Boozing Up? How Does Alcohol Affect Your Marriage?

By Guest Post

Alcohol consumption is prevalent among married couples, yet, like cereal with pineapple juice, alcohol with marriage can dissolve a union or drive a chasm between its members. Addiction damages relationships in a variety of ways because it causes the addict to prefer alcohol above all else.

When a person has agreed to share their house, finances, and emotional life with their partner, it appears unjust for them to be preoccupied with drinking. However, the spouse must recognize that alcoholism is not a choice but an illness. Here are some ways in which alcohol might impact a marriage.

How Alcohol Stirs Marriage Relations

Alcohol and marital difficulties go hand in hand. Whether or not both partners in a marriage suffer from an alcohol use disorder, issues will arise as a result. Alcohol decreases inhibitions and impairs judgment, resulting in conflicts and miscommunications.

Additionally, it is an expensive habit, and economics are one of the biggest reasons of marital strife. The effects of alcoholism on an individual and their relationships are severe. Because we have chosen to spend the remainder of our lives with our partner, the partnership between spouses is extremely valuable. Here are a few ways in which alcohol may impact your marriage:

Detachment and Emotional Disconnection

We commonly view alcohol as a social lubricant that makes it easier to initiate discussions and form relationships. However, heavy alcohol consumption may also result in relationship disengagement.

A tiny study discovered that men with AUD have trouble identifying emotions in spoken language. They also demonstrated a diminished capacity for empathy. Not to mention that the humiliation associated with drinking may force some individuals to withdraw.

Unreliability and Irresponsibility

The majority of the time, a person’s irresponsibility and unreliability grows as their alcohol dependence increases. They may neglect family responsibilities and accomplish chores inconsistently.

Having the sense that you can depend on your partner is essential to a long-term relationship, especially if you have infants or young children to care for. This can have an effect on your connection if it deteriorates.

Physiological Health Issues

It should come as no surprise that heavy alcohol use can negatively affect health. Abuse of alcohol can have negative effects on the brain, digestion, and weight, as well as raise the risk of developing numerous types of cancer. This can impact the quality of life for both couples and the entire family unit.

Having a sick or disabled relative places a load on family caregivers and family members who do not provide care. These “spillover” effects of disease influence the physical and mental health, as well as the quality of life and well-being, of family members.

Disengagement from Activities

Alcohol abuse can diminish vigor and strength. This may force you to stay in bed or on the couch, preventing you from dealing with or bonding with your family. The family has a profound impact on a child’s development, influencing his or her attitudes, beliefs, opportunities, habits, and personality traits. The family has a significant impact on who a child becomes and what he or she achieves.

Sharing quality time not only strengthens and builds family relationships, but also gives everyone a sense of belonging and security. When families enjoy activities together, children not only develop vital social skills but also have stronger self-esteem, according to research.

Physical inactivity can be hazardous to your health, and neglecting your family can have negative effects on their growth and your relationship with them.

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Mental Health Issues

Underneath attitude shifts, there may be underlying concerns at play. Even while some people may drink to alleviate depression and anxiety, evidence suggests that alcohol frequently exacerbates these symptoms.

In fact, through modifying brain chemistry, a pattern of excessive drinking may induce anxiety and sadness where none existed previously. If one or both spouses deal with alcoholism, this can have a profound effect on their relationship dynamics.

Alterations in Attitude

One or both partners may become more negative and difficult to be around if they consume excessive amounts of alcohol. Drunkenness may reduce a person’s “filter,” resulting in a less polite and considerate communication style.

At its most severe, this can deteriorate into verbal abuse, which threatens the self-esteem of the other spouse. Even if such words are not intended at one’s partner, being coupled with a “angry drunk” can be burdensome.

Intimate Partner Violence

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), alcohol use is a significant factor in intimate relationship violence, which is characterized as physical, psychological, or sexual abuse. This is especially true when hazardous amounts are consumed.

55% of victims in a U.S. research believed their partners had been drinking before to a physical assault. Sadly, this may cause the survivor to drink as well. A U.K. study found that abuse survivors were twice as likely as their abusive partners to consume alcohol.


Although infidelity should not be attributed to alcohol, evidence indicates that problem drinking predicts higher rates of extramarital sexual activity. Drinking can result in poorer decision-making in the present, as well as a decrease in relationship satisfaction due to the variables listed above. This may make infidelity appear more attractive or more difficult to resist.

Fertility Problems

For couples who wish to conceive, excessive alcohol use can reduce their chances of becoming pregnant. A 2016 study indicated that women who consumed 14 or more alcoholic beverages per week were 18% less likely to become pregnant.

Also known to impact sperm quality is alcohol. One study indicated that the risk of miscarriage was two to three times greater if the woman drank during the week she conceived, and two to four times more if the father drank.

In addition to affecting the marriage, alcoholism may also affect the children.

Clearly, heavy drinking can have numerous negative effects on marriage. As alcohol use disorder exists on a spectrum, you may only experience a handful of these symptoms in a minor form. However, the condition may worsen over time.

And the effects can be particularly harsh for parents. Studies indicate that approximately 1 in 5 children are raised by parents who drink excessively. Here are some ways that parental alcoholism can negatively impact children.

Chances of Parental Divorce Being High

If one or both parents do not seek treatment for their alcoholism, separation or divorce may eventually result. Although this may be essential in certain circumstances, it is well-documented that divorce has negative effects on children. And it may affect their drinking habits in the future.

A 2016 study investigated the elements that affected a child’s drinking age. Researchers discovered that divorce or separation was the biggest predictor. This was considerably more true for children of parents with higher alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, more study has associated heavy drinking during adolescence with antisocial conduct.

Ignoring the child’s fundamental needs

Alcohol impairs a person’s ability to think effectively. This may force them to disregard their child’s most fundamental requirements for nourishment, safety, medical treatment, and protection.

It may begin in small ways, such as inability to prepare breakfast due to a hangover or inability to read bedtime stories or sing lullabies at night. These may seem insignificant, yet even the smallest actions can have a significant impact and lead to significant growth.

School problems

According to research, children who grow up with alcoholics are more likely to skip classes, drop out of school, have behavioral issues, and have poor marks. This may be related to stress at home, but it may also be the result of inadequate parental support for academic achievement.

In certain instances, children struggle in school due to other consequences of having an alcoholic parent, such as developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or depression.

Child maltreatment

Numerous children of alcoholics suffer from neglect or abuse. Trey Lewis, president of Good Landing Recovery, tells WebMD Connect to Care, “Alcoholics may take out their wrath and frustration on their children.” This impacts their growth and comprehension of the world.

Abuse may influence a child’s expectations for his or her future relationships. This can affect almost every aspect of a child’s life. It may increase their likelihood of choosing abusive partners or of being abusive themselves in the future.

Save It Prior to It Being Too Late

Despite the fact that alcoholism has severely damaged a marriage to the point where a partner may file for divorce, there are ways to restore the marriage. Due to the fact that not all alcohol consumption results in dependence, it is vital to find techniques to manage alcohol consumption before dependence develops.

One can begin by establishing personal objectives and benchmarks. Counseling and anti-craving medications can also make a significant difference. If both couples are struggling to reduce their drinking or quit altogether, you can seek assistance together. AUD treatment can also be paired with marriage therapy.


Alcohol use disorder can significantly affect a marriage and children if left untreated. Partner issues can range from emotional estrangement and attitude shifts to domestic violence and legal issues.

If you’re seeking help cutting back on or quitting drinking, online our expert coaching programs are here for you. The Alcohol Coach can help. 

We offer science-based, and inspiring coaching programs. You may also sign up for the free masterclass and have access to free resources that will aid you in your quest towards alcohol-free life!

Please note: Although we refer to ‘alcoholism’ and ‘recovery’ in our articles, this is because these terms are often used by others. 

The Alcohol Coach services come from a viewpoint of empowerment, mindset shift and high powered transformational change. 

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Additionally, excessive drinking might damage children and increase their likelihood of experiencing similar problems. Couples can combine alcohol therapy with marriage counseling to prevent divorce and other adverse outcomes.


Hi, I'm Michela

I’m a leader in the science of transformational freedom for women, and someone previously addicted to alcohol. I have walked the path. I understand your concerns and fears. Here you will find some of my thoughts and insights. Happy browsing!

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