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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Shalom Bayit and Blogging

Married? Have a Significant Other? Then you'll understand the dilemna.

I have something of an aversion to television. Always have. Even as a teen, I could only take about 2 hours, max, to sit and watch television. It's not a snob thing -- I don't think watching television is "low-brow" or something. I just don't enjoy it much, and find most of what's on television inane at best. It's not sitting still, either -- I can sit for hours over a good book. I suspect that my aversion has something to do with the nature of television: one can't "put down" the program to go make a cup of tea; one can't "bookmark" the show and come back to it later. Also, after working all day in a setting where the noise of people working is a constant, coming home to the irritating noise of television, with its blaring commercials, over-amped sports announcers and constant voice of false urgency used in every news announcement or dandruff shampoo pitch, drives me right up the wall.

The Husband LOVES television. He finds it relaxing.

This was never a problem in a medium-sized house when we were both working full time. By the time the television came on in the evening, I could stomach an hour or so of it while conversing during commercial breaks and consoling myself with a book if I found the program uninteresting. It didn't bother me that the television was on much of the day while the Husband worked out of our home office -- after all, I wasn't there to hear it.

However, one of my caveats about aliyah was my saying to the Husband that I would go starkers if we had to live together in a small Jerusalem apartment and the television was on ALL THE TIME. He assured me that it would not be....

Always define your terms in any discussion of importance, whether marital or business. I should know this--after, all, I'm the lawyer, right?

I found myself coming home from ulpan in the early afternoons to television on from 1:00 pm until bedtime.

Now, I love the Husband dearly, and I know that aliyah is a tough transition, and it seems a little silly to get bent out of shape over something as stupid as the television, and I don't want to pick a fight or even bring up the subject because he is in all other respects the Perfect Husband. How many women have husbands who clean the house daily for them and fold the laundry and make (truly excellent) dinners?

But the television drives me up the wall--like fingernails on a blackboard. So after an attempt at desultory conversation, I would retreat to the Boy's bedroom and do homework, work on bills, catch up on emails, read Other People's Blogs, read the online newspapers, and write my own blogs....etc.

Usually after an hour or two, my absence is noted and the Husband comes to inquire what I'm doing -- at which point I tell him I'm doing one or all of the above.

It seems we had extremely different definitions of what constitutes "all the time."

The fact that the television is turned off for an hour while the Husband goes to the grocery store while I'm at ulpan means the television is not on "all the time."

"I meant when I'm at home!" I pointed out.

Well, reasonably enough, since he finds television "relaxing" he doesn't want to live in a noiseless void, especially in an apartment in winter which echoes....

We have a sort of Gift of the Magi problem in reverse: I don't want to seem witchy and complaining, so I absent myself; he doesn't want to intrude on what I'm doing in the back room, so he leaves me alone. As a result, we are spending less, rather than more, time together in retirement suddenly. Cold weather is a factor as well--when the days were warmer, we were out and about more...

So, as reasonable people, we figured out a solution. He was genuinely surprised to find that my absence was due to television-avoidance (since he likes it, it just doesn't register that others abhor it) so he agreed to turn it off in the afternoons. I don't require silence, so we thought having the stereo on would be a good guard against echoing silence. So I may not be in the Blogosphere as often as before, as I now seem to be spending more time in conversation, reading, listening to music and otherwise 'smelling the roses.'


Anonymous Anonymous said...

All which proves, even when you have been married for a while compromise can remedy any 'minor irritation'. Glad that you are enjoying life more, that's what is important.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 7:30:00 AM GMT+2  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

Ah, and when you get as old as I am, you don't have the energy to 'fight' over the small stuff--compromise becomes much easier {grin}

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 2:50:00 PM GMT+2  
Blogger westbankmama said...

I can relate about the constant noise. We don't have a tv, but my teenager must have the radio or music on ALL OF THE TIME. It really drives me nuts. He is in yeshiva (away from home) so it is ok, but when he is at home I can take it for about two hours and then I make him turn it off (or go into his room to listen).

Sunday, January 21, 2007 at 9:53:00 AM GMT+2  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

WBmama--Unfortunately, I can tell my teen what to do, but cajole/request/persuade is the best one can hope for in husbands((-:

But thanks for the empathy--sometimes I think I'm the wierd one because the noise makes me nuts...

Sunday, January 21, 2007 at 3:19:00 PM GMT+2  

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