Marriage and Compromise

Posted on March 31, 2012. Filed under: Home, Uncategorized |

“Love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage”.  We’ve heard that theme song from the TV series “Married With Children” which aired in the late 80’s. Now what about “Gaming and Marriage”? Do they go together like an MMO and dial-up modem. I think not.

Gaming today has really come a long way from the Nintendo/Atari systems of the 80’s, Xbox/Playstation of the 90’s, to now the twenty-first century where computer gaming has become so popular. With the introduction  of MMO’s and many console games played on computers through internet sites like Steam, gaming has become more of a hobby than a time dump and it’s not just kids who are playing.  I personally know doctors, lawyers, and other successfully employed adults who instead of going outside to play golf or basketball, choose to go online and compete against internet bad guys, bullies, or as one of my favorite writers from WowInsider-Anne Stickney calls them, Internet Dragons.

Now why bring this all up you ask. A few days ago I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, The Double O Podcast.  The hosts Oestrus and Ophelie were discussing with their guest Stubborn from the Sheep the Diamond blog, married couples who game together.  They discussed some very interesting points, both good and bad about couples who game together.  This really got me thinking about my situation of being married to a non gamer. When I say non gamer, I mean non gamer to the point to where the first time I got on Ventrillo to talk with my guild mates, she had this strange look on her face which said; ” Marc looking at a computer screen while talking to people he’s never met, through headsets. He has absolutely lost it”. Well, three and a half years later I’d have to say she’s adjusted just fine and accepted my gaming lifestyle, but like all relationships, it takes some work and compromise.

There are a few couples both dating and married who game together in the guild I’m part of, in World of Warcraft. Like most of them suggested I tried to get my wife into gaming. I even offered to level a character with her and show her the ropes. She wanted nothing to do with wow. I think she felt a little intimidated from watching me briefly as I raided. She assumed this was the only  way wow is played.  Her not being into the whole science fiction and/or fantasy genre, I even suggested we give Sims a shot, hoping I could take baby steps into transforming her into a future gamer. “No thanks, it’s not my thing” she said.  She was exactly right, it’s not her thing and I can’t expect her to change for me, even though at times I can be jealous of the couples who do game together.

We both have our own hobbies, while I enjoy my time gaming she practices and plays competitive soccer in a women’s league.  Even though we both have separate hobbies we still make time for one another and do things we both enjoy. That is the key to staying happily married while devoting considerable time to a game and community that I love and respect.  As crazy as it might sound to some folks you have to lay down some ground rules.  As you probably  know by now my primary game of  choice is World of Warcraft. In WoW I spend most of my time raiding. My guild raids 3 nights a week from 730-1030 pm pst.   Because of my work schedule, we decided that 2 out of the 3 raid nights and a few hours here and there to do other wow in-game activities was fair.  She gets a few nights a week for soccer practice and a game on Saturday. Sunday nights we sit down to a movie with the kids.  Between all that, we take care of and deal with all the day-to-day family responsibilities.

Occasionally I will try to sneak in a little extra game time but I’ve found that I usually end up in hot water so I really try not to take advantage. Being able to play my games and enjoy my hobby really has helped with the day-to-day stress that we have.  This makes me a much better person, father and husband.   On the flip side, my wife needs a husband so its important to remember that and to not get all caught up with wanting to level 5 different alts, level cooking and fishing, and playing the AH.

So how do all the other gamers whose significant others, who don’t game, manage their gaming time and time spent together?  I’d like to know.  Thanks,


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4 Responses to “Marriage and Compromise”

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I really enjoyed this post. I, too, am married to a non-gamer and have tried to get her to enjoy my hobby (without success). It’s nice to know there are others out there that struggle with the same situation!

Why thank you Sprinks. I put a lot of heart and soul into this post. I’m lucky that she lets me play but really wish she could join in on all the fun. I do get jealous at times when I see other gamer couples playing together. It is what it is and it could be worse 🙂

I was not in a relationship when I started playing WoW, so I don’t really have any perspective on how WoW affects gamer vs non-gamer relationships. I would suspect it would be similar to a situation I went through with my 2nd ex. Back in the day, the only thing we had was AOL, and their silly games and chat rooms.

I was the one glued to the computer, and he hated technology. Slingo was the game I was addicted to. I would play it for 14 hours straight. I tried to get him interested, and he was not having any of that. Several fussy nights of having him come in at 2 AM yelling at me to get off the computer and get my ass in bed.

That is, of course, until I introduced him to porn on the Internet, which lead to the end. (for the better, for me).

My current relationship, I met him in-game. It’s still quite a balancing act, especially if both people are quite active, addicted WoW players, and know a lot of people in-game. We have to be really careful not to hurt the other person by being the people we have always been while in-game. We make sure to spend time out of game together to balance it out.

It might be better that your wife doesn’t play. So many innocent things can be taken out of context, and hurt feelings arise. One of the married ladies in guild attempted to get her hubby to play for a bit, and I think once he learned how much of a social aspect the people in-game have it was almost too much for him to know why she spends time in game. He quit, but he didn’t force her to quit.

I know what ya mean, tho Mega. Being in a raid in which you and your baby are downing new bosses, or in a PVP situation in your baby death grips that stupid rogue away from you, or you manage to save him from death and dropping the flag with an ‘oh crap’ heal, or 2 manning old raid bosses….it’s amazing fun. It adds a dimension of closeness that is really hard to recreate IRL (not to mention being such a turn on when we pull off something we thought was a loss or a wipe…and seeing him as top damage done, and me as top healer in a BG….mmm….).

However, do remember, there is always the flip side, in which something as simple as one person being in-game, and the other not can cause hurt feelings, because the one out of game understands the social aspect in the same context as you do. So there are positive and negative things about being able to share your hobby with your significant other/spouse.

Like in all things relationship, communication and honesty, and finding the right balance to keep the relationship going is the key.

Excellent story PJ about the trials and tribulations of what you’ve been through and are dealing with now. I’m sure that your in a good place now in life 🙂 As tough as it can be(has its moments) I’m very fortunate to have a unique career that allows me to get plenty of downtime so that I can log in and play my games. Otherwise the two nights a week at home really would be a tough thing to deal with. Its interesting, Oestreus from Stories of O blog and Double O podcast recently had a Counselor guest on their podcast whom discussed gaming addiction. Perhaps we all have it. Better than alcohol or smoking crack cocaine addiction. I manage to keep my job, home, and family secure 🙂 Thanks again for your feedback PJ.

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