Addictive behavior is one of the most compelling issues a marriage will face. Addiction as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary is “an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something.” This definition covers a multitude of actions.
Addiction is not just to drugs, smoking, alcohol, sex, or porn but what about excessive eating, shopping, gossiping, enabling, work/career, codependency and countless other bad habits. These addictive behaviors can destroy a marriage if it is not dealt with properly.
I know you are reading this right now and saying no an addiction only deals with alcohol, drugs, and sex but let me tell you right now: you need to get the right view of the actions you are taking so that you can truly see if those actions are good for you and your marriage.
Bad habits are any action that consumes your thinking.
What is one thing you MUST HAVE or DO? Do you think about it all day every day? Do you lie to get it?
If you have an answer for any of those questions, you have an addiction. Yep, if you must shop every day, that is addictive behavior. If you food consumes your thoughts, then you are addicted to food. If you wake up, take a bath, eat with and go to sleep playing Candy Crush, you are addicted to that game or video games.
See addiction is not limited to what the world calls the “normal” addictive stuff.
You cannot be fully committed to your marriage and your addiction. Please understand, addictions make the person devote all their energy, time, and money to seek the fulfillment of the addiction. Alright, let me break it down again: If your face is all into your phone playing Candy Crush from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed, how can you give 100% of you to your spouse, your household, your family? You can’t. You are always thinking about getting off that level and what the next level has for you!
Now I am not picking on the Candy Crush addicts. I want you to replace the words Candy Crush with whatever you fiend for.
I know it’s difficult for you to understand how behaviors such as shopping, playing video games or even devoting all your time to your career could affect a marriage because you equate addiction with mind altering behavior. Great! I’m glad we are in agreement. Anything that consumes you is mind altering. Do I really need to go back to my Candy Crush illustration?
These destructive behaviors cannot reside alongside a marriage that wants to be strong and grow. One or the other will be neglected and most of the time it’s the marriage that suffers.
Being still with yourself is really the only way to break through to yourself ~ Caroll, Love Design Life
Being an addict will not allow you to fully commit to your role as a husband, wife, mother, father.
So how can you let go of the bad habits?
1. Acknowledge you have a problem
The first step in healing is acknowledging that you do have a problem. This is a hard step for some but to really get a hold of this problem you must be honest with yourself first.
2. Decide how to handle the problem
Some people are able to kick their destructive behavior by themselves but some may need to seek counseling. If you cannot do it alone, then please by all means seek the help of a professional.
3. Involve your spouse
Talk to your spouse. Make sure you apologize for your behavior and ask them for their help and support.
Hey, I know this is a tough subject but marriage is tougher! Your love for your spouse is tougher so this subject is just here to help those that need the encouragement to let go. Don’t let your addiction pull your marriage apart.
I will not lie, changing behaviors are difficult but they can be changed. Be determined. Be prayerful and be willing to be vulnerable to pass this hump in your marriage.
If your spouse is the one with the addictive behavior, you need to be supportive. SUPPORTIVE not JUDGEMENTAL. Help your spouse through this and the spouse with the bad habit help your spouse help you through this.
Brandi, at Mama Knows It All, said it best in her post, You Can’t Turn A Foe Into A Housewife: you unable to be a friend to yourself let alone a [good] spouse to someone else until you stop the self-sabotaging decisions [behavior].
Here are some resources for you:
Podcasts for you to listen to at your leisure:
Unabridged – Overcoming Addiction
Let Go and Let God on Sol Searching Radio Show
Books to read:
How to Let Go and Let God by Regina Baker
What self-sabotaging behavior do you need to stop?
Read the other posts in this series about Letting Go: