Almost a month ago, I got married.
Believe me, I am still soaking it all in. The wedding day went by in a whirlwind; vendors were paid, an insane amount of photographs were taken, and all the outstanding wedding debt is getting cleared up. I expected the stress of it all, I expected costs to be outrageous as soon as you tack the word "wedding" onto any item (Seriously, how can venues cost this much? It is four walls and one ceiling.), and I expected to nod along as my fiance showed me flowers and table patterns that she liked and I could care less about.
There is one caveat I never expected; I got married to someone who does not play video games.
"Just one more Strike, pleeeeease!"
It is nothing that surprised me, and my time with gaming is nothing that surprises her. Since we have been dating that was one of the things that was well established and one of the things that she knew took up most of my time. She also knew that since we have been dating that time with gaming has slowly diminished in favor of doing the things we both like.
It started easy, especially since she used to lived in a city that was an hour and a half away. Once a week or so I would drive up to take her out. We would go out, usually to dinner, and then either a bar or some other event. I would drive home, lose some sleep; but continue my usual regime through the week in whatever MMO or RPG I delved into that week. It was a lot of driving, but I never got upset about it. I never looked at that drive as a hindrance, I looked at it as a temporary inconvenience that would eventually be reduced to a memory.
Part of me loves gaming, but the other part loves doing new things and traveling, and that is where she shined. We ended up doing a lot of non-video game milestones through the year; We trained for and ran two half-marathons, we attended The Kentucky Derby for the first time together, went to concerts, kayaked on the river, swam in fresh water springs, and visited almost every state in the south east to see friends she new and stay in places we read about.
A year passed, then this past Christmas a simple act I never expected occurred; her gift to me was an Xbox One console. This was big for me, not only because of the sheer cost of the bundle and my reluctance to purchase one until funds came my way, but the gesture itself. She knew that I loved playing video games, and I knew full well she would rather do something else. Despite all of that, she wanted to make up for all the time and money I sacrificed traveling with her with a simple gesture toward something I loved. She never once asked me to stop playing video games, she never told me not to buy a game or console, she knew this meant something to me and, through this gift, that she would support it.
As I get older, I have come to terms with the fact that my video game schedule will continually change. I remember binge-playing Donkey Kong on my SNES for hours at a time as a kid, coming home from school and dedicating a night to completing Legendary difficulty on Halo in high school, and staying up late to explore every corner of Fallout 3 in college. Real life hit with a 8-5 job, and I found myself playing a ton over the weekends and less during the weekdays. Dating hit and that decreased even more. Married life has adjusted that further, with one day established as "date night" each week which is void of video games and focused on having fun together. Kids? That is sure to change it a ton (RNG gods willing, not for a while).
Despite the entire environment of change and adaptation, one constant remains; my will to continue playing video games is far from dead, and I still find myself excited by upcoming titles. I do find myself yearning for the days when I could come home, plop on the couch, and play the new Batman for four hours straight hunting Riddler trophies or knocking a chunk out of Final Fantasy 9's story progression; and sure, it now takes me a month to finish a game I could usually do in a week! However, when the console turned off, I always had that feeling of "now what". I remember wishing I had something else, or someone else to share my time with outside of gaming. She has given me that and then some. That is something I look forward to in our marriage.
Will we fight about this? Oh I fully expect so, but the fact she knows what it means to me and the fact she has purchased something to fuel that passion...well that is something I expect to pay back in kind. Marriage is all about sacrifice, and that will have to come from both of us.
If my groom's cake is any indication, that time to put the controller down and walk away is far from over.