Last week I had an interesting discussion with one of my co-workers that really prompted my mental juices into action. As a disclaimer no names will be shared (or at the least they will be changed) and this is not done in a spirit of gossip but rather in love as a learning experience.

I have a friend at work that plays WoW on the same server that I do and he recently got his first character to max level. It’s fun to watch him learn the game and he asks a lot of questions about mechanics, lore, socialization and a host of other things. He’s a complete newb (which is the good version of the term) and he’s having a good time. He’s also playing responsibly by allowing himself no more than a few hours a week, which is even better. Yet there is a problem – his wife doesn’t know that he plays.

This is not his first foray into the WoW world – in fact about a year ago he was playing the game but not in a positive manner. Sadly like many others he fell victim to the addiction side of the game and it consumed a good portion of his life. Now I’m not talking the bad, I forgot to feed my kids, type of addiction, but it was such that he neglected some of his family duties. Eventually he quit the game (which was the right choice) and worked on his relationship with his family.

He started playing again about three months ago with the committment to tone it down which he has been successful so far. However it appears that a good bit of that restraint comes from the fact that his wife is unaware that he is playing. He spends his time online while she is out and about and immediately closes the game when he hears her get home. There is one other aspect to consider as well in this account, his wife has a moral conviction about the game. Because it has magic and wizards she feels it deals with the occult and so it bothers her conscience (this was from the previous time when she was aware).

So here is what we have to consider:  1) a husband keeping a secret from his wife and 2) a moral conviction on the part of the wife. Now before we just outright condemn this man as a bad husband let’s look at this from both sides. This gentleman does not share the same moral conviction and to him, like me, it is just a game. It’s a way to interact with other people, enjoy an amazing story, and all around have fun. He’s also being responsible by limiting the amount of time that he plays so that it doesn’t interfere with his family duties/responsibilities.

Let’s consider a few other things as well: he’s not single. If this was a single guy there would be no issue. If he wants to spend his time playing a game then there is no problem because it’s only affecting him, and since he would not have a moral conviction in this case, there would be nothing else to consider. But that’s not the case. He is a married man so he cannot be concerned with just himself. In this situation my advice would be two-fold.

First, he needs to come clean. Keeping a secret from your spouse is never a good idea. You will always get caught in the end and it’s better to be open and honest (which will help bring you together) than to keep things from each other (which will force a wedge between you). Will there be some hurt and lose of trust? Sure. Will things get better? Probably. One can’t guarantee that things will be 100%, but if both people are committed to Christ then as they follow and honor him, they should grow closer together. I’ve seen this in my own life, and while it hurts, things are way better now.

Second, he needs to consider his wife’s conscience. While one may feel that the wife just needs to get over it and grow up this is actually not what we are commanded to do in Scripture. One of my favorite verses is found in Philippians 2:3 where Paul instructs, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” What a powerful principle to live ones life by! Of course this is not always the easiest thing because we are selfish, but when we follow Christ, and trust the Holy Spirit, we have the freedom to fulfill this command. There will be times when we forego certain things in order to fulfill this command and that should be okay with us.

We’ll see what happens with my friend, but I encouraged him with this wisdom and hopefully he takes it to heart. For the rest of us let’s continue to work on our relationships and consider how we can “count others more significant than yourselves.”