Were YOU forced into a loveless marriage?

by Nathan Natas 11 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    MANY young JW women are "married off" to virtual strangers, often older men, soon after they are of legal age.

    Did this happen to you?

    Did it happen to a close friend or sibling?

    Tell us about it.

    From Universal Life Ministries on FaceBook:

    A young woman is forced to marry a man she does not love, and has no desire to be with. This deplorable practice continues to happen in less-developed countries, but is long gone in the U.S., right? Wrong, according to a startling new report by PBS – each year, thousands of American women and girls are forced into marriages against their will. Now, they are starting to speak out.

    These marriages typically occur in close-knit, religiously conservative communities where young women have little control over their own lives. When a woman’s family decides it’s time for her to marry, they will find a suitable husband and arrange the marriage themselves. Several women shared their disturbing personal experiences in the report, describing the incredible pressure put on them to comply. Not wanting to upset their families, they agreed to go through with it.

    To make matters worse, divorce is highly frowned upon in communities where forced marriages take place. This leaves many women stuck in miserable – and sometimes abusive – relationships, with few avenues for escape. Is it time to pass a law barring this oppressive tradition?

  • Listener

    What is the suggested punishment for breaking this proposed law?

  • Spiral

    I know of a situation like this, the parents just wanted to get their daughter "settled".

    Ugh, really upsetting.

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    "The Listener" asked,

    What is the suggested punishment for breaking this proposed law?

    I don't know -- maybe being forced to try having a conversation with YOU?

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    Spiral, can you divulge any details of that situation?

    Girl's age?

    Guy's age?

    Was the girl pleased with the situation?

    Was the guy a bridge ogre or a Bethelite who had "manly NEEDS"?

    How long did the relationship last?

    Did love ever "come to town"?

    It's OK to talk, it's just us...

  • Spiral

    Can't give a lot of details, but both were in their twenties. Both were considered sub-prime marriage material in JW eyes, because of previous problems with obeying the rules (both had been on "reproof", perhaps more than once).

    Originally, they both seemed ok with it, but it was obvious to outsiders that they were being pushed together. They are still together (4+ years) so we'll see, but we all felt they were railroaded into it because the brothers and their parents just wanted to get both of them "settled".

    Again, ugh!!!

  • DesirousOfChange

    In the early 70s it was quite common to just get young JWs married off so there would be no risk of them "getting into trouble". It didn't matter if they were too young (as they often were) because The End was soooo close and that was going to solve everything...................DOC

  • JW_Rogue
    Originally, they both seemed ok with it, but it was obvious to outsiders that they were being pushed together. They are still together (4+ years) so we'll see, but we all felt they were railroaded into it because the brothers and their parents just wanted to get both of them "settled".

    I have seen this numerous times if people have been dating awhile and seem to be "serious" then JWs will pressure them to get married even if they are having doubts. Or JWs will say that only "serious couples" can do certain things like sit together at meetings or publicly show affection. This is done to apply pressure to the couple to get engaged. I think JWs don't want people to court to long for fear that they may have sex before marriage. However, they are doing more harm by ruining people's reputation simply because they decide that a relationship is not going to work. In the org you could be a virgin and still have bad reputation because "you're not serious about getting married."

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    Yes, the "details" of such situations are difficult, if not impossible to know.

    As I'm thinking about it, I can recall at least two such situations that I was aware of in the vicinity of my NYC congregation.

    The first was the daughter of a new elder. This was during the post-1968 years. I knew the girl and her family. It seemed out of nowhere that she and a *much* older brother were "keeping company." Probably her father felt that it was silly for her to get involved with a guy near her age when this old guy could offer her security. She developed cancer and died tragically young. Too bad there'll be no resurrection for her.

    The second was an odd situation. A guy who went to Bethel for a couple of years to avoid the US military draft started making the circuit of NYC congregations, obviously looking for a connection. This guy was at least a little bit of a narcissist, he didn't meet his "goals" in hours, etc, and seemed to have no interest in "reaching out" or building a career. He found a girl who was a few notches over what he was worth, but she was in a vulnerable situation. She went our with him because he was different from the other Bethelite Wolf-Men and he was interesting in some ways. Then her elders started talking some sense to her about why was she with this loser? She started having doubts and tried to end their engagement, and Brother "I'm a Bethelite!" BLACKMAILED her into going through with it, saying he would drag her to a judicial committee and get her disfellowshipped for "leading him on" and "toying with his affections!" So the got married. Brother Loser was unable to support his family and his wife in desperation to get out of the abusive marriage, had an affair.

    She got disfellowshipped but ended up happy and he lives in a van down by the river, spiritually speaking.

    There was another "elder's daughter" story similar to the first, but without the tragic ending. Young, attractive daughter, horny older "theocratic man," Dad shakes his hand and says "take her."

    Daughters are the property of their fathers under Mosaic Law, right? ...and JWs are still under the Law, even though they might claim otherwise.

  • rebel8

    It does happen among JWs. They just cloak it thickly and pretend it isn't really arranged marriage.

    I think I had a thread about it years ago, where people told their stories.

    I was heavily pressured to marry a bro older than me after meeting him 1 day (as far as I recall, it was so long ago). I think we went in FS one day or maybe twice. I enjoyed talking with him but had no romantic interest in him. He suddenly wrote me a letter stating he had prayed to jehoover to find him a bride with my specific physical attributes, so he knows our relationship was meant to be.

    Everyone was really pressuring me to marry him right after that. He lived in a foreign country. I just...what the...I told them all they are wackos. (This honesty about them being wrong might have something to do with my lack of popularity.)

    The "arranged" part was that he was sent in FS with me as a hook up. He was single and at the KH one Sunday, and the group decision was I would be matched up with him.

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