My Husband Plays Video Games Too Much Part 2

If your husband is addicted to video games: what you should do to reclaim your marriageThis morning I published a post on video games, and after reading it some more and listening to the commenters I don’t like it. I tried to write an update, but I had too much I wanted to say, so I thought that I’d just write a new post. Many of you fear your husband is addicted to video games, and you want some real advice as to how to end a video game addiction that seems so destructive.

For background, please go read the first post. Then come back.

Did you read it? Good. Now let’s continue.

I just don’t think I said properly what I was trying to say, and so I’d like to take another stab at it.

1. If Your Husband is Addicted to Video Games, You Are Not Helpless

Seriously. I see so many women upset about their husbands playing video games, but they never DO anything about it.

And quite often I see Christian advice telling women not to say anything, and not to criticize, and he will come back.

The problem is that sometimes that works. But when it does, I don’t think it works because the woman did nothing; I think it works because God was working on the guy anyway, and so he came back, and then we say, “he came back BECAUSE I just loved him through it.” No, he probably would have come back anyway. And so I’d rather give what I believe is helpful Christian advice.

And here’s what I’d say: you aren’t helpless. If he’s on video games all the time, you don’t have to put up with it.

That doesn’t mean you become his conscience by nagging all the time, saying, “you’ve been on for 2 hours. Think what else you could have done in those two hours.” It doesn’t mean you stomp around the house and sigh and fuss. But it does mean that you can take some action. What should that action be?

2. Confront Your Husband About his Video Game Addiction

Tell him how you feel. Say things like, “When you’re on video games all the time, I feel as if you don’t really want to be with me.” “When you say that you ‘unwind’ by playing video games, then what you’re saying is that you don’t find being with me relaxing. How would you feel if I decided to unwind by spending four hours ignoring you but talking to other people online everyday?” Or you can say, “I believe that God made you for a purpose. He made our family for a purpose. He wants us to be a light in this world. But video games are eating up so much of your time that we aren’t able to shine anywhere. Is this how you think you want to spend the a huge chunk of your life?”

These things are fine, legitimate, and good to say. On the other hand, calling him lazy or childish, or yelling at him, or accusing him of not loving you, or checking in on the time every so often isn’t helpful.

And saying those legitimate things when you’re angry and spitting them at him isn’t helpful, either.

So confront, yes. Nag, no. Be manipulative, no. Just be out in the open with how you feel. Own your feelings. Tell him what you think. Tell him what you’re scared of.

3. Fill Your Lives with Things Other than Video Games

I truly think that people discount the value of this. It is awfully hard to be on video games all the time if you’re also helping out with the junior high at church. It’s hard to be on video games all the time if you’re taking a walk every night after dinner. It’s hard to be on video games all the time if you DO things.

One commenter on the earlier post said that they make it a habit to have her husband chauffeur the kids to lessons, because it gets him out of the house and away from the temptation. Great idea!

Here’s something else that works: have people over for dinner. Really.

If you invite another family for dinner, your husband is not going to play video games all night. He’s going to talk. And bring a board game out so that the four of you can all play a game after you’re finished eating.

Look, when someone is trying to quit alcohol, what’s the one thing they can’t do? They can’t have nothing to do for long periods of time. They can’t just sit at home. So they DO things. They go to meetings. They start volunteering. They get out of the house or away from the places and situations where they would normally game.

So DO stuff. I don’t care what stuff, but start arranging the calendar. Ask him where he wants to be involved in church, and start doing it. Ask people over for dinner and start playing board games. Or buy a bunch of two-person games and play them together.

But sitting back and telling him, “I want you to quit games” without also changing your life so that there’s something to replace it won’t work. You have to have something else to fill that hole so that he doesn’t feel the absence of them anymore.

This is what I was trying to say in my earlier post, but I didn’t say it firmly enough, so I want to make this very clear: you are not powerless. You can pick up a phone and ask friends to come over. You can talk to him about being involved in church. You don’t have to sit back and wait for him to change, hoping that prayer is all it takes.

God asks us to pray, but He has also already given you tools. And too often we women don’t use them because we don’t think that’s our role. We shouldn’t be “telling” our husbands what to do.

Well, we certainly shouldn’t be nagging them. We shouldn’t be their conscience, keeping tabs on them. But your husband is a child of God. And part of being in God’s family is that we confront and we try to help people avoid sin. And one way of avoiding a video game addiction is to have other things on your plate.

Honestly, what I’ve seen in so many families is that once the husband starts doing more things outside of the house that he enjoys, he starts to see on his own that video games were wasting his life.

4. Distinguish Between a Video Game Addiction and a Video Game Habit

Many guys play video games out of habit; they’re bored, so they play them, but they’ll do other things if the opportunity presents itself. These guys aren’t really addicted, and there’s nothing wrong with playing the occasional game, any more than there’s anything wrong with spending time on Pinterest. I have seen many women complain to no end about their husbands being “addicted” to video games when all they mean is that he plays for an hour or two on a Saturday morning when she wants him helping with the kids. That’s not right, either, but let’s be careful that we don’t name something an addiction when it’s not. It doesn’t help the marriage, and it makes him sound way worse than he is.

But when video games do migrate into the realm of addiction, where husbands play even when they don’t want to because it’s a compulsion, and they get withdrawal symptoms, then you have a much bigger problem. You may likely need outside help. So go to your church. Ask a friend or mentor to pray. Maybe even ask a mentor couple to talk to your husband with you.

A habit is easily broken; an addiction not so easily. But you must try. Sitting back and doing nothing isn’t the Christian, loving thing to do when we see a Christian brother going down a bad road.

I hope that clears things up. I wish I had written this one first, because it is how I really feel. I don’t think I expressed myself well earlier. Thanks for reading this update!


  1. Sheila, thank you for writing part 2. When reading the title to the first one, I was excited to read it because I do have several friends who are struggling with this with their husbands. But I am much more ready to share this one. I think this one contains some great advice.
    Bethany Turner recently posted…orphans, but not orphanedMy Profile

  2. Communicate is key in this area. You gave excellent advice for wives facing this. My husband is on the computer a lot but has more to do with work than anything else. When I am feeling like that is interfering with family time, we talk about it and plan. Time I believe is alot like money. It must be planned. Plan your time together like a budget. Then everyone can do things they enjoy!

  3. I agree with much of this. We’ve been married 14 years. My husband is a “gamer”, and while I was able to join him in games before kids, after kids, well, you know how it is! I don’t have time for games. I don’t have a problem with him playing, and most of the time it’s an appropriate amount of time. But when he’s stressed or worn out, he ends up spending more time than usual on the computer. And that makes it easier to slip into the habit of playing too much.

    We have to have boundaries – he’s agreed not to play games in the evening until after the kids go to bed unless he’s playing a game with our son (who’s 5, so that’s very limited), and then depending on what our plans are for the evening, he’ll play. We do have a specific “date night” of sorts every week. Thursday night is our night to hang out together, even if it’s just watching TV on the couch together. So after the kids go to bed that night, there are no games. With pre-planning, he and friends will spend an entire evening in the game, and that’s fine. I know about it ahead of time and can plan for it – and we’ve talked about it and agreed upon it.

    That’s not to say our system is perfect. Sometimes, especially on the weekends, it’s easy to play too much because he’s home and doesn’t have a lot of “household” responsibilities then. At times like that, it’s easier for us to joke about it than to get all angsty. Just a couple of weeks ago, I made a joke about stealing his power cord. He knows it’s time to shut it down for a while and pay more attention to his time, and I don’t have to get all confront-y or fuss. It just works for us – most of the time. 😉

  4. I wrote this comment on Facebook and realized I probably should have posted it here, :) so I copied and pasted it here as well.

    I agree with 99% of what you said, in both the first and second post. What I don’t like though is saying that all video games are bad, or that anyone who is playing any type of video games is bad. My husband plays usually about once a week with his friends. It doesn’t take away from family time, or couple time, so I don’t view it as a problem, it is a hobby. I do think that telling a wife, who may not have felt it was a problem, that it is simply because it is video games can be damaging to that marriage. Sheila Wray Gregoire, I know you were not necessarily saying that, but I got that impression from some of the commenters and it rubbed me the wrong way. I think as with anything else, if it is causing problems with communication etc.. In your marriage it has to be addresses, but video games by themselves are not evil.

  5. I’m going to sort of ask something a little off topic. My husband and I play games together. We both played video games for most of our lives and still love to play them. Does he play a little more than I’d like sometimes? Sure, but really there’s nothing else to do.

    That’s my question. What else is there to do? I work until 5:30, have church Wednesdays at 7, he has youth group Thursdays at 7, and I recently started Tae Kwon Do Monday, Tuesday, and Thursdays at 7 as well. We go to bed at 10, so once we’re done with our obligations, there’s not a lot of time left. We’re fairly tight on money at our own choice so we can try to pay off some of my college loans early. So even on days when I’m sick of it and say “Let’s DO something!”, he looks at me and says “Okay, what?” and I have nothing for him. Go to the mall? Why? I can’t buy anything and because of that I don’t like window shopping. Dinner and a movie? Nope. Pretty much everything you can think of costs money that we don’t want to spend, and even the free stuff costs gas. And that alone makes you not want to drive anywhere.

    My husband doesn’t like board games. At all. He’ll play group ones, but when it’s just him and me he doesn’t like them. I’m not big on card games, and I don’t think he does either. Honestly, he is content to do absolutely nothing. Not that he’s lazy, he’s just simple. He’s happy just being home. I like DOING things.

    So what can we do? What are “couple” things to do? My husband is really odd and just doesn’t enjoy things that most people do, so it’s tough. And I get cabin fever just being at home all the time. Video games are fun for us, but what else is there?

    • I had the same problem! Well, I guess I sort of still have the same problem. My hubby and I had no car, barely made enough money to pay for rent and bills, and we live in a very small and boring town. (Our WalMart closes at 10 pm!!) So, essentially, we had no way to get to anything that was worth doing. We would go on walks or ride bikes to a couple little parks, but that’s about all there was to do. And if we did plan on attending something, my husband or I would decide not to go. (My husband usually b/c he wanted to game or watch tv instead, me because I was exhausted and I find socializing exhausting.) We can never agree on what to watch on tv, or what to do around town, or what board games to play. I don’t know what we did while we were dating! lol! Anyone with ideas, pleeeeeeease contribute! (Oh, but you can find some pretty cool date ideas on Pinterest. I have a ton pinned, it’s just a matter of getting the hubby to go through them with me to find what we will both enjoy.)

    • Your husband sounds so much like mine! He’s also very “simple” but not lazy. That’s a great way to describe that personality type. He doesn’t like going out much and is completely content to stay home everyday playing video games. I’m pretty much the same way, but every now and then I get the urge to do something. I’ve also struggled with coming up with ideas for activities that don’t cost money. Hubby doesn’t like going for walks because he’s so wiped out after work, but that is a good idea if you have the energy. Other activities like that could include playing Frisbee at the park or having a picnic. Having friends over for dinner is cheap too, just make a simple yummy meal and either watch a movie or play a game after dinner. Keep your eye out for coupons, and sign up to get free stuff on your birthdays, like ice cream at Coldstone or Baskin Robbins. Beyond that, there’s nothing wrong with being a homebody, as long as you don’t isolate yourself completely. Playing video games and watching movies or TV shows are our favorite ways to spend time together.

    • My husband and I go to state parks and area attractions (mostly free ones). I use Living Social to find things to do in our area too, but a lot of those cost some money, even though you get a good deal through the website. We like to go to flea markets too. We often don’t buy anything, we just have fun looking at the stuff, especially the junk and really weird items. It was a wakeup call to me when my husband told me he wished that there were more things we could do together outside. I have chronic fatigue syndrome so it’s tough to get out of the house sometimes, but knowing it’s important to him helps get me motivated.

      • Thanks for the encouragement everyone! One of our issues is that we (intentionally) live just outside of the main part of town. We’re not out in the boonies, but we’re far enough south that even my office (which is considered to be the “south” part of town) is about 10-15 minutes away. So sometimes it just doesn’t seem worth it to burn the gas. Hubby recently got a 10 year old bow to start learning to shoot, and we’re hoping to start saving up to get me a new one that I can actually draw. So that’s a hobby he really wants to get into.

        Thanks again everyone!

    • We’re the same way! We’re in college full-time and working part-time, so my hubby works HARD. When he comes home, he wants to crash, and video games (for him it’s computer games; we don’t, thank God, have a video gaming system), or watching TV online, are the way he relaxes. He’s a major introvert, so after being around people most of the day he needs to do something that doesn’t require talking to people. I get that. I get that he might not even want to spend a lot of time talking to me right away when we get home. My problem is that he’ll spend an hour or two playing video games before supper, and then–depending on what else we do in the evening–one, two, three, or more hours after supper. I try to get to bed between 10 and 11 most nights, and sometimes–not terribly often, but sometimes–he’ll stay up later to finish a section of the game or a TV episode. Some weekend nights he’ll even stay up till 2 or 3 am.

      I KNOW that I could be and should be making suggestions of other ways to spend our time. But he doesn’t like going for walks (we haven’t had a car until recently, so walking was our only mode of transportation and we don’t really do it for fun), we don’t have a permanent church membership nearby so there are few opportunities for working at a church, and we don’t like going to evening events on our college campus because both of us are homebodies and like to stay home in the evenings. Plus we don’t really have a lot of extra money, so dates that cost anything we try to avoid.

      I have to point out that I spend a lot of time on the computer, too. I blog, I do facebook games, I read other blogs. And we both love watching movies, so often we’ll do that together, which is great. But sometimes I feel like I have a hard time getting his attention off the computer and on me.

      I don’t think he’s really sinning. He’s not addicted to porn, and he doesn’t spend as much time online as some people I know. But I am hard-pressed to think of ways to distract him from the computer, short of donning the sweet and sexy lingerie he’s bought me every single night– and neither of us have the stamina for THAT!

      Help, please??

      • Jaimie, I am a serious introvert myself (halfway on the Myers-Briggs scale though), so that decompression time is vitally important for me. You need to allow your husband that time to decompress. He cannot spend all of his time with others, even you, and ultimately survive.

        I can’t say if he does too much or too little, but I suspect the alone time he needs in this area will always be more than the alone time you feel you can tolerate. No easy solutions, but you really need to consider this factor as well.

  6. I wish I’d had this advice a year ago! My husband has been struggling with an addiction to video games (and MMORPG computer games, and card games like MTG and L5R) for a very long time – probably before I married him. I went through cycles of doing the positive things listed here, then getting frustrated because he wasn’t willing to change, and then doing all the counter-productive things trying to get him to change, then realizing I was wrong and going back to the productive actions. After attending counseling for nearly a year, and seeing our church leader for a few months, I decided to move out. Dealing with it (and all the chores he was neglecting) on top of my school and work schedules was too stressful for me, especially since I am already prone to depression and have an anxiety disorder. It was so hard to make that decision. It didn’t help that his “unwinding” only made him angry and irritable, which made me more angry and irritable, and the spirit in our home was just dark and awful. Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband, and living apart is killing me. But I love what I remember him being like when we were dating, when he had to get out and attend activities and spend time with my friends and I in order to see me. I plan on keeping this list nearby so that I can be more productive in my actions to help my husband overcome his addiction.

    • Becca, it sounds like you’ve been on a roller coaster, and I will pray for a reconciliation for you!

      I think you brought up a really interesting point about video games which hasn’t been mentioned yet, and I just want to reiterate it:

      Often video games make one irritable. We think we’re playing to help us relax, but they actually have the opposite effect. TV can be the same thing: the stimulation is such that relaxation isn’t easy at all, and there’s the added feeling of unease that we are wasting our life. Plus there’s the simple aggravation of trying to reach a goal in the game and failing, or going through a particularly stressful part of the game. It ISN’T relaxing!

      My husband and I watch movies too much; it’s a habit, and we don’t like it. We find that we feel so much better afterwards if we listen to a book on tape while we do our respective hobbies (painting and knitting). We feel like we’ve accomplished something, we’ve mulled over some deep issues, we’ve talked. It’s great!

      And yet all too often we turn to movies because it’s easy and it seems “fun”.

      It may be fun at the time, but the key is to look at how you feel afterwards. How you feel afterwards is more a sign of whether what you’re doing is positive or not. If you feel guilty, irritable, and dissatisfied, it wasn’t a good use of your time. If you feel invigorated and peaceful, it likely was.

      And video games fall far more into the guilty & dissatisfied category for virtually everyone.

      • I can totally relate to this. We have been married almost 10 years. We’ve been struggling <— we being mostly me, because it doesn't bother him at all–for almost 10 years.

        We have 4 kids. This can be stressful. (Not sure if anyone else has noticed that.) I had hoped that having kids would minimize the volatile explosive parts. It hasn't. There was a time when he was only swearing when he was playing with a particular friend. I had a hard time not hating that friend in the beginning of our marriage. He'd be on there when his friend was on (in a different state and earlier time zone) for crazy long. When he got home til 3ish in the morning. Not an exaggeration. When he wasn't on with the friend, it'd usually be less. But that was only in the beginning. Then he would be on it regardless of who he was playing with.

        At some point, I drew him a chart, thinking he didn't know how much time he was "spending." He was playing anywhere between 45-48 hours a week.

        Now, with 2 under 2 and the older two 7 & 8 years of age, his swearing has become awful. It's like he has video game induced turrettes. He's a little more active with the kids. But he takes the Lord's name in vain and swears more often than he doesn't. Outbursts of rage.

        Also, we have close to no intimacy, because he's always gaming at night. So then he's overtired in the morning.

        I'm still working up the courage to talk with someone. It won't be pretty when it happens.

  7. To be honest, I thought your first post was great. When I read the title I was afraid it would be another post about how video games are evil and all guys who play them are childish, lazy bums. But I was so glad that you said that there’s nothing wrong with playing video games, even everyday. It’s no different than any other hobby. I especially liked your advice to try playing the games with your husband. My husband plays many hours of computer games everyday, but I’m sitting right next to him on my computer either playing with him or playing another game. My husband thinks he’s the luckiest guy in the world because he married the one girl who’s willing to play video games with him.

    So I was disappointed when I read this post and it seems like you’re recanting your previous statements that video games aren’t so bad and wives should try to make the best of it without nagging or pouting. I know you mentioned that nagging doesn’t work in this post too, but it seems like you’re trying to help women control their husbands without it looking like nagging. Some of this advice concerns me, especially the example of the woman who has her husband chauffeur the kids to lessons. Did he agree to do this, or did his wife make him do it? Who’s making the decisions here? Did the husband decide to do this because he wants to avoid video games, or did his wife nag or manipulate him into doing it because SHE wants him to avoid video games? Even having people over for dinner isn’t a decision a wife should make without her husband’s consent, especially if she’s doing it in order to sabotage his ability to participate in his hobbies.

    It seems the point of this post is summed up in the phrase “you are not powerless.” But is that true? The husband is the head of the family and the wife is supposed to submit to his leadership. If he decides he’s going to play video games, he has the authority to make that decision. A wife can of course share her feelings, but when it all boils down, his decision stands and she needs to submit to it. Giving your husband chores, signing him up for church activities, inviting people over, etc., are just ways to manipulate him into doing what you want. That’s not submission, that’s leading from behind. If there’s a sin issue, of course you should follow the guidelines in Matthew 18 for dealing with a sinning brother. But if it’s just a preference issue, a wife needs to submit to her husband, even if she feels like he’s being unreasonable.

    • I was glad to see becoming more active as a suggestion. It was the only thing that came to mind as missing after reading the first piece. When I faced a similar situation, filling our lives up with other things was not a form of control, it was a form of service. I never signed us up for any activity or pushed doing things my husband did not like. Taking this initiative isn’t in his nature. He was grateful not only for my attention to his needs but also for a more fulfilling schedule. I took my cues from things that already held a high place in his priorities. Even though these things were important to him, after working a full day he didn’t feel like brain storming ways to do them more. Having someone else do the leg work of looking for ideas and opportunities and getting schedules or building routines was gift to him. All he had to do was show for something that made him feel good. Serving at our church as a couple, volunteering for kids’ activities, playing sports, and making a few household chores part of his regular routine are all things he wanted to do but for one reason and another he hadn’t.

      While we should be patient with our spouses’ faults, we should never lose sight of the person God created them to be. It is not love or submission to allow our spouse to continue on an unhealthy path without any attempt at charitable correction. Through prayer and fidelity we can always find ways to better help our spouses reach their full potential. A loving spouse is never powerless.

    • I wish this was facebook so I could hit “like.” My husband enjoys video games. He’s a techy, introverted kind of guy who really can spend all day on his computer. He’s a programmer who also programs as a hobby. When he’s not doing that he enjoys video games, reading blogs, and making homemade ginger beer :) There were times in our marriage when I got really frustrated with the computer. And by frustrated I mean absolutely crazy mad. What’s changed? Well, I’ve gotten more independent. I work on my own projects. Sometimes I take them into his office to just hang out. Other times I’ll play video games with him. When I need/want time with him I’ll flat out say so. Provided he seeks me out enough for me to know he’s thinking about me I have no problem seeking him out all the other times. I mean honestly, there are plenty of men who watch football or go to the pub or just squirrel away time. It’s not that big a deal. Do I think that in the next 10 years he’ll probably play less? Yeah. We’re both talking about getting more fit, and we want kids. We’re in a different phase of life right now. I honestly think most of the women posting need to dial it back at least 3 notches.
      Natalie recently posted…Life and DeathMy Profile

      • Thanks for this perspective. You’re right; life is going to change in the next five, ten years–my husband will graduate college in a couple years and start teaching, and we’ll have children, Lord willing. So I know that his habit of game-playing will lessen as he gets older. :) And you know what, if it bothers me right now, I can do something about it–be intentional about really doing things with him, like reading aloud, playing games, cooking together–or I can just deal with it! Or join him! Thank you for pointing this out. :) :)

        • There is a difference between a hobby and real addiction to video games. Just like having a glass of wine every night doesn’t make someone an alcoholic, playing video games every day or whenever there is a spare moment, doesn’t make someone an addict. That being said, when someone is hours late to work and misses meetings consistently because they were up until 5 am playing a game, or when someone can’t concentrate on work or sex or anything else because they are thinking of video games – there is a big problem. When someone is angry their entire honeymoon because there are no video game consuls at the condo in Hawaii, or gets angry because dinner isn’t perfectly timed to their quest, or yells at their child or spouse for “causing” them to loose the level by being in the room and breathing – there is a big problem. When someone is constantly irritable and can’t appreciate any activity that isn’t digitally projected on a screen – you have an addiction and it affects everyone around them. I didn’t think video game addiction was real until I married someone addicted to playing them. Playing video games with them won’t help any more than mixing martinis for an alcoholic.

          • Nicole, that’s very true. Thanks for that perspective. I think it’s difficult because, to continue the alcohol analogy, many people here are asking, “is social drinking okay?”, but others are really married to alcoholics. And the two aren’t the same at all. So while occasional gaming may be fine, it isn’t fine if it’s become an addiction. And I also don’t think it’s fine if it takes up 3-4 hours of a person’s day everyday. There really is nothing redeeming about video games, and while we all need time to unwind, if we are using the precious time the Lord has given us in games, that really isn’t okay. And I think we need to speak up more about this.

  8. Frankly, yes, I think MOST video games are lazy, useless time wasters, and many are indeed Bad, evil even (grand theft auto anyone?). Want something to do? Serve someone! Start a charity! Learn something. Accomplish REAL goals, not fantasy ones that matter NOTHING in our existence! I met a woman who threw away her tv and earned her PhD, instead!

    But don’t let my opinion put a bee in your bonnet, gamers. Pray to God about it.

    • I did something similar–I got rid of my TV and became an author!

    • Do you spend all your free time starting charities, serving people and learning new things? Do you ever spend time reading fiction, surfing the internet, window shopping, watching tv or movies or playing board games? None of these things accomplish “real goals”. How are video games any different?

      • I hardly have any free time. Even reading this blog I do in a multi-tasking way – while breast feeding. I’m a homeschooling mom and do a lot with my kids. I take care of the house and property inside and out. I engage in my hobbies such as sewing for the home or for others, practicing piano to teach worship to my children. I do not read fiction unless I am reading to my children. I don’t surf the internet unless I’m looking up something for the home (like a recipe or an organization idea). Board games are interactive and engage the brain positively. Shoot ’em up video games are hardly edifying and interactive with other people unless you’re playing with someone and all you hear is, “Over there! Shoot ’em, shoot ’em! Come on KILL HIM!!” I don’t watch TV and RARELY watch movies and if I do I am almost always doing something else…a chore, feeding or holding the baby, knitting, sewing, tidying up the room or snuggling with hubby.

        I’m not holding myself up higher than video gamers and I’m not saying ALL games are evil. Some games are educational, engage the brain in positive, strengthening ways, and today we have Wii and Kinect to engage the body in exercise. What I AM saying is that what we do. ALL that we do as Christians is supposed to be for the glory of God. What glory to God is there in playing some dark, violent video game, or spending HOURS staring at a screen in some fantasy world?

        Yes, there are things we can do to relax and escape from stress, video games being one of them. Even just pass the time (waiting at a Dr.’s office, anyone?) But I really REALLY believe that too many Christians have excused gaming to the detriment of themselves and God’s purpose for them in their lives. And deep down I am sure you too realize that some of your list in no way compares to vegging out in front of Halo.

        I’d even say that some of these games fries the brain in similar ways porn does.

        • I would agree, Ladybug! There is a difference between looking for recipes on Pinterest to get new ideas and playing a violent video game (and most video games are violent). I do think that women can be on the internet WAY too much, and we also have to be honest with ourselves about that. But I think you bring up an excellent point that I hadn’t mentioned simply about the NATURE of video games. Perhaps there are some that are harmless or even edifying with the story line, but I don’t know of any offhand (but then, I really know very little about video games since we’ve never played them. My husband is more a strategy-computer game kind of person).

          • Love my wife says:

            Not saying intense violence is great, good, etc especially four hours a day & especially for the young, but can some of this be chalked up to difference in female vs. male? Please Pinterest…seriously that’s woman porn! But it would put most men to sleep. Most women find a fight or guns, repulsive…not so with men. We are wired to fight, whether it be for work, protection of our families, fun or our lives. It’s a true difference between us and I think in this feminzed send kids home for a fight from school (actuallly put them in handcuffs) society this can easily be overlooked. I’m not trying to make intensely violent video games sound okay…but you have to realize you are going to see things differently on this than a man. Men have war in our veins…really. There isn’t a room a walk into where I instantly guage the situation’s safety and whether I can take every man in the room on and win, that’s who we are. A man walks up to a man and whether he knows it our not he’s guaging himself against him. And I’m not violent (haven’t been in a fight since fifth grade, haven’t been to war, serviced in the service). You are looking at this from a very female perspective and you are setting yourself and your husband up for tough disagreement. For goodness sake, all I hear on here is I want my man to step up and be a man. Well this is part of being a man.

          • I understand that, and I’m certainly not against the military. We need the military, and I firmly believe they can be a force for good. I also firmly believe that all men are wired for more physical confrontation than women are, absolutely.

            I’m not sure, though, that one can justify some of the more graphic games. It isn’t something I’m an expert in because we don’t have a gaming system, and my husband likes strategy stuff (which I sometimes play with him) not blood and guts stuff. I do believe that movies and video games have become far too graphically violent, and I do think that has a desensitizing effect.

            I’m not saying all games are like that–I honestly don’t know. But I do think there’s a WWJD aspect to this. Real men are wired to fight and protect. No problem. I’m not sure that needs to involve watching guts spill out or blood spurt constantly, that’s all.

            As for Pinterest being woman porn, every time I need a recipe I look on Pinterest now instead of my cookbooks because it’s faster! I don’t think that’s in the same category as playing video games…and I got all my ideas for Christmas presents to make on Pinterest, too. Definitely different category from video games, because I was on Pinterest specifically to search for other things to DO, you know?

          • Love my wife says:

            PS. Have you read your Bible lately? One could play the most violent video game in the world and not touch the violence in most every single Old Testament book. Just a thought-

          • I do know what you’re saying, and some of the favourite games that Keith and I play together re-enact D-Day or other battles of World War I (but they’re strategy games, like Axis & Allies, not video games).

            I have no problem with acting out military scenarios.

            I do have a problem with violence for violence’s sake, or with things that are overly graphic. I don’t think it can be justified on the grounds of “men just being men”, but I’m afraid I can’t comment on specific games because I haven’t seen them.

          • Love my wife says:

            I understand that’s what YOU are on Pinterest for (and my wife), but really…I sit down at her computer and see what other’s pin (that the corrrect term?), I learned that term woman porn from my wife concerning Pinterest….seriously, ever read though shall not covet? (on a side note, women don’t like men looking at other women, I get it. How does your husband feel when you are constantly pinning stuff he can’t give you? Ever thought how that makes him feel?…I’m just saying if we want to get real radical or legalistic you better look at both sides of the coin) I’m not a gamer, so I don’t know about the most violent stuff and I wouldn’t let my kid play them but I think most women are going to be turned off/away from stuff that is still acceptable. Just because you are shooting bad guys does not make it a bad game, but I do agree the real life like blood and guts spilling out is just too gross for me. I like to think of myself as the toughest guy I know but that stuff just get’s to me.

          • I’d agree with you that Pinterest can be bad. I wrote a post a while ago about married women who have “eye candy” boards filled with pictures of actors. Come ON, PEOPLE! So, yes, we all have our weaknesses. And I still don’t think there’s anything wrong with playing video games to relax for a little while each week. I just DO have a problem if it eats up so much of your time that you really do neglect responsibilities and fail to contribute to the kingdom in a real way. That’s just wasting your life. And I DO have a problem in that it seems like the very nature of video games can be quite sordid. If you’re careful about what you play and you limit the time, though, it really is no different than a woman being on the internet periodically. Totally agree.

          • Love my wife says:

            Thanks for all you do and how involved you are in this board. You’re a blessing to many-

          • Thank you!

          • Love my wife says:

            I get the really overt violence, but your violence for violence sake and military points are were we probably divide (and I’m not a gamer!). It’s has something to do with female vs. male and maybe cultural (you’re Canadian correct?). For us as American men, we view ourselves as our own military in our own way. We are our families military, protection, etc. Socities military on the street (if I’m in a gas station and it’s being robbed and I think I can take the guy out or shoot him if he looks like he means business…I will. I’m not calling 911 first and waiting for the cops). Much of the world excepts or waits (or finds only) the government/police the acceptable way to handle these things (and i would argue that female’s have had about 80% of the influence on this). We probably won’t agree on this and that’s okay, but I at least I want you to see where I’m coming from as a Christian man…hope that makes sense. I think many of us men, the kind that still have hair (aren’t waxed!) with testorone in our veins need an outlet. So while you’ll never catch me watching a horror movie (blood for blood or violence for violence sake), I will very much watch a detective movie where the good guys are shooting it out with the bad guys. As a woman, you may never understand that…and that’s okay, I just don’t want to sanitize the few real men we have left in this world down to what is acceptable from the female viewpoint. No doubt the female has helped tame us (think of the American West), but as with all things we can take it too far and I think our society in general this has happened. You can’t take just the parts of manhood you like and tell him to leave the rest at the door…that’s all I’m saying and it means his breaking point on videogames is going to be higher than most females.

          • Your comment made me chuckle (in a good way)! Do you realize that Canadians own as many rifles per capita as Americans do (I’m pretty sure that’s true, at least if you exclude British Columbia)? Believe me, I have often been tempted to buy a handgun to keep in my bedroom because there’s no way I want to rely on the police in an emergency! (We haven’t gotten one because my husband, as a pediatrician, has witnessed firsthand too many teens who committed suicide because a gun was in the house, and he can’t get past that. Which I understand. Instead we have a very elaborate security system).

            Anyway, all that is an aside to say don’t assume all Canadians are wimpy or, as another common fallacy in the American media holds, that all Canadians like our health care system. :) Personally, I think our health care system has some great benefits, but it’s also completely unsustainable, and we do have a two-tier health care system. It’s just based on connections, not money. If I need anything, or a family member needs anything, we get in straight away because my husband is a doctor at a hospital. We don’t face any wait times. Others face months. Anyway, I’m just saying that the way your media portrays Canadians is really not all that accurate. After all, our Prime Minister is WAY more conservative than your President (and likely far to the right of him on gun control, too, since he’s from Alberta).

            As for how I feel about violent movies, I wrote a post on that a while back talking about how amazing Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino is, despite the violence. To me it’s more about the world view that’s portrayed, and I think some violent movies can be actually uplifting or at least have great stories to tell. So I don’t think I’m as far to one side as you may think. :)

          • Love my wife says:

            I got to admit, we live pretty close to the border and you just wrecked my whole world view on Canadians! But in a good way I guess! Didn’t know you could get a handgun and didn’t know that about the PM either. I try not to pay much attention to the main stream media or put much faith in what they do report but I have to admit your comments caught me by surprise! And I take pride in staying informed. Thanks!

          • YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT OUR PRIME MINSTER!?! Oh, my goodness, that’s funny. His name’s Stephen Harper and he’s head of the Conservative party.

            Don’t get me wrong; we as a country are definitely less conservative that you as a country, but currently we do have a more conservative government. And there are pockets of Canada (I live in one) that are probably more conservative than 90% of the U.S. On the other hand, we also have Toronto. Enough said. :)

          • Yes, but a husband shouldn’t justify playing video games for hours upon hours because his wife is on Pinterest for hours upon hours. How about being the man of the house and leading the household to a healthier more edifying lifestyle.

            Personally, I don’t do Pinterest. For me, it’s a total waste of time. If I want to save something I like, that’s what the bookmark feature is for on my browser.

            Oh and I want to make it clear that I used to be an internet surfing addict, a Sims game addict AND a porn addict. So, I KNOW the damage each of these do and hence why I am so strongly against them.

          • So basically you want a husband who doesn’t need to justify his behaviors. Except that a couple posts up you did the written version of an eye roll while pulling the God card. Do you also get to define what a “healthier more edifying lifestyle” is, or can you trust him to figure that out?

            Just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it wrong.
            Natalie recently posted…Life and DeathMy Profile

          • Wow, you are reading and assuming a lot.

            For the record, my husband is not a gamer.

          • If he’s not a gamer then maybe you should step back from this conversation. Your attitude throughout this comment discussion has implied than any /really/ Godly husband would ditch the video games immediately. This isn’t your call to make, and it’s not your place to encourage women to judge their husband’s spirituality based on whether or not they’re comfortable with the time he spends playing video games.
            Natalie recently posted…Life and DeathMy Profile

          • Natalie, she made it clear that SHE had been the one who was an addict, and so I do think that she has something valuable to contribute. You don’t have to agree, but she does feel very vehemently that video games are not edifying, a stance that is shared by many Christian organizations. It is not outside the mainstream. What an individual Christian wife chooses to do with that is fine, but if, as a Christian, you feel that something is very wrong, you do have the right to say so to call people on it.

            I think in this blog I spend a lot of time talking about what I think is right or wrong in a marriage. I talk about all kinds of issues, and then people comment. Some of those issues are going to be difficult ones in some people’s marriages. If we were to refrain from talking about these issues, though, because some people may then be dissatisfied with their marriages, then we wouldn’t have much to talk about! For instance, today I wrote about going to bed together at the same time, which I feel is important in marriage. Some women are married to men who won’t come to bed; reading this may make those women dissatisfied. But for others, it may inspire some conversations and some rethinking and some juggling of schedules and it may make their marriages stronger.

            It’s incumbent on everyone to love your husband and respect him and honour him, but I think it’s also important to talk about real issues, and video games is a real issue. And given the HUGE problem it causes in many marriages, I do think we need to talk about it. And the problem is not just that women are mad about it–it is, in very many cases, because it has become a full-blown addiction. That’s important to address, and I don’t think people are wrong for calling out video games as being, in general, a negative force in their relationships.

          • Sheila, I get that people have different takes on issues. But the problem is that we have a whole lot of women who are upset over games and not a whole lot of discussion about the very wide gap between what a spouse might be uncomfortable with and what needs actual confrontation. Basically, the problem isn’t the problem. It’s not about video games. It’s about the time it takes for her to feel loved and the space he needs to feel respected and at ease. Those issues could collide over reading, fixing the car, having an etsy shop, gardening,etc. The problem isn’t really video games. The problem is your ability to communicate about the issues. And if anyone comes in and says “but then he’s being productive” I’m going to point out that it won’t matter if he’s being productive if you end up feeling neglected. That’s why women complain about husbands who work 60 hour weeks. It’s not about what he’s actually doing in that time period.

            As to Ladybug having been the addict. I’ll maintain that in which case she could be encouraging women to know the signs of addiction and the ways in which she both fell into and came out of her addiction. As I’ve said, there’s a difference between something you don’t like and something that is wrong. We need to spend a lot more time talking about that. The problem is that we need to encourage the small percentage of women married to addicted men to get help while simultaneously encouraging the rest of us to give the man a break.
            Natalie recently posted…Life and DeathMy Profile

          • Well, I would hope my husband can’t give me the stuff I pin, because most of the time I pin it because it inspires me to craft something. Although he is often willing to do the heavy lifting that goes with some of the furniture refinishing…

        • ladybug, I don’t know you but I love you :)

    • This probably isn’t the way you intended it to sound, but this coment comes off as very holier than thou. We all need down time, and video games are just another form of entertainment. No I don’t like the more violent ones, and would tell my husband that I was uncomfortable with him playing them, but that does not make all video games evil. Yes we should strive to make a difference in this world, but there is nothing wrong with taking a little down time. We all need to rest. I cross stitch, should I stop doing that because it doesn’t last, or contribute to God’s kingdom? How is that hobby any different than my husband video game hobby. And for him it truly is a hobby, (3-4 hours on a Sunday night, mostly after I go to bed) the rest of the week, he is the model husband and father.

      I agree with Sheila’s points about it being an addiction for some and causing problems when it becomes too much, but my point was that in other cases it is not a problem and is not taking away from the family, and telling someone who doesn’t think there is a problem, like me, that there really is simply because it is video games, can cause greater damage. That person could then become insecure in her marriage and start withdrawing, or nagging her husband to stop, because she has been told it is a problem, when in reality the only people who thought it was a problem were not even involved in the marriage!

      I hope I am making sense.

      • Hardly holier than thou. More like, take it from someone who knows. And at least while you cross stitch, you can talk with someone, think about edifying things Phil. 4:8, pray, listen to some pleasant music, watch your kids, etc etc. Playing a video game is pretty much just that. Really, for me it’s more the hours upon hours spent AND the nature of many games.

        I’m certainly not putting myself up on a pedestal. Just telling the straight facts. Bottom line is I encourage everyone to take it before the Lord and see what HE has to say about it. Too many times we justify what we do for ourselves, but never consider what God truly thinks about it. And too many times we sweep conviction under the rug because what we’re doing isn’t necessarily a sin and we just want to relax.

        I highly doubt anyone is going to lay on their death bed, look at their family around them and think, “I’m so thankful for all the hours I spent ignoring you while I played video games. Thanks for letting me relax that way every day after work. It really made our lives so much richer, didn’t it?”

        And now I feel like I’m commenting too much on this and it is beginning to waste MY time.

        • “I highly doubt anyone is going to lay on their death bed, look at their family around them and think, “I’m so thankful for all the hours I spent ignoring you while I played video games. Thanks for letting me relax that way every day after work. It really made our lives so much richer, didn’t it?”

          Couldn’t have said it better myself.

          • Stephen Covey said something similar (although it was about TV) in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families. That’s what made me give up TV!

  9. Love my wife says:

    While I agree if a man is spending 4-5 hours a day video gaming, there is a problem and something needs to be done about it, I think there is one or two huge things missing from this article. First, are you in the clear yourself? No you may not sit down and read LH&V and countless other blogs/facebook etc for 4 hours in a row but how many put in 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there, 30 minutes with a friend here at coffee, 20 minutes on facebook here and there, 2 hours of TV in the evening? Track how much “media” you are getting before you go pointing fingers…track it for a day without changing your habits I think a great many folks might be trying to pull the speck out of an eye when they have one or a log in their own??? If a man is doing nothing else, not going out after work with the boys, not watching TV, etc. While I’m not saying it’s ideal, maybe his time alotment isn’t that much difference? Don’t worry I’m not a gamer….but I do watch a lot of TV. I have two modes (a great many men do) Go & Stop. Go is working incredibly hard and sacrificing for my family hours and hours and stress upon stress and when STOP comes I want to responsiblity, decisions, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I spend more time with my wife and kids than anyone I know but I need time to relax also. Many men don’t recharge with others (like most women) we recharge when left alone. I agree it’s probably an escape…what’s he trying to escape from? Is it work? Or is it you/family? If it’s work…please if you are a stay at home mom please understand how stressful it can be to be a sole provider of a family…especially in this day and age and this economy. It’s easy to forget. If it’s you? Be honest, is there a reason he’s trying to escape? I’ll be the first to admit a great many of my gender aren’t worth two cents but in reality a great many wives i see these days…we’ll I’d be trying to escape to! Wonder why he looks to win, to be good at something, to find fulfillment where he can…because with some of you he might not be able to at home! Is that hurtful? Yes! But it’s probably truthful too! Again, if you are married to a slug this does not apply and yes there are many of those…but be honest about your electronic useage/you time even if it’s not electronic and take a hard look at what he’s trying to escape.

    Sorry if I offended or hurt feelings!

    • That’s very true! I think many women spend just as much time online as men do at games. Addictions come in all forms, and we can be just as guilty. A good balance, thank you.

    • I once read that men are very much into the whole work/recovery cycle, and that sounds like what you’re talking about right here. This is why they often get frustrated with the modern church and it’s never ending cycle of projects that never really end. Men need a stopping point. Heck, I need a stopping point. I’m just not as good at seeing it.
      Natalie recently posted…Life and DeathMy Profile

  10. “When you say that you ‘unwind’ by playing video games, then what you’re saying is that you don’t find being with me relaxing. How would you feel if I decided to unwind by spending four hours ignoring you but talking to other people online everyday?”

    Be careful with that one. How many of you “unwind” by taking a relaxing bath, reading a good book or going for coffee with friends. I do get that those things don’t USUALLY takes hours (actually, aside from the bath, yes they do/can!), but if I were on the receiving end of that, I would seriously get my back up. Try rephrasing that one. Maybe, “I get that you want to unwind, but does it really take 4 hours to unwind? Are video games the only way you can unwind? Can I help you unwind? Maybe we could watch a movie, or…”

  11. True fact: I paused a video game I was playing to read and respond to this post.

    I love video games. My husband and I both like to game, but I think the distinction is the one you made, Sheila, playing video games is just one aspect of a full life we lead. I have a younger friend at church who keeps asking me if I have finished a video game I got for Christmas. I have to laugh every time we have the conversation because:

    I am married.
    I have two kids.
    I take care of the husband and two kids.
    I take care of the house.
    There is much laundry.
    Did you know laundry never stops?
    Strangely Landry doesn’t put itself away.
    Dinner every night? Really?
    Bible study!
    Quiet time!
    Video games.
    Making crafts.
    Reading for fun.

    And then, people get sick.

  12. Our women’s Bible study just finished reading Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas, and here is one of the things I learned:
    Didn’t know my husband watched TV all the time til after we married. (I didn’t even have cable!)
    I would ask him to do something different, ask which murdery/bloody show he was watching, etc.
    Turns out, men’s brains have a 15% lower blood supply than women’s do. So ,
    “Men’s brains also need to ‘rest’ more than women’s brains, with the result that men are more inclined to seek ‘mental naps’. Why do men gravitate toward the television screen and then launch through the channels instead of focusing on one program? Our brains get tired. At the end of the day, we don’t want plot, story, or character development; we just want escape (think buildings blowing up, cars crashing, tires squealing). All the while your brain – which has 15 percent more blood flow – is still running late in the day and therefore better able to process complex entertainment.
    This also explains why men react slower to emotional things and it is good to give them a 7 hour or so heads up when there is an important issue or subject you wish to discuss.
    It’s a wonderful life changing book.
    How can I build up and encourage, support my husband? What does he need? How can I pray scripture over him? And as God changes you, He will work in your husband’s life.
    Basically submit to God, surrender it all to Him, be obedient to Him, and He’ll take care of the rest!
    Carol recently posted…Beauty at Home – January’s Note Card PartyMy Profile

  13. Joseph Horn says:

    I’m just a man who doesn’t play many games any more. (I did as a younger man, especially before I was married. Not so much after. Better things to do). But the tone of this post concerns me, as a man. The title of your blog is Love, HONOR, and Vacuum. Is this approach treating your husband with honor? Is it treating your husband like you would want to be treated? Underlying it seems to be an unstated assumption that wives know what is good for their husbands and thus, it is their job to make sure hubby lives up to their expectations. Is that healthy and good in its view of men? My wife has done like Proverbs says, doing me good all the days of her life. Sometimes that has included confrontation, certainly. But be careful, lest helpful confrontation turn into mothering your mate and viewing him as “less” than you. There’s a delicate line here between genuine, humble helpfulness and “I want you to do what I want,” control and manipulation, which may be a lot of things, but loving isn’t one of them.

    Again, I gave up most of my video game playing long ago. But the attitude of “I’m going to fix my spouse” must be resisted, lest it slide into a power, manipulation and control dynamic. If you succeed in “fixing” him without any change of heart on his part, you will create either an emasculated man or a deeply resentful one. By all means, speak your mind…once. Then give the issue and your husband to the Lord.

    • I’m curious–would you give the same advice if a husband were addicted to alcohol, or gambling, or porn? According to research, an addiction to gaming acts almost the same in the brain as an addiction to alcohol. If you would give different advice if it were alcohol, why?

      • Because it’s way easier for a woman to say “well my husband is addicted to computer games because he didn’t play with the kids last night.” A person viewing porn needs to stop. There is no acceptable threshold for that activity. A person who regularly gets drunk has crossed the acceptable threshold for alcohol consumption. A person who regularly drinks a glass or wine with dinner has not crossed that line. A person who gambles – well that depends on the marriage. We don’t gamble. If we did I presume we’d have a set amount of money which we’d agreed could be used for that purpose. If the amount was exceeded you now know you have a problem.

        My problem with your post is that it makes it far too easy for a wife to jump from “Well I don’t like this.” to “You have a problem which I will, as an emissary from God, compel you to address.” Guess what, this is a great way to ruin your marriage! Don’t get mad at the video games when the solution is simply that every evening he promises to take twenty minutes and listen to you because this lets you know you are loved and valued. If he doesn’t know this then telling him to stop playing video games won’t magically fix anything. I’ve tried. It doesn’t work. You have to work together to learn what makes both of you feel loved and valued. Once you’ve gotten that straightened out the video games will find their own place on the priority list.

        Also, women really need to respect their men. Any attitude that she is the arbiter of his time is disrespectful, and it’s so hard to love a man that you can’t respect. I’ve seen this in my own marriage. Me respecting Allen = much more cuddly and into him. Me disrespecting Allen = bitchy, cold, grumbling. In a good marriage the wife calmly presents her reasonable desires and concerns to her husband, and they work through them. She honors his headship by letting him deal with the issues, and she honors her role in his life by speaking up. She acknowledges that her preferences aren’t moral judgments, and she doesn’t have some predetermined “this is what I bet God would tell him if he was really praying about it” script that she’s running in her head. Basically, don’t be the kind of woman that would make most guys decide they’d rather be in the basement killing orcs.
        Natalie recently posted…Life and DeathMy Profile

  14. I think the two posts together cover the issue pretty well. Good stuff.

    I was an occasional gamer before I was married. I wouldn’t play often, but when I did it would be several hours a day for maybe a week. Since getting married a couple of years ago, I just don’t have the time for it anymore, but I do miss some of the relaxation and recreational aspects of gaming.

    I found a good substitute, though. You wrote about gaming not being something you typically do for a few minutes at a time, and that’s generally true. But I’ve found that when I play games on my iPhone, I don’t spend hours at a time. Fifteen minutes playing FIFA 2012 or a game like that new and then gives me the unwinding I want, but doesn’t really tempt me to spend hours and hours at my computer. Not sure it would work for everyone, but it’s been good for me.

  15. Jeana Phillips says:

    Thank you for writing these posts. Video games have been a great source of tension in my marriage for four years, right at the time my husband was hurt at work. He was suddenly home every day and in a deep depression. We went from two incomes to one. It was a very dark period. I work from home so I knew exactly how much time was being spent on the game. I felt very alone and desperate during this time as I was now the one who was the primary breadwinner. Plus I still had all my other motherly and wifely duties to attend to. We fought long and hard several times about the games. The straw that broke the camel’s back was between Christmas and New Years this year. I took the game out of the system and cracked it. It felt so good at the time, I’ll be honest. But since that time I’ve been sick over it. I wish these would have been written before Christmas! :)

  16. Just came across an article on recent research on video game addiction and its strong similarities to porn addiction.

    Violent, graphic gaming by adult men who play excessively around their young children is concerning.

  17. Many of us play video games because we like to play games. Why is it more holy to spend hours in front of the TV than in something that requires active mind engagement?

    What exactly is he supposed to be doing with her instead of those games? I may have missed things, but the past comments had little about that. What about when she is working or otherwise unavailable? Is he just her work slave that has to be doing something “for her” all the time?

    I doubt we will see much balance here, but it would nice to have a bit more than an echo chamber.

  18. @Melissa,
    > even if it’s just watching TV on the couch together.

    You don’t have time for games, but have time for TV. The snuggling is probably preferable for you, but why is TV time better than game time otherwise?

  19. What about this situation: husband starts playing as soon as the kids go to bed and plays until anywhere between 1-6:30am. Has trouble getting up on time for work and always sleeps in so we’re late for things in the weekend. He’s impatient and irritable with the kids. He’s been asked to moderate the times so he can be better with the kids and to quality time in the marriage but doesn’t want to acknowledge how the family is being affected.

    • Chris (MALE) says:

      You would be surprised how often this happens.

      I have read a great deal of these posts. I am surprised that many men have not chimed in? Perhaps they are off playing video games…..(knee slap)

      Ok joking aside. No response from men? Well, I will.

      Let me first say, I have exhibited such behavior as your husband. The reason I found this article was because I felt compelled to search the topic….while facing this challenge. I have been married for 12 years, we have 3 children 6,7,9….and I can relate greatly to this situation.

      Second, this article was very good. It really was aimed at helping the situation and not pointing the finger on the failures of men. It is honest and has several area which could help greatly for those whom face this same situation.

      So, let’s get real for a moment. In looking at myself, I have come to realize that I have an “Addictive” personality. Surely, I am not implying that everyone loves me (perhaps…lol..jk), but rather, “once I find something I really enjoy, I can become easily addicted to it.” So I ask does your husband display this trait? Does he smoke or drink? Does he seem obsessive about certain areas of his life? Is he stressed?

      Also, we must consider the possibility of depression. The times in which I have “gone into hiding” (as my wife says) could have been tied to depression on some level. During these times, I have heard comments such as: “you never want to do anything” or “we never spend any time together”. or “do you even care about this family”? With such comments, arguments typically followed, but it all depended on how we handled conversation. (I wont address the marriage implications, for the sake of time) Nevertheless, I ask another question: Are there any aspects of his life that he is ashamed of, scared of, nervous of, uncertain about, or even sad about? You see, when I play late into the night, ignoring everyone, it likely has to do with one of the above concerns. The games are fun, yes, but they are an escape!.

      Now, can games be fun and enjoyable, yes, but in this case (as it has been in mine) they are 90% of the time a distraction from reality. Therefore, I believe it is still an escape from the challenges of life in which he does not want to face…. (right now). Men who “go into hiding” typically have their focus on satisfying their own needs before the needs of others. We all handle stress differently, some eat, some cry, some watch movies, play games…etc). It is a emotional and spiritual warfare that is going on.

      It comes down to “Worship”. What do we each worship in our daily lives? (TV, facebook, food, inappropriate internet sites, and the list goes on) So , where is God on that list of “gods”? This is a question I had to ask myself. Christ is not honored when we all worship anything other than Him, I know. However, it is a slippery slope. The more men compartmentalize their problem, the harder it is to break.

      There is great joy in being loved by a God that only cares for our best interest. No matter how many hours of video games I play, nothing surpasses the peace I have in knowing that God desires to have a deeper relationship with me everyday. God knows that if my worship is focused to Him, better days are ahead.

      With all of that being said, what are you to do? Well, coming from a man who admits this is an on and off problem, I say PRAY. Seek the Lord in how you should work through this situation. Accusing him or yelling at him…. in any way….will make things worse. I promise. Think of quicksand. The more someone moves around, the deeper they get trapped. The advice on this post is good… in other elements that take up his time….be gentle and nice…patient….yah yah….I hear ya….those are all helpful, but how does one “fix this”? Well, the real answer may be right in front of us Let me give an analogy….

      I recently cut my hand by accident while working on the car. I pulled my hand back quickly because something was hot. When I looked down I saw a pretty nice gash. I thought to myself ….well Neosporin and a Band-Aid will not fix this one. So, off to the hospital I went to get my seven stitches. As I glance down at my now healed hand, I can see that the problem had been resolved, but a scar remains.

      You must understand the seriousness of the situation…he may be trying to put a Band-Aid on a problem, and it is quite possible that stitches are necessary. In other words “Find out what the problem is, understand the source of the problem, seek the Lord in treating the problem, then, and only then, will the healing process begin”. Now, a scar will remain, BUT, they are important too. Often, scars are simply a reminder of what we have been through and how we should be more careful the next time we venture into areas in which God never intended for us to go.

      So then, thanks for reading. This has been a blessing to write, because it has helped two fold. 1) I am not on my PS3, 2) I am embracing my own vices which helps me to look deeper at the root of my own concerns. I will be praying for God to guide both of you through this challenging situation.


      • Hi CM,

        I think what you said about depression is so key. Often when men (or women) are really drawn into an addiction, it’s at a low point in their life. Addictions are usually filling in for something–whether it’s stress or depression or whatever. So we really need to look at the context, too!

      • ynottrylove says:

        Oh my goodness. Thank you so much. When my husband gets home from work, I will make sure first he has a good dinner and then have an open, honest, prayerfully non-confrontational conversation with him. He does have the weight of our household on him since he is the only one working and our youngest child is expected to attend Penn State on August 22nd and we are still short the 16k balance. So since he is the sole provider at a job that he has been running into difficulty to say the least, I cannot image how much he may want to escape from the day to day. Hopefully things will begin to change once I become employed. I thought my marriage was over and that he was no longer interested in me, but GOD has let me see that just because I have a perspective does not make me right…it is just one view, seek first to understand.

  20. I believe that the Christian advice is great to follow Sheila. All human have some kind of parameter of their boredom of doing something, even doing what they really like and love. I know it takes a huge patience from woman to wait for their husband to become bored with playing video games. But eventually, all guys will be bored with video games and will realize that their video gaming hobby has eaten their life, even their marriage. So they will come back to their wife no matter what.
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  21. I am experiencing this same problem with my wife of 29 years and FaceBook games. It was not a problem until about four months ago when she started playing more and more games. We both played Farmville for a few years, me at her request because she needed another farmer friend. By the time I quit a year or so ago, I was playing 3-4 hours a day religiously. She used to tell me to get off the computer all the time. I finally decided there are a lot better things to be doing in the real world. I still play other games from time to time but limit it. On work days she plays for an hour in the morning before work. When she gets home from work we make dinner and she will eat at the computer. We go to the gym two nights a week but almost as soon as we get home she will be back on the computer for at least another hour. The other nights she will stay there for at least two hours. On days she does not work she will be on there for three to four hours in the morning and then again in the evening for an hour or more. The weekends can be ridiculous with anywhere from 2 to 6 hours of games a day. Until I complained about going to bed alone every night she would sit up until 11 or 12pm playing games almost every night. After that she did start coming to bed with me but complained that she wasn’t big enough to stay up as late as she wanted any more. She tries to tell me she is reading articles or just seeing what people are doing on FaceBook but I can clearly see the monitor in the reflection in the front window. I can also tell because she will comment on people’s posts for a while and then when the gaming starts she becomes silent and I can hear the clicking begin. She is actually playing games almost the entire time she is on there. I have attempted to make my game playing time coincide with hers in the evenings but after an hour I am totally maxed out but she keeps going. She says you only get five lives so she can’t play that long. I try to explain when you are playing five games, by the time you finish number five, number one is ready to go again. She just doesn’t see it and gets very mad when I bring it up. I have tried to get her to look at her event log and actually look at how long she is playing but she will hear none of it. Last Sunday she was playing from 9 to 11. We went out for brunch and to the store. When we returned she was back on there from 3 to 5. I got a litle huffy and she finally got off. We watched a tv show, I made dinner, we watched another show and she was right back on. I asked if there was some reason she felt the need to play computer games for 5 or 6 hours. She said she just wanted to do nothing and play mindless games for the day. Really, like this would be the first time. She got very upset at me and said she would not get on the computer when I am at home any more unless it has to do with work. I tried to explain that was not what I was saying. All I want is for her to limit the game time to a reasonable amount of time. She takes care of the house just fine (which I help with) but every time she has a few minutes free, it’s right back to the computer and Candy Crush Saga, etc. She used to do crafts and other things but they have gone away completely. My wife is very strong willed so the stomping my foot on the ground would not work. According to her I am being an ass and controlling and acting like her father. All I want is to spend time with her and enjoy each other. Our children are grown and we are essentially empty nesters (18 year old still in the basement). I feel like we are newlyweds and starting all over. Starting all over with a third person with flashy lights and big scores. I have tried to get other things planned to occupy our time but we live in a relatively small city so there is not exactly an endless supply of entertaiment around here. I am crazy about this lady when she is not starting at a game on the computer but I feel like I am in competition with something I will never be able to match. I try not to let it bother me but after a week or two it becomes more than I can take and I end up saying something and she gets mad. I never expected anythng like from her this with as many times as we have discussed our kids gaming habits and how much time they wasted. I am at my wits end.

  22. My husband is a gamer too. He goes to work comes home sits at the computer and plays til midnight. Every night, sat and sun he stays up later. We don’t do much together and when we do he doesn’t like it. It’s so obvious he doesn’t want any interaction with me.
    I’m to the point that I’m just going to do everything myself and I guess if he wants to be a part of my life he tired of trying to get his attention, especially when we don’t talk, then when he comes to bed late after playing and wants to be intimate, I’m not in the mood. I usually just pretend I’m enjoying it anymore.
    I feel like I’m married, but single.
    I’ve tried the suggestions I have read and he’s just not into anything but games..

  23. About 3 years ago my hubby had open heart surgery with a quintuple bypass. Ever since then he has had an overwhelming fear of death. His mom died at 40 on the operating table during the same procedure. Even though he survived the surgery, he is afraid to fall asleep. He also has suffered with debilitating anxiety attacks since then, too. He plays video games as a way to cope with this fear and anxiety. He is on disability and doesn’t work, so most of the day is spent on video games. I have complained, nagged, cried, argued, but it hasn’t helped at all. I finally just had to realize that he really has a deeper problem than just playing video games and now I spend a lot of time in prayer. This has been going on for the past year. Ever since I took a step back and gave it to God, my hubby has started getting ideas for things to do other than video games. He wants to volunteer at the church’s radio station and help with their website. He still plays a lot of games, but these steps are huge in my opinion! I am so proud of him! This shows how much more prayer works than nagging! I couldn’t change him, but God is working on him from the inside!

    • That’s wonderful! And Jamie, I think you touched on something so important: often when there is an addiction it’s because of a deeper need. If we can address that deeper need, the other often takes care of itself.

  24. One thing that I noticed was not addressed was the financial consequences of a video game addiction. My husband has an addiction and his includes buying whatever game he fancies at the time. Over the years it has caused lots of problems for us financially, as he has gone overboard on buying brand new games and left me with no money to pay our bills. It’s come very close to leading to divorce on a few occasions. I like to play video games as well and we enjoy playing them together enough that I’ve convinced him to look for more multiplayer games so we can spend time together on them. Being a ‘gamer’ myself, I didn’t want to go the route of completely removing games from our household. But through talking to my in-laws (my father-in-law is a recovering alcoholic, sober 25 years now!) and a family friend who is studying to be a counselor, I discovered that a)my husband not only has a video game addiction but a shopping addiction as well and b)it was really as simple as writing out a budget breakdown and showing him on paper that he had a problem. The last time around after buying yet another console (while he was deployed a few years ago, I sold 3 consoles that had been boxed up untouched for years and the games that went with them; current console count is 6 plus the computer), I was expecting a huge shouting match to ensue when I informed him that he had gone above and beyond what we could afford without consulting me, which left us with not enough in our budget for a large-ticket item that I specifically HAD budgeted for and had consulted with him about buying. After 10 years, 3 marriage retreats, separate counseling for both of us, and a serious sit-down conference on budgeting, we finally have the beginnings of a good communication going regarding his gaming. I strongly agree: confront your gamer. Write down a financial budget AND a time budget. Show him in concrete terms. Tell him that you’re both being hurt by his time spent without you. And definitely invite him to other activities with you.

    • Steph, that’s so wonderful that just writing it out had such great consequences! Sometimes when people see what they’re doing in black and white it’s a great wake up call. Again, we just don’t want to waste our lives (or our money!)

  25. First I have to say that I am tired of people complaining and whinning about GAMERS.
    My husband is a gamer and so am I. People tell me that he is addicted to them. . . but I don’t believe he is. He holds down a job, pays the bills. We have not gone into debt due to his gaming. . .he has never used a credit card to pay the rent or other bills so he can keep up his gaming. He works all day and when he comes home, his game time is his release. I understand that. As long as he is still keeping up his responsibilities as husband and father, where is the problem? I game too. So I don’t complain. I have noticed that most of the complaining women don’t even play games. Maybe you should try playing with your husband. Find out what he finds so fasinating about these games and join him. It would be like that with any hobby. Ask yourself this. . .If your husband dressed in medieval armor and went out and bashed his friends with sticks and spent weekends in the dessert playing “war”, would you be reacting the same way? Or if he dressed up in Steampunk or Victorian costume and went to Faires and Festivals. . .would you still be complaining that he wasn’t at home or would you try to dress up too and join him to see what the facination was??
    Most of these men I don’t believe need counselors . . . they need wives that will enjoy the same things they enjoy with them instead of nagging ones.
    (and yes we also have a 16 year old daughter . . . she plays too)

    • I think it’s that we’re starting from two different points, actually.

      If I understand you, what you’re saying is, “he enjoys it, I enjoy it, what’s the big deal?” So your starting point would be that everyone should do what they find fun.

      I guess that’s not my starting point. I think we should do what is redeeming and helpful.

      There’s nothing wrong with relaxing, and spending 1-2 hours on a hobby is fine. But everything needs to be in moderation, or you end up wasting your life. If you spend hours upon hours on games, even if you’re having fun, what’s the point? If you go for a hike, though, you get some exercise. If you spend time baking with your kids you teach life lessons. If you visit your mom you build relationships. If you have people over for dinner you build relationships and you’re hospitable.

      Like I said, there’s nothing wrong with recreation. But recreation should never be the main focus of our lives, even if the bills are paid, etc. What’s the point of it? And if we’re living to play a game, that just seems awfully meaningless. I’d say the same thing about internet use, TV, movies, etc.

      When we do anything to excess, it’s not good for us. And it’s good healthwise, either.

      So I think it’s important for everybody to add up the hours and take a good, long look at it. 10 hours a week may not be a big deal, but if you’re playing 4 hours a day, and then 6 on weekends, suddenly you’re looking at 32 hours a week. That’s a huge chunk of time you’ll never get back. And I’m not sure saying that “it’s fun, though” is really enough justification for something which is unhealthy in excess and really has no redeeming qualities.

    • The complaint here is not just geared towards gamers. The main point is addiction. The above could apply to any addiction: alcohol, drugs, shopping, porn. The article just happens to focus on video games. TV has also been addressed in the comments. As a whole, society seems to spend too much time with electronics in general: books in electronic form, games, smart phones, TVs, social media. My in-laws came to visit just after our first son was born. My then 15-year-old brothers-in-law took turns playing non-stop on my husband’s then-new Playstation 2. For 3 days straight. My mother-in-law and I got together and found a nearby museum that they could walk to to get both boys out of the house and for the rest of the visit limited them to an hour a day each. My concern with a video game addiction is the cost. Brand new video games for brand new consoles cost $50+ each. At one point my husband was buying 1-2 new games a week, and usually the special edition versions. One month he spent $1000 just on video games. And never asked me once for my input on whether we could afford them. With 2 impressionable young boys in the house, our concern now is making sure our children don’t become complete couch potatoes after seeing their father spend hours playing. We have to make an effort to get our oldest son to step away from the TV. I spend time taking my kids hiking, swimming, camping, fishing… and a lot of times my oldest wants to cart along his Nintendo DS. No big deal in the car, but I would rather see him engaged in catching fish or learning to swim than staring at a screen. If you can afford the games and MMO subscriptions and enjoy playing together, more power to you. But if one partner is overly engaged, it is not fair to the other partner to have to sit quietly while being ignored for something that can be regulated.

    • Frustrated Wife says:

      There’s a big difference between a hobby and an addiction. When my husband is addicted. I’ve tried playing w/ him before, multiple games, but it didn’t work. And I just don’t enjoy playing the ones he likes playing most-the really violent ones. Right now, he’s playing online w/ his friend. (Warning, the following is not for kids!) They just made their characters drive a stolen car through a bunch of police cars, firing machine guns at the police and innocent bystanders, and then slammed a…um…a woman who sells herself’s head into the concrete & then shot her before taking out a flamethrower on other innocent bystanders. That’s not even the worst scenes I’ve seen on his games, and he plays these sort of games as much as he possibly can. From the time he gets home to into the morning & most of his time on the weekends most weeks. He turns into a completely different person while playing- VERY vulgar and angry, easily annoyed & irritated. We have a 2.5 year old son in the house. You think that sort of behavior is okay for a father? Or really, anyone? I don’t. I think it’s very unhealthy and destructive.

  26. I love both articles. My husband plays a lot of videos games. He did before we dated, while we dated, when we were engaged, and guess what…. It didn’t suddenly change when we were married. I was ok with that, I understood it was a hobby and a way to “hang out” with his friends. We often sit in the same room and while he games And I will sew, read, or do stuff on my ipad. I ask about his games and will play two player games once in a while with him. He asks about my sewing, blogs, etc. We show interest in each other’s different hobbies. Just sitting quietly in the same room we feel a connection. I have also learned to sit down and express how I feel and what I need in the area of attention and love. If I feel I need more one on one, I have learned how to bring it up in an adult way that will be heard and resolved.

    I love your approach and advice. Thank you for what you write.

  27. Frustrated Wife says:

    My husband’s video game addiction is driving me crazy! He can easily spend from the time he gets home from work to into the morning hours playing games and all weekend on a regular basis. He likes playing really violent games like “Grand Theft Auto”, “Saints Row” (gangs), etc. He cusses A LOT when he plays these games. I was trying to sleep one night, and I was woken up at 3 AM by a long stream of mostly the “f” word….Actually that’s happened more than once. When he’s not playing games, he very rarely says even milder cuss words and is good about staying calm no matter what. He gets a lot more irritable and vulgar when he starts playing. To makes matters worse, we have a 2.5 year old son, and when I tell him those images and words are good for our son’s development, he tells us to leave the room (our central family living room) and that we’re “annoying the — out of him” or he says “I don’t care!” Or “Stop ——- annoying me!” Leaving the room doesn’t help bc when he’s yelling obscenities, the whole house (and probably neighbors) hears. I thought it was getting better, but now it’s worse. Now, not only is it his Xbox he’s gaming on, but it’s his iPhone and iPad too. Doesn’t matter if we’re out at dinner, trying to watch a TV show together, or our son is desperately wanting his attention, he’ll interrupt it for his games. He’s in the military and works a lot of long shifts, and that I greatly respect, (no he hasn’t seen combat or a deployment yet & already had this addiction before joining the military) but if he’s not sleeping, he’s usually playing games. He’ll even set an alarm & only get 5 or 6 hours of sleep so that he can play more games. He can easily play over 10 hours in a single day on the weekends. He keeps saying it helps him relax, but all I see him doing is making his stress skyrocket. Even our sex live has been greatly diminished-as in I’m lucky to be w/ him even once or twice a month & then it’s straight back to him gaming, not cuddling-and we’re early twenties here!. I have tried all of your suggestions from both posts 1 & 2 before and then some & nothing works for more than very short term. It’s so bad sometimes, that I really enjoy being alone w/ our son instead-either while he’s working or we’ll leave him at home to go places (bc he absolutely refuses & wants to play games more.) It’s exhausting just to get him to go to anything outside of the house, & he still won’t walk to the playground with us that’s on our street corner. We’ve been in this house almost 8 months. Numerous walks to the playground. He’s never once gone. I’m worried about what kind of a relationship our son will have with him & what kind of relationship I’ll have with him in the years to come. People who say the addiction isn’t real haven’t seen what I have. Sorry about the the book….I’m just *really* frustrated about this today.

  28. Since we got married I saw my husband staying up late into the night to play games – video games, computer games, etc. I left him once because of it. Due to tragedy in his family, we got back together but never resolved this issue. 2 years later, my husband is now in nursing school. He comes home exhausted, says hi, goes to play his games on the computer and then on the iPad. It’s progressively getting worse.

    I’ve been on temporary disability leave after getting hurt at work. I’m better now and will be heading back to work next week. For the past month, this is what I saw! He would come home, barely say hi, disappear to play games and then fall asleep on the couch. It’s affecting every part of our marriage. And even though we agreed to start trying for second child we don’t because he says he’s tired but is able to stay up until 2-3am to play games.

    I even approached him and said, I know You need to unwind. But coming home and playing games and not spend any time with me isn’t ok. He acknowledged that but still went about playing his games.

    We’ve been married for 7 years this July. I’m ready to throw in the towel.

  29. Brittainy S says:

    I know I am late with this but I wanted to say inviting people over to dinner does not always work. My husband read this next to me and actually laughed because he *has* continued playing his video games with guests in the house for dinner. What seems to have worked for me is to set reasonable expectations, quit nagging, and change my perspective. Once I accepted that they were going to be a part of his life and quit fighting it, it became easier for the both of us to compromise. I started to look at video games as no different than a man (or woman) who comes home and does nothing but watch TV all night. I asked him to quit playing multi-player games when he is alone with the children, or when I am working in the house and may need help because you cannot pause live games. I am learning to vocalize my wants and needs more because let’s face it, I really am the only one who sees the full trash can.
    We have come a long way in the 9 years we have been married. At one point in our marriage I dressed up as an Xbox in an effort to get his attention. I stood next to him wearing a large cardboard homemade x-box for twenty minutes before he noticed. Now, all I have to do is to ask him to pause the game before I tell him what I need.

    • Brittainy S says:

      I want to add to the many other ladies that are dealing with this… At one point in our marriage I gave up. I decided that if he was going to ignore me for the games, I would ignore him as well. This was not healthy and nearly destroyed our marriage. The only advantage it had was to force the both of us to communicate with each other our needs and to find compromise.

  30. ynottrylove says:

    I am so thankful to God for finding this website and post. My husband is getting up at 3:30am and 6am and taking his tablet to the bathroom with him and yes he is only getting around 3 hours of sleep and I know it is not healthy. I realized the severity of the problem when he sneaked it into the bathroom at 3:30am yesterday and when he came back slid the tablet on the floor. I thought he must be interacting with a person, because there is no way the game Family Guy is taking up all of his time. One time he went to sleep with the tablet in his arms like it was a woman. It is so frustrating and if I were not a Christian I would have left a long time ago. Unfortunately I was angry and did not respond in the best way. I did say he had to wean himself off the games and that beginning today he is not to take the tablet in the bathroom at 3 and 6 am in the morning. He was quiet. Quick History – We have been married for 26 years and have had to overcome a mental breakdown of our now 27 year old daughter (diagnosed with schizophrenia 3 years ago) so the last few years have been rough. Also he is not walking in his faith which from childhood is Christianity and has constant interaction with Islamic men. I know the believing wife covers the family and I am staying in prayer, reading the word and calling prayer lines to stay connected to GOD. Do you think I have missed anything? Is there anything more I can do or perhaps do differently?

    • ynottrylove says:

      oh and I am not working, (opting to complete my degree earned May 9th) and earned the larger wage before leaving the job which is also causing stress on my husband.

  31. I enjoyed playing games with my husband. We had an amazing marriage for 8 years. He was the perfect husband. He was great with the kids. We have three children and I am pregnant with my fourth. Six months back my husband started playing Travian. I played with him for a little while and then got bored with it. He continued to play. The changes came gradually. Our outings lessened, he had less patience with the children and neglects household responsibilities.

    He would get up at 6 am, switch on the computer, play, go for a run, come back, take bath, get dressed for office and sit back to play till it’s the last minute to rush for office by 7.25 am. His morning meeting starts at 7.30 and his office is just 5 minutes away. There will be no conversation between us as I will be busy; my 6 yrs old son’s school bus comes by 7 and 4 yr old daughters by 8 am. If I ask for the smallest help getting the kids ready, he has no time to spare.

    He comes home for lunch, but first stop for game updates. Has lunch and goes back to the game till its time to go back to office. Some days are half days, so he is free to play all afternoon. Finally goes to sleep by 4pm sleeps till 6pm, may or may not go for a run. [He sprints for 10 minutes and maintains his body well] Other days he comes back from office by 6 pm, immediately starts playing the game. If the kids interrupt, he gets irritated. I go sit next to him, he half listens to what I say and sometimes not at all. I call him for dinner, wait a while, sometimes we have it together, other times I have my food, leave his share and put the kids to bed. He plays till midnight. He has become moody and withdrawn. He spent most of his time chatting with other players on Skype, planning out strategies.

    According to him, everything is fine. He goes to office and functions fine and he does his daily exercise routines, so if he plays in his spare time, it’s not at all a problem. Sounds fine.

    For me, it’s as though I have a bachelor guest living in the house for whom I just have to put out the food on time. I have lost the companion I had in my husband. My children barely get any attention from their father. It went calmly till the day I pointed out that the gaming was becoming an obsession, he became defensive. He said he will stop the game, if I abort the baby! He knew I wouldn’t. When the family atmosphere became too tense, I left the topic alone for the sake of peace.
    I had a near death experience [head injury after a fall] and was hospitalized. He got three days off from office and spent most of it playing. The seriousness of the situation just doesn’t penetrate through the game fog. I had just barely completed my first trimester, but thankfully the baby seems fine. After I came back home, sat on the floor and holding my husband’s legs begged him to stop playing. He got irritated and asked me to stop the dramatics.

    For the next few days, I tried more aggressive tactics to get him to acknowledge his addiction, everything just made the situation worse. I finally hid the internet modem of the computer. His withdrawal symptoms were explosive. He was at the angriest I have ever seen, he accused me of being manipulative, arrogant, headstrong nagging wife and suddenly I became the excuse why he played. It was such shock seeing how much the addiction had changed my sweet, soft spoken husband. He hits verbally on what he knows are sensitive emotional scars from my childhood. He ignored me for two days acting as if I didn’t exist and then told me he is leaving the house if I don’t give his game back.

    This scared me and I gave it back, but once he got it, he calmed down said he will control the timings and set certain timings of total 2 hours a day. The rest of the day was more like old times, he acted normally with me, did his share of household chores, took the children out in the evening, played the game only in two half an hour slots. The deal was that he gets to play for a full hour after dinner and the kids were settled for the night. But before dinner I walked in on him playing the game and when I mentioned it, he just got angry and started shouting at me saying I am trying to control him. He denies his addiction and says I am imagining things. If I touch the topic of the game, he gets aggressive and points out my shortcomings in the most hurtful manner possible.

    My husband is a good, kind and generous man, but he seems to have lost his way. I have no idea how to help him. The game is like a cancer, how can I abandon my husband in such a situation? But I have no idea how to help him. My children are 6, 4 and 2. Being pregnant fourth time has left me physically exhausted and the battle with the gaming addiction has drained me emotionally.

    I googled ‘Help me, my husband is addicted to gaming’ and it was shocking to find the number of people in the same situation. In not one have I found the situation resolved and majority seemed have finally ended up in divorce. God help me!

  32. Thank you for your article. My husband and I were very involved in our old church in every possible way: serving in youth ministry, drug/alcohol recovery (we had dealt with these issues in our own lives), bible study, etc. – we had so many friends in our old church. To make a VERY long story short … my husband was an ex-drug dealer, who was used to having a lot of friends (in his old gang), and when we started going to church 10 years ago, we made positive replacements with new friends, church activities, etc. Then, after much research and praying, we realized the church we were involved in was meeting God’s standards, and we moved far away and became “lone star Christians” for many years. It was going okay, and then we decided to start a business which took up a lot of MY time as it was more relevant to my university degree, and our long-awaited adopted children (after 10 years of infertility) arrived 3 months after starting the business, and in my “busyness” I unintentionally pushed my husband away, and thus his online/multiplayer video gaming addiction was born. He works from home, while I work out of the home, making it easier to fulfill his addiction, and over the course of 5 years, this has bred resentment and bitterness in me. I know he loves me and the kids, but he’s never out of the house, has no real friends for the first time in his life, and just can’t escape the lure of “comradeorie” he gets from online gaming. No, he’s not into porn, or affairs, but it feels just as betraying? (I can’t think of the word) We’ve been to a marriage conference, and things were great after, but the old addiction came back after time. I’ve been to a counsellor. We have great communication and he knows how I feel and wants to change and will go months at a time without playing just to show me he can …. but as soon as I get sucked into the “busyness” the addiction comes right back. He says its because he has no guy friends … then I get accusational and tell him he needs to get out of the house, into church and make some “real” ones, and he agrees, but nothing happens. When he’s on fire for God, God uses him to change people’s lives because he’s a born leader. But right now, the Enemy has him so passive, he’s ineffective, and it’s painful to watch. It’s so hard for me nowadays to address the issue without bitterness, nagginess, or resentment, but I just don’t know what to do. Any advice? He’s an AMAZING father (when he’s actually spending time with our two, amazingly sweet children) and an attentive lover. What’s my problem then? I don’t know!! It just feels like he’s wasting time with his life that God has given him. Help!!!!

  33. I don’t know how I feel about this article…but at the end of the day, we are all accountable for our own actions. My husband comes home and plays video games from about 6pm to midnight, M to F and all day on Saturday and Sunday. He doesn’t want to do anything with the family because we have no money, but he also doesn’t want to do anything free, like take the kids to the park or go for a walk. I was getting stressed out about doing everything in the house so now I let him ‘watch’ our kids for a few hours while I nap on his days off (I’m pregnant now) which turns into him putting the TV on for them while he plays games.

    I feel like a single mom with a room mate that pays the bills. I am a SAHM now, I will be going back to work after the new baby is born so I can get some financial independence and not have to depend on him.

    If he wants to spend his life in World of Warcraft and levelling up achievements there, that’s fine. My kids and I are not along for the ride.

  34. I had this issue with my husband years ago with this. We did live together a year before we were married. My husband used to have a highly stressful job at a call center and he would “unwind” with playing WOW (World of Warcraft) and some video games and be at the gym working out. But I did like being on the computer a lot. Him playing WOW stressed me out a lot. Like he would be on it for hours, and all. In the beginning, I was like okay, this is HIS downtime, and I would just leave it alone. I would eventually go out with my girlfriends and do the bar scene. This also continued into our first year of marriage as well. We would spend time together, but not very often. I was still working at the office during the day and his job was always changing shift hours. I don’t remember when they were but they were odd. I did eventually call him on it, and he did eventually tone it down, and we would spend more time together. And he did tone it down a lot more when we were ready to have a family, and especially so, when I was home on maternity leave, and then pregnant again. He hasn’t played WOW in a very long time now (We’ve been married for almost 9 years as of May). He does occasionally play a video game with our boys. He knows he can get addicted to certain games, so he hasn’t really touched them and actually gave away a bunch within the past year or so. He can get wrapped up in phone games, so he doesn’t have much. Just certain ones that aren’t’ addicting and only take up a minute or so of our time. He changed jobs in Fall of 2007 and that also made his stress level go down. But I did have an emotional and physical affair with someone else (that he knew of as well), and that died down just before we had our last child in 2013. There were other factors in the distance of our marriage that contributed to that, but we have since changed our ways ,and are way better now, than we have been in the past with and towards to each other. My husband is a fantastic father (his gaming has never gotten in the way of taking care of our three boys and will do all he can to keep them happy especially when I need a break, and is amazing to me as well :)

  35. Me and my husband have only been married for about seven months. things started to get difficult between us and thats when i think he started getting into playing xbox games. He loved them so much that he went behind my back and bought a system! We work opposite schedules anyways so thats hard enough to find time to spend with him. Now I feel like I have to fight for his attention from the xbox and his friends on the xbox. I do try going for a walk with him daily and it works sometimes. I know that him playing may be a way of distressing but its really becoming a problem that when he comes home at 3 a.m he doesn’t get in bed with me. Instead he stays up till 6 a.m and then the time we do have together he’s too tired to get up and spend quality time with me. Also in the middles of all this he does not help out with any house work which means I do it all plus work full time and go to school part time. Im so desperate for his attention that I feel lonely most of the time. I do try to talk to him in a loving way but I think maybe he’s too immature to realize the impact it has on our marriage with us both only being 21. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. Butterflywings says:

    I have really struggled with some comments along the lines of “praise him because at least he’s going to work and supporting his family” etc. When I married my husband, he worked 38 hours a week, and went to church and bible study every week. He excessively played computer games (to the point where our entire honeymoon he left me alone and played computer games 12+ hours a day, every single day, we only had sex 3 times in 15 days, and he ignored the beautiful island country we visited – because according to him, a honeymoon is just a holiday, and a holiday is for spending time alone relaxing). He would play for 3-4 hours every night and maybe 5-6 on the weekend. I tolerated it because at least he did go to work, and provide for the family, and go to church and do things like mow the lawn, do house repairs etc on the weekend.

    After we had our baby, I thought maybe with the extra workload a baby brings, he would spend less time on the computer. Instead of cutting back his time on the computer, he started missing work to make up the hours of gaming he lost helping with our baby, and it wasn’t long before he was playing more computer games and rarely going to work.

    It’s now reached the stage where I would say he averages a minimum of 70 hours a week on the computer and averages maybe 15 hours at work on a good week. It’s reached the stage where I work more than he does, and my days off are usually spent looking after bub, while he deliberately takes days off when she’s in childcare (because we are both supposed to be at work) so he can have 10 hours of totally uninterrupted gaming. He no longer goes to church. He barely goes to bible study once a month. He pretty much only leaves the house to go to work once or twice a week and to take our daughter to childcare (and occasionally to drop our older daughter off to a friend’s house).

    We’d be bankrupt and homeless if family hadn’t lent us a lot of money until a small inheritance I received came through. And we’re now back to not being able to make ends meet as all the inheritance went on paying off debts and overdue bills. I can’t work more than I do now due to health reasons (and he wouldn’t look after bub more anyway). So we’ve got a major problem.

    He dumps our little girl in front of the tv for hours so he can play games. He just lets our older girl eat junk food so he doesn’t have to make proper meals on the nights I’m working at dinner time (thankfully at least he feeds our little girl real food). I do nearly all the housework (which medically I’m not supposed to be doing) and he gets angry if I ask him to take literally a ten minute break from gaming to move things that are too heavy or too high for me to move that desperately need moving so I can do more housework. He gets angry at the kids (and me) if we interrupt during “a mission”. And as for our sex life, what sex life? I would say we have sex once a month, but even that is probably more than what we actually do. And when I’ve used the word “addiction” he gets angry and breaks things.

    When I said to him, what would he do if I gave him the choice between computer games and having his marriage and family, he said he’d choose computer games – he used the excuse of “if anyone gives him an ultimatum, he’ll always choose to no longer have the person in his life” but it’s a poor excuse – if I gave him the choice of being monogamous, or losing his marriage and family, he would (and already has) chosen monogamy because he knows wife and kids are more important than being able to have sex with anyone any time he feels like it. But I can’t make him see that other things like computer games (where they are destroying his life and my life and, most importantly, the kids’ lives too), that I have the right to ask him to choose. I haven’t given him the ultimatum though, because I know he really would choose computer games over marriage and family – and sadly that shows it really is an addiction when he can’t walk away from it, even if it costs him the people he claims to love.

    It’s so bad that even the people in our bible study group (the only people he has occasional interactions with outside of work), can see he is totally completely addicted and needs help. So it’s not just me. But he’s too busy gaming to even return phone messages they’ve left to try and catch up with him to encourage him to stop neglecting his responsibilities and not spend his whole life playing games. In fact, the only people he listens to (his family) he’s now taken to lying to (which is extremely out of character for him, and a sign of just how addicted he has become) to hide how much he’s playing (making me out to be a liar if I say how much he really plays) so they don’t get mad at him.

    I was just nearly coping with it, until he basically made it clear that we will never have more children (something I long for) because 1. we “can’t afford it” – ie he’s not willing to go back to full time work or be promoted so we can have an income he considers sufficient, and 2. he realises more kids = more effort = less time for computer games, and he’s not willing to sacrifice even the smallest amount of gaming time to have another child. And I’m heartbroken. I’m 35 now, I’m running out of time. I ache for at least one more child. I fell in love with him and married him because I thought family was one of his highest priorities. I thought his priorities were, in order: God, marriage, family, work and a distant fifth, games. Instead his priorities (shown by his actions) seem to be: games, then distantly – work, family, marriage and God in that order. (or maybe God before marriage, either way, neither seem to matter to him anymore).

    I have long accepted that I may not be able to have more children (physically). But it’s breaking my heart to know that we will never even try to have more children because he doesn’t want to risk giving up even a few minutes of his precious gaming time. It really is breaking my heart.

  37. Annie John says:

    My husband plays for hours everyday…and that really makes me feel…worthless in a way. It’s been a year since his addiction and we have gone through various stages of dealing with it. From being open and honest, to loving advise, to denial, to nagging….I’ve tried it all! He just doesn’t see it and says he is working on it – but this change is just so SLOW! i am almost on the verge of giving up cause I don’t deserve feeling this way! I’m glad I came across this post as it gave me some peace to be able to slee through the night…. Thank you.

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  1. […] UPDATE 2: I wrote another post on this topic, clarifying my views a little bit more. You can read it here. […]

  2. […] if he just doesn’t agree, or you can’t get him to put the video games down and work at something, I’d talk to a mentor couple, a pastor, or a counselor. As I wrote […]

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