At a Crossroads: How to Cope When You are Clean but Your Spouse is Not

A Christian marriage is easily symbolized as a braided cord of three with each strand representing a unique and equally important component of your marriage: you, your spouse, and God. Keeping God at the center of your marriage strengthens each of you individually and as a couple. However, you have reached a place where you realize the third element in your marriage has changed. Together, you have replaced God with your addictions taking your marriage to one of the most fragile places it can be.

You have changed though. With God’s help you admitted your addiction and are in recovery. You are clean and have turned back to God. The difficult part though is that your spouse has not.

Focus on You

First and foremost, you must take care of yourself. This does not imply you do not care about your spouse; it simply means you realize you can only control that which you can control – you. Through your recovery program, you have learned you cannot control the addiction. You also cannot control your spouse. Talk openly with your spouse about your feelings about their addiction. Acknowledge you cannot control their desire to continue life down the addicted path but set boundaries you are both comfortable with. Perhaps you ask your spouse to keep his drugs or alcohol out of your sight, or even out of the house. Explain you do not want to control them, but you are committed to staying clean and sober.

Focus on God

You are not alone. You have acknowledged you cannot battle your addiction on your own; you need the power of the Father and His Son to keep you strong. Struggling with your addicted spouse is no different. God does not want your reliance on Him to end with your addiction; He wants it to continue into every aspect of your life, including your relationships with others. Seek Him earnestly in prayer. Spend time with His word daily. When you walk into that house and feel so disconnected from your spouse just remember you are not alone.

Focus on Support

No matter what, you have to seek out any and all supports you need to remain focused on your recovery path. Rely on the initial support group you established and perhaps seek out others, possibly even one geared towards family members of addicts so you can understand the other perspective. Find a solid Bible Study so you can immerse yourself in support and the Word of God.

You have made the most important step in your recovery; you have chosen to get clean and stay clean, one day at a time. By default, you have also made a huge step towards restoring the strand of three in your marriage by healing a portion of the third strand. You have handed that part back to God. What happens in your marriage now is between you, your spouse, and God. Stay focused on your recovery and more importantly, stay focused on your relationship with God. He will ground you and guide your steps.