Marriage on Television

arroyo TV
Originally uploaded by reddirtrose.
I had a couple of separate thoughts come together today.

The first thought was about the number boys that are growing up in homes without fathers. There are so many single mothers either due to divorce, death, fathers abandoning their families and children concieved out of wedlock. Some sources say that as many as 50% of children will spend at least part of their childhood with only one parent. As wonderful as mothers and women are, boys want and need a male role model to show them how a man acts. When there is not a father to provide this role model, it must come from somewhere else. If that role model is to come from TV, I would be hard pressed to name one that I like.

The second thought come from working on getting my book ready for printing. I have been re-reading some my favorite things of what I had posted before. Topics like respect, humor, couresty, faithfulness, undestanding and gratitdue are common. The practice of these virtues is what makes a for a marriage that is not only strong but enjoyable.

The thoughts of a strong marriage combined with the lack of role models for young boys combined to compose this question: What is a good example of a role model for a married couple on TV? A marriage in which the couple:
* Treats each other with respect
* Doesn't critize, belittle and complain
* Is faithful
* Works out problems together with courage and humor
* Likes each other
* Demostrates the attributes and attitudes that others would like to have in their own marriages

Here is what I thought of:
* The Dick Van Dyke Show
* The Cosby Show

So I asked my sweeheart:
* The Brady Bunch
* Leave it to Beaver

I asked a friend:
* Mad About You

I asked another friend:
* The Donna Reed Show
* Bewitched

None of these answers came quick. It took us all a moment to come up with the answer.
It wasn't meant as a trick question. I admit I do not watch a lot of television, but Mad About You ended in 1999. The others are even older. A bunch are even only black and white. Hasn't there been a single happy, strong and supportive marriage on TV since 1999?

Turn that coin over and ask the opposite question: Are there any bad examples of marriages on TV? Are there any shows in which couples that argue, belittle, cheap, lie, blame, critize and are otherwise unpleasant to each other? Of course there are. There are entire genres dedicated to bad marriages. Soap operas, reality TV, and a lot of sitcoms portray marriage and couples at their worst.

Combine reality TV with a soap opera and your get Divorce Court. The dissolution of a marriage and the destruction of the family is now considered entertainment. Divorce Court represents the atithesis of a role model for married couples.

Where should a couple turn to for relationship role models? My sweetie adn I are lucky in that her parents are still together and my are as well. We get to spend quite a bit of time and see what it takes to make a marriage work for the long haul. We are also being an example to our children so they can know what to expect from a good marriage.

Who are your role models for marriage?


Not Yet Dead said…
One example is Chip and Kim of The Amazing Race 5. That was a while ago since they are on 10 now, but it's still in this century.

How about Tim Allen and Patrica Richards in Home Improvement? (can't remember character names at the moment)

There are examples out there, but you need to look. Writers want drama, which they translate as conflict, and happy, well-adjusted couples do not fit. Thus I remind my kids TV is not a model for living.
Not Yet Dead said…
Borrowing a friends email sig...
"Our only influence is by example.” Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Stardate: 44805.3 Episode: "Half a Life"
Two great examples, even though Home Improvement with Tim and Jill ended in 1999. Also a great reminder we need to be the role model to our kids because they will be hard pressed to find one on TV.
Anonymous said…
I always saw Jamie from Mad About You as hyper-critical. Funny, but in a mean way.
Mad About You ended in 1999. I had thought about mentioning it but I have never seen a complete episode. The parts I saw were funny and good. I will have to check it out on reruns, if I can find it.
Oh so true! Great post! And I'm commenting as my daughter is watching the old "Yours, Mine & Ours"! How's that for timing!

Holly's Corner

Here via the Carnival of Family Fun ;o)
Anonymous said…
So true. Networks seem to think it's much more enjoyable and better for ratings if the tv families were disfunctional. It may make for funny moments but not great role models.

Here via Carnival of Family Life.
Anonymous said…
It's sort of a self-fulfilling prophesy. There are lots of dysfunctional families because of the influences around them (television) and the television reflects life. Vicious circle!

Thanks for the great post!

Here via Carnival of Family Life
Anonymous said…
For years I didn't want to get married for exactly that reason. My parents were divorced, and on TV everyone was miserable. Occasionally a movie romance will end with a wedding, but long-married characters are always cheating and fighting. My boyfriend continued to ask me regularly, but I always thought we'd be happier if we just kept cohabitating.

Then I rented "The Thin Man." (Mostly because of the heroine's name.) Circa 1930 or so. We got hooked, and rented the rest of the series within a few weeks.

And suddenly I found myself thinking about Nick and Nora a lot. They were happy, joked a lot, flirted with each other, and were absolutely devoted. And married.

Soon after, I proposed.

I'm not saying there weren't other factors, but the movies gave me the first glimpse that a happy marriage was possible.

Here via Carnival of Family Life
Nora, Thanks for your comments. I have never seen the Thin Man movies, but I am going to add them to my list of movies to see.

I hope you will come back often as this website is dedicated to the idea that marriage is not the end of romance, but just the beginning.
Anonymous said…
I wouldn't exactly call Marge and Homer Simpson role models, but their absolute, to-die-for-you devotion to each other would be enviable to anyone.

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