CAN the way we watch TV, go to bed, cook meals and even wash-up affect our relationships?

Bizarrely, it can, and as Valentine’s Day approaches maybe we can learn a thing or two. Everyday activities that we do at home can a happy union make - but it depends upon how we do them. Take the following:

Watching TV

One of the country’s best-known showbiz couples recently revealed the secret to a happy home: separate TV rooms.

Watching TV in different rooms works for Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, who have been together for more than 20 years. The way we watch TV isn’t compatible, they say, especially as Eamonn likes to talk. “He wants to discuss everything and will keep pausing the programme,” explains Ruth.

Eamonn, on the other hand, complains that his wife annoys him by making him explain everything.

They are not alone. I know quite a few couples who spend their evenings in separate rooms, and if we had more living space, so would we. We share a love of some programmes, but there are nights when our preferences differ widely and sharing one TV leads to conflict.

I find most historical documentaries - which my husband loves - drudgerous. As I read the TV listings in the early evening, my heart sinks at the mention of Normans, Saxons, Tudors, Stewarts or other historical periods, whereas my husband will perk up at the prospect of an enjoyable evening’s viewing. I like property programmes, but he would rather watch paint dry.

I regularly ask my husband to explain things. I don’t know whether it is my age, or the menopause, but twists and turns in TV dramas and films often leave me baffled. When I ask questions my husband often loses his temper, refusing to elaborate and telling me I am not paying enough attention.

It’s the same with the evening news, especially political items, meaning we often retire on an argument.

Going to bed

One in seven British couples are more inclined to sleep in a separate bed to their partner, research revealed.

A YouGov poll examined the sleeping habits of 2,000 UK couples and found that 15 per cent of Britons said if cost and space were not an issue, they would sleep in a different bed to their partner.

The study found that ten per cent of us would sleep in different beds in different rooms, with the other five per cent preferring to sleep in separate beds in the same room.

Women are more likely to prefer to sleep by themselves (19 per cent), compared with 11 per cent of men. Factors could be that men are more likely to snore and women tend to be lighter sleepers.

The duvet is at the heart of our broken sleep. My husband only has to turn over and I am suddenly freezing. And he complains that I “fling the covers around.” Don’t all women my age?

Actress Helena Bonham Carter and film director husband Tim Burton were famous for living in two adjoining houses. When they did sleep in the same room they used separate beds because Burton snored and paced when he couldn't sleep.

It is rumoured that the Queen and Prince Phillip sleep not only in separate beds but in different bedrooms. It’s explained by Royal commentators as an upper-class tradition.


There are no end of surveys concluding that couples who cook together stay together and, as one lot of research says ‘have happier relationships.’

That’s not going to happen anytime soon in our house. My husband does all the cooking and, as he labours away, I am banned from the kitchen. If I so much as attempt to chop a carrot he would flip.


Helping your partner with the washing up could strengthen your relationship, a study revealed.

Out of all the household chores, it is washing the dishes that is the biggest source of conflict for couples. A report revealed that women who are left to do all the washing-up argued more with their partner.

They also reported less sexual satisfaction compared to those who had a partner who helped.

Unfortunately we don’t have room at our sink to wash-up together so I can’t possibly comment.