Good news: No longer an elder; Bad news: Disappointed wife

by doinmypart 50 Replies latest jw friends

  • Seeker4

    Sorry about what you're going through. I've posted on another recent thread (about JWs and divorce), my own experience like this.

    I also disappointed my wife. She married someone she thought would be an active JW forever, and who would stay with her forever. We divorced 18 months ago after 32 years of marriage. Like you I wanted to get on with a life that I thought had passed me by. In the course of that, I met somebody else and lost my marriage.

    Leaving the Witnesses makes for some huge transitions, and some good - and bad - times.


  • kitten whiskers
    kitten whiskers

    I don't know you or your wife, but I can tell you, when I had enough doubts about the wtbts to substantiate leaving, I was so scared. I kept repeating to myself "where will I go""who else serves Jehovah""I have children and a husband to help live forever". I was physically and psychologically ill thinking about it. I put myself on "full speed ahead". Tried to go to EVERY meeting, dragging 2 children while hubby at home, exhausted from work, and tired of it all. He was already mentally strong enough due to logic, he wasn't worried about God killing him or us. I was TERRIFIED to leave. Thought of all the family and friends I would lose. Spent WHOLE days in study of the bible. Wept. Talked to friends at kh about how they "knew it was the truth". I KNEW I needed to leave. I couldn't bear to put this nonsensical burden on my children. But I was stuck in Watchtower thinking. I even went so far as to ask elders for help and they set up a visit at our home as an "encouraging call". I am so BLESSED my husband with him.I broke his confidence in me. We are very private in what others outside of our marriage hear. This was much turmoil to my soul.I love him so much. At this time, I thought I had to save him. Save our family. I felt like I was watching him die spiritually and there was nothing I could do. I was watching and had to act. It was a last ditch, now or never effort.

    He was upset. DESERVEDLY SO. But his love always shines through. He still can't quite understand why I did it. But it is passed. Actually, the visits we have recieved had actually deepened my doubts instead of alleviating them! The elders said some stupid things. Speculating on the scriptures and using them as words of encouragement, but taken way out of context. I too felt like your wife, that if I went to all the meetings and maybe studied harder or went in service and shared good experiences with him,maybe if I had focused on pioneering, I could have saved him.

    Instead, he saved me. He supported me and took me to the Circuit assembly just because I felt I needed to go. There, I became upset and disgusted with what they were saying and told him I wanted to leave. Upon his recommendation, we waited until the lunch break so as not to cause a scene. Mind you, I had been harboring serious doubts for over a year. Doubted certain issues longer, but SERIOUS "I want to leave or figure this out" doubts for a year. We spent the rest of the time that weekend (hotel already paid for) visiting local attractions. We even went to the mall and started talking about celebrating xmas the next month. He was so happy. Then I flip-flopped. Guilty conscience. Must save us. Finally, I broke. Avoided meetings, avoided "the friends" as much as possible. Read the bible by myself and asked for holy spirit to guide me. This was like 9-10 months ago. Haven't been back. Get the guilts at time and use logic and this board to bring me back.I am learning how not to let their scare tactics dominate me. Don't give up on her. And don't push. She has to see and make up her own mind.

    It was hard for my husband to trust he could open up again with his real feelings. But it is now the happiest our family has ever been. And we are a very loving family anyway. But now we get to see more of each other on meeting nights! It's a rough road. Hold on to each other. Being witnesses wasn't the ONLY reason you got married, right? baby steps my friend. baby steps.

    Hope this helped.

  • fullofdoubtnow

    Sorry to hear that doinmypart.

    I guess all you can do is be the best possible husband you can be, and show her lots of love, and hope for the best.

    Good luck!


  • dmouse

    Feeling your pain dude...

    From a personal point of view, my wife accepted my 'falling away' for a few years, perhaps thinking I'd come back - 'see the light' again or whatever. But that only lasts a maximun of 1-2 years, then they give up hoping and view you as dead.

    Even so, my wife, (like many other 'unbelieving mates' I've heard about) was happy to stay with me in the long term. However what really settled it for us was the fact that my children took my side, leaving the faith themselves - so from my wife's point of view I was a child murderer, and she couldn't live with me after that. In the end, for our own sanity, I had no choice but to leave her (even though I loved, and still love, her).

    Be a good husband, love her, maybe one day she will see the light. Maybe she won't.

    Can you live a lie? I know I couldn't, so be comfortable with your decision and accept the consequences. Ain't no easy answers or way out dude...

  • Doubting Bro
    Doubting Bro


    First congratulations on your step. Can I ask, what did you say in your resignation letter? Hopefully, it will be nothing they can torture you with later if you plan on fading.

    Blondie is right, women have no congregational status and get any status from their husband's position. She just took a major drop in the congregation's eyes. She may be upset over that or it may be that she's disappointed that you're somehow not a spiritual man anymore. I agree with many of the posters above that if you really want to save your marriage, you'll need to be "Super Husband". Work as hard as you did when dating. She'll see that you truely love her and that the love is unconditional.

    When I brought up the subject of stepping aside a few months ago, I also got a pretty upset response. I could see the disappointment in her eyes, that I somehow was failing as a husband. Really, that's what the WTS wants folks to think. That if you can't "cut it" as an elder/ms, then you really aren't worth much. I decided to back off then until I could come up with a good plan. Still working on that one.

    I really hope your wife comes around.

  • Wolfgirl

    Gill's reply is spot-on. If you show your wife what true love is, eventually she'll come around. If you do everything you can (bar going to meetings) to make her life good, she'll come to see who is showing true love and who isn't. Do special things for her, leave her little notes, show her how much you love her. She'll see she has it good with you.

  • Warlock


    I'm in a similar situation. The only thing I can tell you is just be as good a husband as you can be.

    I wish I could be more helpful, but like me, your kind of stuck between your wife and the Org.

    I feel for you brother, I really do.


  • doinmypart

    Sass, Gill, Blondie, Vitty, Linda, Wofgirl - I will definitely try to be more loving and do more things with her. Sometimes it is hard...I guess I'm just stubborn and especially so when we're at odds. But I know you ladies are correct, thank you.

    Greendawn - My wife doesn't like people (even elders) being "in our business". She doesn't stand for inquiries and won't tell them what is going on. In a way that is good for me, but it is bad for her in that she feels she doesn't have anyone to confide in anymore.

    Finally-Free - I must say one of my "problems" is that I tend to get impatient and push too hard & fast. I have to do better in that regard. You're right, my wife does think I'll morph into something evil. I have to show her a balanced and good life apart from the WTS.

    Dave, Ian, S4, Warlock - Thanks for the reassurance. I don't post often, but I know you guys have been through a lot. Knowing you made it through tough situations helps alot.

    sir82, DoubtingBro - I kept the letter short & to the point. I told the BOE that being an elder was taking up too much of my time and I'm stepping aside effective immediately. I'm not going to fade, I just haven't gone back to another meeting. As far as reading the Bible with my wife, she doesn't want to do that. She says we don't have anything in common spiritually. There is no reasoning around it, it just isn't going to happen anytime soon.

    kitten - thanks for letting me know what you and your husband went through. Like you I think my wife goes back and forth in her mind. Sometimes she's open to change, and then she starts feeling guilty and starts doing "more for Jehovah". It's funny in a sad way how so many of us have to deal with similar situations.

    dmouse - The kids...that is a sore spot for both of us. I've been letting the kids (pre-teens) go with her to the meetings. She's told me regardless of what happens to us she won't forgive me if the kids don't serve Jehovah. She understands I can keep them home with me, but I believe that would be the last straw. Right now I'm trying to give her some time to get used to the idea of me not going, then later we'll see.

  • xjwms

    Hey doin

    Your story is so much like my life.

    She keeps going to the meetings and assemblies. Even being the driver with other gals she chums with. My car always was

    and seems like it will continue always be "On the road".

    I felt all the words you wrote....because my life continues to be like that.



    Doinmypart I have so much respect for what you did, granted you disappointed your wife but if you aren't true to yourself then what does it matter how others feel about you. I have almost the same, exact situation as you did. I remain an elder because I don't want to disappoint my wife, my father and mother, etc. Its eating me up inside slowly but surely. Again you have my respect for standing up to the crappy JW system and telling them to take that fake clergy position of theirs and shove it!

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