There was a fabulous article in the Daily Mail yesterday which asked Why are so many women drinking their way to divorce?
For the full article, click here.
According to the article, a recent study showed that more and more marriages are breaking down because of the wife's excessive drinking. It's thought to contribute to as many as one in seven divorces.
I can see how that can so easily be the case, as I get so many e-mails from women telling me that their husbands have given them an ultimatum: either the booze goes, or I do.
Looking back, I see now that alcohol was the root cause of many of my marital arguments. There were a few spectacular ones, like the Finnish wedding.
Mr SM had known the groom since they were at school together at the age of ten. They also spent a memorable year, after they graduated, living in St Petersburg, where Mr SM learned to speak rather ropey, but extremely sexy, Russian.
The wedding venue was stunning - the bride's family summer house on the edge of a Fjord, in the height of summer when, that far North, it never gets dark. At about 2am the light would get a little dusky, but a couple of hours later the relentless bright sunshine would return.
We had a ball. Being just over a narrow sea from Russia, there was a vodka and caviar bar which we made the most of, then a lavish wedding feast of reindeer, washed down with endless enthusiastic toasts of unpronounceable finnish spirits.
At about three in the morning, the last coach was leaving for the hotel, half an hour away. Mr SM was having so much fun with the fins in the sauna that he refused to come back with me.
They were all sitting in the heat, naked and sweating, while Mr SM sang 'Fins can only get better' (that joke must have worn thin after a while). Then they'd run at full pelt
down a wooden jetty and dive into the ice-cold fjord.
I lost it. We had a screaming row, and then I sat on the floor
of the bus (there were no seats left) telling all the bemused (and rather
concerned) passengers at great length how Mr SM had never truly loved me and it
was all over.
Mr SM managed to get a lift back in the boot of someone’s car
about an hour later. We both woke up, terribly hungover, at around lunch time
having forgotten most of the detail of our very public meltdown, and couldn’t
understand why everyone was looking at us strangely and asking if we were ‘okay.’
The vast majority of our alcohol based arguments were, however,
nothing like as dramatic as the Finnish one. Just the endless tetchy debates
(when hungover) about who was going to feed the baby at 5am, or take the
toddler to a party where you’d have to clap and sing and participate.
Then, after a few glasses of wine in the evening, the
drunken fights (inevitably started by me) about who wasn’t pulling their weight
around the house, or with the childcare.
I’m sure that every married couple has these sorts of arguments,
but the problems start when the majority of
your conversations end up like this.
Marriage is like a piggy bank. Every time you do something nice,
thoughtful or generous for the other person you put money into the bank, and
every time you treat them badly, thoughtlessly or carelessly to take money out.
If you’re not careful, eventually the piggy bank is empty.
The other issue with drinking in a marriage is that excessive
alcohol use leads to self-hatred, anxiety and depression, all of which make it
very difficult to focus properly on your relationship, to top up that piggy
Yet, even when we know we're destroying our relationships we carry on. Why?
Because we assume that life without booze just won't be worth living.
Well, that's where you're wrong. It's ten times better. So please, just do it. Before it's too late.
Love SM x