If you are in a marriage that is struggling because one or both spouses are addicts, do not give up. Here are some encouraging stories from people who came out on top of addiction in marriage.
“I discovered my husband’s pornography problem after three years of marriage. I was devastated. We were a Christian household and we had a newborn baby. I told him I was considering leaving him and fortunately, he loved me enough and took our marriage seriously enough to change. He started going to counseling and learning how to manage his addiction, as well as educating himself on what his addiction was doing to me. Now, two years later, our marriage is stronger than ever and free of pornography!” -Mary Cassise, Connecticut
“I had been an alcoholic since I was 18. Both of my parents were alcoholics and I was simply doing what I had seen them do. To be honest, I thought it was kind of normal. When I married my husband, he knew that I drank a lot, but he didn’t know everything about my alcoholism. For the first time, I could see that my drinking was hurting someone I cared about. I tried to quit on my own for a couple years and failed every time. I almost lost my husband, who was tired of how dysfunctional I was. So I went through rehabilitation and got the counseling I needed to succeed at sobriety. I am so thankful for the support system I found in rehab and in support groups. They saved my life and saved my marriage.” -Heather Graham, Arizona
“I got hooked on gambling when my business first started making real money and I had some to play with. I’ve always been a card player, but never had any real money to put down. Once I did, it became compulsive, and even when I got married, I would gamble with money that should have gone into savings or to treating my wife, but I was selfish with it instead. It got so bad that I was losing money hand over fist, but I still couldn’t stop, even when bills were piling up. When my wife separated from me, that was my reality check. I loved my wife too much to lose her to my gambling habit.” Robert Diaz, Washington
Few things can damage a marriage the way addiction can. Addiction destroys respect, honesty, expectations, commitment and love in a marriage. No one goes into a marriage expecting to have to deal with addiction unless they do not fully understand addiction. Those who understand how difficult it really is would advise to postpone the wedding until the addiction problem is sorted out. The best remedy for addiction within marriage is not to get married in the first place, and instead attend relationship counseling. But whether or not you have already taken the vows, addiction warrants counseling and treatment. To save your marriage, begin to investigate your mental health care options right away.
The first priority is to help the addict, or addicts in the case of both spouses being addicted, get rid of their addiction. After all, it is the toxin that is poisoning the marriage.
However, the addiction itself has many complex underlying causes that require careful cognitive behavioral evaluation in order to discover and eliminate. The services of an addiction treatment facility, or rehabilitation center, come highly recommended for this purpose. They have the highest success rate of any form of addiction treatment. This process will safely and efficiently eliminate the need for the addiction to exist.
A good quality rehabilitation center will be able to offer counseling to the addict’s spouse, or be able to refer the spouse to an appropriate counselor. At some point, counseling for the married couple together should take place. A certain level of individual counseling and a certain level of relationship counseling are both important to helping both people through the damage that relationships do. The non-addicted spouse needs professional help understanding why the addicted spouse has been so hurtful and neglectful. The addicted spouse needs professional help understanding how to rebuild their marriage. Recovering a marriage from the pain of addiction is not something that is easy to do without professional help. Those who intend to take it seriously should not delay in reaching out for professional help.
When we think about weddings, joyous images of white dresses, cakes and doves come to mind. Weddings are a time of celebration and union, and they are universally thought of as a positive thing. But what if one or both of the people taking vows is struggling with addiction. This changes the picture perfect idea we have in our minds to something darker and more troubled. To many of us, signs of addiction in a romantic partner would be an automatic indication of the necessity of postponing plans of matrimony, if not severing them completely. But to others, the signs of addiction are either not taken seriously or are swept under the rug completely, and addiction enters the marriage.
When addiction and marriage exist within a relationship, it quickly goes from something that was left unaddressed to something that plays a major part in the marriage, and not for the better. Typically, the non-addicted spouse did not address the problem because they were not aware of a healthy way to handle it or they did not realize the extent of the problem. It is very important in a serious relationship to know when and how to address problems and conflicts, as well as to know the signs of addiction so one can assess addictive tendencies in their fiance prior to marriage. It is also possible for both partners to be addicts, either to the other’s knowledge or not. This can be even unhealthier, as neither partner will want to be held accountable for their addictive behavior.
When it comes to addiction and tying the knot, there is only one healthy option: tackle the problem before saying the vows. A brand new marriage is challenging enough without bringing a major mental health or behavioral problem into it. Addiction can only hurt a new marriage, never help it. When someone is addicted to a behavior or a substance, they place it at the highest level of priority. The addiction gets more energy, attention and thought than any other aspect of their life, including their new spouse. This will inevitably become hurtful and damaging to the relationship, and will create a wedge between the newlyweds. If you or someone you know is engaged to be married and struggling with addiction, it is wise to bring the addiction under control and end it prior to getting married, for the health of the relationship.
There is no doubt about it; addiction destroys marriages. This has been observed in countless examples of marriages in crisis due to one or both of the spouses being addicts. The married couples who choose to address the problem early on and receive counseling and treatment are the ones that survive. The married couples who try to ignore the problem, sweep it under the rug or simply cannot agree on how to handle it are the ones who suffer and often fall apart. No marriage has to end over addiction. Those who identify it, seek help and allow their marriage to heal can have marital success.
The first step in eradicating addiction from your marriage is identifying it. You will start to recognize the signs of addiction in your partner if you are watching for them carefully. Addicts tend to change in their physical appearance for the worse. Often their weight becomes mismanaged, their muscle mass deteriorates and in the case of some addictions, their skin suffers. Addicts become moody and emotional if they cannot access their addiction. They will show signs of wanting to retreat from social events, hobbies they used to enjoy and the company of their close relationships in order to have more time with their addiction. Their work or school performance often will suffer, and they will generally seem to care less about things they used to care deeply about. When both spouses are addicted, holding each other accountable is more difficult, but still possible.
The best thing to do for both spouses is to seek the help of a professional rehabilitation service or addiction treatment counselor. Whether this is through inpatient rehab or another type of addiction service, do not underestimate the importance of counseling. If the married couple has been living together with the addiction for any amount of time, chances are the marriage is already somewhat damaged and needs the help of a mental health specialist. Marriages that have been tainted by addiction can be saved. It is simply up to you not to hesitate in reaching out for help!
Addiction, in many ways, can be considered the opposite of marriage. It is not a coincidence that addiction destroys marriages at the same rate as infidelity, dishonesty and abusiveness. Where as marriage calls for all the best, most selfless qualities within a person, addiction is an entirely selfish act, serving no one but the addict. Marriage and addiction cannot survive together within a relationship. Eventually, one or the other will have to give. The best relationship advice for a married couple that is harboring addiction in at least one of the spouses is to receive addiction treatment and counseling immediately before irreparable damage is done to the marriage.
Addiction is obviously entirely self-serving. There is no way to claim otherwise. When a person is aware that they are addicted, yet refuses to do anything about it for the sake of their spouse, they are acting in a way that protects their interests alone. They are not considering how their spouse feels or how they are hurting their marriage. Addiction is a complicated thing to treat and eradicate, but when a married person refuses to even try, they are sending a painfully hopeless message to their spouse.
Addiction in marriage consistently creates an unhealthy and dysfunctional environment. Addicts often mistakenly tell themselves that their addiction only affects them. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A spouse who can count on their partner not to be lost in addiction and be available to them is going to be much happier than a spouse who constantly feels less important than an addiction. Addicts typically neglect their relationships, their responsibilities and the things that used to inspire them, leaving their spouse feeling alone and discarded.
The cruelest part of being married to an addict is feeling like less of a priority than an addiction. Often times, the addiction is to alcohol or drugs. When a spouse sees their marital partner rearrange their lives in order achieve their addiction high, but barely lift a finger to contribute to the marriage, it wears them down over time to the point that they no longer feel anything toward their spouse.
The bond of marriage can mean many things to many different people, but there are certain facets of marriage that are immovable. No matter how you define marriage personally, the devotion that two people owe one another when they take marriage vows always somehow looks the same.
First of all, putting your spouse before everything else is very important to the marriage. Protecting them and caring about how they feel should come first at all times. If something else replaces them in importance, such as a job, an affair, an addiction or any other distraction, the marriage’s health will be in jeopardy.
Another absolute essential to marriage is honesty. A marriage can never survive lies between spouses. Trust can take a lifetime to earn and a moment to break, so transparency and truthfulness should never feel optional in a marriage. Lying to hide infidelity, addiction, financial issues or any other wrong-doing is a crime against marriage.
Giving your spouse faithfulness and loyalty should come without saying, and is an obvious element of being honest with them. One of the most important things a spouse wants from their partner is knowing that they are supported and that their spouse has their back. Feeling alone in a marriage is far lonelier than actually being alone. Being a support system is naturally expected of a spouse.
Married couples look to one another for love and affection. This is usually what leads people to enter into marriage. People have an inherent desire for love, romance, affection and sex, and when they take a marriage partner, they are proclaiming that they have found the person they want to receive those things from for the rest of their life. The affectionate side of marriage is marriage’s greatest reward.
And lastly, marriage comes with an expectation to stick together through hard times. Even when two married people are not seeing eye to eye, they expect one another to work through it and come to a compromise rather than running away.