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January 13, 2023

Love Recon Does Gaming Harm My Marriage hero


Playing video games is a favorite pastime for millions of people. They provide an entertaining way to kill time and decompress from life’s pressures, hardships, and the daily grind. As a result, video games have become a significant part of daily routines in most households and relationships. Findings from a 2019 report from the  Entertainment Software Association revealed that:

  • 65% of American adults play video games.love Recon Does Gaming Harm My Marriage body

  • 75% of American homes own some type of gaming device.

  • 72% of gamers are over 18 years old, and the average age is 33.

  • 46% of gamers are women, and 54% are men.

  • 57% of parents play video games with their children weekly.

  • 74% of parents say these activities positively influence their kids.

 Is gaming constructive or destructive?

In many cases, gaming offers a healthy and constructive outlet. In addition, it is a social outlet; even individuals far apart can frequently play with the same group.

However, when gaming crosses the line into obsession or addiction, it can damage relationships and even lead to divorce. Spending every waking, free moment involved in a complex and challenging video game creates division and resentment between gamers and their spouses who don’t share the same enthusiasm for the diversion. Fighting orcs or heroically battling bad guys for the gamer can be much more exciting than work or family responsibilities.

On the other hand, a study from Brigham Young University found that “For couples in which both spouses play, 76 percent said that gaming has a positive effect on their marital relationship.”

So, the answer to the question, “Is gaming constructive or destructive to your relationship?” is “both.”  If you as a couple communicate, set expectations, and draw boundaries, gaming can be a healthy part of your life and relationship.

3 Guidelines for Healthy Gaming

Here are three simple guidelines to ensure that gaming does not become a negative force in your relationship:

  • First, pay attention to priorities and responsibilities.

Pay attention to your spouse and their needs. Connect with your partner daily and check in with them before you immerse yourself in the alternate reality of your favorite game. Don’t shirk your household chores and responsibilities. So, take out the trash or cook dinner or knock out whatever has your name beside it on the family “to-do” list, and then game away!

  • Use gaming as a hobby and for mental breaks.       

Gaming can be great for unwinding and doing something that doesn’t require a lot of brain power. Everyone needs some space to relax and decompress. You can be more present for each other if you have engaged in some healthy activity that centers and settles you.

It’s not okay, however, to use gaming as an avoidance tool so that you don’t have to talk about issues. Likewise, it’s not okay to take multiple days off work for gaming or to spend excessively and compulsively to support your gaming habit.

  • Include your spouse in gaming.

According to a TIME article that cites a study on gaming in marriage, when a couple plays together in a spirit of fun and harmony, their marriage benefits. Find a game that you both can enjoy and occasionally play it together. One of you is most likely more into gaming than the other, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun as a gaming couple.

The more experienced gamer must exhibit patience while the less skilled gamer learns the game. The more proficient gamer must also be clear about how to play the game and help their partner learn at their own pace. What you don’t want to do is to make the less skilled partner feel frustrated or stupid.

The phrase “all things in moderation” applies to gaming and many other behaviors and habits in life. Gaming can be a part of a balanced life and relationship or a negative force that causes hurt, misunderstanding, and division.

If you want to discuss how we can help you and your relationship, please get in touch with me at [email protected] or call 866-218-1716. You may also visit our website, www.LoveRecon.org, for testimonials and information.

About the author 

Cliff Poe

Cliff Poe is Founder and Lead Coach for Recon Coaching. He and his wife, Jeani, are Master Coaches and their passion is to help individuals and couples form healthy, lasting and satisfying relationships. Cliff has a M.Div. in pastoral counseling and ministry. He enjoys writing and coaching as well as his family which includes 2 adult kids and their spouses, 6 grandchildren and a fur family composed of a Golden Retriever and a Mackerel Tabby.

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