Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Why did I Marry Him (or Her)?

Psa 127:1-5 A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. (2) It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. (3) Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. (4) Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. (5) Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

As you all know, RASNs (revilers, abusers, sociopaths, narcissists) can be a man or a woman. But in this post I want to show you a dangerous pattern which I have seen more than once which led a woman to marry a RASN. The pattern could be illustrated from a man’s perspective as well, with a few different nuances.

“Why did I marry him?” I have had more than one abuse victim ask me that, or really, ask themselves, this question. Looking back, having gone through or being in the middle of the pain of marriage to an evil person. they ask “why did I marry him?” While there are no doubt a number of different answers to that question, I want to show you one which, as I said, I have come across more than once. It is this: she married him because she believed he would help her achieve her dreams.

Now, of course to a degree that reason is what should be part of marriage, right? The desire to have a one-flesh companion, the desire to have a family, the desire to raise up children in the Lord – all good desires. But as with anything, “good” things projected too far lose their goodness.

I suppose we might call this trap the “doll-house dream.” Little girls play with their dolls and their doll-houses. They live in the house through the person of their doll. They cook dinner. They bathe the children. They greet the husband. And as they grow up, that doll-house world becomes their dream. In their teen years they chat with their friends and share their dream for a real doll-house world.

But a dream in one thing. When it becomes an idol – trouble is lurking just around the corner. That dream-idol, that doll house which she just has to have, can drive her to marry the wrong man for the wrong reasons. “Let’s see, can that guy give me my idol-world? What is his career choice? What are his ambitions? What do people think of him? Can he give me a world that other people envy?

RASNs as you know are quite skilled at playing these kind of roles. They might very well have a career that is enviable and which provides the resources to get that doll-house. He might have a reputation in the world which others admire. He may be praised in the church for his saintliness. But….as time goes by, the dream becomes a nightmare.

Idolatry blinds us. When I pursue an image, a reputation, wealth and success in this world as my goal in life, even if that image on the surface looks admirable, I am going to be blinded by that idol. Marriage, family, a home…certainly can all be very good things. But a good thing elevated to the status of a god, is demonic and devastating.

It is very sad to watch a young woman starting out in life with great promise, headed into her life apparently walking with Christ, and then being swept away from that godly walk by “Mr. Wonderful” who plays her to her doll-house dream. Slowly (or perhaps even very quickly) Christ is moved to the background (oh, of course, the doll-house dream will include church on Sundays, she tells herself), and her energies are given to the dream. The magic of the wedding ring, the wedding ceremony, sets her head spinning and admiring eyes reinforce that dream.

Years later, there she is. Asking herself – “Why did I marry him?” Why is she asking? Because the doll-house dream which became an idol deceived her and led her into marriage with a RASN. It is a sad scenario.

Now, this thing is not easy for me to describe and I do not want any of you to read it and get the idea that I am saying that all abuse victims “did it” to themselves by pursuing this idol. No one deserves to be abused and RASNs are liars and deceivers and can dupe anyone. I am just trying to point out a particular danger – a pattern which I have come across more than once.

What does a truly godly person look like? Who is that real Christian man with whom a godly woman can be blessed to spend her life with? Well, he may not be envied by the crowds. He may not select a career that will provide a lot of wealth. But the love of Christ is in him, and that is the kind of husband or wife whom the Lord blesses.

Pro 16:19 It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.


Part 2 of Jeff Crippen’s Interview on America Out Loud


More Thoughts on Wolves Hiding Among the Flock


  1. Carol

    So true, Jeff. I have been married twice, both times to very abusive men. I loved them both, especially the second man, but if I thought either man would not provide me with financial security, I would not have married either one. This truth I have realized for years.

    That is not to say I didn’t work hard throughout both marriages, the first one especially: If it was not for my managing various businesses, we wouldn’t have reaped such great financial benefits.

    I was a Christian very early in my marriage, and likely before I married my first husband. I know I lied to God, myself and others before marrying my second husband. I have repented before God and He has forgiven me.

    The Lord was with me all along, and He has been most merciful to me, even with my lying to Him and my unwise choices. I am much wiser now, and am closer to Him. I feel truly blessed.

    Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
    2 Corinthians 6:14

    This is likely the most important post you have made, Jeff.
    Take warning, ladies.

  2. The why is sometimes obvious, sometimes not….

    Sometimes the RASNs and their fan club have the Christian-ese words and public actions down so pat there is no way you will know until they have you hooked in. It is very prevalent – often there are verifiable signs, often there are not. I can count a very small number of folks who stood by me as I suffered horribly, the rest of them looked the other way, yes, from the church, family, friends, etc. even as the physical abuse left me injured for life in many ways. To do this day, years later, they are the RASNs adoring fans through their silence, lack of support, blame shifting and smear campaigns, complete with application of “normal” thought processes to a very un-normal RASN spun-web.

    In retrospect, I see many things, and the original hooks formed within the family of origin RASNs who literally felt threatened by their non-RASN children/ siblings. When I look at the root cause of the why (evil and wicked as they are) so much rests in things you simply would not know until your hand was forced at the “deep dive”…. The Lord graciously walks us through the steps looking back for answers while moving forward, securely with him – and when ready, it is an amazing journey.

  3. lg

    Great post. This was exactly me. And, something I have been coming to terms with over the past few years.

    • Carol

      Ig, it is not easy to admit mistakes. There were obvious signs before marriage that I had noticed, but went into denial. This applied to both men.
      Ladies, if you receive an engagement ring this Christmas, be sure that this man is the one you truly want to spend the rest of your life with. Separation and divorce is heartbreakingly hard. It’s much easier to refuse the ring, at any time.

  4. Jade

    I didn’t like playing with dolls when I was young, and my mother clearly disliked having children, so I wasn’t looking forward to that, either. I just wanted to be loved. My own parents never made me feel truly loved, and along came Mr. Abuser when I was only 16 – he did all the right things and said all the right things to make me believe he was the real deal. He was so attentive, so complimentary, so sweet, so willing to do favours for me and buy me gifts. I can look back now and see heaps of warning signs, but at the time, even the “older, wiser” adults in my life encouraged the relationship.

    Having children turned out to be the most wonderful, amazing thing in the world, but he has lied to and manipulated them, and now they believe I’m crazy or abusive or both. He knew nothing would hurt me worse than losing them.


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