Anna Duggar: ‘My prayer & my heart’s desire is for our marriage to be restored’


TLC is still airing Counting On, the Jessa and Jill Duggar spinoff show that is magically just like 19 Kids and Counting. The whole Duggar clan is involved with Counting On, although the show is much more Jessa-and-Jill intensive. TLC got Josh Duggar’s wife Anna to go on-camera and make her first public statement of the year too. What strikes me is that Anna is still very much “in the fold” of the Duggar clan. There were some hopes and some reports that Anna had finally had enough, that she went home to Florida and maybe her marriage was over. But no. Perhaps it helps to think of the Duggars like we think of the Church of Scientology (and the Hotel California): you can check out any time you want but you can never leave. So… yes, in the latest episode of Counting On, Anna basically said that fixing her marriage is her priority.

Anna Duggar is still fighting for her marriage. The second installment of Jill & Jessa: Counting On opened with Anna addressing her harrowing year.

“I knew about this long before it hit the press,” Ann said of her family’s first scandal, which saw the release of reports that Josh Duggar had behaved inappropriate toward five underage girls when he was teen. Anna explains that Josh was “very detailed and very honest” with her parents when they visited Arkansas for the first time and met his family. Having to relive this information “was like ripping open an old wound,” she says.

Shortly after this news broke, their daughter Meredith Grace was born, and Anna said her fourth child’s birth provided the couple with some much needed hope. But then Josh’s second scandal – Josh admitting his infidelity and pornography addiction – broke, and that was a total shock to Anna. She admitted her first reaction was denial.

“It felt like a bad dream,” said Anna, 27, as she fought back tears. At this point, the camera focused on her fidgeting hands. “It’s such a betrayal for a spouse for through what we’re walking through and it was hard.” Anna explained she couldn’t act based on how she was feeling because she’d “turn a mess into a disaster.” Instead, she clung to her faith and asked God to help her figure out how to respond.

At one point, a producer asked her what her plans were for her marriage, and it took her a moment to answer as the camera cut to her hands.

“In my heart, when I got married, I vowed to God first and then to Joshua, ‘For better or for worse. ‘Til death do we part,’ ” Anna said. “I pray that through all of this that I would be an extension of God’s love to Joshua, that I would love him and forgive him and wait patiently and allow God to work through our hearts. My prayer and my heart’s desire is for our marriage to be restored.”

[From People]

Much like In Touch Weekly reported a few weeks ago, I think Anna just believes whatever story Josh tells her. Perhaps she just believes whatever story the Duggars tell her too. If Josh is still lying about the extent of his perversions – which he probably is – then he’s already “explained away” a lot of this stuff to Anna. Plus, she’s been told her whole life that divorce is a sin, that her purpose in life is to serve her husband and have babies, etc. Of course she’s staying with him. But you know her life is going to be terrible when Josh gets out of pervert rehab. Ugh, poor Anna.


Screencaps courtesy of TLC.

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86 Responses to “Anna Duggar: ‘My prayer & my heart’s desire is for our marriage to be restored’”

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  1. Kristen says:

    She looks… different.

    I hope she hasn’t made herself over for Josh. He’s such a scumbag.

  2. Ughhhhhh says:

    Jessa and the other married sister are unpopular here, but I have sympathy for every woman and child in this abusive cult. I hope Anna can find a way out.

  3. Catwoman says:

    Sorry, Anna, you never had a real marriage.

  4. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    It takes a strong person to walk away from a cult/abusive scenario and none of these women are.

    I don’t know how to pity or sympathize with any of them when I realize they’re all so deluded that they become the image of a mother with her back turned, humming to block out the noise, while she knows her child is being molested.

    Perverts or abusers like Josh thrive in environments like this and people like Anna offer up their children to them on a silver platter with a smile.

    • Red says:

      You cant sympathize with people brainwashed by an abusive cult from birth? You dont pity somebody who is raised to view her husbands betrayals is “God” testing her faith? That in walking away, she has failed “God” and provided outsiders the opportunity to slam her community? I’m a happy atheist but even I understand the psycological hold a “God” based threat can have on a person.

      Also I dont think it takes just a strong person to walk away. It takes a person imbued with natural skepticism, and an enquiring and rebellious mind. Men may be allowed to retain some of these traits because religion =partriachy but the girls?! Every ounce of independent thought was long beaten out of them. Only the extremely hardy would have survived with an ability to construct logical thought.

      • Capepopsie says:

        Thank you very much.
        I totally agree.
        Very well said.
        These women need support
        Not bashing! 👍

      • Colleen says:

        Agreed, Red. I just commented a bit upthread that this is all normal to these young women, so any other way of thinking/conduct would be foreign to them.

      • Lille says:

        My thought is, even she if she wanted to leave, what is she going to do to support four kids with no education or job skills? I think if I were in her position I would probably give it another shot. She needs the financial security to at least get to emotionally balanced place, before she can really think about leaving.
        I know her brother who left their religion offered to help, but my understanding is that he is living pay check to paycheck, and he was really just offering a couch to crash on. It is not a long term plan.
        Also, I don’t think they think cheating is a bigger deal than child molestation. To them the child molestation stuff is way in the past, and everyone knew about it. The cheating was out of left field, and they are dealing with it in real time, just as the rest of the world is finding out about it. They all truly thought he had changed, or worked out his issues, and so were able to explain away the childhood issues. They had no idea that he was still making inappropriate sexual choices, or I am sure they never would have defended the childhood stuff.

  5. littlemissnaughty says:

    My prayer and my heart’s desire is for your family’s wretched shows to be cancelled. Doesn’t look like it’ll happen soon so I guess we’re both sh*t out of luck.

    I do feel for her but at this point, TLC is just promoting abuse and that makes me more angry than anything else. And I’m almost out of compassion, even for these brainwashed women.

  6. Senaber says:

    Maybe when he gets back she will realize how nice life was without him? It’s a last ditch hope.

    Why would God want you to be married to a perv?

  7. Karen says:

    Anna is still married and isn’t leaving Josh. Every interview and episode she does goes to their, I mean Josh’s, coffers (man = head of house, and probably head of finances, ugh).

    So I’m mixed about her being part of this. I want her to break free, but I think this puts her more under the Duggar control, because she’s now the responsible one: for money and fixing the family image problem (that was never her fault).

  8. Betti says:

    She’s had a make over to look more like his sisters. It’s the hair style and too thick makeup.

  9. JenB says:

    Ugh. That is awful. I wish there was an escape route for her but the reality is that if her parents and the Duggar family support her staying…it’s nearly impossible for her to leave. It’s too much brainwashing to overcome I think. What a hand to be dealt. Cheating is bad enough to begin with, but for women raised in this CULTure it’s even worse.

  10. Lucy says:

    This poor woman. She’ll never get to live a happy life/marriage.

  11. Breakfast Margaritas says:

    When she gets back with him, I don’t think I can root for her any longer. Her best chance of getting away is while he is in perv camp but she seems to be adjusting herself in the frying pan so the heat is more comfy. If she doesn’t leave the jerk after all this there will never be enough of a justification to fly the cuckoo’s nest.

  12. Deb says:

    Why are any of these people still being given airtime?

  13. swack says:

    What I would like to know is if she knew about the molestations of his sisters BEFORE they got married. If she did, then I have little sympathy for her. I worry about their daughter. If he could molest his sisters then he is capable of molesting his child. Too bad she didn’t take her brothers offer up to move in with him and have him help her get away from Josh.

    • Sam says:

      She knew, but technically. I wonder exactly what she was told. Let’s be real here – she was raised in an environment that taught her to never, ever question a man. I have no doubt that Josh was not totally honest with her. So while she allegedly was told about the issues with the sisters, I have to question what she actually knew about it, in truth.

    • doofus says:

      when the sh*t hit the fan, it was put forth by her (more likely the Duggar cult) that she DID know beforehand…that Josh had “confessed” to her and her parents before the wedding.

      and she STILL married him.

    • LAK says:

      Considering how Jim Bob downplayed the whole thing AND said that it was a common occurance amongst people he knew, I doubt very much that they were told precise details.

      Further, there is the whole ‘daughters are temptresses’ child molestation manual they all grow up with. It would have been presented as ‘Josh was tempted by his temptress sisters and satan.’

      Finally, Anna was given the sex chat a fortnight (2wks!!!!!!) before her wedding. So when she was given ‘details’ of the molestation, did she really comprehend fully the information? Or did she just power through to ‘he repented, he was forgiven and it wasn’t his fault to begin with, it was Satan in the form of his temptress sisters!’

  14. NGBoston says:

    Gross. The denial and brain-washing continue. How can she as a MOTHER to her Children let the PERV around her own daughters.

    Gross, repeat GROSS!

  15. HK9 says:

    I deep compassion for this woman. She’ll stay until either Josh’s leaves her or until the authorities take her kids (yes I think she’ll let it get that bad because she’s so brainwashed). What’s she going to do when her husband’s left her with a disease and fractured relationships with her children? And why the hell is she on TV??!!?? She needs a plan for her life that doesn’t include TLC or the Duggars.

  16. Miran says:

    Ugh. So esentially what she’s saying is that she was able to move past him being a child molester but not him cheating and watching porn, that was what sent her into denial.

  17. Sarah01 says:

    She knows the truth, but like all the other women in her circle of people they need to be “steadfast ” and “pray” it away. They need to be “forgiving” and help their husbands be the Gods that are to be worshipped. Cause the whole universe revolves around the men, they can’t function without it.
    I don’t feel sorry for her at all, I only feel sorry for the children who are going to grow up with a paedophile father and enabling mother.

  18. Lulu says:

    I can’t say I really expected anything different. She’s got four children, including a young baby, no education, no job, no independent savings. Her parents and her ‘good’ siblings all believe in divorce as a thing for ungodly, shameful women, and the siblings that think otherwise were all previously ostracized from the family. Her brother did offer to take her in if she left Josh, but it’s doubtful that he’d be able to support five new mouths to feed, even if she was able to bring herself to uproot all of her children and move them to a new state. Even then, she’d have to get a job (when she’s been told all her life that God’s strict design for her was to be a wife and mother, at home raising her Christian children) but that probably wouldn’t be able to cover her childcare fees as well as food and rent. Josh of course would have to pay child support, but at the moment he has no job, and I don’t think the courts would necessarily go after Jim Bob for the money, though he’s the one that’s mainly financed Josh’s life up to this point.

    So on top of the money worries, she’s also got all her in-laws – her godly, blessed in-laws, the ones who have been held up as the pinnacle of her faith, the ones she’s been trying all of her married life to emulate – telling her to stay put. She can’t leave; a divorce would be the final nail in the Duggar coffin. With Anna staying and forgiving, they’ve got a chance to spin a redemption storyline, the family all coming together to supporting their beloved Anna through this difficult time (and it’ll let them squeeze interesting TV into the otherwise dull specials, which you can bet TLC’s got their eye on). Divorce is for failures, divorce is for the devil. And you can bet that between all the tears and sympathy, there’s a ton of judgment from Michelle and her girls about Anna not living up to Josh’s desires, meaning he went looking elsewhere (remember Michelle’s awful ‘anyone can fix him his lunch, but only you can fulfill that special need’). It might not be said outright, but that’s the kind of thing that Anna’s surrounded with right now. Most religious women would turn to their faith in hideous times like these; for Anna, it’s her faith being turned against her to ensure that she keeps the gravy train going.

    Considering all that, does Anna really have a choice? She’s clearly quite anguished about it; from the look of things, she’s lost a lot of weight and I don’t doubt her tears (though Jill Dillard’s constant eyedabbing is getting on my last nerve). I feel really, really sorry for her. She’s espoused some hateful views in her time, but I think at her core she is a well-meaning, if very naive person, whose beloved husband clearly held her in contempt, even before the scandals came out. The same cult that deliberately stifled her education and told her she was nothing more than her faith and her ability to bear children has pushed her to stay with Josh after two horrible revelations that would have any sane woman scrambling for the door (I do not for one second believe that Josh told her the full story of what happened with his sisters before Anna married him). And the worst thing is, I’m pretty sure that Josh is eventually going to bolt from the marriage, and Anna will be deprived of her dignity by him yet again. The only hope is that it happens before any more children are brought into this horrifically dysfunctional family.

    • dagdag says:

      Lulu, yes to everything you wrote.

    • Red says:

      Everybody needs to read this comment. The knee jerk judgemental attitude from some here is disgusting given the circumstances you lay out.

    • Fallon says:

      Fully agree with everything you said.

      @Red – yes. Thank you.

    • Sam says:

      This is important to see.

      When Jonestown happened, people were horrified at the stories about people feeding poison to their children, and people kept saying, “How could anybody do that?” But the answer is horribly easy. When you are brainwashed and terrified of anything outside the cult, you will do anything to stay in it. Anna is like those people. She has been raised from birth to believe that her eternal salvation is contingent upon getting married, staying married, making lots of babies and being submissive to a man. That’s what she believes. To leave would be to risk damnation, losing her family, losing her entire community. Now how easy is it to just walk away? They have made the outside world look so horrifying and dark and evil, she can’t fathom leaving. She’s being blamed for this – if she had successfully met Josh’s needs, he would not have cheated. That’s the message.

      I don’t blame Anna any more than I blame the Jonestown victims. They were victimized by a lunatic who had them so terrified of the outside world that they would kill themselves and their children. I don’t blame victims, I blame the people who brainwash and abuse them.

  19. kri says:

    Any woman who has/may have daughters and stays with a man she KNOWS molests young girls is hopeless. I know she’s brain-washed, but if your doughboy hubby going bye byes for his “problem” doesn’t wake you up, nothing will. These people all make me sick.

  20. NeoCleo says:

    I hope they all go away and stay away.

  21. Ellen Smith says:

    For all of you who worry whether Josh will molest his daughters – well, so far it has been only women/young females. Who is to say he wouldn’t molest his sons? All of the children are in a high-risk environment.

  22. Crumpet says:

    Of course you do darlin’. It’s all any of us women who have been through something like this want (not that mine was on her scale). We want things to be the way we THOUGHT they were. But the reality is, it never was a marriage in the truest sense of the word.

  23. Rockin Robin says:

    I changed the channel when I found out this bull was on tv again.

  24. Wren33 says:

    It makes sense from their strange world view. When every failing, like a pornography addiction, is basically due to Satan’s tempting, and not really the man’s fault, then of course she would get points from God for saving him from it. Of course, that is how she is phrasing it and the fact is she is also devastated and trying to deny that her beautiful life and the only man she has ever loved never existed. Denial is powerful and it must be hard to break through that if everyone surrounding her is telling her the same story.

  25. cs says:

    Someone needs to send her the passages in the bible that allow you to get a divorce with an adulterer.

    I had so much hope for her escaping at one point. Now I just despair.

  26. Ankhel says:

    Her face in this video is shocking. That makeover is so similar to the way her in-laws look, I bet they’re behind it. They’re probably giving her “help” and tips all the time now on how to keep her man interested and happy. As if it will help! Slimebags will cheat.

    You know what this reminds me of the most? Hostage videos. Her mouth is saying words others want her to say, but the rest of her face isn’t cooperating. It’s like a stunned and terrified mask. Her eyes, ouch.

  27. AntiSocialButterfly says:

    I am stunned ( but shouldn’t be, obviously- but still stunned) by the subtext that indicates how much responsibility (>75% IMO) she takes for HIS transgressions.

    When she says she has no choice but to lean on her faith while choking back a sob, it seemed so much that she knows she is a hostage to this cult, and one without any hope of escape.

    I am so saddened for all the minor female progeny. So sickening.

    • Sam says:

      That’s because she is. Divorce is unheard of in their communities. She knows she can’t leave, even if she wanted to.

      And let’s be real here. Presuming she did leave, what then? She was homeschooled with a curriculum that is, let’s say, lacking. She is married with 4 little kids. She has no appreciable skills beyond homemaking. She has no degree or work experience. Her parents, by most accounts, are deep in like the Duggars. Where would she go? Even if she had family to go to, she’s a woman with 4 kids and no means of support. Her community would largely ostracize her. What is she supposed to do, exactly?

  28. grabbyhands says:

    I understand that she’s been indoctrinated to believe that she has to forgive and submit to her husband on all things, but f**k her. Seriously. This statement basically translates as “I’m willing to sacrifice my daughters to sexual abuse as long as my husband doesn’t divorce me”.

    I can’t accept that, no matter how brainwashed she is.

  29. Jamrock says:

    F TLC for not taking a stand and remove the entire family off TV but no got to cash in

  30. yep says:

    Yeah…I could do “til death do us part” …like spread rumors of sleep apnea, and smother him with a pillow.

  31. AmyB says:

    How could TLC bring this family back? Shame on whatever producers/agents thought this was a good idea. This women is emotionally damaged, clearly will not stand up for herself, and I do not find entertainment in that. Her husband is a sexual addict who molested his own sisters in childhood and is a hypocrite; he is mentally ill and I hope he does get help, but that is very doubtful. I just don’t find the entertainment value here. Shame on you TLC (I never watched this horrible show and never will, but shame on you!!)

  32. Greenieweenie says:

    These people have no normal reference that might show them how bad Josh’s behavior really is, i.e. molestation, for one. But also–he didn’t just cheat with some strange while on the road. He deliberately hunted down porn stars and got violent with them.

    That guy is an epic creeper.

    But fundies never divorce. Doesn’t matter if the dad is out pimping the daughter at highway rest stops (I actually read about that scenario in reader mail for No Greater Joy magazine), they don’t divorce.

  33. Original Kay says:

    I can’t believe no one commented on what is perhaps Kaiser’s best line ever- Hotel California.
    Some much needed lighthearted laughter for what is a truly tragic situation.

  34. iheartgossip says:

    Brainwashed. Poor child. Run, honey, Run. He isn’t going to change and you deserve better. Now, if YOU don’t believe that, you get what you get.

  35. Tiff says:

    Honey, do yourself, and your kids a favor. Run away from this! Your intuition is telling you to! Please don’t go back to this douche and his family.

  36. Holly hobby says:

    If it’s true that she had a nose job then she looks more like her sister in laws now. I guess that appeals to the pervert?

  37. suchFun says:

    What an abnormal unhealthy reaction..and situation to be put in (cameras) as well. Her words are just so… forcely good, as in “i need to be the better person, i have to raise above this”. I see the “sacrifice” she believes she has to make, it is part of her faith, to sacrifice one self to allow love, fiull forgiveness.. I know where it is coming from, but dear Anna, God also tells you to love you and he never demands to go beyond what is good and safe for you, so never sacrifice that.. For love.

  38. Goodnight says:

    I don’t understand why anyone is surprised that Anna is a) at the TTH with the Duggars and b) is standing by Josh. I assume people who are don’t have any particular interest in fundies (especially the ATI variety), because this is textbook. There was no hope of Anna leaving Josh, her parents are even more fundie than the Duggars. And yes, some of her siblings broke free, but she actually drank the kool aid. She’s committed. They didn’t have to break out of a situation where they were married to ATI superstars with 4 kids and their whole lives out in the open for people to gawk at.

    Much easier to break away without a husband/kids or if you’re male.