You are currently viewing Scriptural Ways to Deal With a Narcissistic Husband

Scriptural Ways to Deal With a Narcissistic Husband

Reviewed by Karis A. Williams, MSMHC, LPC,   November 10, 2023

The Bible never uses the word narcissismbut it sure says a ton about what God thinks of narcissism and what we should do about it.  Likewise, the Bible doesn’t specifically say that narcissism is grounds for divorce, although, once again, you can certainly connect the dots based on what He does say to do about narcissism.

There are specific Scriptural ways to deal with a narcissistic husband.  God doesn’t want us to be unsafe physically or emotionally.  And He doesn’t want us to be manipulated by narcissistic people.  In fact, He says to avoid them.  But we are to remain respectful and kind in the process.

When we deal with narcissists in a respectful and emotionally healthy way, God will give us the peace and reassurance that He has our back.  We will thrive in Him, regardless of what happens in an imperfect world.  And we can rest assured that we are acting within His will.

Now that we have the quick answer, let’s take a deeper look at the Scriptural ways to deal with a narcissistic husband.

Know That God has Your Back

God truly does not expect us to stay in an unsafe relationship.  But that doesn’t mean we won’t necessarily find ourselves there.  What it does mean is that if we do find ourselves in an unsafe relationship, including with a narcissist, He has given us means to get ourselves and our loved ones to safety.  Speaking specifically to marriage, 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 says that if one spouse is married to an unbeliever, they are not to leave them if the unbelieving spouse wants to remain married.  But if the unbelieving spouse does not want to remain married, then divorce is acceptable in the eyes of God.

Let me qualify this Scripture by saying this is referring to a marriage where both parties are physically, emotionally, and spiritually safe.  If you do not feel you are safe in the marriage, God is not forcing you to stay because He “hates” divorce.  He even more hates what brings couples to the point of divorce.  And it is those things that made you feel unsafe that broke the covenant vows that you made on your wedding day.

If you feel physically unsafe in your marriage right now, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).  Or you can visit online at

Switching gears just a bit, most of the Scriptures that tell you how to deal with your narcissistic husband are not specifically referring to marriage.  Instead, they are the ways that God expects you to relate to everyone around you.  And certainly those concepts pertain to your marriage as well.  Let’s take a look at a few of those.

There are so many verses that speak about staying safe.  I could not find an exact number, but one article online references 236 verses specifically about safety.  I am sure there are even more than that.  Let’s just look at a few of them.

Psalm 121:7 says, “The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.”  It doesn’t get much clearer than that.  But while its meaning is clear, we must keep in mind that we still have to work to keep ourselves safe.  Allowing ourselves to be put into harm’s way does not count against God.  If we choose to stay under the harmful abuse of our narcissist husband,  we can’t necessarily expect God to step in, although He certainly can.  There is some personal responsibility involved.

Psalm 4:8 says, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.”

Ecclesiastes 7:12 says, “For wisdom is protection just as money is protection,
But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors.”

There are literally hundreds more verses in the Bible that pertain to God’s protection and care.  You almost can’t read a passage without running into them.

To Deal With a narcissistic Husband, Know What the Bible Expects of a Godly Husband

When I was training for a cashier position at my local grocery store (many moons ago during my college years), I learned the best way to identify counterfeit money was by knowing the real thing so well that I could easily pick up the inconsistencies of the counterfeit.  It is the same thing in the case of identifying a narcissistic husband.

If you know what the Bible says regarding a godly husband, you will know if your husband is not it.  1 Corinthians 13 is called the Love Chapter of the Bible.  It is significant when dealing with narcissists because they do not love their wives, families, neighbors, coworkers, friends, or any others.  They are thought to only love themselves.  But it is probably loathing that they feel the most about themselves.  The deep shame they have carried around since their childhood prevents them from loving themselves.

So, where does 1 Corinthians 13 come in?  It shows us, first of all, the many things that love is not.  And it also shows us the things that love is.  Click on the reference to read through it, then think about which of the items match the qualities your husband shows you.   If he does the things that are not love according to this passage, then you know where you stand.

But that is not the only way the Bible identifies how husbands should relate to their wives.  Here are some more:

1 Peter 3:7 “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”

Colossians 3:19 “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”

Ephesians 5:28-29 “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,”

Ephesians 5:21 “Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Again, there are so many more verses that speak to the way the husband/wife relationship should look and function.  When the narcissistic husband refuses to obey even the words of God, the covenant of marriage has already been broken.

To Deal With a Narcissistic Husband, Know What God Hates

There are hundreds of passages in Scripture that talk about what God hates.  It doesn’t really matter what relationship has these characteristics.  God still hates them.  Just because a man marries a woman, she does not have to live under abuse just because God hates divorce.  He also hates evil men who abuse and destroy their wives and families.  And he does provide a way of escape for those women/children.  Here are some verses that really get to the heart of how God feels about narcissism (the narcissistic traits are underlined):

2 Timothy 3:1-9 “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

6 “They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

Hebrews 12:15 “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;

Now that we have looked at specific Scriptures that show us both how husbands should treat their wives as well as how not to treat their wives, lets now put it all together and look at the Scriptural ways to deal with a narcissistic husband.

Scriptural Ways to Deal With a Narcissistic Husband:  Be Respectful

No matter what your narcissist husband says to you, no matter how low he makes you feel, you cannot throw the narcissism back in his face.  I know you aren’t loving that I said that.  I get it.  I wanted to throw all of my ex’s crap right back at him.  And there were times I did.  But it wasn’t right in the scheme of God’s world.  And over time, I realized it didn’t make me feel better to stoop to his level.   And we all know how bad that makes us feel in the end.  I could have handled it so much better.

The good news is that over time, I did learn how to handle it better.  I had the best counseling available.  And the best books to read that set me on the right path.  I realized that by treating him poorly, I was not gaining emotional maturity.  I wasn’t giving things a chance to get better.

At the end of the day, it was my responsibility to do the right thing.  Then the ball was in his court to do what he was going to do.  Eventually, he chose his narcissism over  his family.  And started his new family a mere 6 days after his divorce was final with me.  But I am a new, strong, emotionally healthy woman.  There is nothing he could have done for me that would have had as good a result as that.

So, when your narcissist pushes all the buttons that he knows will send you over the edge, don’t go over the edge!  Take a minute to think about what is going on.  He is gaslighting you, lying to you, blame-shifting, or whatever narcissistic tactic he’s doing to you.  Recognize it for that, and choose not to get dragged into the endless loop.  Respectfully tell him the truth, tell him you are not going to argue, and don’t worry about whatever he throws at you next.  You cannot control his behavior.  Only yours.  And you are just as accountable to God as anyone else.

As you move along in this process and realize you are able to maturely hold your own, you will be amazed at how level you can keep yourself.  And the more you see yourself growing emotionally, the easier the narcissistic attacks will become.

Does this mean he will recognize how well you are handling the situation and start improving?  Will he apologize to  you for all the crap he has done over the years?  Will he be the husband you always dreamed of?  Most probably not.  But that is not yours.  That is his to be accountable for.  He very likely will never repent of any of it.  Instead, he will continue to blame shift and lie his way out of any responsibility.  And if your case turns out positive, that is wonderful!  It is, unfortunately, not the way most marriages with a narcissistic husband end up.

But know this:  if you have treated your abusive husband with respect (that does not mean you must be a doormat to him–more on that in the next point), that gives him the greatest chance to see some grace and possibly repent and make things right, or at least much better.  But even if it doesn’t end that way, you have done the right thing.  And no matter how much it may hurt to see your marriage fail, you can rest knowing you did everything you could.

Scriptural Ways to Deal With a Narcissistic Husband:  Don’t Focus on the Word Narcissism

When my ex husband and I were tested (separately) in counseling, one of the biggest things we were cautioned about was using the terms diagnosed to define each other.  We were told that we were not to use those words as references.  We were certainly not to throw those words in each other’s faces.

Instead, we were to use the results of the tests to focus on the contributing behaviors and fix our own issues.

When we focus on the word narcissism, we are putting that person in a box that will make them angry, bitter, and unwilling to make any changes.  And yes, while the recovery rate of narcissism is very low, especially as they fall higher on the spectrum, we need to do everything in our power to encourage any healing possible.

Also, when we focus on the word narcissism, it takes our own focus away from the behaviors we should be responding to in a healthier way.  Our thoughts tend to begin and end on the narcissism itself.

Trying to communicate with a narcissist in a way they won’t find offensive is already nearly impossible.  They find offense at just about anything you say when trying to address issues in the marriage or relationship.  And then you are instantly being dragged down a road you don’t want to go down.  The focus needs to change away from simplistic terms.

When you focus on the behavior and how you will proceed based on it, you may not see an improvement in your narcissist’s behavior.  But you will see yourself becoming more emotionally healthy.  You are learning to set better boundaries, or maybe even the first boundaries you have ever had.  And you are learning to react in the best ways rather than the ways your narcissist is provoking you to.

Scriptural Ways to Deal With a Narcissistic Husband:  Don’t Waste Your Time on Futile Thinking

There comes a time that you will realize your narcissistic husband is not going to look inward.  He is not going to apply God’s word and will to his life.  And there is nothing you (or God) can say that will change that.  Unfortunately, that includes both husbands that have walked away from their profession of faith as well as husbands that use the Bible as a weapon against others while still professing to be the best Christian in the world.

When you realize there is nothing you can do to help your husband to heal, and your marriage is not safe, either physically or emotionally, it is likely time to get yourself to safety and healthy living.  This is confirmed by the verse I quoted above–2 Timothy 3:5, which tells us that when our spouse still pretends to be godly while denying the power and authority of God we are to have nothing to do with such people.  How much more applicable is that to an abusive spouse than just an acquaintance, neighbor, work associate, or anyone?

Spouses have the ability to inflict the worst damage.  And for those of you men who are reading this that have narcissistic wives abusing you, the advice is the same!  Just adjust the pronouns to fit your case.

Here are a few more relevant verses to help you think about where God would have you avoid those husbands that seek to do you narcissistic harm.

Proverbs 13:20  “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

Proverbs 22:24-25 “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.”

The last one I want to share with you is 2 Corinthians 6:14. It says, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

This verse is commonly used to tell believers not to knowingly marry an unbeliever.  But it goes much further than that.  It also applies to those of us that were fooled by the words of the narcissist who tricked us into believing they were great warriors of God, but in the end were as ungodly as the most rebellious against God.

If your husband claims to be a Christian with his words, but his behavior totally contradicts his words, you are not married to a believer.

Scriptural Ways to Deal With a Narcissistic Husband:  Set Godly Boundaries

I already alluded to this above, but setting godly boundaries is critical in any relationship you have.

Your narcissistic husband will be offended by your boundaries.  And there is good reason for that.  He doesn’t like that you are no longer his doormat.  If you set boundaries, he is unable to continue to do anything he wants with and to you while you lovingly follow along, thinking that someday he will notice your love for you and show you love in return.

As believing wives, we often think that we need to submit to everything our husbands demand or we are “disobeying.”  So we continue to submit ourselves to them until there is none of us left and all of them swallowing us.  This tends to happen gradually enough that we don’t realize it.

I remember when our counselor started talking about boundaries and recommended the book of the same name by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.  I thought that boundaries were so wrong and that I didn’t have the right to limit my then husband’s access to me.  Upon reading the book, I realized that it was not only okay, but absolutely necessary for a healthy relationship.

The other thing that made me think it was wrong was the fact that my ex made me feel that way anytime that I put up a limit to what he could do or say to me.  He actually said that the Bible said he should have total unrestricted access to me whenever he wanted for whatever he wanted.  In his eyes, I was his property to do whatever he wanted with.

The sad part of this is that I gave him that access for so long that when I took it away from  him, he was so incredibly angry.  And it was at this point that the counselors and church leadership really stepped in to help our family.  They realized were were in pretty deep trouble.

After Religious Narcissistic Abuse:  How I Found Healing

On this site, there are two books I recommend you read above all others, especially if you are just now realizing the damage that narcissistic abuse does.  Boundaries is one of them.  Many people will read whatever they can get their hands on once they realize what is going on.  Seeing the patterns of narcissistic behavior and how similar they are no matter where and when in history is a stunning realization.  But once you have read about narcissistic abuse and you are ready to read about healing, this book is the best.  Click below to check it out.

And if you’re curious about the other book I recommend the most, it is The Emotionally Destructive Marriage by Leslie Vernick.  The reason I think this book is amazing is because she starts the book off with a test to help you figure out if your marriage is a difficult one or a destructive one.  Once you know this, you can then take action steps to course correct your life in a godly way.  She uses an acronym:  C.O.R.E. principles to help you heal and become emotionally strong.  Here is what they stand for:

C – I will be committed to truth, both internally in my own heart and mind and externally. I refuse to pretend.

O – I will be open to the Holy Spirit and wise others, teaching me, maturing me, and guiding me into his way of living my life.

R – I will be responsible for my own responses to destructive behavior and commit to being respectful without dishonoring myself.

E – I will be empathic and compassionate toward others without enabling people to continue to abuse and disrespect me.

These 4 concepts resonated with me so well.  I started consciously thinking about them in all of my interactions and they literally changed my life.  The church leadership and counselors all testify that this was a huge turning point in my life.  And honestly, it was really good to have the positive feedback.  My pastor even said that I carried myself in a totally different way.  I was no longer hunched over in a life of constant beatdowns.  Now I was standing straight.  I was finally my own person, but a devout believer and obedient to God at the same time.

You can check out Leslie’s book here:


It is important for you to keep yourself and your family safe.  The Bible makes this very clear.  And while many churches say that God does not approve of divorce because the Bible only specifies adultery and desertion as valid avenues for divorce, at some point we need to realize that maybe God didn’t need to state that divorce was okay for very obvious reasons.

The Bible doesn’t specifically say that a husband or wife has grounds for divorce based on attempted murder.  It doesn’t need to.  The same goes for years of abuse in a marriage.  I am horrified that there are churches functioning today that tell wives to stay with their abusive husband because they are “suffering for the Lord.”  That is not it.  God will never expect you to suffer abuse from a spouse like that.  It  has nothing to do with suffering for God.

Suffering for God means that someone is persecuting you for your faith.  To lump spousal abuse in with that is a travesty.  And it is unfortunate that so many devout believers get sucked into that lie and are forced to live a lifetime of abuse in the name of trying to follow Jesus.

There are indeed Scriptural ways to deal with a narcissistic husband.  Don’t let your church force you to stay in that life when the Bible and God say very differently!  There are Biblical churches out there that will stand up for you and the Word of God at the same time.  You may have to do a little bit of searching.  And it may take some time, but it will be worth it to you and your loved ones.

What has been your experience in finding Scriptural ways to deal with a narcissistic husband?  Was your church supportive?  Were your friends and family supportive?  Were you able to find good counseling?  What books did you find helpful?

Share your story in the comments below or if you don’t feel safe commenting in a public forum, feel free to contact me here.


Blessings and hugs,

If you found this article valuable, I think you will also find the following articles valuable:

What is the Narcissist Divorce Rate?

Who Does a Narcissist Marry?

How Many Times Does a Narcissist Marry?

Narcissists and Marriage:  The Complete Picture

How Does a Narcissist Stay Married for so Long?

Does Narcissism Worsen With Age?

Does a Narcissist Realize What They’ve Lost?

Do Narcissists End up Alone?

Can a Narcissist be a Good Father?

Can a Narcissist be a Good Mother?

Will a Narcissist Hurt Their Child?

Can Narcissists be Good Parents?

Can Narcissists Love Their Children?

How Can You Tell if Someone is a Religious Narcissist?

Can Two Narcissists be in Relationship With Each Other?

Understanding the Tactics of a Religious Narcissistic Father 

Dealing With the Trauma of a Religious Narcissistic Mother

When Narcissism Becomes Pathological

Will God Punish a Narcissist?

What to do When Your Narcissist Threatens You

The Bible Used as a Weapon Against You:  You Can Overcome! 

What Does the Bible Say About Abusive Husbands?

The Link Between Spiritual Abuse and Narcissism

Why Narcissists Want to Apear Godly

What Healing From a Narcissist Looks Like

Why Narcissists Love Going to Church 

How Religious Narcissists Think

Are Narcissists Evil?

Narcissistic Behavior:  What to Look Out For

Praying for Your Narcissistic Husband

Are Spiritual Narcissists Overt or Covert? 

Religious Trauma Syndrome:  How to Preserve Your Spiritual Journey

How to Navigate Religious Narcissistic Parents

What Happens to the Soul of a Narcissist?

How to Heal From a Spiritual Narcissist

Can You Maintain a Relationship With a Spiritual Narcissist? 

Can Narcissists Have a Spiritual Awakening?

How Will God Judge a Narcissist?

When the Church Says to Move Back in With Your Narcissist

What Can we Say to a Christian Friend Who’s Divorcing?

Why Does God Hate Divorce? 

12 Ways the Church Helps Narcissists Abuse Their Victims

When Your Church Believes the Narcissist’s Lies

23 Reasons Why Narcissists are Drawn to the Church

What Does the Spiritual Narcissist do When You try to Leave?

When the Church Doesn’t Recognize Narcissistic Abuse

Will the Church Support Divorcing a Narcissist?

Are Narcissists Demon Possessed?

What Does the Bible say About Narcissism?

Can a Narcissist be a Christian?

Can a Spiritual Narcissist Heal?

What is Spiritual Narcissism?

Follow me!


Hi! I am the founder of Navigating Religious Narcissism after being raised under a narcissistic mother and married to a narcissistic man for 31 years. It is my prayer that I can be as valuable on your journey to healing and peace as were so many who crossed my path of healing.

Leave a Reply