You and I are genuinely peas of the same pod. I took a lonely stand myself, faced the indignity of a judicial committee and the humiliating verbal abuse from my family thereafter. My own wife turned me in in the first place. She continues believing I'm the problem, that something was wrong with me for questioning the organization. The elders went out about as far as your typical elders can be expected, on a limb, but failed to meaningfully reason with me about any issue. They, like your elders, just wanted to know if I still wanted to be a JW, bottom line. Not one person bothered to seriously reason with me from the scriptures. My character was maligned, I was branded, told I'd be left with nothing--and this by my own mother and brother.
Standing up for myself is still a work in progress for me, too. But once I knew enough, I could only turn away in disgust at just how thoroughly insensitive and devoid of love the people in this religion often are (elders especially), and how thoroughly misled I was for going along with it for so long. It never really stops hurting, but then I've only been out for about 3 months.
Still discovering myself, too. I was shocked to find that this persona I imagined of the 'dark side' of me was really my authentic self, after all--the very thing I was trying to destroy was my true self, and it inevitably resurfaced every time. I'm still on the bridge between the JW self and my true self, and it's a shaky bridge. But I'd rather be on the bridge, heading in the right direction, than back in the former life.
Your husband, like my wife, is still a bit naive about how this religion works. It's just not possible to give the elders the benefit of the doubt once they know you're questioning the doctrine. Their duty prevents them from seeing anything but how fast and how hard to give your a-- the boot. Love is being scaled back, and these bastards will let you drown in a heartbeat.
It saddens me to hear a story so similar. I had no idea how I was going to pull through, and I still have no idea where I'm going. Granted, I'm 27, but no matter how old you are, you still feel terrible about wasting so much time in this religion for nothing. Fact is, time is the only ally you may have left, strange as that sounds. You will find your way. If you had the courage to stand alone in the first place--and that takes a LOT of courage, so hats off to you for that--you'll find your way. Hope it turns out well for you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. Sometimes, it needs to be said.