Shooting You Straight: The Gaming Marriage
By Justin Talbert
I’ve got a long history of video gaming. In my teens, I traveled for Halo 2 tournaments and competed at the highest level in World of Warcraft.
I cherish those memories. To utterly dominate random noobs in a seriously fun contest of skill, knowledge, and reaction time? Nothing like it!
Operative word there: teens. I am married now. I have grown up.
Whoa, but hold up. I’m not saying—will never say—video games are just dumb. I believe they are viable sources of entertainment (even community-building) in the right context. Once a month, seven guys gather with me for the highlight of my month: “Grilling and Gaming.” I come home reenergized, even though it’s 1 a.m.
This is the only gaming I do. My wife and I are at a healthy place now. But it hasn’t always been this way. Not even close. Gaming almost ended us when we were dating.
Let me shoot you straight, if you’ll let me. If you’re a gamer, there’s a good chance your wife isn’t happy with your relationship to gaming. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and ask her.
What’s that? You’re a bit frightened? Have a few excuses surfacing already?
Men, when we said “I do,” we obliterated selfish desire. Our me-first mentality is dead, with no respawns.
Self-forgetfulness reigns. This, above all, is what we learn from Jesus.
For our wives to ever believe we prioritize gaming over her is an utter shame. How dishonoring. How unintentional. How un-pursued she must feel.
Arriving home from work (even if we’re totally spent), let’s set aside gaming as the end goal. Let’s be all there while we care for the kids and nurture our wives’ holistic needs. Maybe then we ask permission (yes, I just said permission) to unwind by demolishing the scrubs with our squad.
But only then. Anything out of this order brings only disorder.
And your wife pays the price.
The good stuff: Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)
- Ask your wife for her honest opinion on your relationship to video games. Whatever she says, honor it—adapt to it and change.
- Select games that are easy to “exit.” When life throws a curveball, playing a game that can either be paused or offers minimal penalty for quitting is ideal.
- Calculate total game hours played this past month and compare them to total hours
- studying the Bible.
- engaging your wife in serious conversation (that you initiated).
- spent creatively playing with the kids (if you have kids!).
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