People who know my husband and I, asks us all of the time, “How do the two of you make it work with him being a Jehovah’s Witness and you not being affiliated with any religion?” Sometimes people even ask me, “How do you do it? Especially with a Jehovah’s Witness? Don’t you miss Christmas? Don’t you miss birthdays? Aren’t you bored?”

I think people have their thoughts about religion, especially Jehovah’s Witnesses. When I tell people that my husband is a Jehovah’s Witness, I think they picture us as a couple going door-to-door, and me letting the years pass me by without joy. Not only is that vision wrong but my answer to all of those questions is “resect.” Respect is the way we get through most of our differences. In other words, we don’t expect each other to change or make one another feel bad about their lifestyle choices. Outside of that, I think it helps us that I don’t belong to a church and I am not affiliated with a religion. I was raised Baptist but when I became an adult, I decided that I just loved God and didn’t need to prove anything to anyone.

I’ve never been the type to tell a person, who they should love and how they should love the ones they choose. Afterall, they’re the ones who have to live with their choices, not me. When my husband told me that he was a Jehovah’s Witness, my response on the inside was, “Oh shit!! Does this mean I will never get a birthday shout out on Facebook? Or a surprise birthday dinner? He will never shower me with gifts on Christmas? We can’t cut the turkey together? Where is my Hallmark commercial?” However, on the outside, my response was, “That’s great. Don’t expect me to convert.” He made it very clear to me that, converting me was not his goal but leading me when it came to our responsibilities to “Jehovah” was definitely on the agenda.

I try not to make it a habit of saying, “no” to things I haven’t tried. Similarly, how could I say “No” to a man trying to lead me down a more righteous path? So, I agreed. To better understand your spouse or anyone for that matter, you must first put yourself in their shoes. I read the Watch Towers. I attended the meetings. I listened to the lessons and participated in Bible studies. I have yet to hear anything wrong. While, I truly believe the teachings are beneficial, I don’t wish to convert. My husband respects that. He doesn’t interfere with Thanksgiving. He doesn’t make me take down the tree. He doesn’t stop me from Christmas shopping and he doesn’t stop me from celebrating my most favorite of them all, my birthday!

In each marriage, couples must do what works for them. Not what their parents did, not what their best friends do but what works for the two people in the marriage. When there are differences in lifestyles, compromise and respect can take a marriage a long way. Getting to know more about Jehovah’s Witnesses, helped me understand why my husband doesn’t celebrate holidays. It also helped me have a better understanding of why he doesn’t partake in certain activities and why he makes the choices he does when it comes to conflict.  By the same token, he has spent a great deal of time with me, and understands that my desires to celebrate holidays and partake in certain activities are about my desires to enjoy life and nothing more. He’s never tried to change that. Over the past couple of years, my husband and I have learned to let one another be individuals. Yes, we are married and yes we are one but before there was an US, there was respect.

Next Up: I’m Stingy

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