'Counting On' Fans Question Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's Relationship
Jim Bob Duggar married Michelle Ruark in July 1984. The couple went on to have 19 children together which landed them their reality TV series and its spinoffs.
Duggar and his family belong to the Independent Baptist Christians church. They are also members of the Institute in Basic Life Principles organization which is a homeschooling program run by Christian minister Bill Gothard.
Their faith influences their lifestyle and home structure. Jim Bob reportedly runs his home with a strict set of rules that he expects everyone to follow.
Jim Bob reportedly rules with an iron fist:
Over the years fans of the show "19 Kids and Counting," which centers on the Duggar's lives, have witnessed more than one of Jim Bob's rules in action. Many of these rules have left fans flabbergasted and shocked.
“Jim Bob calls the shots. Always has and always will.”
Fans question Jim Bob and Michelle's relationship:
The Duggar's, like all public figures, are often under the microscope. Fans analyze, dissect, discuss and draw conclusions based on what they see.
"I think Jim Bob definitely took advantage of her," wrote one Reddit user.
Jim Bob and Michelle's behavior and interactions with each other has often caught the eyes of fans. Many have developed theories and questions about the couple's relationship.
Some fans on Reddit speculate that perhaps Michelle is not as happy in her marriage as she claims. The thread was started six months ago when a Duggar series newbie wrote:
"What’s your unpopular Duggar opinion? Mine is that I personally think that Michelle may be more of a victim of abuse that it seems, don’t get me wrong she has definitely failed her children, but I think Jim Bob definitely took advantage of her when she had that first miscarriage and it all spiraled from there. She admits to her past ‘sins’ but Jim Bob doesn’t seem to think of himself as a sinner, funnily enough."
"I think you are onto something there," responded another fan.
The user then went on to say that in their opinion "their religion tends to act like girls are born sinners." Adding that the "women are constantly having to tame their husband and fulfill their needs otherwise they’ll do bad things. Like, regardless, women are always to blame when a man sins."
The thread has 447 comments on it. Most appear to agree with the initial views that Michelle might be suffering in her relationship.
One comment, in particular, stood out. The commenter not only agreed with her adding that " Yes, she did perpetuate the cycle of abuse but she was a victim first."
"I don't want to use this to excuse the harm she's done to her children, but yeah I do have some pity for her. I mean, like hell Jim Bob would let her say no in the bedroom so she's probably been raped several times through her marriage," concluded the commenter.
Was the commenter foreseeing something?
The commenter could have come to the conclusion after seeing comments Michelle herself made about marriage and sexual availability. In a post on the family site in October 2015, Michelle imparted some advice for new brides.
In the piece, one of her three pieces of marriage advice certainly raised eyebrows. The controversial suggestion was actually given to Michelle by a friend before she got married.
“She told me: ‘Michelle, I know you’re so excited. You’re a bride-to-be, but some day you’ll be at this point. You’ve got to remember this,’ ” Michelle wrote. ” ‘Anyone can iron Jim Bob’s shirt, anybody can make lunch for him. He can get his lunch somewhere else. But you are the only one who can meet that special need that he has in his life for intimacy. You’re it. You’re the only one,’ ” wrote Michelle.
”‘So don’t forget that, that he needs you,’ ” she added. ” ‘So when you are exhausted at the end of the day, maybe from dealing with little ones, and you fall into bed so exhausted at night, don t forget about him because you and he are the only ones who can have that time together. No one else in the world can meet that need.’ ”
According to Michelle, it was "the best advice” she received. She goes on to say it really helped her relationship with her husband Jim Bob Duggar, 50.
Michelle summarised the advice saying, “be available, and not just available, but be joyfully available for him. Smile and be willing to say, ‘Yes, sweetie I am here for you,’ no matter what, even though you may be exhausted and big pregnant and you may not feel like he feels. ‘I’m still here for you and I'm going to meet that need because I know it's a need for you.’ ”
The advice might certainly lead fans to assume Michelle is misguided in her relationship after that advice. However, she then claims that Jim Bob, in turn, "will sit there and listen to everything I need to tell him because he knows that I’m there for him, too."
"I'm meeting his needs, he’s meeting my needs,” Michelle wrote. “We’re willing to be there for each other. And each one of us has different needs in a marriage relationship and that’s what’s so precious.”
Michelle then went on to advise newlyweds to keep their disagreements private and discuss them together. She also encouraged getting “marriage advice when you need it.”
All things considered, while there may be certain shocking aspects to their relationship, Jim Bob and Michelle appear to have a pretty strong marriage. They will be celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary in July this year.