My husband loves video games. It’s his way to unwind and relax after a long day. Ever since we were first married, it was something he enjoyed doing. But it soon became something I hated.
When he would pick up the controller to save the world, I would often wallow in frustration and resentment. I just didn’t understand why he enjoyed playing these games so much, and I often felt alone.
This challenge got even worse after our daughter was born. As I dealt with the lack of sleep and overall exhaustion of being a new mother, my feelings of self-pity and anger grew each time he grabbed a controller, which only pushed him further away from me.
It wasn’t until we got to the core of the issue that we were able to have peace about this. It finally occurred to me that this was not about video games at all - it was about feeling loved.
One of my top love languages is quality time, and his top love language is words of affirmation. I was feeling unloved because he was spending time playing video games instead of time with me. He was feeling unloved because I was tearing him down about it.
When we recognized this, we were able to develop a system that worked for both of us and met both of our needs.
Perhaps your husband doesn’t love video games - it could be hunting, fishing, basketball, ESPN, or even work that he loves. It may feel, at times, that he loves that thing more than you or your family.
So what can you do if you feel this way?
1. Evaluate the source of your feelings.
Do you know your love languages? Is it possible that you are not communicating your love to each other in a way that the other person understands?
For example, a husband with the top love language as acts of service may see his overtime at work as a way of showing love to his wife. But she may not feel this way if her top love language is physical touch or quality time.
2. Believe the best about your spouse.
Whenever we look at a potential conflict in our marriage, we must choose to believe the best about our husband. If we don’t, we are already going into the discussion with a negative mindset.
It is highly unlikely that your husband is trying to harm you or hurt you by his behavior. Often, he is simply unaware of how that action is making you feel. Remind yourself that your husband loves you, and make note of all of the things he does to contribute to your family’s well-being.
3. Talk to your husband about the issue.
Often we as wives expect our husbands to read our minds. We want them to know exactly what we want and need, just like the romantic movies portray. Unfortunately, the majority of men truly do not know what we need unless we tell them.
I suggest letting your husband know that you want to chat with him about ____ issue, and set a time within the coming week to talk about it.
When you talk, remember that you are working towards a solution for the issue and that you are NOT attacking him or his character. Use “I” statements and clearly express how the situation is affecting you.
4. Seek outside counsel.
If your husband isn’t willing to discuss or address the issue, or if you are not able to come up with a mutually agreeable solution, then you may want to seek outside help.
Getting marriage counseling or even meeting with another married couple to seek wisdom is never a bad idea. Unfortunately in Christian circles, we sometimes feel shame about seeking help, but this is really a helpful thing to do BEFORE issues become crises.
If your husband's hobby is becoming something you hate, it's time to do something about it. Remember that he loves you, and wants to show you love and meet your needs - he just might need some help understanding what those needs are and how to best meet them.
Esther Littlefield is a feisty pastor’s wife to her husband, Scott, mom to her passionate daughter, KJ, and women’s Bible study leader at her church. They in Maine where they enjoy as many outdoor adventures as possible in the midst of homeschooling, business, and church life. In her free time, you’ll probably find her with a cup of coffee, a good friend, and a sink full of dishes.
Esther writes at WellnessMomLife, helping moms balance marriage, motherhood, and ministry by caring for their personal, physical, spiritual, and relational wellness. Esther offers a free marriage challenge for moms, and you can find it here.