When you first got married, you had such high hopes and dreams. You pictured a marriage where you worked together, through easy AND hard times, fought fairly and respectfully, and loved each other, just like your marriage vows said. Then things did not happen that way. And you never saw it coming. And then you found out that your husband is a narcissist on a level that makes your marriage seem impossible going forward.
So, when you realize that not only did your marriage not turn out the way you hoped or expected, and you realize it likely never will, how do you pray for your narcissistic husband? First, pray for healing from his heart, knowing that whether or not God chooses to heal him, He is still sovereign and working in your lives. Unfortunately, God cannot force your husband to repent. Next, you need to pray for and work toward your own healing, regardless of what your future looks like with your husband.
Let’s take a look at what this looks like in real life and some definite steps you can take toward praying for your narcissistic husband and finding healing for yourself.
Table of Contents
Pray For Your Narcissistic Husband When Things are Going Well
One of the most confusing things to me when I was married to a narcissist was that often things would go very well. He would seem kind and concerned. And then he would hit me with whatever I owed him because he had been nice to me. For years, that cycle continued. And often, I wouldn’t even think to pray for him because everything was fine. He didn’t need prayer!
We all do that. But God doesn’t only want to hear from us when things are bad. He wants us to pray without ceasing. Always be in a spirit of prayer.
In the case of narcissism, we can enjoy those good times. And we can use them too gear up for when we know things aren’t going to be good. We can pray for strength and dignity. We can pray that our boundaries will hold firm, even when he tries to trample them. And we can pray for wisdom to handle the words that will be hurled at us when he gets angry.
Praying for your narcissistic husband for these things ahead of time will change the way we handle when things get bad. Every marriage has times of struggle. And in every marriage we will need to pray for wisdom to handle those rough times. But when married to a narcissist, you NEED those calm times of prayer. Or you will always be on the downside playing catch up.
*Note: For the best resources on understanding and dealing with religious narcissism, click here!
Pray For Your Narcissistic Husband When Things are Going Terribly Bad
While I mentioned above that every marriage goes through difficult times, when you are married to a narcissist, we are talking rain storm vs. tsunami. No matter how much you prayed to be ready for the storm, it can still knock you back a bit when it comes. And that’s okay as long as you know it can happen.
Pray your way through the storm! Just like Jesus and the disciples. They were panicked. Jesus was calm. Even when everyone else thought they were going to die right there. It may feel like God has left you. It did for me for a long time. But he was there.
Praying My Way Through the Valley
One of my counselors shared some Scripture with me on a night that was particularly difficult. It was the night my then husband was diagnosed with narcissism. My counselor sat me down to give me guidance on how difficult things would be once he was told that he was diagnosed. He would not take it well. And life would get more difficult as he would spiral out of control trying to gain more control.
My counselor wanted me to know what God was still very much with me even though things were about to get significantly worse. So he shared Psalm 23 with me. Specifically verses 4 and 5. I had heard this Psalm my whole life. I had memorized it when I was 8 years old. And I had way underestimated it.
Verse 4 talks about when I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death–God is still with me, no matter how bad it gets. I can’t believe I had not taken that verse to heart for all the difficult years. It was such a cliché verse for me because I had heard it so many times but had never really taken it to heart. I am so grateful for that counselor’s words that night.
But then, God didn’t stop there. In verse 5, the Psalmist (David) says that God prepares a table with a feast right there in front of my enemies. So, while they think they have me trapped in the valley, I am feasting from the blessings of God.
That night changed my world. It was the beginning of my healing in earnest, even though I was about to face the toughest part of the end of my marriage.
Do Not Pray With Your Husband if You Are Not Emotionally Safe
My pastor used to tell me there were two times when he told couples they shouldn’t pray together. The first was when they were dating and before marriage, because the intimacy level when two people pray together automatically goes way up.
The second time was when you are in an abusive relationship. Because the abuser will use it to continue to abuse and control.
If you are in an emotionally unsafe relationship with your husband, you can assure him you are praying without actually praying with him. If he demands you pray together, you can let him pray while you hold your ground. But do not make him feel like you have to pray, especially if you are not comfortable saying the actual prayers with him.
Some marriages are difficult and not abusive. And when you are in the middle of it, it is hard to tell which is the case in your own marriage. I was given an amazing book by my counselor that made things crystal clear for me. It is still one of my favorite books today. The name of it is The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. (Click the title to find out more about it on Amazon.) It helped me to figure out if I was in a difficult or destrtuctive marriage. It helped me to figure out what the specific destructive behaviors were. And it helped me with guidance on becoming stronger and learning how to deal with both difficult and destructive circumstances. That book changed my life.
Pray for Your Husband’s Eyes to be Opened to His Struggle With Narcissism
This one is tough. Most of the time I just wanted to be free of the constant gaslighting, blame shifting, lying, and passive aggression. Not to mention the anger, yelling, and constant pins and needles. I didn’t really feel like praying for the person that was causing all of this discord in my life. Often I didn’t. It is one thing I would change if I could go back.
But God is not a God who is limited by time. He knows my heart, then and now. And He knows I am so much healthier now.
While I have sole custody of our kids, my ex does see our youngest son for a couple of hours a week (about 6 hours every two weeks). Co-parenting with a narcissist is a tough road. So his healing, even though we are no longer in the same circles of life, would be a benefit to all involved.
It would have been amazing if my ex did heal in a way that would have allowed us to stay married. I don’t think the times I didn’t pray for him caused the divorce. I also don’t think he will heal at this point. But I would love to be pleasantly surprised. Actually, that would knock me off my seat. I would celebrate for him in that case. But I still pray. Because God can do anything. And I have faith that whatever He decides to do will be in His perfect will.
I don’t understand God’s will. But I don’t see what He sees either. I just have to trust. And so far, He has done an amazing job with our family’s healing. We are all somewhere along the road of healing. And I pray that we will all continue and find complete restoration soon.
Pray for Your Narcissistic Husband to be Willing to Work With Those Involved in Your Family’s Healing
This was another really hard one for me. My ex started turning me in to pastors to try to make me “obey” him. When that didn’t work, he moved on to professional counselors. It backfired for him, as they saw what was going on in our house and started trying to work towards making our relationship more healthy.
But he didn’t want to work on anything. He wanted the days of getting all the benefits for none of the work on his part to be back. That wasn’t going to happen anymore. The more they tried to speak truth into him, the more he fought back. At this point I was praying like crazy that somehow he would understand what they were trying to tell us. But it wasn’t a matter of understanding. He understood everything he was doing.
As time went on, I lost my motivation to pray as he kept on playing games and trying to control everything. For quite a while, I didn’t pray for him. I was angry that I was in the position I found myself. I never could have imagined being divorced after 34 years with him and starting a new life.
As the divorce was final and the craziness became less, I started getting my balance back to be able to start praying again. Sometimes the anger surfaces if I see or hear something that triggers me. Now I use that as an opportunity to remember to keep praying for him.
Will he recover? I don’t know. But I know that I need to keep praying for him.
An Example of Long Prayers
My story of praying for a long time for something that very well may never happen reminds me of a story I heard a long time ago. It was about George Müller, who was a man who loved God greatly. He prayed for 5 close friends to come to Christ. The first one came to Christ 18 months after he started praying for them. The next one was after 5 years of prayer. He didn’t give up. He kept on praying for the other 3. Another 6 years passed before the third one was converted.
The final two were not converted by the time Müller passed away. While he didn’t get to see those prayers answered while he was on Earth, he got the privilege of meeting them in Heaven and seeing the results of his 52 years of prayer. Within a couple years of his death, they both came to Christ.
For more on this story, click here.
Pray for Your Narcissistic Husband, Even if You are no Longer Together
Know that as I write this, I don’t see it as an easy thing to do, but one of the hardest. There were times I didn’t want to pray for my narcissistic husband, even while we were married. I just wanted to be done with all the craziness. There were even times I feared that if I prayed for him and God healed him, I would be stuck with some level of narcissism forever.
But God saw things differently. My ex is still the same. He is now gaslighting his current wife. But she doesn’t see it. At least she isn’t admitting it if she is. But I think she is extending a gracious spirit to him (and his sisters who are doing the same to her) as she explains away the things he is doing.
And with that, I pray even harder. I pray that she may become wise and strong. I pray that maybe my ex will finally realize he can’t run away from the narcissism, even though he starts a whole new life. And I pray, as one counselor told me to, that he would be brought to a place where he truly seeks out God to heal him instead of trying to manipulate God like he does everyone else around him.
Will it work? I don’t know. God knows better than I do. Even though things didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to, I am in such a better place. Life for me has become healthy for the most part. And I live in a better world for the first time in my whole life.
That makes it infinitely easier to pray for his healing. What an amazing story that would be.