What threats or risks do marriages face today that may undermine the stability of the relationship based on domestic and/or substance abuse?

Evidently, there is much that can be said on this topic.

Unfortunately, many marriages that face challenges regarding domestic and/or substance abuse result in separation and ultimately divorce. One of the most preventable substances abused is alcohol. As such, physical and sexual abuse is often associated with alcoholism, but for the purposes of this topic discussion, it would be interesting to know if, in each contextual situation, there is also a prevalence of domestic abuse in the marital union. To highlight my point, in a Guerrero (2009) study focused on hypermasculinity, reported scores led him to conclude that there were significant predictors associated with the study participants' reported verbal, physical, and sexual aggression toward their intimate partners. From a biblical perspective, physical abuse in a marriage does constitute grounds for divorce.

On the flip side, when I assume my role as a mental health professional and a Christian, a sense of empathy envelopes my moral, ethical, and professional responsibilities. Substance abuse at its corpus is a mental health issue that unfortunately is not often understood as such. As such, Clinton and Trent (2009) specifically outline the following as intervention steps to assist with addiction and substance abuse: (a) developing appropriate contract and accountability measures, (b) taking steps to prevent addicts and dependents from driving while intoxicated, (c) having thorough medical checkups, (d) seeking professional therapeutic help and (e) encouraging family members to seek appropriate support. In this week’s discussion I give focus to aggression and how it may possibly be related to myriad physiological and additive issues. Aggression has also been linked to physiological irregularities, particularly the autonomic nervous system (Lorber, 2004), emotional and attention deficit disorders (Giancola, Moss, Martin, Kirisci, & Tarter, 1996), and temperament issues resulting mainly from high levels of irritability and low levels of tolerance (Frick & Morris, 2004). In this regard, it would also be interesting to examine any possible interrelationships between the nuances of domestic violence and substance abuse or additions as well as possible intimate partner residual effects of trauma resulting from life development experiences within both partners family systems.


Clinton, T., & Trent, J. (2009). The quick-reference guide to marriage & family counseling. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

Frick, P. J., & Morris, A. S. (2004). Temperament and developmental pathways to conduct problems. Journal of Clinical and Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33, 54-68.

Giancola, P. R., Moss, H. B., Martin, C. S., Kirisci, L., & Tarter, R. (1996). Executive cognitive functioning predicts reactive aggression in boys at high risk for substance abuse: A prospective study. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 20, 740-744.

Guerrero, D. A. V. (2009). Hypermasculinity, intimate partner violence, sexual aggression, social support, and child maltreatment risk in urban, heterosexual fathers taking. Child Welfare, 88(4), 135-155. Retrieved from https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2010-03684-006

Lorber, M. F. (2004). Psychophysiology of Aggression, Psychopathy, and Conduct Problems: A Meta-Analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 130(4):531-52. Retrieved from https://doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.130.4.531