My previous post, Husbands and Video Games, generated so many views and responses that I felt the need to write a second post to further the discussion of this very relevant issue. What I want to look at is why men play video games so that us wives may have a better chance at understanding the fascination, and sometimes the obsession, with something that we tend to see as a waste of time. I also want to give the husbands some tips on how to better understand their wives and what they need to do if they want to peacefully play video games in their home.
Honestly, I think the main issue here is that men and women are different.
Well duh, obviously! Right?
Yes, but video games tend to be on the opposite spectrum of things that women understand and like. See, women can understand the enjoyment of watching TV or spending time on the computer. We like to do those things too. But video games…they are just so far out there. Asking a women if she wants to play a video game is like a women asking a man if he wants to shave his legs. The answer is a big fat NO. That’s just not something we do.
The reason is because most video games appeal to men. Why? Because men are warriors. They are strong, powerful, mighty warriors. At least, they want to be. It’s in their nature. Men want to be a hero. They want to slay the dragon, bring judgement to a criminal, save the world! They want to rescue the pretty maiden, save a town from being rampaged, and fight the bad guy. It’s in their nature, it’s how God made them. The problem is that we no longer live in a world where typical men can flex their muscles. Men no longer go out to hunt for their food or have to fight to protect their family from the animal or stranger lurking around their property. They no longer go out into the fields to work, doing back breaking labor just to put food on the table. And with the independence of women, men no longer have to be the picture of strength, courage, and power. But they still want that. They still desire to be the hero.
Video games give them the opportunity to go on an adventure and be a hero, even if it is only virtual. They get to carry weapons and kill things. They get to blow things up. They get to be men, at their core.
Sometimes while my husband is playing and he does something really well, he’ll tell me all excitedly, looking for praise. I don’t give him the praise because it doesn’t seem praise worthy. It’s just pretend. He didn’t really do anything that makes any difference in our real life. Maybe I should praise him since he enjoys it so much but I think it’s even more important to make sure that I praise him in real life, so that need to feel like he’s doing something well is truly fulfilled.
So wives, since we now know that men want to feel like heroes, mighty warriors capable of protecting and destroying, we can understand why they are so drawn to video games. But we also need to take this knowledge and make sure that we are making our husbands feel like heroes in real life. Admire him, praise him, tell him how great he is at being your husband. This won’t keep him from playing video games (and that shouldn’t be your intention) but it will fulfill his need to know that he’s strong, powerful, and a man.
Now husbands, if you have read my last post then you got a view of a women’s perspective. I want to give you some further perspective and suggestions on how to peacefully play video games within your home.
It’s hard for women to understand your love for video games because we don’t have the same core desire that you do. Just like y’all want to be heroes, we women want to be the beautiful woman you rescue. We want to know that we are worthy of rescuing. So when you choose to spend time with your video games and not with her, she feels unworthy. And when you feel like a hero through your video game but not when you are with her, she feels unworthy. Women fear feeling unworthy. We fear not being enough or being too much and both lead to being unworthy. So remember that the next time you go to play a video game. Think, “when was the last time I spent quality time with my wife?” Or when was the last time you expressed love to her in her specific love language? Because if you are able to wrap your wife up in your arms but you chose to play a video game instead, it will make her feel unworthy of your time and attention. And that hurts.
I’m not trying to guilt you into doing anything and I’m not saying you should never treat yourself to some time of play. You probably don’t even realize that she feels that way and thus you aren’t trying to hurt her. But what I am saying is that your wife comes first and her feelings matter. Your marriage matters.
So how can you be sensitive towards your wife’s feelings about your video games? Here are my suggestions:
1. Understand and validate her feelings. As I expressed in my last post, I had negative feelings towards Kyle and his video games and though the origin of those feelings had nothing to do with Kyle, they affected our marriage. They were valid feelings but they had to be expressed and dealt with and I needed Kyle to hear them. So allow your wife to express her feelings and validate them as real feelings.
2. Respect her time. Don’t start playing a game without talking to her first. And don’t ask, “Do you want me to play my game?” or something of that nature. Instead go to her and say, “I would like to play my game today. Can we figure out a time for me to do that?” This isn’t asking permission, this is showing respect for her time and feelings and giving
her a chance to work it into the plans for the day. You could even add that you would like to do something with her as well. This shows her that you care and that you want to spend time with her. If you approach her this way then she is far more likely to have a peaceful and willing attitude. But don’t do it because you want something out of it, do it because you love and respect your wife.
3. Keep track of how long you are playing. I know it’s easy to get caught up in a game and apparently it can take a long time to accomplish even one mission but don’t sit there for hours and leave her wondering when you will finally be finished. This is where it might be a good idea to set a time limit. Agree that you’ll play for two hours and when that two hours is up, you get off, no matter what is happening in the game. This goes along with respecting her time but it’s also good discipline for you. I know you enjoy playing, and that’s well and good, but interaction with your wife and children is far more important than your game.
I hope this further helps some couples navigate this issue in their marriage. Don’t get angry or bitter but recognize the differences in your gender, your different needs, and make accommodations and compromises. This is apart of marriage and both the husband and the wife need to give and take. In the end, what is of utmost importance is your marriage. Don’t let misunderstandings, unsettled feelings, or hobbies get in the way of knowing each other better, loving each other deeper, and growing your marriage stronger.