Husbands & Video Games Part 2

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.


14 thoughts on “Husbands & Video Games Part 2

  1. I have not experienced this in my own life. My wife and I though very different, male vs. female :), seem to always find common ground. True that I do not get my nails done and see no value in it. I loved her and her beauty before she got a manicure or pedicure and I love her and her beauty after just the same. Nothing great was done there even though it wasn’t making a difference in real life I adorned her with praises for it and engaged with her in her joy. I think the key here is that the men and women who play video games are seen by those who do not play games as it being a complete waste of time. But it often engages the mind and challenges its limits. Often times we are learning about things we could otherwise not experience by doing it in a virtual aspect. To me it’s more beneficial to be able to practice flying a plane in a fake world than making model airplanes in the real. To me there is no difference between me putting 6 arrows through the center of a target with my compound bow in the back yard and getting a really good shot on a deer hunting video game. I do agree that it’s important to use your time wisely and you should never neglect your significant other but it’s also important to rejoice with those who are rejoicing. For some people groups being lifted up and praised is how they feel loved. If I feel like I did something great in something I loved to do I’d want someone to love it with me. That would make me feel loved especially if the other person didn’t understand why but was trying. Guys and Ladies both need their time to do other things. Sometimes when you’re a spouse who stays at home all day it is hard to let the other come home and do what they need/want to do because you’ve done your stuff during the day, you had your alone time, and you missed them. (Ashley goes to work all day and I’m home all day working for those who don’t know). But you just have to work it out together and at times sacrifice your time with them so they can engage in their hobbies and alone time.

    • I’m glad you haven’t experienced this…you are one of the few.

      My posts have been trying to display more or less what you have said. Men and women are different and this is just one of the ways where we see things differently. And because we’re married we have to learn to deal with it in a wise and loving manner. We have to give a little. The wife needs to give by learning to at least peacefully live with, if not appreciate, her husbands enjoyment of playing video games. And the husband needs to give by understanding his wife’s feelings and making sure he’s not neglecting her or hurting her feelings. There is no pointing of fingers, no sides, just a call for each spouse to appreciate and love each other better. As I have said, it’s the marriage that is of utmost importance.

  2. I guess my wife is atypical, because she enjoys video games a great deal. She will solve mysteries in nancy drew games, will meticulously plot out characters and a home in the sims or animal crossing, dance or sing or play instruments in rock band and dance central, run around a giant world in skyrim, mass effect, or dragon age, or play multiplayer shooters ( and get very good at it). My point in saying all that is that video games, as a form of escape or fulfillment, are not gender specific. The sense of adventure or exploration from skyrim, or solving a difficult puzzle in nancy drew can be enjoyed by anyone. Statistically, the percentage of women playing games has risen dramatically over the last few years. Currently, 40 percent of the population of online games are women, for example. Finding a common game that you could both enjoy could be helpful in understanding Kyle’s hobby. I’m happy that you feel open to talking about this, and I agree with all your points, just wanted to point that out.

    • You are right, there are women who do enjoy playing video games but typically, most women do not. And if they do it’s not nearly as big of deal for them as it is for men. Women like adventures and solving things as well but typically not in the same manner as men do. Your wife may not by the typical women and that’s great and obviously wonderful for you! I’m glad you have this in common! There have been times that I will play something with Kyle and he thinks it’s hilarious because I’m so bad at it and I scream at everything that comes near me. It’s fun to do that sometimes but it is not something I would want to do on a regular basis. For one, I don’t have the time or the energy. And for another, it just isn’t something I find all that interesting. And I think that’s okay but I do want to be better at appreciating Kyle’s hobby and the fact that he enjoys it so much. Thanks for contributing your thoughts and perspective!

      • That’s interesting. I obviously can’t interview every single woman in American and I can’t speak for all of them either. I am speaking to and for the majority of women. I believe this is a real issue in many (though not all) marriages. In other marriages it may not be video games, it may be something else. Women tend to be relational and video games don’t quite lend the relational aspect in the way women like. We like to be face to face, sharing our hearts and lives. I wonder if that 42% of women are playing video games for other reasons than for enjoyment. I can only ponder at this point. What I can say with conviction is this: I think we could all stand to spend less time in front of screens and more time having fave to face, heart to heart interactions with the people that we love.

  3. Another good read Sarah! I think some of those who have commented have missed your point entirely. That will probably always happen, as it seems people only read articles these days to find a point of contention to argue over, or throw their view point in. Hobbies or activities of any sort that both partners do not participate in can become a place for hurt feelings (neglect.) Thank you Sarah for being a voice for strengthening marriage by learning to be considerate of one another.

    • If you are referring to me, you may note at the bottom of my first reply I wrote: I agree with all of your points, I just wanted to point that out.

      Sarah is completely on base with her perspectives on how both women and men can feel when it comes to video games, I just wanted to posit that women playing video games may be more prevalent then she realizes.

    • Thank you, Adam! I appreciate your support!

      I don’t think any of the other commenters have necessarily missed my point, they are just sharing their own experiences and perspective which they have a right to do and I welcome it! This particular topic doesn’t entirely relate with them and I think that’s great! I’m glad this isn’t an issue in their marriages! I just want to promote balance and hopefully I have clearly communicated that.

      Thank you to everyone for reading, commenting, and sharing! I am so happy to see men supporting this and interacting with this topic. Thank you!

  4. Pingback: Men: The Head | The Biblical Family

  5. Hello!

    I know this blog post has been around awhile but I just came across it and wanted firstly to thank you for the insight. It was very helpful.

    For me personally, I find I don’t struggle so much with my husband’s hobby of gaming as much as I do with his on-line community. He plays Destiny and become the founder of a clan. Starting out, it was kinda cool to watch him take leadership of that as he created by-laws and rules of conduct etc.. It has grown and though smaller compared to some, has about 100 members, men and women.

    I struggle with that for several reasons. One because his clan is not composed of Christians, which is fine, but their language is atrocious and my husband starts talking like them, swearing and just joining in the when they start joking about rank stuff. He does swear on occasion IRL but he’s been working on that because it bugs me. Then there is the fact that his phone is always going off, even when we’re out and about on a date or just having quality time because he’s founder and has created on on-line chat room for the clan.

    I also struggle with it, because when he puts those headphones on, I feel shut out. I’m not part of the adventure/I really don’t like how the vast majority of those he plays with talk.

    Thankfully, I would put this in the hobby category at the moment but there were large stretches of time where I would consider it an addiction. He still plays everyday when he can but for the most part he has started going to bed with me again etc.

    Any suggestions on the clan thing? I hate it when he plays with them… It makes me feel unwelcomed in my own house frequently.

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