(real names have been omitted or changed)
I sat curled on the couch under the cream blanket beside him, toasty warm, my long dark hair around my neck and shoulders like a winter scarf.... my body heat through many long layered tops meeting his own.... the large flat screen flashed ahead of us across the room and take out remnants from dinner were scattered across the brown Pottery Barn coffee table before us.... a late Saturday night dinner had consisted of piping hot soup, over-sized loaded baked potatoes and muffins from Jason's Deli.... an indulgent carbohydrate dream for two. As the credits from the movie began rolling across the television screen and music swelled he stretched and rose from the cream leather couch. It wasn't long after putting away any leftovers and squaring things away for the night, checking on two children snoozing like contented kittens.... we made the climb together upstairs to the master bedroom. Intimacy was initiated and I was hesitant. The words "I bought you dinner" came at me with an irritated tone.
Like this was business. Transactional. Soon came his verbal release of "I did this... x,y,z for you..." etc. It was attitude. It was flesh. It was "let's make a deal". It was selfish. It was wrong. I said words in return I never ever thought I'd say and was shocked by them as they snapped from my lips, "I might as well have stayed with my rapist!" He stood there. Shocked. Angry. Rage in his eyes.
How dare I.
"That's right!" I yelled from across the bed at him, "You do things for me based on the expectation of what you will get! You want to make a deal! You think if you buy me dinner you get sex! I don't want a marriage like that! That expectation! That backward mentality! Marriage is supposed to be about doing nice things for each other because you love them! Selfless! You make me feel like a prostitute! You make me feel dirty! You're my husband! At least with (rapist; name withheld) I knew what to expect! I knew what was expected of me!! I knew the rules! But I married you for love!! To love you! And then you do things for me purely based on getting sex!!" I yelled, then out of complete frustration added.... "How do you think that makes me feel?!?!!!!" I exclaimed, yelling at him, getting it all out… revealing long buried feelings now stark naked in all their honest ugliness.
He stood there watching me, his face changing from contorted scarlet anger to now cool detachment and amusement, even disdain. I had no idea then he was cheating on me. This sorry sack of shit that claimed to love me but proved otherwise every day in how he did just so - or didn't... was cheating on me. I just had no idea yet.
"You are fooling yourself!" He nearly spat at me, "No man does anything just to be nice. Women always cost men money whether we date them or we marry them. Nothing is ever free!" He told me with meanness dripping from his tone.
"No..." I shook my head "I can't believe that. I refuse to believe that!" I nearly shrieked at him with absolute certainty and tears pooling in my eyes. His words were so cruel... so awful. I had been raped by a man at age seventeen when I left home to escape my narcissistic father. My now husband's behavior so many years later was just another knife in my back atop the rape committed against me... he saw women in general and even me, his own wife as nothing more than transactions for sex. Love, romance, intimacy and meaningfulness meant nothing to him. I meant nothing to him, I could be anyone, just a warm body for him to get his release. It was the most terrible thing to do to me, to any wife. It never mattered how well I treated him I was always in debt to him sexually. He made sure of that.
Intimacy and sex within a marriage rests on the husbands shoulders alongside Christ.
When he's a Godly man and puts Christ first and foremost in the marriage, when he loves selflessly without strings attached and unconditionally as Christ he will be a shining beacon, a safe place for his wife to be with, to walk with, to lay beside and ultimately to revealing her body to without hesitancy but instead with uninhibited trust and joy. If he's representing the world with all it's lust and sin and self serving philosophies of "what can I get" or "what can I give" veiled in the malicious agenda of "what can I get".... he is not selflessly loving his wife which later reflects in the marital bed and leads to her feeling used, cheap and tarnished. A wife shouldn't be placed in a position where she feels the need to equip herself with a gun and wear an armor vest for protection while telling her husband:
"I don't do deals"
If a man treats his wife as a sex object, as a trophy wife, as a dangling shiny charm of triumph on his arm out of his need for narcissistic supply.... he will pay the price and it won't just be in a monetary fashion. (She pays the price too.) He will be paying the price with a wife who gives sex out of dutiful guilt to submit to him not out of free joyous love. It will be a wife who doesn't trust him, doesn't respect him nor feels loved by him because if she can't be loved while on his arm on the street, in the car or in the kitchen why would she believe she could be loved by him undressed before his eyes in the marital bedroom? Of course she can't. So she pulls away, giving less and less in all areas, He will be met with a divided wall between them, a headache, a shooing him away and if ultimately pressed a reluctant going through the motions by her with arms crossed out of self protection of her wounded heart.
While he grinds away at his much needed release of rage, frustration and hatred for all women and even her she meanwhile with arms crossed and a cowering from him begins creating a grocery list for the next day in her head, thinks of ways to re-organize their pantry cabinet, or reminds herself that she needs to re-stock the kids craft supplies in the den sometime over the next week. It's these things she thinks on while he releases a slew of unhappy energy into her that keeps her in it another day, another night, another week, another year... yes, another tortuous year of her life.
Is this love? Can he change for the better? Do narcissists ever change? Well, do pigs fly?
There. You have your answer.
Jennifer Gafford is a writer, speaker and divorce coach who helps guide parents through the pain of trying to co-parent with their narcissistic ex, and shares tips for custody and healing. She began her website gracepowerstrength in 2012 and over time her blog and audience grew to over a million views. Jennifer was married for twelve years, has two children and is very well versed in the facts regarding narcissistic abuse and the challenges involved in healing. Today, she shares daily posts and stories on Instagram for thousands of followers regarding npd abuse and believes everyone deserves a life of peace, love and freedom.