With Pastor Carol Wanjau

Opposites attract and attack is a common statement used to describe spouses who seem to be so different yet are attracted to each other. One partner could have an extreme sense of self-importance while the other has a low self confidence and feeling of inadequacy. A married couple could find themselves with opposite personality disorder. This article will look at a commonly found love combination that has one spouse having Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and the other spouse having the Dependent Personality Disorder (Co-dependency). How can such extreme personalities overcome their differences and join in love?

The partner with NPD exhibits an extreme sense of self-importance while their partner has low self-confidence and feelings of inadequacy. Also contrasting is the former being manipulative and selfish as the latter is hyper-focused on others and excessively selfless. Outwardly these are polar opposites. Upon deeper inspection however, one will find that the two share one very strong commonality.

Like everyone else, these two clusters of people have the same innate needs that they desire to be fulfilled. What differs between them is how they go about seeking this fulfillment. Sample these examples below:

Need for Love:

Everyone desires to be unconditionally loved, where we are loved regardless of our shortcomings or weaknesses. In this context, the person with NPD seeks to fulfil this need through the affection their spouse with codependency readily gives. An act which is in itself an attempt of the co-dependent party feels loved through affirmation.

These strategies don’t work though as what they are both seeking for from their partners can only be found in God. Realise that your spouse cannot love you holistically the way you want or need to be loved. Don’t expect your marriage to fulfil you in every way. God is the only one who meets your deepest needs for love.

Need for Significance:

This speaks to feeling valued. The partner with NPD will often put down their spouse down whereas the spouse with co-dependency will pursue a sense of value by striving to please their partner.

As our Creator, only God can ascribe our value to us. He alone knows our true worth. You don’t need to compete for or demand value from your relationship. You are already fully valued by God.

Steps to Overcome:

Should the above tendencies apply to you or your marriage, here are steps you can make (along with seeking professional assistance) to help overcome this situation.

  1. Stop demanding from your spouse what only God can give.
  2. Time Create time for yourself. Find something to do that builds you. It could be a hobby, diet, exercise etc.
  3. Emotionally Connect with God. Learn to hang out with God. He uplifts you in ways your spouse can’t. Read the Bible and listen to worship music.
  4. Pray and Fast for yourself and your marriage. God is fully able to completely overturn your situation. Humble yourself before Him and seek His help.

All said and done, remember that God is able to turn your life around and mend the pain points in your relationship. Turn to Him and watch Him break you free.


  • Your spouse cannot love you the way you want or need to be loved. Only God can.
  • Quit trying to make your marriage fulfil you. You were created to be fulfilled by God.
  • Stop demanding from your spouse what only God can give.
  • God is able to mend the pain points in your marriage.
  • Don’t enter marriage with a ‘Me-First’ mentality.
  • God uplifts you in a way your spouse never will.
  • God can turn your marriage around.
Carol Wanjau is an Executive Pastor at Mavuno Church and is also a Marriage and Family Therapist and Author.