Tag Archives: Relationship

What a Gamer Geek Can Teach You

Did you know that Dear Hubby and I are gamer geeks?  Yep, we play several video games together as one of the recreational activities that we share.  We have shamans and paladins in one game, a demon slayer and wizard in another…and a Kat and a Norski in yet a third game!  For some fun and relaxation, we play together, learn various techniques together, read up on our class or our role in the game, and we work on building all the aspects of the game like exploring the whole map, crafting and achievements too.  This way the games go on and on and on and on!

The other night, as we were playing together in a party, it dawned on me that some of the techniques used when partying in the game really do apply to marriage too:

1. Separately or together?  In all three games that we play, there is an option to play the game solo (by yourself) or to play it in a party with someone else.  If you play the game solo, it can be done but it’s a lot harder, and it takes a lot longer.  Playing with another person makes the game a little less stressful–or at least the stress is different–and now one of you can specialize in doing damage while the other specializes in healing.

As you might imagine, it’s the same for marriage.  You *can* go through life single and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it can be a lot harder (“An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs —how he can please the Lord. ” ~I Cor. 7:32).  You have to bear everything on your own, and every task you do, there is no one there to back you up or support you.  Furthermore, as a single person you sort of have to be a “jack of all trades.”  Being married does not remove stress, but the stress does change and there is someone there to help you get through things and support you.  In addition you do get to use some of your own natural talents to their fullest, and let your spouse handle the things for which they have a natural talent.

2. Someone has to lead.  If you do choose to party with someone in the game, one strategy you need to use is that someone has to lead.  If you both go off in opposite directions or “do your own thing,”  then you both get attacked and get in trouble.  When you try to run back toward the member of your party, BOTH of you are under attack and have quite a battle on your hands!  If one person in the party leads and the other one follows, you can have the same objective and when you’re attacked, you both fight it.

 Again, it’s the same for marriage.  If you both have your own work, your own classes, your own hobbies and interests, and your own friends–to the exclusion of your spouse–then you run in opposite directions and somewhere along the line you get into trouble.  When you try to run back to your spouse for support,  you’re BOTH in trouble and end up with quite a huge issue to deal with!  On the other hand, if the husband leads as the Lord directed (“For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” ~Eph 5:23), and the wife follows, the couple can have the same objectives and when they get into some sort of trouble, they can BOTH face it together and  help each other out.

3. HELP!  Every game has some sort of situation in which there is a surprise attack by some sort of monster or enemy.  Sometimes the goal is to kill X number of the creatures and then report back.  When you’re in a party with someone, if you want you can divide the number of creatures in half and each go out and kill half the creatures to get to the total you need.  But that means that each person in the party is acting independently as if they were alone, and the actual task takes longer.  In addition, if one or the other of you really gets hit HARD and you stop fighting to try to take care of yourself, the enemy keeps attacking and you die! On the other hand, if the lead picks one creature and the other player ASSISTS the leader, you still need to kill X number of creatures, but the two of you doing it together makes it go faster…AND if one or the other of you really gets hit HARD the other one is right there to stop fighting and switch to healing!

This also holds true in marriages.  If the two spouses do stick together but they act independently as if they are single, the marriage may stay together but it definitely makes it harder.  The tasks of raising a family and making a living may get done, but the toll it takes can be damaging.   Plus if one spouse is hit with something HARD, without the other one right there to help them get through it, it may tear the marriage apart (it dies).  On the other hand, if wife allows her husband to lead and actually helps him (“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ ” ~Gen 2:18) the tasks are shared and they go faster and the burden is just a little lighter.  You still need to raise a family and you still need to make a living, but when you consider your spouse as you’re doing those things and view everything as a couple, the toll can be eased and any damage largely avoided.  More importantly though, if one of you is hit HARD with some huge issue or attack, the other one is right there to help you get through it, and the marriage is saved!

Love is not Selfish

You know, sometimes there are things that people want me to write about that seem so basic to me that I think “Wow people have GOT to already know that! ”  It feels like that is such a beginning foundational truth that surely people know that already!  Yet more and more I’m coming to realize that people do not live with examples of lifelong faithfulness anymore and do not see mature, healthy, Christ-like relationships modeled…so we don’t know what to do!   Like so many things in our U.S. culture, we have things exactly backwards, and when we look at things like keeping our marriages affair-free from a backwards viewpoint…well we get confused!  Prior to this I wrote a couple articles about some topics that we look at exactly backwards: “Crossing the Line” is about how we usually ask if sexting is an affair since it wasn’t physical and we want to know just where the line is so we can go right up to the line but not cross it–and instead we should find out where that line is so we can stay as far away from it as possible!   “Sex and Marriage…Marriage and Sex” is about how we tend of think of sex from the point of view of getting our own need met and our own horniness rather than seeing that sex is about thinking about our spouse and what THEY need physically and meeting that need.  And finally “Fidelity is not asking’ How Far Can I go?‘ ” is about how we, here in the U.S.A., think infidelity and cheating are wrong, but then want to do everything we can get away with…rather than looking at how to be 100% FAITHFUL in our marriages, or asking “What is fidelity?”  and how we can act that way.

Selfishness is another one of those topics that we get exactly backwards.

In our advertising, our movies, our books…everything tells young people today that focusing on yourself is the way to be happy.  Love yourself!  You are entitled to high self-esteem (even if you’ve been a complete jerk!).  You deserve better!  When you’re in-love, the person you’re “in love with” completes you and meets your needs (flawlessly and naturally, without effort).  If it feels good, do it.  If you’re unhappy, leave–it’s your spouse’s fault because they “made” you unhappy.  Some of the New Age gurus even go so far as to say that each individual is a small bit or spark of God!!  If you look in the dictionary, the word “selfish” is defined as:

1. devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

2. characterized by or manifesting concern or care only foroneself:

3.  self-interested, self-seeking, egoistic; illiberal, parsimonious,stingy.

Yet I Corinthians 13: 5 tells us the exact opposite… that “[Love] does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking,  is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs.”  This means that to keep your marriage affair-free, the focus needs to shift from “me, me, Me, Me, ME!” to being devoted to and caring for another human being–namely our spouse!  Our primary (first and foremost) concern would be the interests, benefits, and welfare of someone other than ourselves–and that would be the interests of our spouse, the benefit of our spouse, and the welfare of our spouse (because doing so is what God told us to do, and even before our spouse we want to do what pleases God!).  It means we REGARD others and think of how what we do and say will affect them.  It means that our actions would be characterized by and manifest concern or care for our spouse!

Can you imagine the impact to marriages if people were taught that before they got married?  Can you imagine how that would put a hedge of protection against infidelity if you thought about how “chatting and”texting” or “going to lunch with that person from work” would affect your spouse?  How affair-free would your marriage be if your actions were characterized by care for your spouse?    WOW!  Just wow.  We have the whole selfishness thing exactly backwards.

The Perfect Apology

Let’s paint a picture.  You acted like an immature little baby, demanded your way and pouted when you didn’t get it.  Or you treated your spouse rudely…in public.  Or you said mean, hurtful, spiteful things that you don’t really mean but that came roaring out of your mouth in the heat of battle, followed by calling your spouse a name that no civilized human being would call someone (much less, someone they loved!).  Or in the context of infidelity, you were unfaithful to your spouse and frankly there’s just no excuse for that–and now in a clear-headed moment you realize you are responsible for what you’ve chosen.

So you behaved poorly and you are taking personal responsibility, so the time has come–in order to repair the damage done, you need to apologize.

All too often, whether it’s after a fight or after something major like an affair, I hear people say they apologized and their spouse is still rubbing their nose in it.  Why?  Well part of it may be that they apologized like this: “I’m sorry, alright already?” and then if their spouse brings up the topic again they say “I said I was sorry!!  What more do you want from me?”  If this is the type of apology you have given your spouse, it is not adequate. When asking for someone’s forgiveness, you actually need to include QUITE a lot of infomation, and that’s because you are not just “saying you’re sorry” but also acknowleding what did you did wrong, taking responsibility for it, and wherever possible, making restitution or working to restore the relationship!  A proper apology contains:

  • a detailed account of the situation–not hiding details or covering up what happened; be specific.
  • acknowledgement of the hurt or damage done–name what you’ve done; say it out loud and call it by name.
  • taking responsibility for the situation–no blame-shifting here; take personal responsibility for your part.
  • a statement of regret–indicate that you are upset over your past actions.
  • asking for forgiveness–come right out and make the request.
  • a promise that it won’t happen again–indicate what your plan is so that the person is not hurt again.
  • a form of restitution whenever possible–some actions result in damage, so replace the damaged item; however, some damage can not be “undone” in which case you might give them what they need in order to feel safe.

All of this may seem a little overwhelming to you, and honestly…who can remember all that? It’s good stuff to include in a sincere apology but there’s just so much!!!  Never fear, good readers.  I have come up with a little memory helper that even the guys will find easy and manly.  You know when you lift weights how you do X number of lifts in sets…and what do you calls those?  REPS (short for repetitions)!!!  When you want to make a proper apology, do the “heavy lifting” and do your REPS:

R – Responsibility.  Take personal responsibility, that is!  To start off an apology, take personal responsibility for what you did.  Don’t try to blame someone else for what you chose to do–admit that YOU chose it and name out loud exactly what it is that you did.  Thus on very simple terms, you might say “I regret that I … <fill in details about what you did here>”

E – Empathy.  Indicate that you have some comprehension about how it may have made your spouse feel or what it may have made them think  State that what they thought or felt was reasonable.  Demonstrate that you not only comprehend, but also understand their feelings or thoughts, and maybe give an example of how you “relate” or “identify.”    Again using very simple terms, you may say “I can clearly see that it hurt you and probably that you thought <XYZ>.  I can completely understand how you’d feel that way.”

P – Plan.  Give your spouse some specifics on your plan to keep this from happening again.  You don’t have to format it like a list, but fill them in on what you intend to do to address the issue, change, or do differently so you can protect them even from yourself!  Using simple terms again, you might say: “In the future I do plan on going to some counseling to address this with a professional, and I am going to do <ABC> when I notice this starting so it doesn’t come to this again.”

S – Safety.  Let your spouse know that you encourage them to do what they believe they have-to-do in order to keep themselves safe.  Sometimes people may feel like they need a day or two to themselves to recover–or they need you to sleep on the couch for a night or two.  Maybe they need to remove all knives from the kitchen–I don’t know!!  BUT what I do know is that this step is the one that offers some sort of restitution for the damage you’ve done.  If you did the crime–let them know you are willing to do the time to repair the damage.