How I Broke My Marriage (And Put It Back Together)
What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. Matthew 19:6
In my addiction, I put the drug above everything: faith, career, and marriage. The repetitive lying, hiding, and destructive behavior eventually took its terrible toll on my relationship with my wife, who, in the third relapse, simply wanted nothing to do with me. In treatment, all I wanted to do was to get home to fix things. Both my wife and my counselor though, wisely understood that I couldn’t fix anything until I figured out how to stay sober.
In the disaster, my wife wanted to know why I would put the drug ahead of her. You can’t love me and behave like this. I objected. I felt I that I loved her, but as far as anyone could tell from my actions, I loved the drug more. I had taken a vow to love her until death. In my addiction though, I cheated on her, taking the drug as my lover.
I can’t speak to your marriage problems, but this is how I broke my marriage, by pursuing my way at the expense of my wife. Jesus, in today’s passage on marriage, explains that when a man and woman marry, they become one flesh. The husband and wife no longer live only for themselves but rather live for each other as they are now one.
This isn’t just about drugs. Anything we indulge in at the expense of our spouse is destructive to the relationship, whether it’s career, lust, money, friends, another relationship, anger, gambling, shopping, or overeating. Whatever we allow into our marriage at the expense of our spouse becomes something we love more than him or her.
How do we do marriage right? How do we fix it if we’ve broken it? For me, the first thing I had to do was to abandon the thing that was killing my marriage. As long as I kept another lover, I couldn’t repair things with my wife. I’d like to be able to say I do marriage perfectly now that I’m sober, but this is an ongoing work. I continually must cut away those things that I pursue at expense of my wife. If I want the marriage God intended, I must abandon my destructive self-interests, living as one with my wife. If I truly love her, I will act like it.