How Does a Christian Wife Deal with an Alcoholic Husband?

Alcohol addiction is a chronic medical condition with physical, emotional, social, and financial consequences for the alcoholic and his spouse. A Christian wife can benefit from her inner spiritual strength and Christian network of friends and church resources. However, the Christian wife also faces the challenges of effectively dealing with an alcoholic husband. Here we will discuss “how does a Christian wife deal with an alcoholic husband”.

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The Emotions of an Alcoholic Husband’s Wife

The spouse of any person with a chronic health condition faces a considerable challenge. However, the wife of an alcoholic is confronted with a unique and complex problem due to the way that she is affected by her spouse’s addiction. This can include intense social, physical, financial, and psychological trauma that can create deep-seated emotions and tensions.

It is critical to the recovery process that the wife and other family members recognize the personal emotional impact that alcoholism has made on them. Only then can they integrate proper coping mechanisms for a healthy and successful outcome that results in a sober and fulfilling marriage, family, and life. 

It is common for the wife of an alcoholic to blame herself for her husband’s drinking problem. As a result, you can feel personally responsible for your husband’s drinking. This creates a feeling you deserve the trauma you’ve experienced because of something you have done. Because you see the situation as your fault, you tend to endure abusive behavior instead of seeking the proper remedy. 

It is essential you replace self-blame with a correct understanding of your husband’s disease. This includes understanding that alcoholism robs your husband of his ability to make the right decisions and control his behavior.

One of the unfortunate outcomes of improperly managing your own emotions is not allowing him to produce a determined effort to fix the drinking problem. This leads to mounting frustration and thwarting any opportunity for a successful return to sobriety. Therefore, it is essential you support your husband without assuming the responsibility for his treatment outcome.

The Emotions of an Alcoholic

While you unravel and cope with your many emotions, your alcoholic husband is experiencing several powerful ones. Keeping in mind the possible physical, financial, and marital effects of alcohol on your husband, remember that he may also experience:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Regret
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Isolation from others
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Hopelessness
  • Sadness
  • Frustration
  • Moodiness
  • Jealousy

Understanding Abuse

Sadly, abuse happens in many marriages involving an alcoholic. The abuse can involve physical, mental, sexual, or emotional mistreatment. While alcohol is a common factor in all forms of abuse, alcoholics are three times more likely to place someone at risk of domestic violence or some other form of abuse than a nonalcoholic. Abuse can precipitate an acute and dangerous crisis or drag on for years and cause multiple problems for an abused wife, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Shame
  • Physical symptoms such as bruising, pain, and headaches.
  • Increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, arthritis, and immune dysfunction.

The Important Agreement

Adding to the frustration of coping with an alcoholic husband is the denial that accompanies this chronic disease as it progresses. The failure to recognize the addiction can prevent the alcoholic from seeking treatment and returning to a sober life. Additionally, denial often produces dishonesty that usually leads to marital difficulties. Signs that your alcoholic husband is in denial can include:

  • Shifting the blame for his drinking to you or someone else.
  • Justifying his behavior by offering an alternative explanation for his behavior.
  • Going to great lengths to conceal his drinking from others.
  • Comparing his drinking to someone else’s drinking who he believes to drink more than himself.
  • Dismissing your concern over his drinking as being trivial.
  • Procrastinating seeking treatment despite verbally agreeing he has a problem.
  • Defensively excusing his drinking as only affecting him.

Helping your husband overcome his denial is essential to the crucial step of agreeing that a problem exists. The agreement that alcohol addiction is real and affecting not only him, but also you and your marriage is a vital step toward recovery. Recovery and sobriety cannot be achieved as long as you are the only one who recognizes your husband’s drinking addiction. Admittedly, helping him admit this problem can be a formidable task. However, here are some tips to consider that might help you be successful in this endeavor:

  • Enlist the help of other people he trusts. Someone outside your direct situation to substantiate your observations may help the truth penetrate your husband’s denial.
  • Accept the limitations of all your effort. No matter how much you want to help your husband recognize his problem, you cannot do it for him. 
  • Educate yourself about alcohol addiction. Arming yourself with as much information as possible about what your husband is experiencing enhances the chance of successfully helping him.
  • Take care of your physical and emotional wellbeing. Your ability to cope and help your husband depends on you remaining strong and healthy for an effective and productive recovery.

Recovering Trust 

The denial phenomenon experienced by many alcoholics threatens one of the pillars of all successful marriages, trust. Since you may have lost trust in your husband, you need to set reasonable expectations for recovering it. Although it may be difficult, you and your husband can reestablish this marital essential as you both patiently walk through the recovery process.

Christian Help for Healthy Coping

As a Christian, you likely depend on the principles found in the Bible to help you during difficulties such as dealing with an alcoholic husband. Here are a few biblical helps during this time:

  • God already knows what you need during this time. (Matthew 6:8)
  • You can commit this time to God and trust Him to help you. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
  • Acknowledge that God has forgiven you, and you can forgive your husband. (Colossians 3:13)
  • Remain compassionate and humble. (1 Peter 3:8-9)

Sanctuary Recovery Foundation

The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation provides a secure, clean, and supportive environment that fosters community and successful recovery. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you or your spouse create a sober and successful life.