Video games are good for marriages

When I married Chris way back in 1999, I was a gamer’s wife.  Through the years, I have become a gaming wife.  While at first I would read (or do college homework in the early days!) while he played, I soon decided to pick up a controller some of the time, and I’m glad I did.  Playing video games together has been good for our marriage.  In fact, I think it’s something that all married couples should try.  Seriously.  Here’s why:

Communicating is vital. We’ve played many different types of games together.  Yesterday we found ourselves alone for the day while the kiddo was with her grandparents, so we picked up Lego Star Wars III.  For two and a half hours we battled in outer space together.  Parts of the missions we’d have to work together and other parts we’d each have our own separate areas to clear for the common good.  We had to talk to one another.  We had to come up with plans of action to accomplish a common objective.  That’s pretty much how real life works whether we’re deciding what to have for dinner, how to raise our child, where to go for vacation or how to manage our finances.  We have to communicate to reach our common goal.

Learning about one another helps. When two people are playing a video game together, one has to take lead in

Lego Star Wars III is our current couples' video game pick.

order to be successful.  I’ve seen people play together who don’t communicate and don’t let one person take point.  It’s chaotic and doesn’t work.  When I play with my husband, he takes the lead.  For one, Chris is a natural born leader.  He’s just good at it.  He’s calm, cool and smart.  For another, he is a heck of a lot better at video games than I am.  While I do play these days, I still don’t play as much as he does.  I think I knew Chris was a leader before we played video games together, but working together on video games really did help me learn that even more so.  It transfers over into real life.  He is better than me at other things as well, so I have learned to just defer to him and trust his judgment.  I think he does the same for me.  For example, when we were working on setting up the nursery for our baby, I knew that I needed to defer to him.  My judgment of what furniture will fit where is pretty much nonexistent.  I can’t visualize well like he can.

Having fun together is important. Life is serious.  Life is hard.  We have a few stressors in our life right now, as does everyone.  But, playing a video game together is fun.  For that time, we are having fun together.  We have something fun to talk about.  We even have times where we talk about the game after the fact.  Relationships and marriage are serious business, but they also need to be fun. Who would stick it out otherwise?  And sometimes in order to have fun we have to find a common interest.  I first got interested in video games just because my husband was.  I wanted to understand one of his hobbies.  It’s now become a bit of a common interest for the two of us, and we have fun with it.

Winning is exhilarating. I’m a competitive person.  I always have been.  That’s true when playing video games as well.  While some video games pit players against one another, others pit the players against a common enemy.  The common enemy games are definitely the ones that work best for marriages.  When we finish a big boss battle at the end of a level, we are excited together.  Yesterday we split off at the end of a level and I fought off droids on one side while he fought a bigger boss on another side. We came back together at the end and breathed a sigh of relief that we made it through.  We shared in our victory together.  Real life is the same.  When I tell Chris about a new assignment I got that I’m excited about writing, he shares in that joy with me.  When he tells me about a problem he solved at work, I share in his joy.  When we solve a problem around the house together, we both are happy.  Winning together is always fun.

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