Integrating Compassion with the Wisdom of God’s Word


The purpose of Aunt Dara’s Christian Advice Column is to glorify God by addressing human needs with compassion and the wisdom of God’s word.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Boyfriend is Addicted to Computer Games

Dear Aunt Dara,

My boyfriend of almost 2.5 years has decided to quit college for the semester.  He's 20 and I'm 19.  He says he's been going to school his whole life and that he needs a breather.  Why should he stop while everyone else (including me, the woman in his life) is working to finish school?  He's addicted to computer games and I think it's a way for him to just play all day long.  I can't live with his addiction.  I want him to go back to school and to limit his game-playing, but he just doesn't care about how I feel and he says I'm manipulating him.  No, I'm just setting standards. (Right?)  He says it's his life, but if I'm part of his life, don't my opinions matter?  I want us to secure a future for our family-to-be.  (We have plans to marry after school—if he ever finishes).  How do I deal with his laziness and seemingly awful decisions?

Constant Sigher

Dear Constant Sigher,

It sounds as if you are frustrated with your boyfriend and a little resentful toward him.  You are right to be concerned about his decisions and his behavior.  However, he is right in saying that it is his life and his decision.  You cannot change him.  He has to want to change. 

First of all, let’s examine his compulsive behavior.  God is very much interested in how we spend our time and the things that we make a priority.  Our relationship with God and our relationships with others should be our priority (Mark 12:28-31, Ecclesiastes 12:13, Micah 6:8).  Furthermore, God is not pleased with laziness.  He wants us to engage in productive activity and use our time to accomplish something (Proverbs 19:15, I Thessalonians 4:11, Ephesians 4:28, II Thessalonians 3:10-13).  While there is nothing wrong with leisure activities, God is not pleased when computer games, video games, social media, sports, television (and such like) consume our time, hindering our relationships with God and others or preventing us from engaging in productive activity.

Next, let’s consider his decision to take a semester off.  It’s not uncommon for college students to “take a breather,” as he put it.  However, there are concerns.  Will he go back to school after he takes a brief time off?  The danger is that he won’t finish school, and then were will you be in building a secure future for your family-to-be?  Next, what will he be doing during his time off?  Will he be doing something productive, such as getting a job or perhaps doing some volunteer work, or will he be wasting time playing computer games, as you suspect?  His break from classes will be a test for you to see if he spends his time productively, or if he wastes it.  So, my advice to you is to stand back and let him do what he wants.  That will show you if he is mature enough to take on adult responsibilities.  If he ends up wasting his time, you will have some decisions to make.

Anyone who is contemplating marriage should ask themselves three questions:

  1. Is this the type of person with whom I could live happily for the rest of my life?
  2. Is this the type of person who I would want to be the father of my children?
  3. Is this the type of person who will exemplify Christ and be a godly influence on our children and myself?
If the answer to any one of those questions is, “No,” then you should seriously reconsider your decision to marry this person.  Remember, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.  The things he does before marriage will be the things he does while married.  If he thinks that he may lose you, he might promise that he will change his behavior.  However, unless followed by long-term, demonstrated changed behavior, promises are nothing more than empty words designed to manipulate you.  Don’t let that happen.  Keep your standards high.

God bless,
Aunt Dara

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