Maintaining Your Faith While Playing Words with Friends

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
Torbak Hopper Word Game 480x300

I didn’t realize husbands were supposed to do this.

This was not part of my vows. This has never been mentioned in any marriage book I’ve read or counseling session I’ve sat in. And yet, two days ago, my wife let me know I was dropping the ball in our marriage. How?

Well, here’s what she said:

“For the last seven days, it’s been your turn on Words with Friends and you haven’t played a move with me.”

Ahh, the digital duties of a modern spouse with a smart phone.

If you’ve never played Words with Friends, it’s an app on the iPhone and the Droid that is sort of like the board game Scrabble. And by “sort of,” I mean “exactly.” I have no idea how it’s not a trademark infringement. It would be like taking the game “Connect Four,” tweaking the colors and then releasing your own version named, “Connect more than three but less than five.”

My wife loves playing it. She regularly has 6 or 7 different games going with 6 or 7 different people. And she’s not alone. Millions and millions of people have downloaded the app. Most of my friends play it. Me?

Despite my love of words, I’m not a huge fan. I thought that didn’t really matter, I assumed it was just a personal preference thing, until my wife said “When you’re in a covenant relationship you’re supposed to play Words with Friends with each other.”

Those weren’t her exact words, but in our silly conversation about that, I realized that most of us weren’t aware of how to maintain your Christian faith while playing Words with Friends. Fortunately, I have a blog dedicated to the exploration of these tough challenges most theologians shy away from. So, without further adieu, I present to you:

The 5 commandments of Words with Friends

1. Thou shalt not covet your neighbor’s words.
Just like in Scrabble, each time you play a turn, you get a collection of letters you can use to spell a word. Don’t covet your neighbor’s letters if they get the much-desired “blank letter” which can be used as any letter. Don’t out act in envy if you find yourself without a single vowel.

2. Thou shalt not cheat.
There are four different apps that you can use to cheat on Words with Friends. One of them is called “Cheat with Words.” You tell the apps what letters you have and the apps will tell you every possible word you can form. When someone used the word “Horjemr” in a game against my wife, it was clear they were cheating. No one on the planet regularly uses the word “Horjemr.” Except maybe “Horjemr Smith” who only uses it to say, “I sure hate my parents for naming me Horjemr.”

3. Thou shalt not strike a person who always adds “S” to your words.
The “S guy” is the worst person to play in Words with Friends. This vocabulary villain waits until you spell a brilliant word and then lazily tacks on an S to the end of it, soaking up all the points with none of the work. Scoundrel! But before you lash out, keep in mind, this is a completely fair move. Dastardly perhaps, but it’s not cheating.

4. Thou shalt heed the call of “Your Move” quickly.
Your iPhone buzzed. Your Droid beeped. Your smartphone essentially said, “Hey, it’s your move on Words with Friends.” Do not tarry friend. Do not delay. Make your move quickly. Play your word with great haste.

5. Thou shalt not be a sore loser.
You lost. In one fell swoop your opponent got a triple letter score with a Z and tore your word kingdom asunder. Do not slander or gossip. Do not throw barbs or have a mouth of poison like the wicked. In other words, don’t use the chat feature of Words with Friends to talk trash.

Immediately after writing this post, I finally played my wife back in Words with Friends. It felt like we were “doing life together.” It felt like our “season” of silence was over. It felt like I played the word “Tip” for 12 points and was now beating my bride 19-12 in Words with Friends.

Do you play Words with Friends? What commandment would you add to this list? What app do you use the most?

Editor's Note: This is a reprint of an article that first appeared on Jon Acuff's site, Stuff Christians Like. The article is reprinted here, with permission from Jon.

The Work of Play

Play is not just for kids. If you are under pressure in your work, a spirit of play can lead to balance, creativity, and good health. In our hyper-productive world, we need to learn how to play again—at home, on the job, and even in worship. This article is part of our series The Work of Play. If someone you know needs to rediscover the joy of play, invite them to the conversation on The High Calling.

Image by Torbak Hopper. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr.