Marriage of convenience

by Nickolas 15 Replies latest social relationships

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    I was under the impression, however, that Jehovah's Witnesses are not allowed to discuss the Watchtower with their unbelieving mates.

    JWs are supposed to discuss the Watchtower with their unbelieving mates. They are supposed to try to win you over. If, however, you are viewed as "an opposer" then they need to be wary of "Satan's snares" that you are likely to put before them in conversation. The overall thing about conversation with a Jehovah's Witness is that THEY MUST BE the teachers; it is unfathomable and unacceptable that an unbelieving mate could have any accurate information about the Bible, God, or the organization to teach the believer. It is just the same as at the door in service. JWs will NOT BE TAUGHT A THING by a worldly person. Indoctrinated arrogance.


  • nugget

    I think if it is agreeable to both parties then it isn't a problem, where it becomes an issue is when one of the two is unhappy and feels neglected or marginalised. The marriage where both pursue separate interests isn't the same as the scenario of a marriage where one has left the organisation and one has not. In the first both are still equals in the relationship making choices and not being judged. In the JW scenario there is an organisation inserted into the marriage making demands it has no right to make and the non believer is seen as lower status than the religion.

    The first scenario is easy to live with the second is incredibly difficult and those who negotiate this arrangement show a great deal of fortitude and love for their spouses which is often not fully appreciated by them.

  • Nickolas

    It may just come down to how important it is to one marriage partner for the other to be on the same page. And by that I don't mean being absolutely in agreement about all things. If one partner prefers a day of fishing to the day of shopping the other partner prefers, then the two partners don't have an insurmountable barrier between them and they can easily accomodate one another. That is because the distractions between them are matters of simple preference and individuality and don't take up a whole lot of precious time. Time is the commodity they share in their relationship. If they spend months apart because of work, as I have done myself, I can rationalise that easily, because the time will come when the separation will not be necessary. If afterward they spend months apart because they can't see eye to eye on what are perhaps the most important residual aspects of their lives together but they nevertheless stay together out of loyalty or love, then what do they really have together for the precious years of their lives? This is altogether more evident if there are things that they cannot discuss because the subject matter is off limits. When the time away from one another is an escape from the thing that divides them then what in reality do they have but a marriage of convenience?

  • Nabeena

    I'm not sure if that is a marriage of convenience or just two adults who live together in a compatible happy marriage.

    I used to be married to a man who never left the house but rarely for anything but work unless he was with me or the kids. We couldn't stand each other, didn't like each other and never had sex. We slept in the same bed, at meals together but we never enjoyed one minute in the presence of the other-or at least never enjoyed the minutes because of the presence of the other.

    Don't be fooled by togetherness or a lack of it. I see my current husband much less because of other obligations, but WANT to see him all the time. I enjoy the time I have with him. He actually has a life and interests outside of the news(fox) or star trek reruns.

  • Nickolas

    Your first marriage was probably a classic example of a marriage of convenience, Nabeena. You stayed together more out of inertia, or for the sake of the kids, or because of economic/pragmatic realities, but you were loveless. That is one end of the spectrum. The other, I propose, is in an otherwise loving relationship in which the partners, because of their polar opposite perspectives on the more important aspects of life, need paradoxically to put time and distance between themselves in order to stay together. They are in serious ways incompatible and the main thing that keeps them together is love. They might be better off, at least emotionally, if they parted as friends and found compatible mates with whom to spend the rest of their lives. But they stay married, dissatisfied with aspects of one another's life views.

  • Nickolas

    In an attempt to jump start the conversation, let us expand the context of incompatibility somewhat. What if your marriage partner is actively engaged in separate activities that go against some of your core values?

    For example. You are a devoted wife and your husband is equally devoted to you. He fusses over you, buys you flowers, helps you with the housework and the kids, works hard to provide you with a comfortable life. However, he likes to look at pornography on the internet when he knows you're not looking. He likes looking at naked women, but also couples engaged in sexual activity. Sometimes he even likes to look at naked men, too. Take it up a notch. When you're away doing the things you like to do, he likes to dress up in women's clothing. When you're away for a few days and he really wants to be naughty he goes to the supermarket and purchases baby zucchini or some other slim vegetable with which he indulges in what might clinically be described as sexually deviant activity. He does nothing to break the law, nothing that directly does harm to you, indeed nothing that does harm to anyone. In effect, he honours the Golden Rule, but his private activities are to you repugnant, as they would be to most people. And just to forstall snide conclusions, no, I am not talking about myself, although I do have a good friend whose husband, tired of his secret life and seeking his wife's understanding and participation, confessed to her after more than 25 years of marriage that he was engaged in exactly the things I describe above.

    Here's another example, more germane to the context of this board and this particular conversation. You are a devoted and loving husband and your wife is equally devoted and loving toward you. She bends over backwards to please you, although there are limits to how she will please you, imposed by her values. More precisely, imposed by the values of the Society to which she belongs and to which she is entirely devoted. Although she does her best to minimise your second-hand exposure to her Society, on her own time she actively engages in promoting doctrines that offend your values, on the basis that they do demonstrable harm to others. Some have died as a consequence of blind adherence to those doctrines, including children, although you don't personally know any of them. More personally disturbing to your closely held values, she is also shunning members of her family - refuses to talk to them, even to be in the same room with them. She seems to have two different personalities. One that is devoted to you and your relationship together, another devoted to her relationship with her Society. The Society is, in effect, the third party in your marriage and in your marriage bed, a third party that tells her that you are spiritually inferior to her and everyone else who belongs to her Society. You detest the Society so you, in effect, offend her values, too, but she loves you deeply regardless, as you do her.

    I suppose one could argue the virtue of compromise, but practically speaking there are always limits to compromise. In the first example, my good friend left her husband, and who can blame her? In the second example, my own as it turns out, love has prevailed but the relationship has suffered. Neither one of us is completely happy but, I suppose, happy enough that we stay together.

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