Can the way we watch TV, go to bed, cook meals and even wash up affect our relationships? Bizarrely, it can, and on the most romantic day of the year, 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 20 years. The way we watch TV isn’t compatible, they say.

“Eamonn 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 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 and sharing one TV leads to conflict.

I find most historical documentaries drudgerous. As I read the TV guide, my heart sinks at the mention of Normans, Saxons, 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.

Going to bed

One in seven British couples prefer to sleep in separate beds, 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. Ten per cent of us would sleep in different beds in different rooms, with the other five per cent preferring separate beds in the same room. 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 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. And it is rumoured that the Queen and Prince Phillip sleep 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 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.


Helping your partner with the washing up could strengthen your relationship, a study revealed. Of all household chores, it is washing the dishes that is the biggest source of conflict for couples. Women who are left to do all the washing-up argue more with their partner. They also report less sexual satisfaction compared to those who had a partner who helped. I can’t possibly comment.