I didn’t even realize he was a narcissist until after we were divorced.
I felt like a fool for not seeing it, embarrassed because it took me that long to put a label on it. But the truth is, it didn’t need a label. I knew something was wrong six days after we returned from our honeymoon. The narcissistic marriage problems only escalated from there, with constant gaslighting, manipulation, and a complete lack of empathy toward my needs and feelings.
I stood at the kitchen counter opening the mail. As I scanned the unusually high cable bill, I saw one pornographic movie after another. It felt like someone just sucked all of the air out of the room. He was sitting right there and saw my face. I was never one to cower in fear, so I pounced like a puma.
I challenged him, and his response was the beginning of what I could see was a dream turned nightmare.
He said, “Well, since you didn’t put out, what did you expect me to do?”
Amazing how it was MY FAULT. Don’t think for a second that I assumed that responsibility.
Still, I didn’t know what to do. It was early enough to bail, but I stayed. I decided to be a loving, understanding wife who wins her husband to Christ.
But two months in, he came to me and said, “You know that whole church thing we’ve been doing? You can go, but I just don’t think it’s for me anymore.”
Again, I felt bamboozled. He fooled me into thinking he had come to Christ and wanted a Christian marriage.
Needless to say, the marriage was strained at that point. I realized that his man wanted to be married in title only.
It started to dawn on me that he was proud to brag to his colleagues about his young wife, but he lived his life like he was a bachelor.
At the beginning of our marriage, he said he would like to wait three years before we had kids.
Three years came and he said, “I never said that. I said, after three years we could talk about it and see if that’s what we want. And I’ve thought about it and I just don’t think that’s something ‘we’ want.”
I may not have known then that he was a narcissist, but after this, there was no doubt that he was a lying, self-centered control freak that was using me for everything.
That’s when I entered phase two of the marriage, which was, “God get me out of here.”
Love was not driving this ship anymore. I confess—I hated him. I hated who he was and what he had done to my dreams. And worst of all, I hated that the beautiful Christian marriage I had longed for turned out to be a scam.
Once he knew that I was on to him, it went from bad to worse.
There was no way I was staying in that toxic house with that lying manipulator. I prayed, “God I love you, but I’m not staying here another minute. Do what you have to do to me, but I’m out.”
Then a counselor I was working with calmed me down and said, “Are you willing to trust God to either change him or deliver you?”
I was definitely praying that God would change him, but the thought of deliverance had never occurred to me. A sudden peace came over me, knowing that it wasn’t my responsibility to change him and I wasn’t trapped. I could trust God to be God.
Then I entered phase three: “God I’ll trust you.”
I’ve made more impulsive decisions to try to take the bull by the horns than I care to admit. Although now there was a little voice in me that kept saying “trust me,” my flesh had it’s running shoes on.
I knew my decision would be a pivotal moment in my walk with God. “Am I going to keep doing things my way? Or will I follow Him, even though I have NO idea what this will look like?”
I won’t lie, my prayers were more for my deliverance than it was for God to change my husband. But the more I trusted God with whatever the outcome would be, the more I grew in maturity.
I spent SOO much time with God. It was glorious. I even reached a point where I prayed, “God, if delivering me from this means that I lose this connection with you, then keep me right where I am.”
Then one day, out of the clear blue sky, God showed me what this man had been doing with his time and money—having an affair/having affairs.
This was my out.
Many Christians might say, “A loving wife would love him through his indiscretions.”
Judge all you want—I left. Because this man had ZERO interest in assuming any responsibility for a healthy, much less godly, relationship, I was biblically released.
I never looked back. And I have never regretted my decision to leave. Not for one second.
Here’s what I did regret: everything that led up to it. You see, it’s easy to be the victim in these situations.
But let me be completely transparent. I stepped out of God’s will in marrying this man.
I may not have known that he was a full-blown covert narcissist, but I DID KNOW that I shouldn’t have married him.
I had friends asking if I prayed over this. That was their gentle way of showing me the red flags. I didn’t listen.
I do wish that at least one of them would have smacked me in the head and said “What the heck are you doing?” But would I have listened? Maybe, but probably not.
I did pray, but the prayer was more like, “Oh God, please let me marry him. Oh God, please stop me if he’s not the one.”
Then I’d turn my receiver off. I checked the prayer box, but I truly didn’t want to hear if God had something else to say besides what I wanted to hear.
You see, this man was a bit older than me, and I was tired of dating guys my age who were still ‘finding themselves.’
I had just come off of dating someone who turned down a full-time job because he didn’t want to waste his summer. Meanwhile, I paid for things and tried to get him on a budget to get out of debt. I was done with that.
So when Mr. covert narcissist showed up with his own business and what seemed like a mature outlook on life, there was no prayer in heaven that was going to stop me. I was moving forward no matter what.
Finally, I became done with doing things my way.
One of the questions I get asked often is, how long did it take for God to deliver you?
I reply that from the first cable bill to the filing of papers, it took nine years.
And here’s what I ALWAYS hear in return. “I’m not waiting 9 years. I just can’t.”
And I get it, but it’s at this moment that you have a choice—are you going to keep doing things your way, or God’s way? You can’t say you’re submitted to God and still call the shots. But you also can’t blame God (or anyone else) if you decide to go all Rambo and take matters into your own hands.
Here’s what I hope you glean from my story about narcissistic marriage problems:
- God delivers—there is no place too far or deep that God can’t reach you.
- God heals—there’s no broken place that God can’t reach, and there’s no wound He can’t heal.
- God restores—He will take what the enemy meant for your harm and use it for your good. (I’m here now because of what I’ve been through.)
Yes, God will deliver, heal, and restore you even if it was your own wrong-doing. Simply repent, submit to Him, and TRUST HIS TIMING.
Get out of your head what you think God should do, and just trust Him. Your situation, including narcissistic marriage problems, is likely different than mine and I couldn’t even begin to say how God will move in your life, but I know that he WILL.
Will you trust Him?