Q&A: How do we deal with alcohol addiction in a marriage?

Q: How can you deal with alcohol addiction in a marriage, especially when that person doesn’t think they have a problem?

A: Thousands of people can identify with that question. In my book Desperate Marriages, I address the problem. My approach is to see yourself as a positive change agent. The process is two pronged: First, tender love and second tough love. By ‘tender love’ I mean—learn their love language and speak it daily, no matter how they treat you.

Then, six months into this process, you make the request that they seek treatment. Keep loving them. Then, apply tough love. You might say, “I love you too much to sit here and do nothing while you destroy yourself. If you do not go for treatment, then I’m moving in with my mother.” Then move out. Since you have been loving them in a meaningful way for 6 months, they now have something to lose. Typically, they respond. After treatment, you can get marriage counseling and rebuild your marriage.