As I was cleaning out our game cupboard after Christmas to make room for the 6 or 7 new board games we have now added to our collection, I found myself reminiscing about the memories that some of the games sparked. Sure, there are plenty of memories involving our three boys, but the sweetest memories, surprisingly, included just my husband.
He was much more of a "game geek" than I was growing up. My family played the occasional game of Trivial Pursuit or Go to the Head of the Class (my personal favorite), but my husband’s family was hard-core about playing games. Board games, card games, video games, his family played them all. It still makes me giggle to think about my husband and his friends as high schoolers, whiling away the weekends playing epic games of Dungeons & Dragons. So it was no surprise that when we got married, games became a favorite way to spend time together.
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There was the Scrabble phase (which was frustrating because although he was the math major and I was the English major, he could always beat me). For a while it was cribbage. And who can forget the Great Dominoes Epidemic of '96, which spread throughout our entire circle of friends.
If you haven't played games with your spouse (I'm talking board games here, not head games or sex games. We'll save those for a different post.), I suggest you blow the dust off Yahtzee and give it a try. And I'll even give you five solid reasons board games are good for you and your spouse:
- Playing games together is a good way to practice how to handle yourself when you're in the "losing" position. You're not always going to win in a board game (unless you're my husband and you're playing me in Scrabble), and you're definitely not always going to win in your marriage. Being a good loser in a board game can help prepare you when those bigger conflicts arise. It's humbling to lose a game, especially to a spouse, but humility is a necessary ingredient in a strong marriage. Conversely, you also get the chance to practice being a gracious winner, which is also important after being proven "right" in an argument. Restraint and compassion do more good in a marriage than gloating and shouting "YES!!!" with a simultaneous pump fist, no matter how tempting it may be.
- Playing games with other couples can help you and your spouse practice teamwork. OK, I know it's just Catch Phrase, but anytime you get to be on the same team as your spouse, you're strengthening your bond and working on your relationship skills. Maybe it's figuring out how to "read" each other to guess the correct word, or maybe it's compromising in order to come to a consensus about an answer. No matter what you're actually doing, the important part is that you're working together on a common goal.