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This one tip will save your relationship
“Love all, trust a few, do this one thing Alex recommends and you'll be set w/r/t love.” - William Shakespear
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I've been married for 38 years and let me tell you, if I had one tip that has absolutely saved my marriage it is this: watch your own shows.
Look, I know that the bedrock of any successful relationship is gathering around the communal fire that is your TV and throwing on the latest The Bear or The Boys or The Bachelor.
Bonded you are, under one roof, united. Sure you may not agree on just about anything anymore, but text your partner “Severance tonight?” and bam, just like that, the two of you are once again bonded under one roof by those two words that carry inside of them an entire universe of mutual understanding about not just the workplace satire dystopia Adam Scott and his pals inhabit, but also your shared relationship toward work and, ipso factoid, everything else too.
At parties you can both say with glee as you eat weird cheese from the charcuterie board - "we're binging Queen's Gambit!” - and either connect or proselytize or, gasp, learn that two people you thought were your friends actually hate The Queen’s Gambit and will not be invited to your wedding no sir.
The only things true in life are death, taxes, and that all conversations at dinner parties lead to the question “what are you watching?”
— Bennie Franklin
Now if you're single - that's great! You have carte blanchett freedom to watch whatever the fuck you want and no one can stop you or, and this is key, stall you.
Because let us be honest - the magical art of watching together inevitably means you will be slowed down. Shows you pine for, shows you would blaze through in two nights were you a single person, they will pass you by like knights on a ship, beautiful and strange and forever unknown.
But friends, there is a way out.
YOU CAN STILL WATCH YOUR OWN SHOWS!
Now maybe some of you knew this already but I DID NOT. I had forgotten, or maybe had just decided that any show I wanted to watch I would of course naturally want to watch WITH Lauren (my wife, nbd) and thus would need to simply be added to our list. Here, for example, is our current list of shows we are in the midst of watching:
The last movie stars
Our flag means death
what we do in the shadows
We Need to Talk about kevin
And according to Lauren, we’re also watching Cheers! The hit show from the 1970s that I can assure you we have not watched in at least 5 years!
(editor’s note: I asked Lauren if she was serious about this and she said no, she only added that one because she was “going for comedy” thus proving that she is, once again, funnier than me).
How to start
And so, one day in the year 2021 while riding the bicycle, I made sure no one was looking and I started a show. My own show. The one about the Lakers - Winning Time which I honestly didn't know was called that until I just looked it up. That's not a great name! Might as well call it Success Team or Big Achievements. Obviously the show should have been called Showtime, which is the literal name of the era in Laker history the show is about BUT OF COURSE ALSO it cannot be called that because Showtime is a rival network!! This is also why the Showtime network was unable to call their show about Hairy Bearded Ottomans the obvious name of HBO. Sad but, wait for it if you can, true.
BUT I watched it. And I kept watching it. And one day Lauren saw me watching it and I felt like she was catching me with another family across town. I stammered and puttered and vomited but only on the inside in like a soul vomit sort of way and then tried to introduce her to the show. “Lauren hi this is...Winning Time, the one about the lakers - do you know it? Do you want to sit down and maybe give it a watch?”
No she said, she did not. I didn't see her for the next six months.
JK she was totally fine with it, giving me the impression that perhaps she's had a few of her own shows this whole time. Even after 45 years we’re still learniung new stuff about each other, ha ha !
I finished Winning Time.
Then I watched Station Eleven which was also great!
And now, friends, I'm halfway through season one of Industry, which is like if Succession and Girls had a british baby. It's great!
The other day I was watching it when Lauren came in from the laundry room and said “I thought you were watching a porno” because Industry has ALOT OF SEX. And I said “I am” and she said “oh…” and then I said “No I’m simply messing with you Laur, this is the hit tv show Industry.” And she walked out and went to live at a hotel for a few days!
But she’s back now!
Your partner will thank you, your life will be better and you will have something to talk about when you have nothing to talk about. "I really like Industry, the porno one" I tell Lauren on the once a fortnight occasion we decide to eat dinner at the table and skip our normal "wanna watch something while we eat" which I justify because we went on a walk already and talked and stuff so its not like we are bad people just tired and love tv.
“Nice,” she says back, and our marriage is saved for at least two more years!
And just like that, we are more than Alex and Laur, the couple the unit the family, we are two separate planets revolving around each other which means sometimes we're turned away from each other and that is when of course we are watching our own shows on the face of each of our moons (above all, this makes sense science wise.)
“I’m too scared to try”
When I do workshops about this, people always say “but Alex, I’m not like you. I’m not brave. I can’t do it.”
Baloney! Salami! Pepperoni!
Here’s a script you can use to get started:
"Hi honey I love your dress / sweatshirt / beard / hair - is it new? Cool! Listen I started (SHOW) and its really (OPINION HERE). Do you want to order some food for dinner?"
That’s it. Simple as buying a house with Rocket Mortgage (spec sponsor for the newsletter - if you work with RM, plz reach out).
Now when you do this, you will feel emotional, you will feel vulnerable, and you will want to apologize and make it up to your person. DO NOT CAVE. Here’s a list of things to make sure you do not say:
If you want we can restart it and watch it together
I'm sorry for doing this I shouldn't have done it I love you and only want to watch stuff with you
It's about time we do our own thing, god damn it.
This show I watched is better than the trash we watch.
I've decided to start reading books
if you want to end your relationship just say this and it’ll be over lickity split
That's it, the one piece of advice I can give you all to stay in a marriage as long as mine (83 years and counting).
Now let's get out there and watch our shows (as a couple) AND watch our shows (private).
As with all my marriage related tips, I am teaching a 2 day online workshop called "Finding Marital Bliss By Watching Stuff Alone" spots are filling up fast so please rsvp asap $399 deposit and $1299 due at the start of the first session (each session is 1 hour long - I lecture for 15 min and then we watch footage of me watching Winning Time while riding a stationary bike). Enroll now:
Thanks everyone. Enjoy yourselves out there and remember: if 2+2 ain’t 5, my middle name ain’t Clive.
Alex “Clive” Dobrenko
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