Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Games Couples Play

I'm doing a wedding this fall and I asked the couple what time the wedding would start. Their response was, "As soon as the Texas/OU game is over."

I guess we know what most of the wedding party will be doing before the wedding starts!

Their comment reminded me that any of us who are married can allow our relationship to wane through an inordinate amount of time given to the hobbies, favorite activities and personal interests of one or both of them.  Now there's noting wrong with college football, gardening, shopping or working on your hot rod provided those things are done in moderation and not at the expense of your connecting time.

But some of us need to take personal inventory about how much time, energy and money is going out the door while one or both of the persons in the marriage are obsessing about their golf game, musical interests or the Internet.

So, when is a personal interest, "game," or hobby too much in a marrige? 

First, when it becomes more important than protecting the basic components of a healthy relationship.  When you have time for your activity but won't or can't make time to talk, spend time together or deal with issues, you need to cut back or quit the extras.  In fact, for many their interest becomes a diversion, excuse and escape from meeting their responsibilities or working through problems.

Second, when that activity is simply unwise from a time, cost or emotional standpoint.  Let's say your hobby requires eight hours a week.  That's four hundred hours a year or two thousand hours in 5 years.  Was the enjoyment you got or the sense of fulfillment you received worth that amount of time?  Maybe.  But maybe not.  What else could you have enhanced in your marriage, family or community by giving even half of those hours away to a better endeavor?

I wonder how many marriages simply wilted because one or both spouses didn't water their relationship with enough meaningful time doing things that matter most.

Third, when you can't live without it, or at least you think you can't.  When you wake up thinking about your next time of involvement, when you ponder how to be better at it even  during the night or when that's all you talk about you're probably in trouble.  The classic comment of the addict is, "I can stop any time." Really?  Then try it and see.  Because if you can't go without it that means you've put your obsession before everything even if you don't think you have.

And if you're still not sure, ask your spouse or a friend.  They can often be the mirror you need to see that your hobby or whatever really has become your life.  And when it's your life then it's also stealing life from you, experiences and relationships that someday you'll wish you had made time for.  

Are the games getting in the way of a healthy marriage for you?  If so, you'll need to start with a fast and de-tox so to speak, proving to yourself that there are better things to give your life to.  It doesn't mean you can't ever do that activity.  But you'll begin to control it rather than it controlling you.  And trust me - your spouse will know the difference.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

1 comment:

  1. That's nice to know that a game is exists which both partner can play in romantic mood.