I’M ENGAGED TO MARRY A JEHOVAH’S WITNESS. WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF A RELATIONSHIP WITH A JEHOVAH’S WITNESS?
I am a Christian who is engaged to marry a woman who was raised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses but she is not a devout member herself. Her mother and step-father are very active in the Watchtower organization. She does have bible study with her mother and a few of her friends who are also Jehovah’s witnesses. My question is what would be the pro’s and con’s in terms of a relationship with a Jehovah’s Witness? Would it be more negative than positive in a marriage?
Thank you for emailing us and sharing about your situation with your fiancé who is Jehovah’s Witness. Our hearts go out to you in dealing with this very difficult question. We can imagine the concerns you have about marrying someone who is involved with the Jehovah’s Witness religion and they are certainly valid.
We have worked with several couples in which one is a Jehovah’s Witness and another is not and we have found that it has been VERY difficult for them to be able to work through the differences between Christian beliefs and Watchtower teachings. Even in cases where the other spouse is not a Christian and has not particular religion beliefs, it is still difficult because of the mental control that the Watchtower exerts on its members. Should you choose to marry this Jehovah’s Witness lady, some of the issues you can expect to face in your marriage are as follows:
FEAR OF THE INFLUENCE OF SATAN IN THE HOME: The Watchtower teaches that all non-Jehovah’s Witnesses will be destroyed in the future battle of Armageddon and that anyone who does not submit to the authority of the Watchtower falls under the influence of Satan. So, even if she is not practicing her religion, her loyalty and trust in the Watchtower organization and those associated with it, will be greater than it will ever be to you as her husband because you are (according to their teachings) influenced by Satan.
FAMILY TIME LIMITED: Jehovah’s Witnesses are expected to proclaim their message “door-to-door,” spending as much time as possible in recruiting others to their religion. If a “field service” report of how much time is spent in this activity is not turned in every month, there is pressure from leaders in the organization to get more involved, no matter how many meetings are attended per week.
CHILDREN INFLUENCED BY WATCHTOWER TEACHINGS: Since the Watchtower teaches that non-Jehovah’s Witnesses will be destroyed and that contact with non-Jehovah’s Witness peers can lead to spiritual death, there is constant pressure to train children in the teachings of Watchtower in order to get them to be baptized in the religion as soon as possible. Jehovah’s Witnesses children are constantly ridiculed by non-Jehovah’s Witness classmates because they are not allowed to: Salute the flag, associate extensively with non-Jehovah’s Witness peers, participate in any holiday activities, nor be active in extra-curricular activities (like band, sports, etc) if such activities prevent them from attending meetings at the Kingdom Hall during the week. Children are also expected to complete all their required homework in the Watchtower literature in addition to homework from school. Thus, there is very little time where Jehovah’s Witness children are allowed to just be kids.
DIVISION OVER PRAYER: Family prayer time is greatly affected if the spouse is not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, because Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that prayers should be directed exclusively to “Jehovah God” and women are not permitted to pray aloud in the presence of a man. Also, in the case of illness, Jehovah’s Witnesses are not allowed to pray for healing since they believe God no longer performs miracles, although there is NOTHING in the Bible to indicate such. If a healing occurs in response to prayer, Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught to attribute that healing to Satan.
BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS DENIED: The life of many Jehovah’s Witnesses and their children have been cut short over the Watchtower’s no blood transfusion policy. In spite of the inconsistencies in the Watchtower current position on blood, Jehovah’s Witnesses turn a blind eye to these issues when told by the Watchtower organization that if they take a transfusion to prolong physical life, their spiritual life will be forfeited. To ensure that no blood transfusions are administered at any time, each year Jehovah’s Witnesses sign a no-blood medical card and those who are married to non-Jehovah’s Witness spouses are encouraged to have their no blood transfusion medical “power of attorney” signed by one of the Jehovah’s Witness elders in the local congregation. Thus, the non-Jehovah’s Witness spouse has no say concerning the administering of blood transfusions to the Jehovah’s Witness spouse or child in the advent of a medical emergency.
Although your prospective wife is not practicing the religion very strongly right now, this is no guarantee that she will remain on the sidelines of the Watchtower religion. Our experience has shown that when a difficulty in the marriage or family issue arises, unless the Jehovah’s Witness is willing to undergo deprogramming or Christian counseling to break completely free from the mind-controlling elements of Watchtower thinking, the first place the spouse will go is to immediately revert back to the Jehovah’s Witness religion for advice and security. This is especially true if the Jehovah’s Witness mate has family members involved. Don’t underestimate the extent of the pressure Jehovah’s Witness relatives may exert to get the inactive mate back into the organization. If the mate returns to the Watchtower, as has occurred in several cases we have worked with, we have seen that less than 50% of the marriages survive.
We have found that even in cases where a spouse agreed not to bring the Jehovah’s Witness religion into the marriage, even this does not prove effective when the children come along and there is a fight over which religion the children will be raised in. Furthermore, whether your Jehovah’s Witness fiancé realizes it or not, her thinking in nearly all areas of life is affected by the Jehovah’s Witness beliefs she has been raised with. Even though she may not attempt to consciously bring the religion into the relationship, her thought-processes and responses to issues as they arise in your marriage will ultimately be affected by what she has been taught. So, the religion will become a strong factor in your marriage, unless it is properly dealt with.
Thus, we would strongly encourage you to either prolong your engagement to address the problems of the Watchtower with your fiancé or reconsider your decision to marry if the issue of “religion” cannot be resolved.
“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” —2 Corinthians 6:14 (New American Standard Bible)
We would also encourage you to read the following articles linked on our website to fully understand what you’re dealing with if your prospective spouse chooses to get more involved in the Watchtower organization:
DATING AND MARRYING A JEHOVAH’S WITNESS – Should I convert to the Jehovah’s Witness religion to continue dating my Jehovah’s Witness girlfriend? What should we expect if I don’t convert and she leaves her religion for me?
Jehovah’s Witnesses and Marriage to non-Witnesses by Ex-JW Critical Thinker – Insight from a Former Jehovah’s Witness Overseer
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