Marriage and Games

March 28, 2010

I married a gamer…

So you have been married a few months… and noticed that slowly your husband or in some cases wife is now slowly reverting back to their bachelor or baccalaureate self and gaming… all the time.  To you, gaming is a complete waste of time, you feel that they could be using that spare time to go out and decorate the house, go shopping, go on a date or just go better yourself in some way, shape or form.   I’m writing about this because I’m one of those gamers.  I knew before I got married that my soul mate had absolutely no interest in video games.  In fact we are opposites in most regards except for religious beliefs.  These things can lead to challenges in your marriage and make it infinitely more complex.   Now am I an expert on psychology?  Relationships?  Sex?  Do I have a PHD with 10,000 published works?  No, I definitely do not.  What I am is a married man, who lives in this situation so I am going to give you my opinion from that vantage point and I think that gives me some authority on the subject.

One of the things that really helps make a marriage work is common interest, doing things together that are fun and exciting.   What tends to happens is we get into a lull of doing the things we did when we were single.  For me that has always been playing Video games in my spare time and for my wife that was traveling around the world.  The problem is that I can always play video games because I have all the things I need for that right here in my own home.  Once we got married my wife was no longer was able to just travel around and visit new countries.  So you really have three options in this situation.  One you can get a divorce… this won’t really solve anything because all this does is point out that you can’t resolve conflict.  Marriage is one big conflict resolution.    If you are able to resolve something like this you are more likely to strive through as a couple.  Second thing you can do is to choose to ignore the situation and just continue on being upset inside but yet never solving the problem.  I don’t recommend going down this path either.  While you may avoid the problem it’s eventually going to come out and the result will be far worse than if you had just talked about it in the beginning.  Bottling things up affects more than just the immediate problem, it also affects you daily life, sex drive and your overall mood.  The third option and much more preferable, is to sit down and discuss a resolution to the issue at hand.  I’ve jokingly said that marriage is just like politics, it’s a series of never ending negotiations, treaties and compromises that are ever changing.  While this may sound funny there is quite a bit of truth to it.

So what is the solution?  This entirely depends on the couple.  We are going to use the classic example of the male gamer.  Chances are your husband does not think he’s wasting time.  If he is like me he probably fulfills all his “household chores” and gets everything done that he needs to get done.  But when he’s done he just goes straight to the computer, Xbox, PS3 or Wii to play games.  He probably stays there till the end of the night maybe an hour before bed comes upstairs, wants some loving before he goes to bed and then afterword’s goes to sleep.  Rinse and Repeat.   This leaves you, the wife, feel unattended, alone and used in some cases.  In this particular case what simply needs to happen is a rearrangement of time.  Now before you go off and start setting restrictions on your husband/wife please read on.  I don’t recommend that you just go and set boundaries.  “You may play 1 hour a night then you must get off” approach will most likely fall on deaf, defensive ears.  What you should do, and need to do, is go and sit down with your husband and tell him how you are feeling.  Explain that you DON’T have a problem with him playing but that you need emotional fulfillment.

What my wife and I did was to just go somewhere straight after work, there were to many distractions at home so instead of going home we would just go to a coffee shop, store, whatever it may be before you go home and just talk.  We spend a couple hours at the end of the work day outside of the home and go out and look things, dream, talk, etc.  Once we get home we go off to our domains which for me is gaming and for her is HGTV or whatever not 😛  Another thing I might suggest is trying the hobbies of your spouse’s interest EVEN IF YOU DON’T LIKE THEM!  Sit down and play some games with your husband, even if you think it’s the dumbest thing in the world, or if you suck terribly.  He doesn’t care, all he cares is that you are doing something with that he likes.   Even if it’s only for one evening a week you will make his day and I promise you the next day he will be at work bragging about you until the ends of the earth.   This has to go both ways however, when your wife asks you to go out to pier one, Bed Bath and Beyond, or do arts and crafts with her you HAVE to sit down and do it and you need to at least look interested and not be whining about it the entire time.  You can’t expect your wife to spend time with your hobby if don’t with hers and you the wife can’t expect your husband to spend time doing your favorite things if you don’t try his.

Is there a one size fits all solution?  No, there isn’t, but you can come to one that meets the demands of your relationship.  Unless your one of those rare couples who both enjoys sitting down and blowing away zombies, squad based combat or otherwise venturing into Middle Earth together, you are going to have to come to some sort of arrangement that will leave you both feeling fulfilled.  The “My way or the Highway” mentality will not work…period.   You have to sit down, talk, and come to resolution.  There are cases however where would seek help.  If your spouse gets physically violent or verbally abusive when you ask him to spend time with you.  You may have some other underlying issues that need to be resolved.  In this case I would HIGHLY recommend seeing a professional marriage counselor.

This article is not meant to solve world hunger, bring world peace or solve everyone else’s problems.  But if I can help save or enhance even one couples marriage then it was worth the time it took to write it.  If you liked it please refer to a friend or family member.

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