By: Crissie Kirby
By now there’s no point in recounting all the Duggar family has been faced with over the last few months; I have my own personal feelings and opinions about Josh Duggar and the situation, but, honestly, they have no bearing on what I feel led to say to in this post.
I cannot truly comment on the Duggar molestation scandal, other than to say that, apparently, and regardless of the public’s feelings and opinions on the matter, Anna Duggar knew about that matter before she and Josh ever married. She was not, if I understand correctly, blindsided with the information as the general population was. The more recent scandal, though, involving some type of unfaithfulness on Josh’s part is what has me heartbroken for Anna and her children.
When the whole Ashley Madison / Duggar connection came out, all I could think about was Anna and her children. Then the comments and articles came, as I knew they would, calling for her to leave Josh. Rumor has it that this has even been publicly stated by some of Anna’s own family members. Regardless of who says it, the comments that Anna should leave Josh need to stop; as a whole, our society needs to not call for Anna Duggar to walk away from her marriage. “But Crissie, you’ve walked that walk . . . why shouldn’t she leave Josh? After all that he has done . . .” Because, folks, it’s just not that easy.
Walking away from a marriage is never as simple and easy as it seems. The words roll out of our brains and out of our mouths and it seems like it’s an easy fix to a big problem. But, it’s not. No, I don’t know Anna personally and probably never will, but I know that the last thing she needs to hear is that she needs to leave her marriage. Our society has come to accept divorce as a commonplace occurrence, not much different than buying a new car or a new house. “This one just doesn’t suit me anymore, so let’s get a new one” appears to be the mentality that many have. But we need to stop encouraging that manner of thinking.
First, Anna is probably still in shock over learning about this indiscretion; she hasn’t had time to process the information. When I first learned that news in my own marriage, it took me weeks to process it and years, yes YEARS, to get over what I had been through enough to even desire leaving my marriage. Stop telling her to walk away when she probably still feels like she is in the worst dream she has ever had and cannot seem to wake up enough to fully function.
Secondly, we need to stop telling her to, essentially, cut off part of her body. When you are married and you truly take the words from your wedding to heart; you accept that “two have become one.” Her marriage to Josh is part of both her public and private identity. Imagine being in an accident, losing a limb, and then waking up to realize it’s gone. Pretty traumatic, right? I tend to think so. Stop telling her to cut off her arm.
Third, think about their children. I don’t advocate staying in a marriage just for your children; however, you have to take them into consideration before making any major life changes. How are they going to be affected mentally, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually? Stop telling her to walk away before she has been able to give each of these facets the level of thought and consideration they truly deserve; this goes for her own personal well-being as well.
Fourth, remember that the Duggars are people of great faith and in those tenets we know that God does not advocate divorce. As a fellow Christian, I believe that even though God allows divorce on the grounds of adultery, He never says that one must divorce if that happens. Yes, adultery is a sin. There’s no getting around it. But do we always need to totally give up on sinful people?
Staying in a marriage where someone has been unfaithful is hard. Infidelity does great mental and emotional damage to the spouse who was cheated on. They are already reeling from learning that, in some sense, they have been replaced in the heart and mind of their beloved; the last thing that he or she needs to hear is that they need to immediately and completely cut their losses and move on. It was comforting to me to read this morning that Anna is seeking her own form of counsel while Josh enters some type of rehabilitation facility. She needs impartiality and comfort and guidance on what might be the best avenue for her and her children. It’s hard to hear from family and friends (who you know love and care for you deeply in truth) that you need to just walk away from a marriage that maybe you just aren’t ready to give up on yet. I know. I heard it from family and friends. It left me feeling isolated and like every decision I was making was being scrutinized by those who obviously knew better what my children and I needed. In the end, yes, I wound up divorced. However, I can confidently say that divorce was not my first option; it was the final option. For me, I needed it to be that way. I needed to know that I had done everything I could do to prevent a divorce. Four years later, I can still hold my head high and know that I made the right decision for me and my boys. Not everyone supported the decision I made to stay for 2 years; most people didn’t understand why I stayed; some probably still think I was crazy. I survived without hearing a lot of positive reinforcement for my decision, but it doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t, be that way for spouses dealing with the knowledge that they have been cheated upon. Encouragement and support are what Anna Duggar needs now; don’t call for her to walk away from her marriage. Call for her to be lifted up mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally in such a way that she can make the best decisions, going forward, for both herself and her children.