the one about if my daughter was anna duggar

I'll admit it.

I kind of used to love watching TLC's 19 Kids and Counting. I would turn it on in the mornings while I was getting some work done around the house, and I wouldn't be worried about my children passing by the television because there was no nudity, profanity, suggestive innuendos, or violence. It seemed safe to me, and my girls enjoyed seeing all the children laughing, playing, and interacting with each other.

When we decided to scrap our extended cable channels in exchange for Netflix and Hulu, I was a little bummed that I wouldn't be able to catch up with the Duggars on a daily basis.

But, life moved on and the world kept turning.

That is, until the first wave of the Josh Duggar scandal made the news. Yes, when the public learned of Josh Duggar inappropriately touching some of his sisters when he was 14 or 15 years old, the world seemed to stop turning or flip on its axis or both. It seemed like everyone had something to say about it. Non-Christians used it as a way to prove that Christians are just a bunch of self-righteous hypocrites. Christians used it as a way to defend forgiveness and salvation. Many (far too many) used it as a punchline of a joke.

After a little while, the dust settled. The media moved on. Donald Trump happened.

Josh Duggar was nearly out of the headlines when a new story emerged. After a data leak at Ashley Madison (an eHarmony for married cheaters, if you will), we all learned that Josh Duggar was a paying member, and had been for quite some time.

Yes, Josh Duggar was actively searching for extra-marital affairs. And not only searching...he was paying to find them.

Married. Father of four (his newest baby was born earlier this summer). So desperate to cheat on his wife that he was willing to pay nearly $1,000 for the privilege.

Without going into too much detail, I wanted to share a little of what he was "searching" for.

According to his alleged profile, he was wanting someone "professional." Someone "stylish." A "casual jeans and t-shirt type." He liked "short hair" and a "take charge type."

If you've even watched five minutes of the show, you'd know that his wife is not known for her style, short hair, or take charge attitude. She doesn't wear jeans (just skirts), and she isn't a professional in a career sense of the word.

So, basically, he was looking for the opposite of the person he married (on television). He wanted the antithesis of the person he waited to kiss (on television) until she shared his last name.

I wonder how this (ANY of this) makes her feel?

Yes, her.


The one who isn't a household name. The one who isn't on the front page of the tabloids. The one who is most likely suffering immeasurable pain and betrayal at the hands of the man she loves the most.

The one who is probably, in some way, blaming herself for his actions. Wondering what she did "wrong" or how she could have prevented it. Wondering why she wasn't "enough."

Anna has a mom. I have seen her on TV.

But I feel like I want to be Anna's Mama Bear.

Maybe it's all the mornings I spent watching her teach and encourage her children so sweetly, or maybe it's the fact that I witnessed the birth of 3 of her children (including the one on the toilet-- thanks, TLC).

I just feel like I know her.

And if my daughter was Anna Duggar, this is precisely what I would tell her.


You weren't enough.

For him, you weren't enough.

And you would never be enough.

Call it sickness. Call it addiction. Call it just being an unfaithful asshole.

But you would never have been enough for him.

All the beauty. All the "professionalism." All the jeans and t-shirts in the world.

He would still be searching for something else. Someone else.

And thank God your value was never dependent on his ability to see your worth.

People are going to tell you that you're trapped. They are going to tell you that because you don't have a college education or a job, you are trapped in this miserable situation. That because you chose to stay home with your children, you have no way out. That this should serve as a cautionary tale to all other housewives-- when your husband commits unthinkable acts, make sure you have a college degree and a career so you can stand on your own two feet.

But when you said your marriage vows and when you agreed that you would be the daily caretaker for your children, you didn't think you'd be standing in this mess, did you? This doesn't make you a fool. This makes you a committed wife and mother who had no reason to believe your husband would betray you in this way.

You're no different than any other wife who stands hopeful at the altar. Not many of us look into our groom's eyes and think of our escape plan for when it all goes to shit.

You're not unintelligent, Anna. No, you don't have a college degree, but I have one, and none of my professors taught me how to pick up the pieces of my life once it had been shattered into a billion shards of pointy glass. My college degree would mean nothing to me if I were standing in your shoes.

Yes, you were raised conservatively. You only dated one man before you committed yourself to him for the rest of your life. You didn't shop around. You didn't play the field. You fell in love at a young age and could see no other way. This doesn't mean you were naive. It doesn't mean you were stupid. It doesn't mean your parents "sheltered" you too much. It means you were raised with a set of morals and values that you believed would not let you down.

I can only imagine the struggle you feel right now. Do you stay and honor the marriage vows you took before God (and a nationally televised audience), or do you leave?

No matter what, it will be the hardest decision you will ever make. And everyone will have an opinion on it, guaranteed.

All I ask, Anna, is that no matter what you choose, you stand while you do it.

Stand up, Anna.

And don't stand behind this flawed and pathetic man.

Stand in front of him.

Make the headlines about you.

Make them about your strength, your dignity, your resilience.

Let everyone know who Anna is. That she is not a victim of her circumstance, of her upbringing, or of her religious beliefs. Let them see that none of these things put her in the position she is in right now, and none of these things will keep her from doing exactly as she damn. well. pleases.

Let the world see that a woman's worth is not measured by college degrees or high paying jobs or whether or not her husband can remain faithful.

Let the world see that a family's crisis is not a punchline. It's not a meme. It's real. It's painful. It's messy. It's raw.

Let the world see that a woman can be a Christian homemaker who gives birth in her own bathroom, but she can be a force to be reckoned with and won't be humiliated.

Stand up, Anna.

Your daughters are watching you.


  1. This is amazing. Thank you so much for writing it.

  2. This is the best written advice anyone could give. Way to go.