With Pastor Carol Wanjau

Personality disorders are an underlying cause of harmful and destructive behaviours in marriage and relationships. We all carry scars of sin and have sinful natures, but are largely consciously oblivious to them and their impact on our lives. Understanding ourselves and increasing our self-awareness can help us break out of our blind spots and improve how we interact with other people.

Personality disorders are generally classified into three groups:

Cluster A: Characterised by odd behaviour. Includes:

Paranoid- General mistrust of others ie. spouses, friends, co-workers etc. People with this disorder often think the worst of those around them and impute ill-motives on people without cause. In marriage they are constantly and unjustifiably suspicious that their partner is cheating.

Schizoid- Preference to be alone, social withdrawal and ineptitude. Those with this disorder are indifferent to others and have limited desire for social relationships, including marriage. When they get married, it is usually in response to external pressure say from their parents or relatives. Their spouses often times feel unloved and unwanted.

Schizotypal- A person with this disorder often has odd thinking patterns that fringe on the paranormal. They see demons, hear voices and believe they can communicate with the dead etc.

Cluster B: Characterised by dramatics. Comprises:

Antisocial- The person with this disorder has little regard for social rules and obligations. He/she is highly irritable, can be aggressive, impulsive and does not feel guilt. May also have problems with the law and will many times draw their partners into their deviant lifestyle.

Borderline- People with this disorder feel empty and have a poor sense of self. They fear abandonment and have a pattern of very intense and unstable relationships. Extremely sensitive to criticism; oft reacting in anger and/or violence. As a spouse they would struggle receiving feedback from their partner.

Histrionic- Deep need for attention. Excessive dramatics and emotions. Common behaviours include always being sick, extra loud and boisterous, charming or sexually provocative. Unfortunately, these methods backfire as they often end in rejection.

Narcissistic- Extreme feeling of self-importance. A person with this disorder thirsts to be admired, resorting to flashiness and extravagance. They are envious of other people they perceive as successful, manipulative and lack empathy.

Cluster C: Generally anxious. Includes:

Avoidant: Social awkwardness, feelings of inferiority and a fear of being embarrassed, criticised or rejected. Manifests as not wanting to attend parties, dressing down to avoid drawing attention.

Dependent: Women are more likely to have this disorder. It is characterised by a low confidence, feeling inadequate and an excessive need to be looked after. People with this disorder frequently marry people with the Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and are very vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. They will typically tolerate abusive marriages/relationships.

Obsessive-Compulsive: Those with this disorder tend to be extreme perfectionists, pre-occupied with details, rules, lists and schedules. They set such high standards that they are unable to successfully complete tasks and are highly critical and controlling of others.

If you recognise any of these tendencies in yourself, do not feel ashamed. We all struggle with our nature, as even Paul lamented about in Romans 7:15-18. The good news is that Jesus is willing to help you. He offers to regenerate our sinful natures, and make good out of us and our relationships.

Let us therefore come clean before Him and surrender ourselves to Him. Not only will He change us, but transform our marriages as well.


  • The less self-aware you are, the more likely you are to wound your spouse.
  • Surrender yourself to God daily. He will transform your life.
  • The transformation of your marriage begins with you.
  • Only God can save you. Only God can save your marriage.
  • As Christians we must exhibit the nature of God in our marriages.
Carol Wanjau is an Executive Pastor at Mavuno Church and is also a Marriage and Family Therapist and Author.