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Religion and Marriage

Could a Atheist and Jehovah's Witnesses really work in a marriage with kids?

By Dewayne50685
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For sure.


It would depend on if one was trying to convert the other or not. That and secrecy. If the JW even mentioned that their partner was atheist the other JW's would excommunicate her if she did not leave him.

DenoPenno Level 8 Jan 27, 2019

Foreal? I did not know. Where is that information?

@Dewayne5068 I have JW relatives is how I know. Evangelicals do the same thing with examples of plowing and having your animals "unequally yoked." The fundamentalists ones will try to get a believer out of a relationship with a non-believer and they think they are doing "the work of god." Your situation might work if the JW person does not go to meeting and has no other JW's coming around to make her come back.

@DenoPenno Well me and my wife are separated. And she told the Elders yesterday I'm an Athiest. So I'm curious on how that is going to pan out lol



irascible Level 8 Jan 16, 2019


KKGator Level 9 Jan 15, 2019

I married an American Muslim. Our respective faiths (my lack thereof) were never an issue. Early in my adult life, I was a Bible-thumping theist and my spouse was an Atheist. Again, it was never a problem.

Where I would have a problem with a JW is that's a cult, and I can only stretch my "to each their own" so far ... that's tooooo far a reach (Scientology, Mormons, 7th Dayers, JW, Urantia followers, etc., are simply too far removed for me.) smile001.gif

All religion is a cult. Some are mainstream and some are not.


I cannot see how the Atheist could respect that JW. I have spoken to many that knock on my door or hang out at malls and I usually leave thinking their are brainwashed. I do not see how I could date someone. Plus if kids are involved it will be a competition.

AlexRam Level 7 Jan 15, 2019

No, Jehovah's witnesses are very strict and the atheist would have to just give in to make things work. That doesn't constitute a healthy relationship.

Millzy Level 5 Jan 13, 2019



I very seriously doubt it



Marine Level 8 Jan 11, 2019

Avoid both.


If the JW is devout (and most of them are because they have to be) I'm hard pressed to imagine how they could get along with ANY sort of non-JW. They are just too controlling and dogmatic, even by fundamentalist standards. You'd have to accept that their religion would be actively working to recruit you or undermine your marriage, those are really the only two options.

Then even if the JW isn't very faithful, there's always the potential for them to "catch fire" so to speak and become devout. And then, watch out. And/or, particularly if they come to the JW faith because they actually buy into any aspect of the dogma, they are vulnerable to all kinds of other religious and quasi-religious "woo", and that's also another way to grow apart.

And of course I haven't even factored children into the equation yet. What atheist would be comfortable with allowing their kids to be indoctrinated into a particularly cultish deviant version of Christianity? And how could they hope for their JW spouse to be sanguine about the kids NOT being indoctrinated?

mordant Level 8 Jan 7, 2019

See my problem is. I used to be JW when me and my wife first got married. Later I left the JW and became an atheist. So it has cauase a big rift in our marriage and even though we no longer argue about it tuff like we did the problems still linger.

@Dewayne5068 O, IC. Well the most I can relate to that from my experience is that I deconverted from standard-issue evangelical fundamentalism while my wife remained religious, but it worked out in part because she wasn't SUPER religious and the illness whereof she eventually died prevented her from BEING very involved. Also I think her illness just gave her bigger fish to fry than to fret about my apostasy. Finally ... our relationship revolved around mutual respect and interest in each other, not around particular activities.

So it's not a universal reaction that the religious spouse feels betrayed and bait-and-switched; it depends on how central the notion of sharing a devout faith in common was to their ideal of marriage, and how much the religion itself flogs such notions. If your wife has become a second-class JW of sorts, or an object of pity or something, because of her backslidden husband, then that's a stressor. But hopefully if that's the case, she can see that you being real and genuine is noble and her friends sorting her (or you, for that matter) as "less than" because of something she has zero control over is not.

The best advice I can give to anyone in your shoes is to be your best self. Consistently demonstrating that you're just as (if not more) loving and empathetic and kind and all the rest, as you ever were, gives the lie to the notion that because you're an atheist, you're somehow depraved.

Beyond that the chips simply have to fall where they will.

@mordant Thank you so much! Well put! Because my wife feel I betrayed her becuase of me now being athiest. She feel its a 3 cord marriage and I have broken that. She feels at any moment I'm going to mess up the marriage because I left Jehovah. But now I'm starting to feel like I'm here to prove a point.

@Dewayne5068 Be your best self, but understand that people sometimes see what they want to see, or at least discount anything that violates their beliefs. Emotionally rooted beliefs aren't readily moved. Still ... if she ends up pulling the plug on you, or issuing ultimatums that force you out of the marriage ... make sure it's entirely on her. Be a model of love, tolerance, respect and kindness.

@mordant thank you!

@Dewayne5068 Since you have an established relationship I think you have a base from which to work if you both go to marriage counseling. And since you have kids I'd really encourage BOTH of you to try & work it out. Divorce, or living with parents who don't get along, is very hard on kids.

@Dewayne5068 You're welcome, and I hasten to add ... all of what I said assumes there's real mutual love and respect and connection and commitment and loyalty to work with. I'm not suggesting you should be in a one-sided or hopeless relationship where you're abused or hectored or denigrated or where your partner is not pulling her own weight or constantly gaslighting or manipulating. Because that would be, not my 2nd marriage that I described to you, but my first one. My first wife and I were both believers at the time, but I stayed in a VERY bad relationship for 15 years, which was at least 14.5 years longer than I should have, based on my church's divorce taboos and my personal dream to be "the husband of one wife". If you have residual notions like that banging around inside your skull because of your past as a JW, you will tend to care too much and try too hard, and I can tell you, the outcome is never worth it. Also if, as was the case with my first wife, your spouse is herself dysfunctional and of poor character, then don't entertain a Jesus complex where you think you and you alone can save her. You can't. She can only save herself.

So that's the flip side of the coin. If your wife is truly a sweet bundle of wonderfulness, then you should never stop wooing her and earning her trust. But if she insists on holding out on or judging you for irrational theological reasons, don't waste years of your life on a hopeless and doomed enterprise, either.

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