By now you’ve probably heard all about the Josh Duggar scandal.
In short, he’s a pedophile and adulterer. No, I won’t say “alleged”. He’s trash.
I see people saying “Leave the Duggars alone!” Nope. They chose this life. Even Josh.
But his wife and children are the real victims here.
A mom on Facebook took on this subject head on in this story. She said everything I wanted to say, but I’ll expand.
The problem with what Anna Duggar has been taught her whole life is that it’s bullshit. I’m not an overly religious person, despite being dragged to church every time the doors were opened as a child. I’m by far the most liberal person in my uber conservative family. I’ve been taught my whole life that “marriage is forever!” and that you just work it out and stay together.
Here’s the thing-
I don’t believe God wants anyone to be miserable. I don’t believe that God wants women to stay with child molesters and adulterers and I don’t believe that he wants them to crank out baby after baby in the name of religion, bringing more victims into a horrible situation.
But there is a whole subculture of people who believe this to be true.
My parents married when they were 23 years old. I was born a year later. My childhood was full of yelling, fighting, screaming, drama, stress, and turmoil. I used to actually pray that they divorced so I could have some peace at home. All of my friends with divorced parents seemed happier than I was. But because divorce was frowned upon, their troubled marriage raged on. I have very few holiday memories that don’t include massive blow up fights between them. We would leave home Christmas Day to go to my grandparents house just an hour away and turn around twice and go back home with one of them threatening not to go, let one of them out on the highway because they claimed they were going to walk home, only to pick them up and show up 2 hours late to the family event after being told to not say why we were late. Every. Holiday.
It was exhausting.
When I was 25 it was revealed that my dad cheated on my mom and he left her and they eventually divorced. By this time she was a raging alcoholic and had been for years. Now we know this is because he cheated on her their entire marriage. She got help and sobered up. They got back together, remarried, and continued the disfunction. They divorced again. Got back together again. This has happened several times, the most recent just a few months ago. I’m not even 100% sure of their marital status at this point.
My mom believes that marriage is forever and that somehow she is defying God if she doesn’t do everything in her power to stay with my dad. Most rational people don’t agree with this, but when it’s been shoved down your throat your whole life you believe it.
I think a lot about how different her life would be if she had chosen herself first and what would make her happy years ago instead of forcing herself to stay miserable. She wears the years of stress on her face. I do know that when I was agonizing over my own marriage I found myself at peace with divorce because I viewed her life as a cautionary tale.
I can now look back and say that my first marriage was the biggest mistake I ever made in my life. It was wrong from the beginning but I forced it and I paid for it in the end. In all honesty, part of the reason I originally got married was because of family pressure not to “live in sin”. Even the day I got married, I just felt yucky walking down the aisle. Like a skin crawling feeling that, at the time, I attributed to nerves. It wasn’t. It was that feeling you get when something just isn’t right. In contrast the day I married Matt I was giddy with excitement and stood barefoot and pregnant in the courthouse on Halloween night 2012 with a judge that looked like Elvis marrying us, a total abomination of anything I had been taught growing up, and I knew that moment it was the most right thing I’ve ever done in my life. I remember thinking “So this is how it’s supposed to feel!” It was exhilarating.
I feel like I lived my 20s on autopilot and just floated through life, distracting myself with vacations, shopping, anything but my weird, sad marriage. My ex was 15 years older than me and, as our relationship went on, the differences between us could not be ignored anymore. I isolated myself because my friends didn’t want to hang out with an old guy. Our job didn’t help at all because it was very isolating as well.
I like to say my life began when I was 30. It was the year I figured out what I wanted, the year I truly learned how to breathe fire. I stopped putting up with things that I had excused away in the past. When divorce was brought up as some kind of threat that year, I took it as a sign that it really was over and I did something my mom has never been able to do-
I moved on.
I moved on with no support from my “divorce is wrong!” family. But I did it anyway. I didn’t need them to validate my feelings. They didn’t live my life.
Looking back, I can’t believe I ever let someone else’s belief on marriage and divorce or some imaginary biblical rule dictate what I did. I would’ve missed out on so much if I stuck it out through a horrible marriage for 20-30 more years.
I wouldn’t have found true happiness, and I wouldn’t be living what I never even knew was my dream life. It seems so ordinary to everyone else to be a stay at home mom with a toddler and a husband and a little dog in suburbia. I thought I never wanted this. Now I basque in the glow of normalcy, day after day. It never gets old.
What I realize now is that I had convinced myself that I didn’t deserve it.
I wonder if Anna Duggar has convinced herself she deserves the pain associated with having a creep for a husband?
No one deserves that.
Though her family may not be supportive and she may be stuck with 4 kids, no education, and a million other “can’t do that, it’s wrong”‘s, she can find a way to break away and be happy.
She just has to breathe that fire and burn those walls down.
Happiness is on the other side of them.