I have recently developed a theory about marriage, and it goes something like this:
People who like to play games tend to marry people who do not like to play games. Gamers marry non-gamers.
However, if you are at this moment nodding your head in agreement, then you know, as I do, and have experienced, as I have, the many, many difficulties that this little theory means for a marriage.
Gamers see a get-together of family or friends as an opportunity to pull out a deck of cards, or a board game, or some other form of torture for his or her non-gaming spouse who views this same gathering as a time to catch up, or relax, or just not be submitted to the agony of having to play.
In other words, non-gamers prefer to act like adults.
Can you guess which one I am?
As a child my family fought through volleyball games, cried over Bingo, quit Monopoly as early as possible, and I once witnessed one of us stomp out of the room enraged over the answer “Harriet Tubman” in the first round of Pictionary.
We are decidedly non-gamers.
But then I went and married my opposite.
Over our nearly 10 years of marital bliss, I have been forced on many occasions to play. I tried to enjoy the games, honest I did, but my theory formed as a result of these failed attempts at fun.
We nearly divorced over a game of Spades. Or was it Battle of the Sexes? Oh, it was both. On the same trip.
Then there was Euchre with his grandma. Yikes.
And there was another card game on a ski trip that went badly awry. I nearly strangled Josh. Seriously, I did.
Unfortunately, my dislike of games does not only cause troubles in marriage-land.
It tends to trickle over into my parenting.
I am 31-years-old, have been a mom for five years, and I’m just beginning to learn how to play.
My deep desire to be the best mom, wife and homemaker I can be has produced a tidy home, tasty meals, and kids who (usually) obey, but it has also caused the scales to dip dangerously in the direction of our home resembling a boot camp.
I am ashamed to admit that I have passed on many invitations to attend tea parties upstairs or dance like a princess in the living room because “I just need to get this laundry going” or “I’m loading the dishwasher right now.”
How many times have I turned down an opportunity to enjoy my children in exchange for a cleaner house?
I don’t know the answer, but the question alone hurts my heart. Too many times.
There is certainly a tricky tightrope to be walked here. The laundry does need to be done and the kitchen cleaned, but how often? Ten years of home-making and three kids later, and I’m still not so sure I know.
A dear, wise friend recently pointed to the far wall of the large room we stood in and said, “Imagine cleaning your house is like painting that wall. You painted the whole thing yesterday. Then today, you went back and re-painted. Same thing tomorrow. Day after day you repaint that same wall. But what would have happen if, one day, you just didn’t paint it?”
It simply does not come naturally to me to choose games over duty, and I envy my husband’s ability to play. To separate himself from his work. To not act like an adult.
But I am learning to step away from the paintbrush.
Because there’s just no need to sweep now. There will be even more crumbs on the floor after lunch, but the precocious three-year-old needing a push on the swings won’t wait forever.
Dirty dishes will never be as important as the super-high block-tower (and its super-incredible architect) that needs to be gushed over immediately!
The dust on the ceiling fans isn’t going anywhere either. But the five-year-old is about to go to Kindergarten, and nobody notices the ceiling fans anyway.
And, honestly, I’m kind of beginning to come around on games. I’m a big Hungry Hippos fan, and I am killer at Guess Who?
Just ask Josh.
So, what about you? Is my theory correct? Am I right or am I right?