I got married in June 1975 at 18-1/2 years old. This after being pulled out of H.S. (3.4gpa) to go into the ministry and regular pioneer, or eventually find a husband. Hated pioneering. Hate sales! But eventually found a husband.
(dated 2 weeks, hormones flared, engaged 3-1/2 months, was a virgin on wedding night. typical JW process)
I had doubts about a month or so before the wedding date, and because I knew how much "talk" always went around, and MOSTLY because the invitations were already sent (!), I didn't back out of the marriage. I saw things that weren't "right". Both with him, his family AND the congregation they were in.
But I went thru with it and steeled myself to my decision.
Beyond our leaving off going to meetings because of the way we were treated as a couple and as individuals (I had never been shunned! And now I was being shunned for one of the stoopidest reasons - the family I married into wasn't as "good" a JW family it could have been). Don's alcoholism developed, and so did mine. Our relationship became drunken and he became violent. Very violent. I still have a couple scars - gifts from 1) interfereing when he was yelling at a couple of pre-teens who he accused of steeling his beer when we were at the river one summer - he hit me in the face and broke my glasses - on my face. 2) one night when I wouldn't stay up and drink with him because I had work the next morning and it was already 1am - he threw me around, including into a doorknob. I have a fatty tumor on my back from that.
I finally got sober in 1990 with seriousness. I worked my arse off in their program of recovery, working the steps with a sponsor et.al. ad nauseum. Coming to the 8th step - 'made a list of those we have harmed and make amends except when to do so would harm them or others' and 9th step - make amends where possible -- Don was on my list. Why? I'm not sure but there must be something i have to make amends for since I was involved - inspite of his treatment of me. The only thing I could come up with was going ahead and marrying him when I knew I shouldnt' ... and you don't go and tell someone that!
I had an insight a couple months ago. If I had NOT married him.. I might well have staying in JWism, becoming an MS and eventually an Elder's wife, eventually having kids. My alcoholism would have been closeted. I may well have ended up dead. I certainly would have ended up dead if I had stayed with him.
I owe my 1st husband a debt of gratitude; for helping me get out of the dubs early in my life. I was completly out by the time I was 20.
For me, Armageddon came in 1975. At least for me the Great Tribulation began. The next few years were hell, and include suicide attempts by us both.
Today I'm free. And at 49 yo, I'm gratefull that almost all of my adult life has been OUT of the bOrg.