Three shows that every married couple should be watching - and why this is dumb advice

David WIllis - a pastor interested in "encouraging married couples and families" and who founded and the Marriage app as a way to encourage couples to build stronger marriage - writes in TIME of three types of television shows that every married couple should watch in order to improve their marriage:

  • A show to help you learn together
  • A show to help you dream together
  • A show to help you laugh together 

It's ridiculous advice, of course, because regardless of how troubled or unsatisfying a marriage may be, there is no couple on Earth who is going to read this article and end up changing the television shows that they watch in order to improve their marriage. 

"Honey, we need to find a show to help us dream together. Pastor Willis says that will make us a much stronger couple!"

"Pookie bear, I just read an article that says we should be watching a show that we both find funny. How do you feel about Benny Hill or Tom & Jerry?" 

The article is clickbait, probably promoted in social media by a phrase like "Three must-see television shows to save your marriage" or "Three TV shows that will make your marriage stronger and happier."

People click on these teaser link because it's a list (and people love lists) and because the article seems to promise an instant solution to a serious problem. Instead, you are offered suggestions like "a show to help you dream together" and think, "What the hell does that even mean?"

Then nothing changes. 

He also suggests that less television overall is good for a marriage, but even this suggestion is fairly ridiculous. Less television is good for everyone, regardless of their marital status.

Nothing new or insightful here.  

My wife and I watch very little television - mostly because we don't have the time to watch more but also because we have chosen to fill our lives with things that keep us from staring at the stupid box too much.

We enjoy TV. We just enjoy other things more. 

But the one thing we've done that has been positive in terms of TV watching and our relationship is that in our nearly ten years of marriage and three years of dating, we have almost never watched a television show independently of each other.

We always watch television together.

The only exception to this rule is sports (she doesn't watch every NFL and baseball game with me) and The Walking Dead, a show that Elysha watched for three seasons until the violence and gore became too much for her and she had to quit. I continue to watch but am often multiple episodes behind because there are so few opportunities to watch a television show when she is not around. 

That might be it. The only shows we don't watch together. And I think this is a great thing for our marriage, but it's not something I would recommend because I prefer to recommend strategies that can actually be applied to daily life. 

Telling a couple that they must abandon their own personal tastes and TV watching patterns so they can sit beside each other on the couch every night at the expense of what they really want to watch is unrealistic. 

Just as unrealistic as David Willis' recommendations in TIME.