Is it reasonable to think of my spouse's obsession with video and online games as an addiction? Every night when he comes home from work, he goes straight to the television or computer. On weekends he devotes hours on end to gaming. I'm very concerned about his behavior. Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?
Most people consider addiction to be related to substances like drugs or alcohol. In reality, addiction can involve anything that becomes such a priority to a person that he or she is willing to neglect friends, family, faith, responsibilities, and even physical health to pursue it. Electronic games clearly have the potential to produce this kind of addictive behavior.
This may sound extreme, but it needs to be said. Your description of your spouse's behavior leads us to believe that he may need formal intervention, such as the kind used in dealing with an alcoholic. To initiate this process, we suggest you consult with a licensed Christian counselor. Call us. Focus on the Family's Counseling department can help you with referrals to qualified practitioners in your area. They'd also be happy to assist you in your efforts to get the ball rolling by discussing your situation with you over the phone.
Once you've engaged the services of a counselor, it's likely that he or she will want to enlist the assistance of your pastor or some of your husband's friends or family members. The counselor may also arrange a time when a group of you can sit down with your husband and confront him about his problem. In the best case scenario he will admit that something needs to be done. He may even express a willingness to get help with his addiction. But there is also the possibility that he will react defensively and deny that anything is wrong. If that happens, you and the counselor will need to make some tough choices about what to do next. Regardless of the course of action you choose, you will need the continuing support of friends, family, your pastor, and a caring therapist.
If the problem does persist, you may find it worth your while to take a look at Dr. Dobson's book Love Must Be Tough, which will provide you with some practical guidance as you deal with your husband's addiction.
Communication and Conflict