My parents always advised me to date people who loved me for me. As I grew up and started dating, I realized that sometimes people love you for your personality but really don’t understand your interests. I love gaming, both tabletop and video games. Unfortunately, not everyone I dated felt the same way. Although not a big problem at first, couples who don’t entertain one another passionate interests feel a distance with time. Luckily, I found someone who plays games and enjoys it, albeit not as much as me. Gaming allows us to spend some quality time together, indulges my fascination with games, and provides ample opportunity to laugh and triumph. Although playing games may not be every couple’s cup of tea, here are some reasons why couples should at least consider gaming together more often.
It’s nice to find bonding moments with your significant other. Games often put a couple on the same team. Sometimes the game places them a mutual struggle to survive the zombie apocalypse, or perhaps they are saving the galaxy from anti-love. These games rely on the players communicating constantly, and if I’ve learned anything it’s that relationships strengthen or whither depending on the level of communication. The communication is built into the game so there’s no reason for any person to sit silent for an hour. I found that working together towards a common goal is truly rewarding, especially if it comes after a lengthy struggle against the game. More importantly though, every victory and defeat is shared. No single player contributes more than another, nor is any single person the reason the team lost. Sharing in triumphs and defeats tend to make relationship stronger because the experience and memory is shared equally among equals in the game. Isn’t it nice when partners treat each other as equals?
Let’s be honest, the majority of games have a winner and a loser. I believe it’s not healthy to view your significant other as a loser, but it’s hard not to when you dominate them in a game of Scrabble. Playing against one another allows a couple to face off against one another with very little at stake. They can be competitive without being aggressive. That said, competition can lead to strife if the couple takes the game way too seriously. I like to remind people of this old saying: “it’s just a game”. Competitive games mean nothing in the long run. They should be viewed as pieces of light-hearted entertainment as much as possible. I also remind myself of an old chess adage whenever Jordanna slaughters me in a game: “when the game end, the king and the pawn go in the same box”. So long as the couple remembers to leave the tension behind and just enjoy the game and time spent together, everything should be fine.
Tabletop versus Video Game
People have different tastes about everything; it’s the same with games. There’s a game out there for everyone, but it can be hard to find one that everyone enjoys. I’ve noticed that board games allow more social interaction compared to video games. It might have something to do with the focus directed to each other and the board and not a televisions screen. Video games have a lot better pacing overall however. I’ve spent thirty minutes explaining the rules to a game to Jordanna before, but I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than two minutes explaining the controls of a video game to her. Also, video games automatically react to every action a player makes. In a board game, a player has to resolve every single action every turn, and that can be very time consuming. Lastly, like everything that involves taste, better quality products make people come back for more. Sometimes, a couple can only return to a game a finite amount of times before it becomes stale or repetitive. Like all good things, a couple should exercise moderation in their enjoyment of the game or risk losing the magic the game held the first times they played together.
Personal Favorite: A Plain Old Deck
Personally, I recommend every couple to have a regular deck of cards. The cards are ubiquitous and extremely versatile. It is easy to transition between different games in a matter of minutes and there’s little harm done if the deck gets overplayed or damaged because you can easily replace the thing. Jordanna and I have spent an evening playing Poker, Gin, War, and a game I learned from my Grandfather in Guatemala called Conquian. Although those are all competitive games, it’s really easy to turn Solitaire into a co-op game were you talk about the best course of action with your significant other. On a personal note, it is really easy to turn a regular deck into a sentimental memento if you play with it regularly; a deck can easily be the token of all the good times you and your loved one have together.