Marriage (and any relationship) is all about love and understanding, such as understanding what I’m about to tell you. I’ll get right to it and say that “side quests” are one of the little unknown contributors to many fights in a relationship, especially when you are waiting on someone who said they “would be ready to go in 20 minutes“. Most video gamers will know the term, but for those of you still trying to save Princess Toadstool; Wiktionary defines side quests as “A quest given to the player that has no direct bearing on the main story/campaign of the game.” In short, a person needs to do a specific task, yet they end up doing eight other tasks before completing the primary objective. The lack of understating to how this relates to our daily lives, has resulted in more fights than men stumbling home drunk, hours later, without so much as a phone call as to their whereabouts, when they just went out to buy a bag of milk.
It has taken me years to come to the realization that the side quests are responsible for many of the arguments in my life, rather the lack of understanding, not so much the act of completing side quests. With my new found understanding, many of them have diminished. Let me explain. How many times have you stood by the front door, waiting to leave on an outing with your significant other, only to grow impatient as they are nowhere to be seen? You angrily remove your shoes, throw your keys on the counter, storm up the stairs to find out what is taking so long, only to find that the laundry is folded, the toilets have been scrubbed and your partner hasn’t even showered. We know what happens next… a fight. You’ve been ready to go for 20 minutes and your partner is at least another 30 minutes away from being anywhere close to leaving. Side quests. The objective was to head out to run errands. However, without realizing it, your partner got stuck doing all the side quests, which extended the time needed to complete the main objective. Instead of getting ready, they were doing all of the other things that could have waited and had nothing to do with leaving the house. Video gamers know this all to well; they attempt to turn in a completed quest before calling it a night, only to be given a few smaller quests which don’t actually have an impact to the story line. Six hours later they finally get to bed, while an hour-and-a-half later, you finally get to leave, perhaps alone, if you even leave at all.
Think back to all the times you’ve been left waiting to leave the house, start a movie, do some work around the house that needed a second pair of hands. Think about the delay, what else took place while you were waiting, growing impatient and angry. Is there a pattern you are seeing? Side quests perhaps? It is with this understanding you can grow from being impatient, to appreciating the extra work your partner has done, potentially to your benefit and absolving any need to fight. It is with this understanding that you can learn to accept there will be delays and you can avoid having to fight about running late. Take the time to explain the concept of side quests to your partner, hopefully over time they will see it for themselves, maybe you’ll be able to joke about or gently bring it up to offer a loving nudge out the door.
I cannot make any promises that this knowledge will help your partner avoid the endless completion of side quests, but at the least, it will help you to understand why your partner may be running late and help you find patience knowing they are possibly completing the chores they will eventually ask you to complete, therefore giving you more time for video games.
So, next time you want to throw your keys in a fit of rage and start the yelling, remember that each of us has intentions that can and will be side tracked, by side quests. Find patience in the knowledge I have shared, it will only help to serve the happiness of your relationship.