Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Danielsan, You Must Learn Balance

This is NOT a post about Druids.

Today I wanted to address a question I get in my email from time to time.

Here’s an example:

I notice from your profile that you are a father. Can you tell me how you balance your time between being online with your characters and being a Dad and spending time with your wife?

I can see the dangers of getting really hooked on the game and not spending time with the other things that are important.

So here’s Honorshammer’s advice on balancing WoW and your family.

Don’t. Don’t even try. There shouldn’t be anything close to balance between your family and WoW.

Set Time Aside For Your Family

I don’t know if you remember, but one of my problems when I was trying to find a guild was my inability to play on Wednesday night. For most raiding guilds, Wednesday is a prime raiding night. Wednesday is a night that I set aside to spend time with my wife. Usually we just hang out and watch TV. Our favorite show to watch is Mythbusters. Sometimes we just we pop in a movie, or just channel surf.

Even after nearly 14 years of marriage, it’s still a joy just to sit on the couch and listen to my wife talk about her day, her struggles, and her desires. It’s not always deep or even really meaningful stuff; it’s just spending time together.

Now that fall is here, we’ll add Sunday night as well. We volunteer in an organization called Awanas. It’s basically Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts with a Christian twist. I love those kids, but we’re usually so wiped out after Awanas that we just want to collapse on the couch, and listen to Al Michaels before we pass out.

Even on those nights that I do raid, I spend time with my family. I play with my daughter and help her with her homework. I help my wife with chores around the house. Thursday night is my night for cooking dinner (which reminds me I haven’t decided what I’m making tomorrow).

That’s one of the reasons I LOVE my guilds 9:00pm start times. I have plenty of time to spend with my family. We go tuck my daughter into bed. She and her mother spend some girl to girl time and I head on downstairs and fire up the computer.

It’s very rare to see me online before 8:00pm, even on the weekends. My wife knows that she has carte blanche on Friday or Saturday nights. I’ll come home and she’ll tell me we are going to meet some friends at BnN, or that we’re meeting some friends for dinner. She knows she can ask to me. She will NEVER get the answer of “Oh I’m sorry I have to raid/arena tonight. Because she KNOWS she can ask, and doesn’t feel the need to test it, she doesn’t tend to ask that often.

Put Your Families Needs Ahead of Your Own

But you know what; I spend a ton of time in game. How is it that I can game as much as I do? My wife lets me. I think a big part of why she lets me is the incredible marriage relationship we’ve built.

(Now I’m about to paint a fairly idyllic picture of my married life here. My marriage is awesome, but rest assured, we’re normal people. We have the same struggles and conflicts as most married couples. I’m also going to attribute my awesome marriage to my faith. I realize that people of different faith, or even no faith, have fantastic marriages too. This is just what has worked for me and my wife.)

One of the things I’ve established over our 14 years together is that I put my family’s needs, and specifically my wife’s needs ahead of my own. This isn’t just in relation to WoW, it’s a total relationship thing.

My marriage relationship, and I’d love to think this is true in every of my life, is guided by my faith in the Word of God. Christ was never married, but I ask myself what kind of husband would have Christ been?

There is a ton of teaching on marriage and family in God’s Word. I’m just going to touch on one point. If you’d like to find out more, I’d recommend a website like Focus on the Family (

You’ve probably heard Christian’s quoting Ephesians 5:22 which says “Wives submit to your husbands.” That’s true, but it can't be understood until you see the other half. In Ephesians 5:25, God addresses husbands. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

Christ gave himself up for the church to the point that he gave his own life to save the Church (the body of Christ followers). So I am to love my wife, to the point that her happiness is more important to me than my own happiness. Christ fulfills all the needs of the Church, so likewise I need to fulfill all the needs of my wife.

One of the sticking points I had to get over when I decided to follow Christ was the whole idea of submitting my life to him. But when I finally realized, and began to really believe that God truly loves me completely and truly wants only what is best for me, then I wanted to follow him, I wanted to submit to him.

In the same way, my wife has no issue with submitting to me, because she knows (and I have demonstrated to her time and again through my actions) that I put her happiness before my own, and that I will make sure all her needs are taken care of.

So to ‘balance’ family and WoW:

  • Spend a ton of time with your family

  • Set aside a couple of nights where you don’t play

  • Put your wife’s happiness, needs and desires before your own
And allow me to add this word of caution. If this is a major behavioral change for you, expect your wife to be a little suspect of it. She will test you until she is satisfied in her own mind that you’ve really changed.
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