Addressing the impacts of alcohol on a marriage

Addressing the impacts of alcohol on a marriage
We are married three years and in the last year or so my husband has been going out with his friends or work colleagues much more than before. He goes out every Saturday night and usually comes home drunk, really affecting our Sundays as a family because he is hungover and in a bad mood.

The first thing you need to do is talk: remember do not go on the attack. As this is a recent enough development you have to ask why he is suddenly going out and getting drunk – are there stresses or pressures he is under that you might not be aware of? Perhaps he is just trying to be ‘one of the lads’ but life is different now he has a family and a wife and not just himself to consider.

This isn’t about cosseting your husband but about discussing getting the balance right. Going out is one thing, but is coming home drunk, slurring words and being hungover ever acceptable to you? If you keep grinning and bearing it, then I suspect nothing will change. However, try not to play the blame game, that will only make him defensive and most likely he will shut down the conversation. It would be good to talk about expectations and see if you can compromise, he might think he should be going out every week whereas perhaps every two weeks would be better.


He needs to understand fully the impact it is having on you. He could be totally unaware of this. Again it needs to come from a place of love, you want to spend time together and make the most of your weekends together. I can imagine you’re finding it difficult at this stage as you have come to expect it. But as you haven’t talked about it that frustration and anger will fester.

Don’t use language that says ‘he makes you feel’ a certain way, a guilt trip won’t work here. Instead you need to ask him how he feels about missing out on family time on Saturdays. It would be good to suggest an alternative for Friday evenings, can he do something else with friends, dinner or the cinema. Probably more importantly can you do something together, make every other Friday your time and your date night.

From a health perspective binge drinking has a huge impact, it would be good to come at a point of concern for his health. The discussion certainly needs to focus on the why – why is he suddenly feeling the need to drink so much and does it bother him that it takes away from quality time together as a family?

In this discussion it would be also healthy to talk about you getting out with your friends and getting time to yourself as well.

You need to remind one another that you are a team, you are partners. Lots of things change when you are married, in a way it’s probably difficult as you might have expected the mourning of his single life to have happened in the very beginning. That is why it is likely there is something triggering this behaviour and if you can get to the bottom of that then that could be a starting point for getting back on track.