Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at roger@preachitteachit.org.

Several years ago I wrote an “Ask Roger” column dealing with the Biblical grounds for divorce. Two women wanted me to follow up in a tangential area regarding personality disorders.

Dear Roger,

Hmmm, you write: "Many mental disorders are incompatible with successful marriages." Which ones?

Sincerely, Amy P

Dear Roger,

Yeah, I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean exactly, when you’re talking about many mental disorders are incompatible with successful marriages, which ones?

Sincerely, K

Dear Amy P and K,

Steve, one of our church counselors, and I were sitting on the platform when Dan walked in with his fourth wife. Steve said, “Watch this.” Dan and new wife sat down at the end of a pew. Then, I noticed what Steve was seeing. Dan’s number two and three wives were sitting together directly behind them. Whispering began. A few minutes later Dan and fourth wife got up and moved.

Dan was a smooth talker — real debonair. We all knew that he was a ladies’ man. Nevertheless, you probably don’t want to become wife number five. There are people out there that you really don’t want to marry.

Here is the second letter.


I have been reading your “Ask Roger” in “preachitteachit.com.” on the 4 types of people that pastors can’t change … the personality types. ...

My husband is not open as far as Jesus and God is concerned. He has been diagnosed with Schizoid … and my question to you today is … if these people cannot be open to the teachings of God, where does this leave me in this marriage?

I do not believe in divorce as the first option, but I cannot help but feel this is the only way out for me because I love God and feel this relationship is not going to bring about the best that God has in store for me.

Please help me or refer me to someone that I can speak to about this. Or any advice about if divorce would be an option God will understand…

Sincerely, Anonymous

Dear Ladies,

In my experience successful, happy, and fulfilling marriages are not possible with people who are suffering from one or more personality disorders. The marriage may begin well, but eventually the disorders will sabotage their marriages.

Personality disorders are incurable and basically unimprovable. People with personality disorders cannot be cured or “fixed.” I believe it is safe to say that not only are personality disorders the result of malfunctioning brain chemistry, they are hard-wired improperly into the brain itself. Some also believe that deeply negative childhood experiences may contribute to or even cause a personality disorder.

My statement that personality disorders are incurable sounds rather harsh, hopeless and God-limiting. Of course, God is omnipotent and can do anything that He so well desires. But, for some reason, He seems not to heal personality disorders. I have seen God work some wonderful healings; yet, I have never seen God heal a person with a personality disorder — nor have I read or heard about it happening.