In a study published last year the Journal of Leisure Research, results showed that online gaming can have a negative impact on marriages. This comes as no surprise to most people, but the specifics are a little more interesting. This is especially prevalent in today’s age with smart phones streaming an endless source of distracting information, whether it’s the latest sports score, facebook post or an addicting game.
The common assumption would be that too much time spent gaming would put a strain on marriages, but for many of the people participating in the survey, actual hours spent were not the main concern.
One of the largest problems that couples encountered when one member was an avid online gamer was a disruption of bedtime routines, and the resulting dissatisfaction of not going to bed at the same time.
The disruption of bedtime rituals, it’s safe to assume, can lead to less frequent sexual activity, less communication as couples are winding down the day, and even the simple dissatisfaction of going to bed alone.
Now, the study was specific to the effects of online gaming, but these results seem to implicate a much larger issue. Even if it has nothing to do with video games, what are the adverse effects of not sharing a bedtime routine with your spouse?
It could be any other hobby, but when a leisure activity consistently takes one member of a marriage away from time spent as a couple, there will eventually be negative consequences.
When a hobby like online gaming takes precedent over spending time with your spouse, particularly the connection-building time spent together in bed (even if you’re just sleeping), it can make the other person feel neglected, ignored, and downright unimportant in the face of your other interests.
This isn’t to say that couples need to spend every waking moment together, or that bedtime routines should be so rigid they don’t allow for fluctuations in people’s schedules – this is simply to show the long term importance of sharing some kind of bedtime ritual, and to remind couples to be aware of how their hobbies and use of free time may be affecting the other person.
Like many of the other habits we discuss, going to bed at separate times, or generally ignoring the connective importance of that time of the day will eventually become habit. As those habits form, dissatisfaction builds, and those cycles can be very difficult to break.
To avoid these kinds of problems, you don’t have to give up your hobbies or get ready for bed every time your spouse does. Instead, just be aware of how your routines overlap with your spouse’s, and find some middle ground so you have time to keep your connection strong!
For more tips on resolving conflict and strengthening the bond with your spouse, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
Do you and your spouse go to bed at the same time? Are you disconnected because of too much gaming or screen time? Please comment below.
Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com