How to Put Marriage First (After Recovery)

Building a marriage is difficult for people who are in addiction. They often lose sight of the other person because they are struggling to take care of themselves, let alone the needs of others. Quite often, the partner is left in the dust, caring for others like children and relatives, while that person has addiction issues to figure out. While that person may work, help around the house, or help out now and again, that does not mean they are putting their marriage first. Recovery is a time to right the wrongs from addiction days and starts to set the ship for better days ahead.

Intentional Choices

Most of what happens in a marriage are based on intentional choices. It is about choosing to love the other person even when they make you mad, frustrated, or sad. It is choosing to forgive when they won’t forget. It is about choosing the way that works best for both partners. Making choices is harder when a loved one has an addiction because they are less likely to understand what they are supposed to do outside of addiction. They are locked inside their own minds and hearts about that lifestyle choice. Until they decide differently, they likely won’t be a good marriage partner in many ways. In recovery, it is about deciding the marriage comes first and making an effort to that end.


When thinking about priorities in recovery, it helps to think about what will make a person feel most fulfilled in their relationship. What will be most rewarding will be to consider the other person’s feelings and thoughts now that the partner is recovering from addiction. When they are in recovery, there are a lot of priorities, the main one being sobriety. The second one should be focusing on repairing relationships. The marital relationship, if it is to be salvaged, needs to take precedent behind sobriety. Without the marriage, the partner is going to be left figuring out how to navigate their journey and experiences alone. It is hard to support a loved one when they have abandoned a relationship for addiction. For a long time, they may be challenged to figure out how to handle this in a healthy way, but it is worth trying:

  • To bring the partner to recovery groups (for partners and families)
  • Couples counseling
  • Individual counseling on marriage and communication

Making space in recovery for marriage is key to keeping a partnership solid, but it does not always mean the other person will feel comfortable in that relationship. Recovery is a journey and, even if they are willing to journey together, it may take some time before they are fully ready to dive in headfirst. It takes rebuilding trust, patience, and perseverance for the journey ahead. With intentional choices, a marriage can survive and bring support and comfort to one another through the trials of addiction.

The Last Resort helps you take care of your relationships and partners by providing space for family therapy and counseling. When marriages are stronger, recovery is stronger. However you find your way to the Last Resort, we endeavor to provide a haven where you can journey through recovery feeling like your life and story have meaning and a purpose. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.