My husband is a burly, bearded gamer. I am a short, pale bookworm.
We are, in many ways, the definition of opposites attract.
My husband loves any kind of game, really. He plays Warhammer—a tabletop game—video games, computer games. He logged more hours on Fallout 4 than I think is even healthy. Every night, while I’m reading, writing or cooking dinner, his go-to activity is plopping in front of some kind of game and escaping to a new world.
I fill our home with quote pictures, books, makeup, and throw pillows.
He fills our home with miniature models, video game systems, Loot Crates, and headsets.
We are 28, still young enough to be adventurous, to be social.
But we aren’t, and we don’t.
Most nights, the call of the gamer speaks to my husband, and he must answer it.
Don’t feel too sorry for me, though. It’s not like this came out of nowhere. It’s not like I married a hiking enthusiast only to be blindsided by a secret gaming addiction. I entered into this relationship knowing this was who he was.
You may ask: Why would I willingly subject myself to this? Why am I okay with the fact my 28-year-old husband probably games more than a teenager?
Oh, I’ve done my share of complaining. I’ve whined about his childish hobby, especially when he tries to use it to get out of mowing the lawn. I’ve scolded him about how much money he’s dumped into make-believe. I’ve rolled my eyes when I’ve heard so many stories about PewDiePie I feel like the guy is family even though I’ve never watched a single video.
Looking at it now, though, 5 years into marriage, I’ve realized, like many things, there are silver linings to marrying a gamer.
1. I know where he is on Friday.
I know so many women who have to worry, to wonder where their man is. Is he going to the bar to find a new woman? Can he really be trusted with his friends on a wild night to Vegas?
None of these things have ever crossed my mind.
If Chad isn’t at home in front of his game, he's out with his friends.
Where is out with his friends? Gatehouse Games, our local tabletop gaming store. Here, you can find camaraderie, a soda machine, lots of talk about things I don’t understand, and some loud rock music.
What won’t you find? Wild times, crazy girls clawing at your man, alcohol, or bad decisions—other than maybe too much money spent on a new army.
Other Fridays, if Chad’s out with his friends… he’s in our gaming room. Playing games. Right down the hall.
I’ve found that, for the most part, a gaming man doesn’t stray too far from his games, from his gamer friends, from his life of imagination. A night at the bar? Please. My husband would rather spend a night exploring magical lands of dragons and zombies.
2. I get lots of reading and TV time.
Yes, my husband spends a lot of time on his video games. Yes, he spends a lot of time pushing buttons on a controller.
But you know what?
It’s okay. Because it gives me tons of time to do what I love: reading and watching Netflix.
I don’t have to fight with my husband because a sporting event is coming on he wants to watch. If I need to feed my OITNB addiction, he goes on his computer, no questions asked. If I want to read and have some “me” time, he puts a headset on.
Don’t get me wrong. We still make time for each other. Every Thursday night is movie night, where we put phones, games, and books aside. Every Saturday, we go out to dinner or cook dinner at home together. Each night, we take time talk and walk our mastiff Henry. We make time for each other.
But we don’t only spend time together. We also give each other time apart. His gaming hobby leads to plenty of guilt-free time to pursue what I love. And he doesn’t insist I try to love his hobby because he can do his hobby while sitting right beside me.
3. He has a good imagination.
I've lived thousands of lives through the pages of my books. I've been to other countries, to worlds that don't exist.
So has my husband.
We both like to explore other worlds--just through different mediums of choice. His gaming has incited a creativity in him, something certainly helpful for a writer like me. We've had so many conversations that start with "what if." We have imaginative discussions, mostly thanks to his imagination incited by gaming.
As a writer, I've had so many times where I'm doubting a story line or wondering where to go. Chad's penchant for storytelling that surfaced from his love of games always helps talk me out of a writing hole.
It's nice to be married to a man who doesn't think anything is impossible, who can think creatively.
4. My husband has goals.
Okay, so his goal may be to 100% a game. But he has goals and perseverance. He knows what it's like to work hard for something you want.
Are the achievements he seeks on his Xbox always rational? No, especially in my eyes. However, it's good to see someone with persistence, with a go-get-it attitude. This translates into a marriage where he doesn't quit when things get tough. He knows overcoming tough levels takes work, and he doesn't throw in the towel or the controller when things seem impossible.
5. Gamers will teach you to do what you enjoy.
There is still stigma surrounding the gaming world. So many look at my husband and think he's childish, lazy, or just plain nerdy. Other guys tease him for not spending his time working on his truck or going hunting. Gaming is synonymous with a lack of manliness, at least to some.
But Chad doesn't care. He games because it's what he loves. He's taught me it's good to have a hobby you enjoy, no matter what others think. He follows this concept in all areas of his life. Recently, we were at the beach. When people were looking at a hurricane simulator in the arcade but feeling too adult to try it out, Chad jumped right it. Did people stare? Yes. Did people think he was childish? Absolutely. But it was something he wanted to do, so he didn't worry about what everyone thought. He just did it.
Chad's gaming has taught me not to worry about social stigma. Follow your passions and do what makes you happy.
So Marry a Gamer
Some may say gamers are geeky and obsessed and sedentary. Some of this may be accurate
But he’s my gamer. And even though I don’t know what “For the Horde” means, even though the only game I’ve ever successfully played is Goat Simulator, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Lindsay Detwiler is a contemporary romance author and high school English teacher. Her novels include Without You, Voice of Innocence, and Then Comes Love. For more about Lindsay's life and books, visit www.lindsaydetwiler.com.