Gambling is Destroying Our Marriage and Family Life

Gambling - Adobe stock double ace in pokerWhat do you do if you are married to someone who is caught up into gambling? He or she might even be going down the downhill slope of gambling away your marriage, family relationship, your home and everything you own and treasure.

What if YOU are the gambler who is caught up in this type of behavior?

These are issues we’d like to address in this article that we pray can help you in some way.

When Gambling is Destroying Marriages

We know this is a tall order and that we can only scratch the surface of the subject. But because of the seriousness of this problem, we know it’s important to do what we can to help those who are overwhelmed by it all.

We don’t want to approach this subject as if we are the experts here at Marriage Missions advising you. That is because frankly, we have very little experience in this area of marriage. We do, however, personally know of several couples that have/are dealing with this issue. But that is more of a distant view, rather than an up close and personal one. So we will facilitate within this article, the opportunity for others who are more experienced to share what they have learned.


Lets look at gambling in general to give you information you might find helpful. We’d then like to address the person who is married to the gambler (and other family members and friends). And then we’ll address the gambler, as well.

One of the “truths” concerning gambling that we didn’t know was brought up in an article titled, “Gambling’s Impact on Families.” It is put together by Ronald A. Reno. He wrote:

“A University of Nebraska Medical Center study concluded that problem gambling is as much a risk factor for domestic violence as alcohol abuse. Domestic violence murders in at least 11 states have been traced to gambling problems since 1996.”

Another article written by Ronald Reno (and posted on the web site) brings out the scriptural reasons why gambling isn’t something we should indulge in. He brings out the point:

“Jesus commanded, Love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31). Gambling, meanwhile, is predicated on the losses, pain, and suffering of others. For one to win at gambling, others must lose. For many, the ramifications attributable to their gambling losses are profound. Families touched by a gambling addiction are at greatly increased risk for such negative outcomes as divorce, bankruptcy, child abuse, domestic violence, crime, and suicide.”

Besides that point, the article brings out others as well, with scriptures to support them. To find out more, please click onto the link below to read:


What Can You Do?

After you recognize that there is a gambling problem going on within your family and that gambling can grow in its negative impact, what can the family do about it? had an interesting article posted on their web site that brings out the important point:

“There’s the failure of the non-addicted spouse and other family members to respond appropriately and helpfully to the situation. Now, don’t get me wrong on this. I understand that the person with the addiction is the one who must ultimately take responsibility and make the changes to get healthy. If you are the supportive spouse, I am not suggesting that you are responsible for the addiction or the havoc it’s wreaking in your home.

“I am suggesting, however, that the way in which you respond can either create an environment that will help your spouse beat their addiction, or it can contribute to and compound the problem. As the partner who is one step removed from the addiction, you will have a huge impact on how this will turn out —for better or worse.

“The tendency of many in this situation is to tiptoe around the addict and their habit. But while letting sleeping dogs lie may get you through the day, it will not bring about the results you desire long-term.”

Gamblers and the Denial Factor

In a web site article, “Tiptoeing Around Addictions” Dr. Dave Currie, with Glen Hoos, made the point that “DENIAL” is one of the “unhealthy ways that “people respond to their spouse’s addiction.” They make the point that the addict tries to deny that there is a problem. But:

“Their spouse, family and friends often get hooked into it as well. The spouse in particular may deny the extent of the problem. They may try to convince themselves that their marriage is strong enough to bear up under this pressure, and that the issue is better left alone.

“You’ve got to be willing to let go of the security of that fantasy, and face reality. The first (and often hardest) step is admitting you have a problem. The issue is there whether you admit it or not; accepting the truth puts you on the road to recovery. If you deny the depth of the problem, your spouse will have no compelling reason to face it either. If this is the case your situation is never going to improve.”

Enablement Concerning Gamblers

And then there is, “ENABLEMENT,” which is “denial taken a step further.” As Dave Currie and Glen Hoos write:

“It’s covering for the addict, protecting them from the natural consequences of their actions. Some examples:

• “The boss calls and asks the woman why her husband isn’t at work today. ‘He’s in bed, sick,’ she answers… neglecting to mention that the sickness is due to a killer hangover incurred the night before.

• “The wife’s gambling addiction has strained the family finances to the point where the bills can no longer be paid. Instead of facing the real issue, the husband arranges to skip a mortgage payment and opens yet another line of credit.”

Facing the Truth

It’s tempting to do this because it seems easier to do this than to face the truth. However, as it’s pointed out:

“What you’re doing when you cover for the person is removing their motivation to change. Maybe he needs to get fired to wake him up. Maybe she needs to go to the store and have her credit card rejected when she’s trying to buy groceries to realize there’s a problem here.”

“Instead of enabling, you’ve got to intervene. Whether that’s a one-on-one confrontation or some kind of a group intervention depends on what you’re facing. But you need to come to the point where you sit down and say, ‘Okay, we have a problem here. What are we going to do about it?'”


Another way that a spouse and family may tiptoe around addiction is that they turn to “ABANDONMENT” as a way to cope.

“They cover for the addict one too many times and have come to the point where they say, ‘You know what? You got yourself into this mess… now get yourself out of it!’ They wash their hands of the situation and leave their spouse to deal with the problem alone.

“It’s understandable that some people get to this point. After all, it’s their spouse who chose this road, and paying for their bad behavior gets old very fast. Nevertheless, if you’re in this position you’ve got to ask yourself how you want this to play out? Do you really want your spouse to get cleaned up and get your marriage back on track? Because if that’s what you want, you’re not going to get it by leaving your husband or wife to fend for themselves. They’re going to need your support and encouragement every step of the way.

Suppress the Urge to Blame

“Somehow, you’ve got to suppress the urge to cast blame and point fingers. Instead of putting the problem between you, you’ve got to stand side-to-side with the problem in front of you and say, ‘We have a problem. It happens to be your addiction, but it’s our problem, and we’re going to solve it together.’ What a world of difference from the, ‘It’s your problem… deal with it!’ approach.

“This is undeniably tough, especially if your spouse is not showing a willingness to do the hard work of recovery. However, don’t mistake support for softness. Supporting your spouse may mean confronting them, refusing to cover for them, and perhaps even separating for a period of time while they work through it. But it’s got to be done in a context of love and encouragement, and an attitude that says, ‘We will do whatever it takes to get you healthy and to put our marriage back on solid ground.'”

Now, it’s true that you may have been there and done that. But it’s important not to keep allowing this addiction to keep going on in your home. That is because it will continue to erode your marital relationship until eventually your marriage will be totally destroyed. There is no doubt that help is needed —desperately!

Flying Solo

“FLYING SOLO” is another temptation facing you in all of this. Dave and Glen write further:

“As in many other areas of life, pride can be crippling when it comes to dealing with addiction. Pride causes you to say, ‘We don’t need help. We can handle this on our own.’

“Most addicts require outside help to fully conquer their habits —and fortunately, help is widely available. Whether it’s Gamblers Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous —name the addiction, and there is likely a group to help people through it. And if there aren’t any groups for it, there are counselors, pastors, friends to walk alongside you. And there are helpful resources available that can really make a difference.

“You’d be wise if you reached out for help at this time, and not just for the one with the addiction. There are also support groups for spouses, friends and family of addicts. Talking with others that are on a similar journey can bring you strength in difficult times.”

Addiction Info

So, in our search for help for those who are being impacted by the negative effects of gambling upon their lives, we found the following to be something that you may want to use. The authors wrote:

“Because of the involvement of a family member, our hearts have been drawn to the Christian Recovery of Compulsive Gambling and Gambling Addiction. After doing considerable research on the internet on compulsive gambling and participating in the Recovery Process (Gambler’s Anonymous) with a loved one in a Support Group (Gamanon), we would like to share what we have found with all who visit this web site.”

To take advantage of what they offer, whether you are a family member, friend or someone who is dealing with your own gambling issues, please click onto the following web site link:

IS GAMBLING A PROBLEM? Gambling Addiction Information

Something that would be good for the gambler to consider is written by Gregory L. Jantz. Please read:


Older Gamblers

And if you think that it’s only those who are younger that are having problems in this area of life, think again. The ministry of Focus on the Family put together a great series of articles. They are aimed to help those who are living out the years of “Midlife and Beyond.” They are betting their life savings away hoping to obtain more to live on in their growing years. To read the first of the series and then continue on to the other articles they offer on this subject, please read:


We hope you have found this article to be helpful. We encourage you to “Join the Discussion” below if you have further help for those who need it.

Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this article.

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Filed under: Assorted Marriage Issues

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51 responses to “Gambling is Destroying Our Marriage and Family Life

  1. (AUSTRALIA)  I was a problem gambler until one year ago. My wife did not know a thing as she was caring for our terminally ill daughter. Since my daughter passed away last year, I revealed everything to my wife. She realized then why bills were not paid and we never had any money.

    Since revealing my problem, she has built this wall between us. Even though I have not gambled for a year, she remains devastated that I cheated her out of a life. I agree with her and I need help in the way of saving our marriage. I do not want to lose her as I love her very much and my son.

    Please, is there something I can do to start living a proper life? We seem to argue a lot, mostly being my fault, as I do not know what to do or say. I have been praying and seeking guidance from my late daughter. Thank you for being here for all of us.

  2. (UNITED STATES)  My husband filed for divorce last year after I discovered he was having an affair. I knew that he plays the lottery and went to the casino occasionally, but until I was going through the paperwork for the divorce, I had no idea of the extent of his spending. We have other problems (which I’ve read about here and on other places), such as living next door to our in-laws (yes, there are “leaving” the parents and boundary issues), which is where he has been living since January -with his mother.

    He has no interest in reconciliation. In fact, he continues to blame me for everything related to the “failure” of our marriage, and considers that I am entitled to take my things and get out of the house. I am heart-sick at times, even though I realize I can only take the responsibility that is mine. I read John’s comment above; I’ve prayed for and with my husband, even for the other woman and her husband and child. Nothing changes. I understand that if my husband and I “get right” with the Lord as we need to and with each other, there is no problem that can’t be solved… but I also understand that doesn’t mean it would be easy or that things would magically fall into place.

    At least John was willing to “own up” and try. I’ve lost 20 years of my life and a whole lot, but worst is the impact of the previous denial and its continued presence in our lives and what it does to our daughters -who don’t know who to trust and are experiencing stress-related health problems. Plus, one daughter thinks God is a crock now. And yes, as more truth has surfaced, he becomes more abusive, to anyone (myself or our daughters) who challenges his version of reality.

    I finally had to get a restraining order this summer when he came into the house this summer and destroyed our dehumidifier after the basement flooded because it would “run up the electric bill” and we got sick from mold/bacteria blown through the air conditioning ($200 + in medical and replacement costs to me).

    Nothing makes logical sense anymore; it’s as if he thinks my going away will solve his problems. And I actually think the affair is nothing but an attempt to get a new source of funds; she had a good job (she was his nurse) and she made it sound like she was going to marry him. They are both supposed to be Christians; I’ve seen non-Christians show more decency when the truth came out. But they continue their affair, she remains in her marriage, my husband continues to gamble as he can afford it and our daughters and I continue to live in a stress-filled limbo.

    I find some peace in Christ, but it is still a very hard place to be, especially when I realized their eternity is more important than our marriage or my happiness. That’s making me cry, so I’ll stop there. Thanks for the good information… I wish I could use it.

    1. (AUSTRALIA) My father is a compulsive gambler and refuses to get help because he believes he can help himself. My parents have been married for 30 years and still have not payed off their mortgage because of my father’s gambling habits. They refinanced and my mother regrets it as it has just encouraged the habit.

      As a child, all I remember is listening to arguments about the same thing- gambling. My mum always took him back because she believed his lies -I’ll change I promise, I’ll get the money back! We don’t even know how much money he owes people, that’s how bad it is. I think she stayed with him all those years because of us kids, but we’re not kids anymore! We understand the situation and encourage her to leave him.

      A few years ago he asked my husband for $2,000 and my husband said yes. When I found out I was furious! My husband said we had to give it to him; he said he was in danger of getting hurt. My father lied and said I’ll pay you back in 4 weeks but we haven’t seen the money. He also asked me to keep the situation a secret and don’t tell my mum. I couldn’t believe he expected me to lie to my mum?! Of course I told her but it was a complete waste of time! He not only owes me, but his parents and his siblings and a numerous amount of friends and co-workers. These debts have become my mum’s and all she works for, is to pay bills. They have nothing.

      We’ve tried and tried to get him to change by attending marriage counselling and church groups and programs, but nothing has helped because he refuses to cooperate. My father is living with his parents and its been almost 4 months but it’s funny that he still returns home when my mother isn’t there. Who knows what he does? Probably keeping tabs on sporting bets he’s made on channels he can’t access at my grandmother’s house. My mum should have changed the locks!

      I pray and pray for my mum, she has done nothing but support him and his family. My mum is an angel and my dad does not deserve her. Maybe if he treated my mum with respect and showed his so called love for her, we would be more sensitive towards him. But he doesn’t. All he does is yell at her and lie about everything. What’s a marriage with no trust?! My mum is only young and deserves to live the rest of life in happiness with her children and her very first grandchild, our son! I think we’re the only things keeping her sane and putting a smile on her face. I do believe that God will watch over her and guide her to make the right decisions no matter what.

      I hope one day my dad will wake up and realise what he has to do- accept that he has a massive problem that needs fixing through professional help and faith. I hope he realises how lucky he is to have a wife who has stuck by him for thirty years, even though he has caused her so much pain.

      1. (USA) I read the article and feel like I read my own life. I have been married for 25 years and just divorced less than 3 months. I have 2 wonderful sons and my husband is addicted in football gambling, starting 14 years ago when he came to this country. I have been crying and crying since then. Usually, he hid his income, put most of the expenses and responsibilities for me to take care of so he could have as much money and time as he could to gamble. Worse than that, gambling changed his behavior. He didn’t care about any family activities anymore, neglected my kids and verbally abused me. When he won, he flew back to our country to show off with gifts for relatives, friends… leaving us home, unsecured emotionally and financially.

        When my first son started working, he borrowed my son’s money, using the excuse that he helped his parents. We were so upset and disappointed but he acted happily as nothing wrong with it. I checked with his family and found out that he was lying. When he heard about that, he was angry, yelled at me to stop me from contacting anybody around him. I could not take it anymore so I moved out. Without trust and respect, I cannot stay in the marriage even though I treasure the value of family.

        Now, I’m still struggling to heal. But I know at least I’m not hopeless as when I lived with him. I believe that I make right decisions and I deserve to live my own life instead of suffering from someone else’s bad habit. I tried so hard and it is worth it. I have 2 wonderful sons who make my life meaningful. I wish all the best for your mom and for all people out there who suffer from spouses’ addiction.

        1. Sorry to hear this, it’s like my story. Since we have a business money keeps coming and easy to gamble for fun. I work to make my own expenses only when he loses and can’t pay bills. I helped him but that time I did not understand I was adding fuel to the fire. Now lately I have become strict. My children are grown too and they want me to leave him. Along with gambling he started going to escorts and hookers. By leaving him he will get worst. This time I did not help him. He became very abusive and wants us to leave him alone. He blames us for being unlucky and took me out of his business and personal accounts so that I cannot check on him. I am losing hope and want to give up. It’s his body his karma but I am suffering in pain. I do not have a permanent job.

      2. I take my hat off to your mum. And because of her Christian beliefs she believes love conquers all, or love covers a multitude of sins. God is ultimately in charge . Our lives are very short. Seeking pleasures in this world are short lived.

        Life on earth is but a breath. BUT ETERNITY IS A LONG……TIME. Is it worth holding anger or unforgiveness?
        Each person has a conscience and knows right from wrong. I’ve been living in a similar situation. I figure I’ve lived most of my life, age wise, so hold onto God and keep doing what I know is right. This can differ from person to person. God looks at the motive that’s why each one of us face different challenges. I’ve often commented I know God is real other wise I would never have been able to forgive.

        If Love is what is in us and GIVES US PHYSICAL life, then how close to death, SPIRITUALLY are some people? It is VERY VERY hard not to let the actions of another steal your LOVE. Lack of Godly love will cause the Heart to grow cold. If we don’t do the bad things Then Saran gets us to judge it. So God Bless and keep your eye on the prize HEAVEN

    2. Today I found out that my fiancé is gambling again in large amounts. Well for us, a poor family living in a real fixer upper with one broken down car that sits in the driveway and the van anyone can hear coming ten miles away, a large amount is $400 in a span of like two weeks. We have lost everything to addiction before – we were both addicted to pills and I am ashamed to say it – but like the article says you should be honest with yourself. I was an A student, taught 8th grade, have a wonderful family and am a nice looking person. My problems have always been related to men and relationships. I met my fiancé and we went kayaking and he loved the outdoors and he is boyish and fun.

      Fast forward through a break up and reconciliation and he had met some bad influences when I moved out. I got sucked in. After a year I became pregnant and sought immediate help. I was put on suboxine and to God’s grace I became a mom to my beautiful, healthy son. He tried to get help but he didn’t take it seriously or hadn’t hit his breaking point. He took money from the company he worked at for five years to try to cover the ever present need and also he began gambling and it was out of control. He spent $2000 of his tax return on lottery tickets alone. We lost everything that had any monetary value – our beautiful apartment his job and friendship with his boss. He hid bills from me that were in my name. I moved in with my parents and decided to wean off suboxine – the treatment I was on. It was living hell physically for 3 weeks.

      Meanwhile he went to live with his mother. Spent a lot of time drinking and trying to find ways to get drugs or soboxine from the street so he would not go through withdrawal as he had no insurance or money. He got on the program, took it seriously and quit gambling and I saw true change in him. I am weak and still take a sliver of suboxine a day. I wish I did not need it at all but without it I still go through withdrawal and it is misery in my mind but now I cannot have the doctor’s support because my mom works for the doctor +25 years and she would find out. If I left he would tell my parents. I cannot handle their disappointment after they have done so much for me so I have to keep it a secret.

      Hit fast forward again. It has been two years and I am pregnant with his second child. It is like dejavu he got this job at a bar where they have quick draw and started having winning tickets of $1000, $660, $189, etc. I was sceptical so I asked are you playing more than once to win that? I was mad when I first heard he was gambling but he assured me he was playing only one or two times a night. That is until I saw my bank account today with the $400 missing. I really feel like he does not care about us. He had claimed he was holding the card so I wouldn’t spend money. The only thing I spend money on that I should not is eating out for lunch during work. He has not worked a day job since we lost the apartment.

      Like I said our house needs Windows for winter as there is just plastic at this place we moved into and many other repairs. I asked if we could buy a swing for our son for the backyard and he said he wanted a laptop first. I already pay for cable and a new iPhone with Internet. I know the article says not to give up on your relationship. I love my fiancé and I pray but I don’t know what to do. I am not perfect and I want to be supportive but he is so defensive and I don’t want my son to go through what we did two years ago again. I could use some guidance or a prayer.

  3. I’m almost engaged to a compulsive gambler. The thought of quitting scares her and she won’t do it. Over $300,000 in 8 years of gambling. Foreclosure, high interest loans, bankruptcy and owes her family money over $13,000. Whenever she gets money, it goes to the casino. She races to the bank to get the money out of the account before the bills are paid from it. Then it is overdraft changes and cut off notices.

    At one time she told me she had 8 months of sobriety. Now she is more honest and admits that she goes every 2 weeks. she continues to gamble though she will be evicted from her home in 3 weeks. Not a penny saved up for deposit or rent on a small apartment. She initially offered to get sober and stay sober for 6 months. I’d want at least a year.

    Just recently she has decided that we are very much in love and that we should get married now and worry about the gambling thing later. I’m slowly deciding that I need to back out of it. She has gone to meetings for 11 months, but never does stop gambling.

    1. Louis, If you marry this gal, in her unrepentant, unchanged, still rationalizing and engaging in her gambling addiction lifestyle, you will pay with everything you’ve got –not only emotionally, but financially. You will be carrying her and everything toxic she will bring with her. Are you ready for that? You will take on her debts and she will have access to your money –“the two become one.” Whatever debt she runs up while you are married, you will be responsible for until it is paid off… we’ve heard this from many, many spouses over the years. You are seeing red flags waving, warning you of what will be your future if you marry. If you choose to overlook them, you will pay dearly. Please know that. You won’t get a free pass on this one.

      I have no doubt that “she has decided” that you “are very much in love” and that you should get married and “worry about the gambling thing later.” That’s what addicts do –they see ways to gain access to finances, which can support their habit in whatever way they can, and “decide” that is the way to go. I have no doubt that she feels loving thoughts about you. But that doesn’t mean, because of the way she is right now, that when you marry you will have a loving, healthy marriage. You will just be bringing the sickness into your life on a full time basis. She needs to be desperate enough to be sick of her addiction, turn from it, get help, and then keep walking the road to health. But that takes years, and even then, there is no guarantee that she won’t fall back into this habit. From what you’ve written, she has an addictive personality. Yes, she can change, but from what you’ve written, there sure doesn’t seem to be any evidence that she’s even close to being at that point. I hope you won’t be an enabler for her and that you will guard your heart and future from going into a marriage that is destined to be toxic.

      Keep in mind that you will not only be making your vows to a woman (perhaps her), but you will be making your vows to God to KEEP your promises. This, in itself, should be a sobering thought. Be wise, heed warnings, and pray for wisdom. You need it. I’ll be praying for you too.

    2. Run, don’t walk. It is likely she is looking for her next source of cash. An addict cannot really love you. She is hooked to her addiction. She is unable to love in her current condition.

      If she really loves you, she will be willing to do the work to never gamble again and be 100% transparent about her life. Anything short of that and you are simply marrying a large set of problems. The most loving thing you can do is allow her to face the consequences of her addiction.

    3. As someone recently married to a spouse who is addicted to scratch offs, I would definitely recommend that both of you seek counseling for a full year, if you really want to marry her. Don’t settle for anything else. Her wanting to marry you right away seems like a red flag, and a realization on her part that she isn’t going to recover, and that if you marry her, maybe you’ll feel obligated to stay with her despite her gambling. Otherwise, friendship is your best bet.

      My husband and I currently attend counseling, but if knew what I know now, I would not have married him. There are so many lies and so much financial destruction related to his gambling. My goals and life has changed.

    4. Run… as fast as you can… from the separated wife of a gambler who went through the entire savings account over lottery tickets. You have no idea how devastating life with a gambler can be. Go…quickly.

  4. Gambling is a monster. Today I’m a depressed, anxious, and scared individual. Cars have been repossessed whole on the raid, 3 evictions and there was a time we didn’t even know where we would sleep.

    1. The lies are easy with gamblers. They don’t want people to know about their habit. My husband is never home and always has a meeting, absent even during family holidays like Christmas and unavailable during doctors appointments. When I was expecting with my 3rd child we called him for 2 days to no avail. He saw the baby 6 days later. I drove myself to the hospital in labor.

  5. My boyfriend of 4 years has over the past two years has began having a problem with gambling. He likes the slot machines and pays always the max amount. In the beginning, it didn’t seem like a problem but over time it has gotten progressively worse. This past year he owed over 10,000 to someone who asked him to hold money for him and my mother lent him the money to pay back. He eventually paid my mother back and promised this was his rock bottom and won’t play anymore. Of course, that was a lie. He hasn’t stopped and I’m tired of babysitting him to ensure that he doesn’t go. Tonight he is there because I went to dinner with my mother and he was alone. I don’t have the strength to leave him because I love him and I know he is the one. But everytime he goes to play I see my dreams leave. The dream of marriage and children. I ask am I being selfish? I have done it all to find him help but he denies having a problem since he pays his bills. Everyone says I should leave to show him tough love. But I don’t think that will work. I’m so hurt and more hurt at myself because I can’t figure out what to do.

    1. Molly, I truly wish we could help you with this, as it is most problematic. But this is a web site to help those who are married, not those living together. I’m not trying to pass judgement on you, but rather to say that the advice to those who are married are different than those who are not married –living together or not.

      He is detached to you on several levels (and obviously to reality, as far as how healthy it is to be caught up in this type of addiction dragging himself, you and others into such toxicity). There are no “dreams” that can be possible when someone you are considering marrying someday is caught up in the state of denial and acting out such nightmarish behavior. You really need to put your life into a healthier place, praying for him and for you… and making sure you aren’t trying to rescue someone who doesn’t want, at this time to be rescued. You aren’t married… I wouldn’t even START to consider marrying and dragging children into this nightmare… Even if he cleans up his act right now, there is always the potential that he can fall back into that addiction again. He may be a nice guy, but that doesn’t mean that he would be a good marriage partner and father. Please know that.

      As hard as this is, you need to start protecting yourself and your mental and emotional and physical well-being, because your boyfriend (who isn’t acting like much of a “friend”) obviously is caught up in his own selfism. He won’t and can’t protect you right now, so you must, now and for your future. I hope you will. I pray for you Molly… and pray for him.

  6. This is my second marriage we have been together 5 yrs, married 2. I fell in love with this kind, caring, wonderful man. The only problem is he plays the horses. All day long. He says it’s the most important thing in his life and he wants to succeed at it more than anything. He doesn’t spend a lot of money on it because we don’t make much; he’s basically playing with the funds in his account. He wins and then loses. It’s always an emotional roller coaster.

    He says he knows he can do it and he’s waiting for his big break. I tell him as nice as possible he has an addition problem and try to discuss it with him. He just says it’s who I am it’s all I’ve ever wanted for my life. He doesn’t see a problem. Although everyone in his family has told him that it’s a problem and it probably went a long way in breaking up his first marriage even though she cheated on him and left him for another man.

    I bought us a house with my own money we have a small mortgage ,but not much. And I’m a good and loving wife. He complains about my kids all the time saying they are females (2 boys) and they weren’t brought up like him. He says he might some day get himself a single wide trailer and move into it but we’ll stay together, just not live together. I can’t help but feel that he wants that alone time to play his horses.

    He’s also only working part time so he has the middle of the day open when the tracks are running. I told him he needs to get another p/t job during the middle of the day so we can make ends meet. He said it would interfere with his horses and he really needs that time to make money with them. And still he doesn’t see a problem. I’m at my wits end how can you help someone that won’t even admit he has a problem. And how can I hold my marriage together when that is so much more important to him than anything else???

  7. (USA) I am with a boyfriend and both of us are gambling, slot machine. He is staying with his 2 kids in a shelter and I am a care giver and staying under the roof of my client that I am working for. I am trying so hard and harder to break the habit and everytime we come back from the casino with nothing, we make a promise that we will not go back to the casino but it only takes 3 days…when we get some money we will both go. Please help me to know how to end this bad addiction. I feel like I am so weak because everytime my boyfriend insists to go, I go. I really need help!

  8. I pray God grants me another chance with my family. I love them so much and hurt them with my gambling and deceit.

  9. I am Sammy from Kenya. Football betting is picking up very fast in our country a lot of people are betting. I started betting in 2014 until last year when I decided to stop and I think it’s Gods miracle that I have somehow managed to stop.

    You out there who are affected by this demonic habbit of gambling, the best way is to JUST STOP betting. Don’t think you will stop when you scoop back your losses. You will dig the hole deeper. Just stop. I wish you well.

  10. Hi All….
    I have read the posts here… and I would like to put in my “2 cents worth” if I may. I myself had a short bout with gambling when I was in school. We went to Las Vegas, and I wanted to try the slot machines. I had no experience with gambling at this point, but I knew that gambling can be a real problem, but was intrigued by the thought of a “quick win.” It is also a bit of a problem in my own family…generations back. I promised myself that I could play as long as I wanted, but if my losses mounted to $15, that I HAD to stop and walk away. ($15 doesn’t sound like much but it was a lot of $ back then.) Well, I won just enough to buy myself a hotdog at a stand nearby. I was so proud of myself!! Then of course I went back and lost my $15. Walking away was VERY difficult!!! VERY! I can see so well that this is SUCH a trap. But I DID walk away. That was in 1978. I am saying that between 1978 and now- 2016 (38 years) I have never once gambled…never at all. UNTIL…..

    Fast forward to last weekend. I ran into a man with a ball and 3 small boxes- he would hide the ball under one of the boxes and move the boxes around, challenging the onlookers to bet on the location of the ball. I was watching, and following his movements, and would guess for myself under which box the ball was located. Every time I was right. SO- I decided to give it a try with Euro 50. WRONG BOX!! … WHAT?? I tried again…. AGAIN a loss. I walked away, mad at myself, thinking HOW could I DO this?? What is WRONG with me?? Eu 100 gone in SECONDS!! A half hour later, I ran into the same person again. This time I was more cautious but each time I could guess the location of the ball. So AGAIN I tried, wth Eu 80. AGAIN a loss! This time my hands were shaking as I walked away. I told my wife about it… I felt very ashamed… and I have said to myself, NEVER AGAIN. I did not do this for 38 years…. I can stay away again for another 38!! and I WILL!

    This is SUCH a VERY powerful addiction…. what shocks me is that this tendency has been lying dormant in me for all these years wthout my knowing it at all. Until I temporarily “took leave of my senses” and gave it another try!

    WHY did I do this again? I was feeling depressed and anxious at the time…. and I ran into this guy at the wrong time… I was in a vulnerable state of mind. What helped me at the time was the fact that I ran out of cash. I withdrew more cash at an ATM, but was not tempted to go try again. Luckily, that was made easier for me because the man was gone.

    To the partner of a compulsive gambler, I would say that tough love is the only way. The partner should make it IMPOSSIBLE for the addict to indulge. Take the car keys, allow only a small amount of $ for incidentals, when that runs out, it runs out….etc. etc. When the addict refuses to cooperate, perhaps the partner needs to separate…? VERY difficult….. I do know that any amount of enabling is DEADLY.

    The addict needs to DECIDE to STOP. JUST STOP. Do NOT look back. DECIDE to STAY AWAY from compromising situations…..

    Hope this helps
    WP (Work in Progress)

    1. Wow, that was powerful. I think that I have tried everything and there was a time when he did stop for five months after I had filed for divorce. He said he had understood and then relapsed and all went down hill, bad. What now?

  11. I am tired and really am seeking advice. My husband has had a gambling addiction the last 18 years. It has destroyed our marriage and my trust. We have 5 children who I know love their dad, but I feel at this time I truly have run out of ideas of what to do; I am trying to fix him and I know I can’t. I need help! judy

    1. Hi Judy, I hope I am not too late here. Very likely your husband needs outside help like “Gambling Anonymous”. Additions to anything are very hard to break and there are professionals who specialize in such things.
      One key item is, Does your husband want help with this? If not, then things are difficult indeed. What you could do in that case is to severely restrict your husband’s access to the household money which you both have available, credit cards and debit cards have GOT to go. Perhaps you need to handle the money entirely.
      Of course you know that 18 years is a long time! Can you say how this started? What have you done about it up until now?
      I hope to hear from you,
      WP (Work in Progress)

      1. Ok, so here it is. My husband has had a really bad problem with gambling for almost 15 yrs that I’ve known him. But of course I didn’t know that in the beginning, but we have been through so much with him, and I and the kids. But now he stays away for days. The only reason I haven’t called the cops is because I saw his truck parked outside the casino. He has been gone for 7 days!!!

        The kids and I are a mess. We all know he has a problem, that he is sleeping in the truck and eating there. He doesn’t work for anyone in particular. Gambler therapy has told me that I should look for him and that he will come home when he is broke but I guess that hasn’t happened. I don’t know what to do. He doesn’t answer anything. Please any advise.

        1. Hi Mrs. P, From WP (Work in Progress) Wow! This is extreme to be sure… I hate to say this, but it seems that the only way to get his attention is going completely broke and “hitting bottom.” You have not indicated he is admitting he has a problem, nor have you said he is interested in getting help. Both of these are key to starting down the road to recovery. Sounds like your gambler therapist is right. Have you seen him recently? Any communication would be a plus at this point.

          I hope the very best for you!! Please let us know here how you are… WP (Work in Progress)

          1. HI WORKING PROGRESS. I’m happy to see that someone wrote back, yea! Yes he has known he has an issue; he has accepted help, so he says, but walking the talk is two different things. We’re very neglected by him. He did go to therapy for the 1st time but well, he’s gone again. I know he works and doesn’t come home and lives in his truck so yeah, it’s hard and frustrating. I pray a lot but I’m up to my whits end. He blames the issue of his not being home to our issues in our marriage, but I know that he and I can’t focus on our marriage because he is so focused in gambling.

            To be honest I still fall for that… that it’s my attitude that triggers him to leave. I feel bad and even think that at times he is right but no it’s him; it’s the addiction and the lies, the so many lies that have destroyed our relationship. I hope that he comes home but then I feel weird with him home. I don’t know how to treat him. I’m tired.

            Keep posting; it helps to see what you guys have to say.

  12. My husband has been gambling for more than twenty years. His gambling has caused evictions and repossessions. He was fired from his job because he was caught in the act of stealing money. He hasn’t filed taxes in three years and files exempt so he can get all of his paycheck. We filed bankruptcy three times and vehicles in his name he pawned the titles and eventually lost the vehicles.

    He now drinks often and when he’s paid, within two days he’s totally broke. I’m at the point where I despise looking at him because although he’s in the household, I raised our children through lots of prayer, tears and anger. They are aware of his extreme gambling addiction and I know that it will be a matter of time before his employer becomes aware and as a result he will experience public shame and I don’t know if that will stop him but after so many years, I really don’t care.

    1. Hi Denise, Mrs P, I take my hat off to both of you for being so loyal and steadfast in these very difficult circumstances! Believe me, the basic problem is the addiction and has nothing to do with either of you! I can only recall how powerful that urge was to “try once more” and realizing how difficult this problem can be. (Please see my post of March 24, 2016 on this). I wonder if some have a genetic disposition to this problem… Isn’t it true that gambling and alcohol abuse (among other things) can run in families? Certainly you can approach organizations like Gambling Anonymous for their advice. Clearly this is a problem which desperately needs outside reinforcements!

      Denise, how you raised children in such an environment is truly remarkable! How are they doing now? Are they now adults and out of the house? Thanks for posting…. WP (Work in progress)

      1. Hi Mrs. P, I can certainly understand that you “feel wierd” when he is home. Do you have friends and family who can support you? It sounds like you are all by yourself here! You are asking how to treat him when he’s home….Perhaps you need to set boundaries and require certain things of him? Certainly he needs to know you love him, but enabling him in any form is of course not good. Is there any way you can control the money? Or find a legal way to control your finances? If you can find outside help I would go for it. I have a lot of respect for you!! I wish I had more to say here.

      2. Thank you for responding, our children are grown, married and we have nine beautiful grandchildren. As for herditary, I’m not aware of that. They’re fully aware of the problem. I credit God for how he continues to sustain me. I know my source. I think about my life during these challenges, my children are thriving, one is a Chemist, the other is Full Time Active Duty in the Army and the other is a Pharmacy Tech. We had a home built from the ground up and I retired from working 30 years as an Admin Assistant. Now I’m working full time in my Event Decor Planning Business.

        Although my husband continues gambling, for instance last night he spent in excess of $200 in scratch offs and has a terrible attitude when I question him. I know that outside help is necessary. As for my husband I have this mindset “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Nevertheless, thank you so much for responding, and I appreciate this outlet.

        1. Hi Denise, You are very welcome. Yes it sounds like you are all doing very well! And Yes, God has been looking after you and yours. He works in ways beyond our imagination, and, most of the time, in ways we do not see until much later, if at all. Take care, WP (Work in Progress)

  13. Wife is a gambler. We have 2 small children and I worry about our finanical future every single day. My mother in law moved in and she is a gambler, too. I did not realize that she had lost everything and we were her last hope. She has discovered online gambling in our no gambling state. My wife never gambled on line until my mother in law arrived. In 6 months, I discovered $20000 in debts on different credit cards. I work and my salary is gambled away. My mother in law has a pyscological hold over my wife of 17 years. I don’t want to divorce, but I feel resentful and betrayed.

    1. Hi JD, You are in a very precarious situation from what you describe. Having your mother in law living with you can be difficult enough, but with the added strain of a gambling habit, this cannot last. There is evidence that a tendency toward gambling can be hereditary…certainly the psychological hold of your mother in law over your wife can be a very strong force. See what you find with a Google search of “is gambling hereditary”

      You say you have discovered $20K debt on different credit cards. Are you so sure there is not more debt, as yet undiscovered? You need to enlist help from outside organizations like Gambling Anonymous… and trusted friends and family. The financial future of your family hangs in the balance!

      Prayer is of course a powerful tool. I hope these comments help… WP (Work in Progress)

      1. It is much more than debt… Thank you for the advice. I really don’t want to break up my family, but something has to give. I will contact GA, for some support. Thank you very much, again.

  14. I have been married 17 years and over the past 10 years, I’ve gambled. My wife warned me, gave me several chances, which I guess in hindsight, I didn’t take seriously. I’ve spent my paycheck, her paycheck, deprived my kids of regular needs, used money that was meant for paying bills, etc…

    This time, she told me she wants space and needs to think about her well-being as well as the kids. I knew it was more serious this time. I begged, and pleaded for her not to take these steps and it only made things worse. It escalated to “I want a divorce”, and that blew me away!

    I messed up the three most important people in my life. My wife and two kids, all because of gambling. I know I need help. I’m seeking help. She knows I’m seeking help. But she won’t budge. She won’t reconsider and I’m very depressed, and deeply heartbroken about this. Is there any chance that my wife would ever reconsider after I get myself cleaned up and back to being the man she married 17 years ago? Joe

    1. Hi Joe, I read your text several times through. The one thing I can say with conviction is that God is far bigger than we are. He loves us in ways that we cannot fully comprehend, but rather only believe and receive. The most graphic is, of course, the gift of His Son Jesus to pay the price for our wrongs and rejection of God, and to provide a Way (Himself) to God the Father.

      Prayer is powerful you know. I am married for a longer time now, and have seen marriages come together and make it through the most difficult of conditions, and also marriages which have broken up under circumstances far less trying. God’s will is for marriages to succeed. See Matthew Chapter 19 and Ephesians Chapter 5 in the Bible. See 1 John Chapter 5 and Luke Chapter 11 for wonderful words on prayer.

      You need to seek the support of Christian friends, friends whom you know well, and family. God does say, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9)

      Your wife also needs to be aware of the consequences of divorce for herself and the children. The children will be the ones who pay in the long term… Many times people divorce thinking that breaking up the relationship will give them freedom and end the problems. As one widely known marriage counselor and psychologist said, “Most often, with a divorce, one simply trades in one set of problems for another!” I had a good friend tell me, “I had no idea how expensive, exhausting and time consuming a divorce could be!”

      You likely won’t have to wait until you have “gotten yourself cleaned up and back to being the man she married 17 years ago.” More likely as your wife sees you making concerted and consistent efforts to get help to turn away from the gambling and return to the man she married, her heart will soften. I hope and pray that this is the case. WP (Work in Progress)

  15. I don’t want a divorce, but he has become cruel now that I have recognized the problem. I thought it was another woman, and that’s something that came after gambling. I can’t see us coming back from this cruel addiction. Also if there are other things in your life like drinking, drugs (legal or not) ,he will use it as a throw back. We both have and shared our weaknesses and they were managed through the years. Not good I’m sure, but we maintained our home, our boat and all the things we wanted but this gambling is like overnight out of control.

    We live on a trust fund provided by his mother who is a well known writer that has no idea what is going on. Now, instead of living our dreams and all the promises, he has shut me out. We are losing everything fast. Worst of all he/we have lost passion, respect and love for each other. He preys on my faith and hope and takes advantage of them then I feel like he blames me for not recognizing the problem or sharing the problem or saving him from himself. I’m not sure which, he is angry and won’t let me close. I’m afraid of this man that I don’t know. 7 years together, I trusted him; now I don’t know who he is or what he is capable of. Thanks for letting me share. I don’t feel exposure is productive at this time. I’m lost.