Marriage Minute: My spouse is a gamer

Here’s another great reader email.

I’d love to hear advice on how to deal with a spouse who is a gamer. My husband is much better than he was, and far better than some, but sometimes I feel that the games take precedence over our relationship and our time and that hurts.

Fortnite made headlines last week after being cited in more than 200 divorce proceedings in the United Kingdom.

Every relationship is different, so we don’t have rules about video game usage. Some people play games to decompress and that’s their thing.

We do recommend that you establish rules that work for you and your marriage.

What’s most important is how you talk about it. Remember the soft start-up formula: I feel ___, about ___, and I need ___. Make statements that start with “I” instead of “You.”

Don’t judge. Instead of accusing or blaming, just describe what you see and feel. This will help prevent your spouse from feeling attacked or getting defensive.

Again, it’s important to establish policies that feel fair to you both—and then to respect them.

Gaming addiction
If you think you or your partner may be suffering from a video game addiction, it’s best to seek the professional guidance of a trained therapist.

Related blog posts

The Marriage Minute From The Gottman Institute, dated 27 September 2018. You can sign up here to get The Marriage Minute delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

New Legislation Creates PCS Housing Flexibility Options

The below message is from Ms. Vickie LaFollette, DoD, Military Community and Family Policy.  Her message is informing of new relocation legislation requirements effective October 1, 2018.

Ms. Vickie LaFollette states: “In simple terms the goal of these legislative changes are to provide more flexibility to service members and their families during the permanent change of station for those members with school-age children and spouses who are employed or enrolled in school.  The below language, DoDI 1315:18, “Procedures for Military Personnel Assignments” provides housing flexibility options for eligible service members undergoing a PCS within the United States.”

The Housing Flexibility During PCS language from DoDI 1315:18 is listed below:

10.  HOUSING FLEXIBILITY DURING PCS

a.  Effective October 1, 2018, as authorized by Section 403a of Reference (n), Military Department regulations will permit eligible Service members to request the housing flexibility options specified in paragraph 10.c. of this enclosure while undergoing a PCS within the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii). When used with regard to housing flexibility options during a Service member’s PCS, the covered relocation period begins 180 days before the date of the PCS, which is the date the Service member leaves his or her current PDS, and ends 180 days after the date of the PCS.  The Secretary of the Military Department concerned may shorten or lengthen the covered relocation period based on the needs of the Military Service.

b.  Service members eligible for housing flexibility options specified in paragraph 10.c. of this enclosure during the covered relocation period are any Service members who have one or more dependents enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program or who, at the beginning of the covered relocation period:

(1)  Have a spouse who is gainfully employed or enrolled in a degree, certificate, or license-granting program;

(2)  Have one or more dependents attending an elementary or secondary school; or

(3)  Are caring for an immediate family member with a chronic or long-term illness.

c.  Housing flexibility options include:

(1)  Continuation in government-owned or government-leased family housing of the Service member’s spouse or other dependent if they are residing in such housing at the beginning of the covered relocation period.  The spouse or other dependent may continue to reside in such housing during the covered relocation period.  Requests for this option should be approved only if approval will not adversely affect other Service members who will arrive at the current PDS during the period of continuation in housing.

(2)  Early housing eligibility when the Service member is eligible to reside in government-owned or government-leased family housing at the new PDS.  The spouse or other dependent may move into such housing at any time during the covered relocation period, if it is available, even if the Service member has not arrived at the new PDS.

(3)  Occupancy of government-owned or government-leased unaccompanied housing by a Service member with dependents. If a spouse or other dependent of a Service member relocates at a time different from the Service member, the Service member may elect to reside in such housing until the Service member’s detachment date from the current PDS or until the Service member’s spouse or other dependents arrive at the new PDS. Occupancy in such unaccompanied housing will be provided on a “space-available” basis and may not displace a bona fide unaccompanied Service member with no dependents at such housing.

(4) Equitable basic allowance for housing.  If the spouse or other dependent of a Service member relocates at a time different from the Service member, the amount of basic allowance for housing may be based on whichever of the following areas, prescribed in Reference (m), the Secretary of the Military Department concerned determines to be the most equitable.  In no case may the Service member’s basic allowance for housing be lower than the amount payable under Section 403(d)(3)(A) of Reference (n).

(a)  The area of the duty station to which the Service member is reassigned.

(b)  The area in which the spouse or other dependent resides, but only if the spouse or other dependent resides in that area when the Service member departs for the next PDS, and only for the period during which the spouse or other dependent resides in that area.

(c)  The area of the Service member’s former PDS, but only if that area is different from the area in which the spouse or other dependent resides.

d.  Relocation assistance programs are statutorily required and intended to minimize the adverse effects of stressors associated with PCS moves.  They must provide information and education regarding these housing flexibility options during PCS to Service members and their families.  Specific relocation assistance policy is prescribed in DoDI 1342.22.

A&FRC Upcoming Closures

The Airman & Family Readiness Center (A&FRC) will be closing tomorrow, Thursday, September 6th, at 10:30 AM for the United Way Day of Caring.

Next week, the A&FRC will be closed all day on both Thursday, September 13th, and Friday, September 14th for staff training.

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience caused.

Marriage Minute: The story of Alice in Wonderland

As the story goes, Alice sees a very unusual rabbit go down a hole, and she jumps in with two feet. She has no idea what this journey is going to be and Wonderland isn’t really all that great of a place.

There’s scary things, challenging things, and things that are also interesting and fascinating. It’s an adventure, and Alice doesn’t know what’s in store for her, but she jumps in anyway.

Alice doesn’t hesitate or think maybe a better rabbit will come along tomorrow.

She doesn’t look back and doesn’t question the adventure she’s chosen.

That’s commitment.

Related blog posts:

The Grass is Greener Where You Water It
The Truth About Expectations in Relationships

The Marriage Minute From The Gottman Institute, dated 28 August 2018. You can sign up here to get The Marriage Minute delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

Marriage Minute: There’s something all couples fight about…

Take a guess. Money? Sex? Chores? Those are all good guesses, and likely accurate for many couples, but not true for all couples.

In an interview, Anderson Cooper asked John Gottman about the number one thing that couples fight about. His answer?

Nothing.

That’s right. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch!

For example, in the Love Lab, a couple fought over which TV show to watch. John determined that “it just happens” and they’re actually not fighting about the TV.

What they might really be fighting about is control, or sharing, or compromise. But none of that is expressed, so they’re really arguing over nothing!

So, if you find yourself in those kinds of fights with your partner, try to take a step back and ask them what’s really going. What’s the core issue here? What do they need from you? What do you need from them?

Related blog posts

The Marriage Minute From The Gottman Institute, dated 7 August 2018. You can sign up here to get The Marriage Minute delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

Marriage Minute: What’s The Problem?

In the film Moneyball, Brad Pitt’s character meets with his staff to figure out how to replace some really good players. They have lots of advice, but they’re not listening to his perspective. He cuts them off and says, “Okay, so, what’s the problem?”

To put it simply: how can you come up with a solution without knowing what the real problem is?

This is especially important when your partner explains a problem that they’re facing. It feels natural and even helpful to offer advice right away, but that won’t help your partner feel understood.

The next time your partner comes to you with something they’re upset about—say, dealing with a difficult coworker—don’t try to solve anything. Just listen. Sympathize with them and ask them to tell you more.

It’s more important to show that you understand your partner than to offer advice, and it helps you to learn more about your partner and the problem at hand.

Related blog posts

The Marriage Minute From The Gottman Institute, dated 2 August 2018. You can sign up here to get The Marriage Minute delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

Marriage Minute: Nobody likes a traffic jam

Imagine the gridlocked streets of Manhattan at rush hour. Or the snaking, unmoving line of cars going onto I-5 in Seattle. Who wants to be stuck in that?

The same kind of situation—gridlock—happens in relationships, and usually around perpetual, unsolvable problems. Which all relationships have.

The good news is that there’s a way out of that traffic jam. Unrealized life dreams are at the core of every gridlocked conflict, so you’ll need to find out what those dreams are. If you’re stuck in an argument, ask something like this:

What does this really mean to you? What do you need from me? Tell me more.

The key to breaking free of gridlock is to express fondness and admiration to your partner, to accept their faults, to understand yours, and to find ways to work around them and make both of your life dreams come true.

You’ll still have some bumps in the road, but that traffic will clear up for you and your partner to move forward.

Related blog posts

The Marriage Minute From The Gottman Institute, dated 26 July 2018. You can sign up here to get The Marriage Minute delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.