We all know that gaming has become more and more popular
with the advancement of technology. What we don’t realize
is just how much time we devote to these challenging
hobbies everyday and how that affects the people around
Before we go on, I would like to issue a short disclaimer.
I, in no way, consider myself a gamer. I
absolutely love playing all types of games, but I’m just
not a true gamer. I can’t speak game terminology, I don’t
know much about the story lines behind many of the games,
and I can’t name any game that isn’t widely popular. Hence,
not a gamer.
(FUN FACT: I do know the difference between Link and Zelda.)
I’ll start by telling you how I got into gaming in the first
place. Once my husband and I began dating, he got me into World of
At first, I was not about it. I thought he was
kinda lame and VERY nerdy. But I really liked him and I
wanted to spend time with him. This was a chance for me to
do that. I began playing Wow in 2007 and I have been playing
off and on since then. I’ve also played Final Fantasy (the new one), Tomb Raider, Minecraft, Plants vs. Zombies, Donkey Kong, Sonic, Crash Bandicoot, Need for Speed, and Burnout (again, not a gamer).
While I do enjoy these games, I’m only decent enough to tell you about the basic control functions. My husband, on the other hand, has been a devoted player to Wow since way before 2007 and he still plays religiously. He gets on every night, uses the Wow apps on his phone, runs his own guild, and Raid leads every Friday and Saturday
During the early years of our marriage, my husband’s constant devotion to his hobby caused a bit of a problem. I felt that he was spending more time on the game than with his family. For a long time, I never said anything, expecting my husband to pick up on the distance growing between us. He never did. He just assumed I was going to bed early to read a book or because I’d had a long day. When I finally had enough of him ignoring me, I blew up. We had this HUGE fight which resulted in me walking out of the house, slamming the door behind me, and driving around for a good half hour.
Once we had both calmed down, we began to realize that there was a lack of communication between us. I was afraid to tell him that his gaming had become an issue when that’s part of the reason we had so much fun while we were dating.
I wanted to know if other people had those same problems or if it was just my husband and I, so I interviewed 5 couples. These are couples who have strong relationships and have dealt with the issue of gaming getting in the way of quality time.
Upon interviewing theses couples with different perspectives, I found one similarity within all the couples other than the fact that at least one of them was a passionate gamer. Some of the people that I interviewed were non-gamers telling me about their gaming partners, some were gamers telling me about their non-gaming partners, and some were gamers telling me about their gaming partners. However, in every situation, regardless of whether gaming was affecting the relationship positively or negatively, the key to making their marriage work was the same.
When I asked a gamer about what it’s like being married to another gamer, they replied, “Awesome! You get to have fun and do a hobby that you both like together.” His wife quickly added, “Yes. He gets me all the pets!” (Referring to the pets in WOW). These two seemed perfectly happy with their gaming partner and stated that they felt it had no negative affect on their relationship.
When I asked that same question to a gamer married to a non-gamer, his response was on the other end of the spectrum. He said, “It sucks, because she doesn’t understand the feeling of accomplishing something big in the game that takes time and patience to complete. To her, it’s simple and childish. To me, it’s an escape and a way to vent frustration.”
I did find some middle ground when I asked a non-gamer that same question about her gaming husband. She said, “Being married to a passionate gamer can be hard and trying sometimes. It has its ups and downs. The downs are doing things on your own, not spending much time with your husband, and not getting much help around the house or with kids. The ups are quiet time to yourself (after the kids are in bed). I found that finding your own hobby makes it all easier.”
For my gamers married to other gamers, gaming didn’t have much of an affect on their marriage. This wasn’t true for gamers married to non-gamers. When asked how gaming affected their marriage, one person said, “Not good at all. During arguments, she tells me to stop being a child and playing games.” OUCH! Them’s fightin’ words!
Whether you’ve said something like this to your spouse or they’ve said it to you, the point is to figure out a comfortable compromise for the both of you. So I asked all of these lovely couples what they did to help make their marriage work. 100% of them replied that they tried to become more open and honest with their spouse.
This means not expecting them to read your mind or understand your emotions when you bottle them up. This means not holding things back and waiting to see if change happens on its own. This means going to the person that you have vowed to love and cherish for the rest of your life and telling them exactly how you feel.
This can be a real struggle. I speak from experience. I had a hard time telling my husband that I thought he was spending too much time on a game. But after I finally did, it helped my marriage. We began to understand each other and our reasoning behind our actions. My husband was able to communicate to me that he wasn’t gaming because he was bored with me. He was gaming because it was a stress reliever. He enjoyed the game. Just as I enjoy reading and writing. How could I be upset with that?
My husband even recommended that I try to play the game with him. And much to my surprise, I actually liked playing. Getting to know some of the people in the guild was a great way to sort of rediscover my husband. I got to see him in a different light through different eyes.
As I started learning the game, my husband and I had ALOT more to talk
about. He was so excited that I had tried out some of his hobbies. In
return, I got him to try some of my hobbies. I don’t expect him to love my hobbies just as I don’t love gaming the way he does, but we both have a better understanding of why the other likes it. And it’s fun trying new things with the person you love.
Some of the people I interviewed had different ways of making their marriage work. Some of them actually started to play their games a little less because they felt that their families were more important. Some felt that they shouldn’t have to make any change at all because it was their hobby and if their spouse had a hobby, then so should they. But all of them agreed that open and honest communication has helped them overcome the negatives to gaming and embrace their spouse, hobby and all.
The moral of the story isn’t that gaming negatively affects all marriages; that’s just not so (the gamer-gamer couples are proof of that). It’s that it’s easy to be distracted
by games, television, and cell phones in this new day and age. Alot of
couples break up over the feeling of lack of intimacy with one another.
The key to keeping yourself from falling victim to that is communication.
Be open and honest with your partner. Don’t expect them to read your mind.
Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and listen to your partner speak theirs.
The best advice that I’ve ever received about marriage was that Marriage
is all about compromise. It’s two people giving 110% to each other’s happiness. You just can’t do that if the biggest secret you’re keeping is how you feel.