How to stay married to a born-in JW?

by Frazzled UBM 21 Replies latest social relationships

  • Frazzled UBM
    Frazzled UBM

    It is hard to work out where to begin. I have been reading excerpts from this websikte for a long time and it along with a lot of the other sites have been incredibly helpful in helping me to understand what I have got myself into but I alos have no intention of getting out. I love my wife dearly but in the 9 years I ahve known her and the 2.5 years we ahve been married I have gone through the full gammit of emotions, trials and trbulations and tactics to try to get her to understand that the Society is not what it claims to be but to no avail. So I clearly need to change tack.

    I seem to have solved one of my main issues, which was her attempts to indoctrinate our 7 year old son (if you did the maths you will note that he was conceived out of wedlock which means she was df'd for fornication so for a number of years we had no exposure to the religion though I did have some sense of how distraught she was when she got df'd and it was only after I did the right thing by her and we got married and she was allowed back in that the full horrow started to become apparent). Also I cannot but feel that the effect of the d'fing and reinstatement was to tighten the hold the Society has over her.

    I quickly came to realize that the religion was malignant and not benign as I had first assumed. An analysis of "My Book of Bible Stories" made me realise the emotional and psychological manipulation (principally through fear) used to indoctrinate children who are too young to understand that what is presented as reality are no more than stories. Did you know that the dominant theme was that if you don't obey Jehovah you will be killed or seriously harmed - no less than 20 of the stories have this theme, of which 10 have graphic depictions of killing? Other themes inlcude obedience to Jehovah (11); women can't be trusted (6); satan and the demons influence worldly peole (4); you can live forever in a restored gareden of eden ruled by Jesus king (10); Jesus will end all badness on earth (2) and bring good dead people back to life (3); we do not want to make friends with people who do not obey God i.e. wordly people (the story of Dinah); keep watching (1); children should serve Jehovah and go to meetings and parents should teach (one of the most insidious aspects of the whole thing is the way the Society uses unwitting JW parents and the trust their children have in them as tools of indoctrination); and most important of all OBEY GOD'S SERVANTS!(1) - the only surprise was that it didn't appear more often but I expect as obedeince to Jehovah and obedience to the Society are merged this is not surprising. So I have exercised my headship rights and banned home study and her taking my son to the KH. I explained to him that the stories are just that and he was happy about that because those stories were scaring him, including the notion that I was going to get wiped out at Armageddon. I also explained that the people at the KH would be very nice to him as long as he agreed witht them and obeyed their rules but if not they could be very mean like they were to mummy when she was df'd. This seemed to strike a cord.

    Anyway - I digress, the main issue I now have to contend with is the impact of the Society's emotional and psychological manipulation of my wife. Apart from the fact that her absence for a full day every Sunday and intermittently on week nights impacts on our family time and the fact that I can't always trust her because her first loyalty is to a bunch of old men in Bethel, I feel that as I care about her I need to save her from the fraud being perpetrated against her. I can see the emotional harm they have caused her whenever I ask her difficult questions or present uncomfortable information to her. She doesn't respond - she just breaks down. This is so uncomfortable for me I have stopped doing this but I am very uncomfortable with the silence she has imposed on me. The message I get from this is that she doesn't trust or respect my views and my concern for her well-being. But I can see my logical discourse approach is failing miserably so my question is whether anyone out there who has lived this can advise me on how best to proceed and have a happy marriage but not go crazy from the frustration of seeing my loved one controlled by this authoritarian organization. By the way - did I say that I love her? Well I do

  • TD

    I'm married to a born in. I agree that a logical, head on approach will fail miserably. Religion is ultimately an affair of the heart.

    It took decades, but she's probably 95% out now. Remember, the gentlest pressure will eventually move mountains. The JW belief system is disconnected from reality in so many places and downright cruel in others that opportunities abound.

  • Frazzled UBM
    Frazzled UBM

    Thanks for that advice - I think staying silent will be the biggest challenge of my life but I am beginning to realize that waiting for her to come to me is the only way to go.

  • garyneal

    I am also what the Watchtower society refers to as an UBM who married a born in. Been married now for almost ten years and have been posting here for nearly four. I made a lot of mistakes, the biggest one is discussing doctrine. I guess I have been fortunate in some ways though as my wife was questioning many things about the religion before she decided to return to it so I have been gently working that angle over the years. I guess the only unfortunate thing for her is that her only two choices seem to be the witnesses or atheism even though I don't see things so black and white.

    You need to school yourself on how cults work, some reading material that can be helpful is Combatting Cult Mind Control and Releasing the Bonds, both by Steven Hassan. Given my relationship with my wife and the other witnesses, I sometimes like to play games with them concerning their doctrines but I would not recommend you doing so, certainly not right now.

    Teach your child how to think and reason past bullshit to ensure that he won't get sucked in to this or any other cult. I use to attend an Independent Fundamental Baptist church and they had some equally wonky and culty ideas.

    Appeal to the authentic personality as much as you can, focus on things you two have in common and try to get her to enjoy her time with you when she is not at the hall. Spend time with your kid doing fun things, especially on meeting nights. She will eventually grow tired of attending the meetings all the time and want to spend time with you and your son.

  • Frazzled UBM
    Frazzled UBM

    Thanks garyneal - useful advice

  • TD

    Yes. What Gary said...

    Also one of the biggest single things that has swayed my wife is the meanness of JW's. And at no point has that come out stronger than when it was time for children to attend college.

  • garyneal
    Also one of the biggest single things that has swayed my wife is the meanness of JW's. And at no point has that come out stronger than when it was time for children to attend college.

    Oooo, I am definately encouraging my kids to attend college then.

    But seriously, my wife is currently working on her master's degree and she does not get a whole lot of flack. Of course, she sees the occasional meanness from the congregation as well. Like, one of the sisters not inviting our oldest daughter to her daughter's slumber party and another one being short with her this past weekend and refusing my wife's invitation to a party at our house.

  • biometrics

    I'm saving up those pre "Stay alive till 1975" propaganda clips for when my kids are of college age. The ones that say it's pointless to study.

  • ABibleStudent

    Welcome Frazzled UBM, DITTO what others have said about DO NOT confront your wife head on about the WTBTS. Is it possible for you to change your perspective to helping your wife to think critically for herself? Your biggest allies are time, your child, how JWs treat each other, WTBTS propaganda, helping your wife to have fun with you and your son, and helping your wife to meet non-JW freinds.

    I would recommend that you do the following to help you make your plan(s) for you and your family to fade from the WTBTS:

    • Post as much as possible on JWN to either vent your frustrations and to ask for help about specific points of your plan. It is better to vent your frustrations on JWN then to your wife and JWs.
    • Visit websites such as,, and, and to name a few to research the WTBTS's history and changes in doctrines.
    • Visit Steve Hassan's website to learn more about the BITE control techniques that the WTBTS does use and how to overcome them. If you cannot afford to purchase Steve Hassan's book "Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults and Beliefs" in an ebook format, see if you can either checkout his books at the library or at least watch the following two videos of Steve Hassan at least twice: "Steve Hassan explains SIA method to rescue loved ones from unhealthy situations (2003)" and "Steve Hassan at NYC Ethical Culture Society February 2013.
    • Make more non-JW friends that you and your wife would enjoy spending time with. By the way where do you live? When you leave the WTBTS you will need a social network to help fill the void of JWs who will be shunning your wife.
    • Encourage your son to make friends with non-JWs who you and your wife would like and live as normal of a life as possible.
    • Encourage your son to critically think for himself and to ask lots of questions about everything. Show respect for your son by explaining why you make decisions the way you do when he asks why. I would recommend that you read the thread Thankyou dad, for making me think... by Aussie Oz. Also help your son to use the internet to do research about his school subjects and to instill a desire to question and do independent research.
    • Only ask simple questions to help JWs to critically think for themselves. Reading Steve Hassan's books and posting on JWN will help you. Something as simple as saying Hello and is anything wrong to a JW may help them to open up about their doubts and/or use of anti-depressants. All you need to do is help them to focus on what is causing them problems and suggesting that they use the internet to search for key phrases. I would select key phrases that might help them to discovery a JW support forum.
    • Ask your wife and son to do fun things with you, to do fun things with non-JWs, and/or to learn about topics that will take a lot of time away from attending WTBTS meetings and reading WTBTS's propaganda. If you need ideas and live near a major metropolitan city in the USA, I would recommend signing up for daily email promotions on A very time comsuming topic to learn and one that will help you and your wife later in life is to learn about investing. If you lived in the USA, I would recommend going to the TD Ameritrade website and learn how to use ThinkorSwim to learn more about investing.
    • Send your wife anonymous emails like I wrote about in the thread You’ve Got Mail! TM. Something as simple as sending highlighted WTBTS propaganda that you can find links for such as in the thread ROLE REVERSAL: PLACING 1969 AWAKE WITH JW'S MANNING THE NEW PORTABLE LITERATURE DISPLAYS may help your wife to wonder how soon is soon and other issues that your wife may be sensitive to.

    Best of wishes of you and your family fading from the WTBTS.

    Peace be with you and everyone, who you love,


  • LisaRose

    First of all, I want to say I am sorry you are in this position, my heart goes out to you.

    Secondly, even though your wife is in a cult, you must respect her wishes, you cannot force her out of the cult, which I am sure you are aware of. She will resist direct challenges to her belief system, that will almost never work.

    The Bible Stories book, you are correct. My own daughter was a baby when it came out, she loved it, and could name all the characters by 18 months, a fact I was proud of at the time, but something I cringe at now. It was was so inappropriate for a young child, I do think it hurt her, she is fine now, but had mental problems as a teen ( serious, suicide attempts, etc). Do not budge on this one.

    You do have some avenues to explore. The Watchtower says that wives should obey their husband. I think that is crap, but it is something you can use to your advantage. You have the right to make decisions that are in the best interests of your family, as long as it does not require her to break the dub rules. Don't be a jerk, but use it where you can.

    You can do a lot by exposing her to different viewpoints and by asking leading questions. As you watch the news, you could ask her what she thinks will happen if that particular situation goes on. Many dubs are under the impression that crime is worse, even though it is not. Challenge her to prove this ( she won't be able to). The dubs think that earthquakes are getting worse, so challenge her to prove it, she will not be able to.

    You get the idea. This will take a lot of time energy and effort, but it can be done. Good luck.

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