Evidence is emerging that there are two Duggar family marriages which may be in trouble, as events over the last three months have taken their toll. The marriage between Josh and Anna Duggar is definitely on the rocks, but there are signs of another troubled marriage as well.
It is well known that the marriage of the eldest of the Duggar family’s 19 children, Josh Duggar, endured a difficult summer. Josh and Anna moved back to Arkansas on June 9, after Josh resigned in disgrace from his employment as Executive Director of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., when press reports disclosed his history of child molestation and that at least four of his victims were his own sisters.
At the time, Anna stood by her husband and came to his defense on social media, stating that she knew of her husband’s past before she married him and that he was a changed man who had given his heart to religion. The couple settled into a home they had purchased a few months before as an investment property – a foreclosed home in need of serious work. Without a job, Josh focused on renovating their new residence in Siloam Springs and Anna’s parents and brothers came to assist with the work.
On July 19, Anna gave birth to the couple’s fourth child. The marriage took a turn for the worse in August when Josh Duggar revealed to his wife of seven years that he was addicted to pornography and had committed adultery. On August 24, Josh left his wife and four children to be sequestered in a place that would allow only limited contact from any members of the Duggar family, including Anna and the couple’s four children.
Before leaving, it was reported that a woman was filing a lawsuit against Josh Duggar, seeking compensation for his molestation of her when she was a minor child. There is no word yet on the progress of that case and/or settlement, but the deed to Josh and Anna’s home was transferred on the same day Josh left Anna. The family home was given to a company set up that same day – by a long-time Duggar family church friend and attorney – to hold the title to the property.
The boarding facility Josh went to has no licensed therapists for sexual addictions, no medical professionals, and no marital counseling for spouses. Duggar could have found all three of those within a 20-minute drive of his home in a variety of facilities in the greater Fayetteville/Springdale area.
Since Josh left Anna, more sordid details have emerged about Josh’s broken marital vows, including visits to strip clubs and unprotected sexual rendezvous with a bisexual porn star. With those revelations, Anna took their newborn baby daughter, Meredith, and flew to her parents’ home in Florida, leaving the other three children with their Duggar grandparents, Jim Bob and Michelle.
Anna remained in Florida for several weeks before returning to Arkansas and is presumably still living in the Siloam Springs home with the four children. She has made no public statements about her marriage, and there is no evidence that she, her children, or any other Duggar family member have gone to visit Josh. There is no sign of reconciliation between the spouses, and Josh and Anna are still estranged.
The other Duggar family marriage that appears to be suffering is the marriage of Jessa Duggar (23) to her husband, Ben Seewald (20). The couple celebrated their first wedding anniversary on November 1 and welcomed the birth of their first child on November 5.
To most couples, the first wedding anniversary celebration is a romantic night and involves the exchange of paper keepsake gifts. Entire websites are devoted specifically to first wedding anniversaries and gifts. Jessa, an avid social media user, posted no photos of a romantic evening or of a gift received – not even a bouquet of flowers. The evidence of a possible problem in the marriage is in the silence.
Both Jessa and Ben posted pictures of their wedding on their respective Facebook pages, with Jessa placing no less than five separate posts of wedding pictures. But for an anniversary celebration, there was nothing.
On the day after their milestone anniversary, Jessa was back to posting about her pregnancy. On the same day, November 2, Ben posted an odd message on his Facebook page.
“‘The essence of sin is a passion for self-rule’ – John Piper”
Two days before their wedding anniversary, Ben had posted a 1,256-word missive about arrogance and pride on the couple’s joint blog.
On her birthday, November 4, Jessa posted a picture of herself and her sister Jordyn having an ice cream sundae. On the Duggar family Facebook page, Jessa’s mother, Michelle, posted additional pictures which showed that the ice-cream-sundae photo was actually from a lunch hosted by Jessa’s sisters, Jana and Jinger, and her sister-in-law Anna. Ben was also at the birthday lunch, but Jessa chose to post a picture without her spouse in it.
Neither Jessa nor Ben made any reference to a celebration of their own or to a birthday gift from Ben to Jessa. What Ben did post was a lackluster video.
“Happy Birthday, sweetheart. I love you and we celebrated our anniversary the other day and now it’s your birthday. And, we should have baby Seewald here any day. Your due date was on our anniversary, so, anyways, I love you and I know you’re going to be the best mom ever and I’m so glad I married you.”
Compare that birthday message to what Ben wrote to Jessa just a few months before.
In an episode of the defunct Duggar family reality show, “All About Jessa,” Jessa and her mother, Michelle, discussed Ben’s personality. Michelle commented that Ben and Jessa have very opposite personalities.
“Ben is a very articulate person. He’s like an artist. He’s very thoughtful and very sensitive. And, he’s very compassionate. And so they say that usually opposites attract.”
Jessa described Ben’s personality as romantic.
“He’s always texting me like the sweetest things, like, ‘If I had all the flowers in the world, all the rose gardens in the world, I’d give them all to you.’ And I’m like, well, where would I put them?
“The way Ben proposed to me was really sweet. He put a lot of thought into it and tried to make every aspect of it so romantic.”
Certainly something has changed in the Seewald household. Jessa gave birth on November 5 to a baby boy. Now, at this writing six days later, the baby is still unnamed because the first-time parents cannot agree upon a name. Jessa replied to a question about the baby’s name on her Facebook page on Monday.
“Haha! We’ll be announcing as soon as we settle on a name! Still haven’t decided!”
Yesterday, Jessa made two posts about coming to a decision with Ben about the baby’s name.
“P.S. Still haven’t settled on his middle name! Looking forward to sharing with y’all as soon as we decide! “
“We’re pretty certain we have his first name, but still trying to settle on a middle name! Looking forward to telling y’all as soon as we decide!”
The couple had a much longer time to choose a name for their baby than they did to plan for their wedding after a three-month engagement, a wedding which was a fully-staged-for-TV extravaganza. The needs of a newborn can put a strain on the most solid of marriages. That, together with Jessa’s difficult birth experience and the couple’s commitment to abstinence for 40 days after the birth, suggests a rocky road ahead for this Duggar family marriage.
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[Image via Facebook]