In the first part of this series, we touched on how alcohol consumption (especially in excess) can damage your health, both physical and emotional. Most of Part 1 was focused on how alcohol can affect you as an individual. This time around, we want to discuss how can negatively impact your marriage.
Now, the health risks associated with frequent heavy drinking definitely pose some problems for a marriage, from the financial burdens of medical costs to the emotional burdens of seeing a loved one suffer with an illness.
More specifically, however, alcohol can harm one of the most intimate and important components of your marriage: your sex life.
While there is some truth to the idea that alcohol reduces inhibitions and can increase sexual desire, the physical downsides (especially in the long-term) are very serious. Despite a psychological feeling of increased arousal, the physical reality is that alcohol actually reduces arousal response in both men and women, and for men, can lead to long-term problems with sexual performance – because alcohol directly inhibits testosterone production.
When it comes to drinking and sex, there’s also another major risk factor. Because alcohol impairs our decision-making abilities, there’s a huge increase in the risk for infidelity while intoxicated, especially if other problems already exist in the marriage.
Other psychological effects can also harm the bond you share with your spouse. For some people, drinking can lead to depression or anger, and this means more arguments – or if nothing else, a much more difficult time spending happy, quality time together. Over time, alcohol abuse can lead to depression and irritability when a person is not drinking, and this raises another entire set of problems for connecting and sharing good times together.
Intoxication can make people “check out” of reality, and with it, their marriages. This not only hurts their spouses and leads to more fighting, but can actually make the hurt spouse lose respect for their partner entirely. It comes off as a lack of self-control, a lack of responsibility, and makes them feel as though their partner just doesn’t care about the marriage.
As you can see, the impact of alcohol abuse (and even general over-consumption) impacts more than just the individual partaking in the behavior. The problems can ripple out into a marriage, and have lasting effects that go far, far beyond a single instance of being intoxicated. In fact, these problems are usually amplified with frequency.
In the third installment of this series, we’ll talk about how these issues can hurt the rest of your family – a very serious problem of its own.