Inside The Book Jim Bob And Michelle Duggar Say Held Their Marriage Together — A Snipe At Anna?

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar recently responded to rumors that they are divorcing, saying that in fact, they are more in love than ever. Not only that, the couple offered to share some of the things that have kept their marriage together over the past 32 years.

On their Facebook page, Michelle and Jim Bob shared a photo, with a long caption that responded to tales that their marriage is in trouble. They say these are tips they were asked to share with a group of couples — likely referring to the Fort Rock Family Camp and Marriage Retreat, to which Michelle and Jim Bob recently were invited as guest speakers.

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar marital advice
[Image via Facebook]
The first piece of advice the pair offer is expected within the Duggar family’s religious beliefs, as well as within many less strict Christian denominations, and 2-4 are quite standard advice for couples.

1. Individually pursue a close relationship with Jesus. The closer we each get to God, the closer we each get to each other.
2. Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath, which means don’t let offenses build up, but apologize and make things right quickly.
3. Never say put downs or negative name calling, but instead, praise each other with a grateful spirit.
4. Go out on regular dates and enjoy each other’s company.

Item number five on the Duggar couple’s list, however, is a bit more unique: they point to a book they say they recommend to all couples.

We recommend husbands and wives to read together the book, “His Needs, Her Needs” by Willard F. Harley

So, what’s in the book that Michelle and Jim Bob credit for helping to keep their marriage together?

Well, the first interesting thing is that the book has a subtitle the Duggar page failed to mention.

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar recommend this book
[Image via Amazon]

Building an Affair-proof Marriage

So, the Duggar matriarch and patriarch aren’t offering keys to just any happy marriage — they’re specifically offering a book of advice on how to prevent an affair, just as Josh Duggar returns home from the rehab program he entered after allegedly cheating on his wife, Anna.

It goes further than that, though. It’s not exactly a book on how to not have affairs. Instead, as one quickly sees from the author’s description, Jim Bob and Michelle’s endorsement goes to a book telling an individual how to prevent one’s spouse from having an affair.

Even in the description, the author strongly suggests, almost says directly, that if your spouse cheats, it’s because you failed to meet their needs.

“The right needs are so strong that when they’re not met in marriage, people are tempted to go outside marriage to satisfy them…When they are unmet, it is unfair to the spouse who must go through life without ethical alternatives.”

Viewers familiar with the IBLP religious organization that the Duggar family follows wondered and speculated on whether Anna Duggar was blamed for Josh’s infidelity. The Christian Post reported at the time that a source close to the Duggar family said Anna blamed herself, but did the rest of the family tell her she was at fault?

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar on how to keep your spouse from having an affainr
Image via TLC]

It is, of course, impossible to say for sure, but Michelle Duggar did post on her blog a short time after Josh’s indiscretions became public, giving marriage advice that included a warning to wives to be “available” to their husbands at all times, lest he seek to satisfy “that need for intimacy” elsewhere.

So, is the book Michelle and Jim Bob recommend another dose of victim-blaming for the victims of infidelity?

Let’s take a look inside. You can view the first portion online here (pdf) at the author’s site. The full book is available through the same site, but this first portion tells a lot about the author’s — and by extension through their recommendation, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar’s — view of fault in an affair.

It’s titled “How Affair-Proof Is Your Marriage?” and it dives right in. People have affairs when they aren’t happy, when their needs aren’t met. See a few excerpts from the first chapter below.

For example, when a man agrees to an exclusive relationship with his wife, he depends on her to meet his sexual need. If she fulfills this need, he finds in her a continuing source of intense pleasure, and his love grows stronger. However, if his need goes unmet, quite the opposite happens. He begins to associate her with frustration. If the frustration continues, he may decide she “just doesn’t like sex” and may try to make the best of it. But his strong need for sex remains unfulfilled. His commitment to an exclusive sexual relationship with his wife has left him with the choice of sexual frustration or infidelity.

The book doesn’t pin the fault for all affairs on women. A virtually identical passage a short time later explains the same reasoning for women having an affair, merely with the “unmet need” being intimate conversation, in which a husband fails to listen to his wife enough, and she must choose between emotional frustration and an affair.

This mirrors advice Jim Bob gave Josh in A Very Duggar Wedding — he said that while Josh’s needs would be physical, Anna would need “to be able to share her heart with you.” This is after he explains that sex works “kinda like legos.” Video is available on Discovery Health.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar say men need sex and women need listeners
[Image via Discovery Health]
What else is in the book the Duggar couple recommend so heartily?

Well, chapters three and four are entirely devoted to:

The First Thing [She/he] Can’t Do Without

For her, it’s affection. For him, it’s sexual fulfillment.

Further chapters detail more of “her” needs — conversation, honesty, financial support, and for him to be a good father.

These alternate with chapters defining a man’s needs in marriage: aside from sex, these are, apparently, a playmate, admiration, and an attractive wife.

Not kidding — he has to be a good dad, bring home the bacon, and chat with his wife, and it’s her duty to fulfill him sexually, play with him, tell him how great he is, and be hot.

[Image viaTLC]
[Image viaTLC]
By the way, the author, Willard F. Harley, Jr., Ph.D., of the book Jim Bob and Michelle recommend, has plenty of other advice for preventing an affair outside of the book. On his site, Marriage Builders, he offers advice on “snooping” — he recommends checking your spouse’s email, internet history, and cell phone records, and even a GPS unit, a keylogger to record computer activity, listening in on phone calls — and even hiring a private detective to follow your spouse.

Again, seriously:

I recommend all of the above. So, how can I justify this advice when it goes against the grain of most spouses?

I begin with the proposition that a great marriage is a transparent marriage.

There’s also advice for surviving an affair if one happens: first, expose it to family and friends, then create a “transparent life” — that is, collect all the email passwords, check texts and telephone logs — essentially the same “snooping” Harley recommends, which he describes as “transparency” and “radical honesty.”

The third step goes right back to the book the Duggar parents promoted: meet your spouse’s needs, and he or she won’t seek someone else to do it.

Did Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar mean this as a slap in the face to Anna Duggar, blaming her for her husband’s affair(s)? It’s impossible to say for certain, but it seems likely that, to a spurned spouse, it would feel that way.

[Image via TLC]

Share this article: Inside The Book Jim Bob And Michelle Duggar Say Held Their Marriage Together — A Snipe At Anna?
More from Inquisitr