we can do to lessen the impact. Not opening doors into our hearts thru ‘idols’ , or TV or other things we feel convicted about is a great start. Neil Anderson also has some other suggestions, such as clearing up our past. If you have ever, before being saved, dabbled in the occult, through the use of ouija boards, or tarrot cards, or seeing a psychic, or ? , or if you had your tea leaves read etc, you have given PERMISSION to a demon to enter your life. You need to denounce this ungodly affiliation, and tell this demon he has no longer any permission in your life. The book is called “Overcoming the Darkness” I think but if you google Neil Anderson, you will find several of his books that are excellent on this topic that no one in church that I have encountered seems to discuss. TV, Facebook, huge issues in this time, and will get bigger as time goes on. God will call us to account for our time, and how we ‘witnessed’ to the world our faith. I don’t want my biggest witness to be Facebook! and last night, ( interesting timing) I had actually just ‘deleted’ my FB account. You can do that now, not just ‘deactivate’ it. I don’t mean to sound harsh, I just feel so strongly about this issue and believe we are so open to deception by the media, and are ‘asleep’ as Christians on this issue. Thank you Kayla for speaking so honestly and openly.. you are a treasure!

    • Kayla Gulick March 10, 2014 at 10:49 am #

      Thanks for the suggestions! This is such a hot topic area where we are often asleep. And worse, just entirely desensitized. It’s so easy to justify technology. I need to pray about this more and make changes yet again!

  9. Maria April 8, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    I’ll be honest here, I LOVE watching TV, so I’m more on the guy’s side of things. I love the release it gives; just forgetting everything for an hour or two is honestly more relaxing than sleep sometimes.

    I totally agree with not watching chick flicks though, I literally NEVER do. I don’t have Pinterest because it makes me discontent with what I have and I’m starting to think about getting off of Facebook because I am tired of seeing people living “better” lives than me and feeling unhappy about mine. I use facebook a lot though for other things, though, so I really have to think about it first.

    Anyways, good food for thought, esp about compromise. Just know, ladies, that you’re lucky to be able to spend quiet evenings with your husband doing anything. I seriously can’t wait to marry the love of my life and get to spend those quiet relaxed evenings with him.

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