For Active JW Men: Ideas on Awakening Your JW Spouse (Long post)

by Open mind 61 Replies latest jw friends

  • choosing life
    choosing life

    Open Mind, it was nice of you to let others know what worked for you and your family.

    As I read of so many different outcomes when one spouse wakes up and not the other, I can't help but think each case is very individual. What works for one will not help another.

    The best part of having this discussion forum is that we can choose what might help us and leave the rest. It takes a strong person to forge ahead with their plan even when others are stating disapproval. A few have been run off for disagreeing.

    Could I have done it the way you did? Nope, but I am glad it worked out for you. The strange part is that I used to be so upset when I had to sit through a meeting. Years later now, I see it as a very small thing with little importance. It just doesn't hold the emotional charge it used to when I first woke up.

    Life goes on and I hope you continue to fade away with your family. I am still fading, but really more just continuing with life.

  • tjlibre

    This slow-drip method will be EXTREMELY trying on your patience and sanity. Vent your frustrations here. Not to your spouse.

    I agree with that. And I appreciate your advice. You gave me something to think about, like being fully prepared for the meetings.

    My wife and I are both in our early 30’s and we don’t have kids yet. So I guess that makes it a bit easier. We have a very stable middle-class life style. Unlike some of my fellow cong. mates I did get a college education, ironically those who didn’t have all faded (almos 95% of them).

    You are the second person who has recommended Hassan’s book today. I think that’ll be my next book after reading R.F In Search…(I’m on Chap 13).

    Thanks for the advice, I’ll save this on my favorite for reference whenever I’m about to loose my cool… LOL

  • greenie
  • Paralipomenon

    Congrats OM! It's been a long road!

    I would also echo the patience tactic if you care for your spouse. Saddly there is alot of bitterness towards JW's and many times I was advised to just divorce my wife because she was still active. Some see active witnesses as drones for a company that stole something from each of us. I prefer to see each active witness as a potential ex-witness.

    It took me 8 years to free my wife and like OM mentioned, it happened when she was ready to look and after you peek behind the curtain, I don't think you can unlearn the sheer corruption and evil you see.

    To add to OM's list I'll put what worked with my wife:

    1) Try to act more neutral to counter the black/white thinking of the witnesses. Comment on things like how nice some homes look decorated for Christmas, mention good experiences you have with "worldly strangers". Comment on human relief efforts in lands undergoing crisis. It's hard to refute these points and it plants a seed that the organization isn't 100% right all the time.

    2) Celebrate the holidays. Not openly or all out, but a bottle of wine on their birthday. Flowers or chocolate on Valentines, a small gift at Christmas, breakfast in bed on mothers/fathers day. These are just basic nice actions. If questioned about it being for the holiday, a sheepish smile and a "I just wanted to do something nice" worked for me. I would also do these same things year round so it falling on a holiday would trigger a twinge of guilty pleasure but that's another seed to create a longing to fit in for once rather than always apart from "the world"

    3) Volunteer and encourage your partner to do the same. Let them meet people that genuinely care about others. Not to save their souls, or to fulfill prophesy so a vengeful god will destroy humanity, but because they want to. This is a quality that should be in a true religion, but largely lacking with the witnesses. The gossip, fighting and pettiness they see in the congregation can erode their faith and lower their desire to attend meetings.

    4) Encourage reading books on religon or mind control. 1984 and Animal Farm are great. Even something like the DaVinci Code can open up critical thinking.

    5) When she asked, I would go to meetings. But on the way home I would critique many of the points. Looking up outside publication "quotes" and finding the real context. Highlight times where the organization asks their members to do something that they don't do themselves.

    6) Encourage them to seek out old contacts on social media such as MySpace or Facebook. Eventually this was the final nail that freed my wife. She had heard it from me and had already resolved in her mind that I was "weak" spiritually. When she started to reconnect with old friends from her youth that had left or were DF'd it provided a greater impact than I could ever have. All the seeds of doubt were there, but somebody else had to water them.

    In all I think the most important thing is motive. Why do you want to free them? Is it a moral issue? Is it to get back at the organization? The big question I had to consider was "Am I willing to accept that my wife may never leave?" This mostly was a yes, though we did come to a head over raising the kids. I was willing to accept her going in service and meetings, but my deal breaker was that I didn't want the kids to be raised full witnesses. For me, knowing my regret and lost youth, I couldn't allow that to happen to my children.

    Again, a big congrats to you and your wife OM! If she is interested in talking to my wife she would love it. I learned afterwards that there was alot of questions and emotions that went along with her leaving that she really didn't bring up to me. Feeling slightly betrayed over my double life, a bit tricked and questions of doubt and worry that I was just too elated to really notice.

  • BabaYaga

    Wow, Paralipomenon, you have some perfectly excellent tips, too... congratulations to you and your beloved wife and thank you for adding to the list.

  • DrJohnStMark

    After I quit the organization, my wife (now ex-wife, I wish her all the best) stayed in and it was a hell, with kids and all that. Then I was offered a job opportunity in another country (another language) so we moved there. After one year she was out of JWs. Being in another environment, combined with some of my arguments, did the trick (one of my arguments is written in the "what-made-you-think" thread). It had helped to look at things from a different point of view and to break the mind control. One important thing in this was (she can tell more if she's here) that using a foreign language the WT stuff looks extremely simplistic and trivial and as intellectually empty as it really is.

  • Open mind
    Open mind

    choosing life:

    I used to be so upset when I had to sit through a meeting. Years later now, I see it as a very small thing with little importance. It just doesn't hold the emotional charge it used to when I first woke up.

    Same here. I feel like some sort of detached anthropologist at the K Hall now.


    Hey there Bro! Good to hear from you. I really appreciate all the advice I got from you when you were posting here more regularly. I didn't know it took 8 years for Bobbi to finally come around. Good insights on how you handled your situation. If my wife never woke up I would have never left her. She wasn't that hard-core and I love her to death. Hmmm, I think I took a vow along those lines too.

    Thanks for the offer of the phone call. I don't think that's too wise though, they might make plans for world domination or something.

    Seriously though, I'll let my wife know, but it's probably still a little bit early. My wife's head is still reeling from figuring out what she believes and what she doesn't. We're still attending meetings and passing apostate notes back and forth like 8th graders. I'm actually enjoying meetings for the first time in 3 years. Sick. I know.


    using a foreign language the WT stuff looks extremely simplistic and trivial and as intellectually empty as it really is.

    Very interesting wrinkle. I'm sorry things didn't work out for you with your spouse, but happy that you're both mentally free of JWism.


  • tjlibre

    Yesterday after service my wife started a conversation about how she feels that some bro/sis are close-minded. I stayed balance, did not take the opportunity to “open her eyes” by laying everything out…instead, I just asked her why she felt that, what does she thinks contribute to some being that way, etc. in other words I kept my cool.

    Then later in the afternoon in a conversation that we were having about our marriage in general, she expressed to me that she sees no difference between the marriages of her non-jw family, co-workers and those of JWs. That she has notices that JW are divorcing, separating or living in a loveless marriage at an alarming rate. Again, I kept my cool, didn’t take the opportunity to be too harsh on the quality of the “food” dispensed by the SL. One of the things I said was that people in general are under a lot of pressure, and that we, (the JW) are not immune to those pressures, but that I feel that some of us (I included myself) sometimes don’t do anything to improve our lives NOW because we are waiting for the “end” to fix all of our problems. And that is why (I told her) many of our bro/sis are having so many problems, some of them are under a lot of pressure but not facing the problem.

  • Open mind
    Open mind

    That sounds perferct tjlibre!

    Keep up the good work.

    Just curious, does your wife think we're living in the last minutes of the last days? Or does she realize that all the redefining of "generation" means Armageddon could be 100 years away and the current "light" would allow for that?


  • tjlibre

    OM ,

    A couple of days after the DC, she expressed to me that she is feeling comfortable with the idea that she’ll die of old age in this “system”, that at times she doesn’t believe that the “end” will come in her lifetime, that she feels that we are living in the “last days” but not that she will see Armageddon. She is an intelligent person, but has not taken the time to analyze the importance that the “this generation” teaching plays in WT's doctrines. She has not fully accepted the fact that the GB is not guided by the HS or that they can be wrong. But this weekend I felt (or at least have the hope) that she’ll get it, that its only a matter of time (how long, I don’t know) I just need to take it easy (as you and others have advised).

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