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I see young couples all the time who think that their relationship is hopeless. What is occuring is that they don’t  have the tools to create a happy marriage and they are tempted to give up easily to get out of their pain.

The first tool in their healing is abstaining from the use of all alcohol and drugs for a  period of time.  A lot of partners numb themselves with these substances and then  make really poor choices. Using alcohol and drugs has been around for a long time but many young couples I see today seem to think that daily use doesn’t interfere with their lives.

The problem is that with alcohol, people often will fight more and become disconnected. This  issue might have been resolved  easily not under the influence of alcohol. Can you remember a time when you both were drinking that you had a fight with your spouse over something insignificant that ended in hurt feelings?

With marijuana the partner is sedated and feels little motivation to resolve conflict. They may feel, ”It doesn’t matter, “So what”, “Whatever” “What’s the use” and ignore important issues . Left unresolved, differences between partners fester, build resentment and cause a divide.

So when they both agree to go substance free  the real issues will surface. Maybe one spouse never initiates sex and leaves the other spouse not feeling desirable. This “undesired spouse” is triggered into old feelings of not being treated  special and cherished as a child .This ignored partner gets grumpy, sullen or distant and has a “Joint”.

The other partner has resentment that their spouse looks at other women or pornography frequently.  In therapy we talk about showing your spouse physical love and pushing through their sexual inhibitions from child hood . This partner asks for understanding, forgiveness and a more positive attitude in return.  This partner was self medicating their unhappiness with drugs and alcohol too.

This is just one example of the issues a couple could be having. Without sobriety the likelihood of issues being resolved is slim. No generation except in for Prohibition times hasn’t enjoyed having something to relax and have a good time. This is just a reminder that facing our issues in a marriage  takes using all of your senses. No one is wrong here. This is just meant to be a wake up call.