Couple Things

Last night, my wife and I crossed a devastating threshold–a veritable point of no return. Around 10:25pm, she said she was tired and wanted to go to bed, and I objected and suggested we watch the next episode of the TV show we’ve been watching lately. An argument ensued, and I did something that I’m ashamed of–because I promised myself I would never do this–but which nevertheless cannot be undone.

If you’re thinking, “He went to bed without resolving the argument,” then you’re correct–but what we’re talking about here is much, much worse. In fact, it’s so terrible that I hesitate to post this publicly, and understand if you don’t want to read further. I climbed into bed, and just as my wife pulled up the covers to fall asleep, I opened my laptop computer, popped in my headphones, and watched the next episode anyway. I cheated.

There is no way to rectify what I’ve done–I can’t re-watch the episode with her, because she’ll know I’m not really into it. If I were to try and fake the same level of intensity that normally accompanies us when we watch a crime drama, she’d know I was faking it. If she watches it alone, that serves only to further isolate us from each other, and risks creating a habit–what if she enjoys watching the show by herself more than with me?

I know we all have our weaknesses, and perhaps I should have seen this coming. About a year ago when we were watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the first time, I plopped down on the sofa in the living room after a late-night skirmish and defiantly turned on the next episode. However, my resolve waned almost immediately, and I turned up the volume loud enough to ensure that she would hear what was going on. In less than a minute, she “caught” me and I confessed to being a childish dork and swore to never do it again.

Of course, my wife is no saint, either. While the list of Couple Things varies from marriage to marriage, reading Harry Potter was something we both held–or so I thought–to be a sacred activity. Well, a few years ago, she was working at the USU Bookstore when the sixth Harry Potter book was coming out. Sometime prior to the release, the store received it’s allocation of books, and she later disclosed to me that she had perused the first few chapters during breaks at work. Pretty awful, right?

Now, it’s plain to me that our chance at happiness is shot. I blew it, and the smoldering remains of an inappropriately consumed DVD stand as a testament to a once-great relationship. So, let this be a warning to those of you who are still in the formative weeks and months and years of matrimony. Pay attention to the set of activities and customs which arise in your relationship, and respect those boundaries! Whether your list includes reading books, eating a certain flavor of ice cream, or any other number of Couple Things, consecrate my failure to your success!

Please share some of your own stories in the comments below.


  1. If I read the Miracle of Forgiveness correctly, I’m pretty sure the next step for you will be to begin watching these programs together with several other men, losing all interest in ever watching them with your wife again.

  2. Your marriage is pretty much over, so why not just drop a couple of spoilers on her for spite?

    Some years ago my wife and I shared a show that we enjoyed watching together. One day, I was working late, and I knew that she would be watching the show without me, and I’d catch it on the DVR when I got home. That was fine. What wasn’t fine is when she called me at work after she watched it and the first words out of her mouth were “Shane killed Lem!”

  3. gst,
    I confess that the full depravity of my actions wasn’t included in the OP. Here’s an additional detail:

    After about 10 minutes of the episode, I tapped her on the shoulder–she was nearly asleep–and when she looked up, I said, “Just so you know, this is pretty much the best episode ever.”

    It was true–it was an awesome episode. But still–total jerkwad am I.

  4. Kevin Barney says:

    Oh great, now this is going to be a cautionary tale that we have to hear about in Priesthood sessions of conference for years to come…

  5. Scott, you’re weird, ya know?

  6. Mark Brown says:

    Ardis, it’s just one of his charms!

  7. Hey Mark–you mind if I crash at your place tonight?

  8. Matt W. says:

    Scott, this is all really because of those banner of heaven podcasts.

  9. Matt W.,
    I’m having a slow day today, because I don’t understand your comment.

  10. Scott, I think the confession that you watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer a year ago is something I think your Bishop should know… I must admit it was quite disturbing to read that part but a year passed, so maybe the sin has been forgiven.

  11. My wife and I have almost had arguments about this very same thing (watching shows without each other), but we resolved it this way:

    Our work schedules were, for a long time, drastically different. So we agreed to watch the episodes at different times, but not get ahead of each other. So she’d watch an episode while I was at work, then I’d watch while she was working.

    Occasionally, though, she broke this trust. It happened with Buffy and Scrubs a lot. Perhaps there is a hidden message in here. Personally, I have chosen to adopt the policy that some friends of mine in Australia adopted: Before making any decision, I simply ask myself this simple question: What would Joss Whedon do?

    It has never led me astray.

    We don’t have many Couple Things (probably because we are still stupid-in-love newly-weds who do just about everything together anyway), but we have agreed that new movies we own on DVD must be watched together, and new foods we are trying for the first time.

    I will take heed of the counsel presented here so that I may learn from the mistakes of the elderly–I mean, my elders.

  12. You have children and are employed and still have time for TV…I want your job ;).

  13. Aaron B says:

    My wife and I watch Big Love together religiously. I am proud to say that neither of us has cheated on the other. We’re about 4 episodes into the final season, and since we just cancelled our Comcast, I don’t know when we’ll get to the other episodes.

    This doesn’t mean we are models of marital bliss, however. She constantly chastises me for watching South Park. I respond by reminding her she’s no saint, what with her addiction to Reno 911. I believe we’ve reached a depravity equilibrium, and I’m fine with it.

  14. Margaret Young says:

    I would like to confess on behalf of my husband, who finishes watching Dr. Who episodes after I’ve gone to sleep, and then watches an entire new episode while I’m entering REM. Then he tells me what’s going to happen when we’re watching them together the next day, or says the lines along with David Tennant. And when I go on a trip, he watches Mormon chick flicks like “Charly” because he knows I would never go along with that kind of indulgence. Don’t think I’m joking.

  15. I’m pretty cautious ever since my wife found out I ate Ben and Jerry’s without her. I think she’s forgiven me, but I know she hasn’t forgotten.

  16. Margaret,

    The Doctor cannot be put on hold. Especially David Tennant.

  17. “And when I go on a trip, he watches Mormon chick flicks like “Charly” because he knows I would never go along with that kind of indulgence. Don’t think I’m joking.”

    Margaret, it seems like your hubby needs more than a simple confession. He needs to probably shave his head, become a vegan and then go to the tallest mountain to pray for forgiveness…

  18. The worst couple sin, imho, is playing a video game with your spouse, and when she beats you, spend the next week playing every spare second so you can get really good at it and completely smoke her the next time you play together.

  19. Scott loves blogging.

  20. Natalie B. says:

    So, what tv show did you cheat with? Still Buffy?

  21. Scott B. says:

    With Matt W.’s comment earlier, yours makes two comments I haven’t understood.

  22. Scott B. says:

    Suz (10),
    Are you saying something bad about Buffy? Cuz honey, you are in the wrong forum for hating on Joss Whedon’s creations.

  23. Scott B. says:

    Natalie B.,
    No, we finished Buffy ages ago. We are currently watching Castle, which we started to follow just because my wife loves Nathan Fillion (I do, too, really). However, over time it has grown on us independent of (man)crushes.

  24. Man, if my wife caught me in bed with David Tennant, she’d shoot the iPad right off my lap. There’d be no forgiveness

  25. My husband did that to me with LOST. I felt so betrayed. Then I did it to him with The West Wing, and now we’ve struck an uneasy truce. But our relationship was really strengthened recently when we both abstained from Downton Abbey’s final episode until he came home from a research trip so we could watch it together. Marriage is about sacrifice, after all.

  26. The same argument happened in our household this week when I admitted to watching a few episodes of The Daily Show without my wife. She still gives me a cold stare.

  27. I confess that I tested my DH after reading this post yesterday. He wanted to watch House. I told him I wanted to go to bed, but he could watch it without me. He was faithful and true. He said he didn’t want to watch it without me. So he watched the Daily Show, and we watched some of Colbert together, and then I went to bed. He followed soon after, without watching House.

    He’s a good man, and you would do well to follow his example.

  28. This post and the ensuing comments have made me feel pretty good about myself. Thank you.

  29. Steve_G says:

    This is why netflix instant streaming is the best thing ever. We have shows we watch together like Lie To Me, and we have shows we watch alone. For me its Psych right now and for her..uhm I guess I have no idea. See it works!

    Now if only Netflix would do the right thing and put Burn Notice up on instant streaming (or even the last season on DVD), life would be even more awesome.

  30. Michael says:

    I don’t think my wife could care less if I were to watch any show without her.

    Now, on the other hand, if I were to watch an episode of Black Butler without my 12-year-old daughter, that would be an unforgivable sin. The explicit rule in our house is that Anime Must Be Watched With Daddy. The implicit rule seems to be that Really Good Anime Must Be Watched With The Kid.

  31. What is this TV of which you speak?

  32. I confess that I let my wife beat me at Scrabble enough so that we maintain an even win-loss ratio. Also Wii racing games, though she is better than me at some of them.

  33. I used to wipe the scrabble board with my wife. Then I got her a Pocket PC and she would play scrabble on it late in to the night and now on an off night she beats me by 50 points.

  34. Steve_G – ALL of the shows that my wife and I watch are on Netflix streaming; we don’t watch live TV, and haven’t for over a year.

  35. I used to wipe the scrabble board with my wife.

    Whoa, buddy.

  36. Bill and I love The Good Wife. But I often can’t stay up that late, so I’ll set it to record. When the commercial comes, he stops the recording and changes the channel! Drives me up a wall. He pretends he doesn’t know what he’s doing but I’m beginning to think it’s an act.

  37. I won two scrabble games early in my marriage. He claimed he had let me win, but I do not think he did as he pouted for weeks after each game. I recently came within 3 points of his score; the point spread is usually 100+. His sisters are the only people ever to have won against him consistently.

  38. I was almost in your exact same position with Casle as my wife fell asleep half way through the episode. I stayed firm though and played my mmo of choice instead.

  39. Don’t get me wrong–sins don’t excuse other sins.

    Nevertheless–speaking purely in terms of marital diplomacy–your wife’s stunt with Half-Blood Prince pretty much gives you a blank check for the rest of time (and maybe all eternity).

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