Letter from Julia: Gaming Ex-Husband
This is a letter we received from Julia. We are praying for you, your family, and your ex-husband! – Melanie & Andrew.
My girlfriend just sent me the YouTube link from your lecture with the City of Temecula, and I just had to send you a note to thank you for your work and to encourage you and your ministry and share my own story with you. A few years ago, my husband of seven years left me. We met at a Christian College, and we spent the first year of our marriage as missionaries in China. We got married the same day we graduated from college and went straight from the dorms into our first apartment, so I had no clue he had a video game addiction. I knew he liked games and was a computer programmer (which seem to go hand in hand), but was completely naive to this whole other gaming world and culture. All I knew was every Tuesday his buddies would bring their computers into one dorm room and play Halo all day. But when he brought his Xbox on our honeymoon, I started to realize this hobby wasn’t “normal.” He wanted to get into the video game industry and so many of the symptoms of this addiction I dismissed or tried to excuse because it was for his career.
He struggled with some social anxiety issues, and would get extremely angry if I would complain about his video game use. The video game world was his way to relax and unwind. He would say, “at least you know where I am every night… some husbands are out at bars and strip clubs and I am home.” Of course, the games he played were role-playing games with no pause button, so there was no way to interrupt him without ensuing wrath. Countless nights he would stay up playing World of Warcraft, family vacations he would not come on because the new Final Fantasy game was released, night after night going to bed alone.
I just cannot express in words how painful and lonely those years were. He would go to work and come home and immediately sit in front of the TV or commuter where he would eat alone, and that was his whole life. He took on no household responsibilities (when he left he had to YouTube how to turn on a washing machine because I guess he paid friends to do his laundry in college for him), I would have to beg him to even get him to occasionally come with me to church, let alone any kind of social events. He would drive separately to family functions like Thanksgiving or Christmas so he could leave as soon as possible to go home and play games.
But that was just the beginning… in the matter of five years, his addiction broadened to include prescription drugs and alcohol, what he called “emotional affairs” with other women, a completely new group of friends who would spend all night at techno clubs, and ultimately a total renouncing of any relationship with God and the values he had previously held. He divorced me claiming he never loved me and just wanted to wake up happy and took his games and left.
His mother was a very young single mom with no money trying to finish school. She would rent or buy a video game and leave him home alone because she couldn’t afford child care and knew he wouldn’t move from the TV while she was gone if he was playing a game. So these patterns started from kindergarten age onward and that was in the 80s! I can’t imagine this generation of future husbands being brought up in this technology soaked culture.
God was my rock and my refuge and my strength. By the grace of God I am happily remarried to a wonderful man who is thankfully completely disinterested in video games. But my heart aches because I know my story is not that uncommon. There are so many lonely wives out there with selfish, unloving husbands who care more about feeding this addiction than anything else in the world. These husbands need to repent of this idolatry and find their security and significance not in their ranking on a game, but in Christ. And we need God honoring men to step up to their role as heads in their homes with the self control to deny the fleshly temptation to waste their days and nights away on their own pleasure and to seek after raising up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
That is why I am just so thankful you are working to educate people about this!!! I will be praying for your ministry, and if there is anything else I can do, please let me know.