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Is divorce the only path to freedom for the Duggar daughters?


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Coldwinterskies

As we have witnessed several times now (such as with Autumn and Deanna Coghlan - and while it has been far messier, one could also argue that Sarah Jane has sort of followed this path too), it seems like in some cases the fundie trajectory goes like this:

1. Naive young woman courts and marries some guy she hardly knows.

2. She realizes after marrying him that marriage isn't what she had hoped for/what she was promised if she followed "God's plan".

3. She gets a divorce

4. She realizes that life as a free woman isn't so bad after all and starts to find herself.

 

I still have some hope that maybe Jinger knows on some level that it is all BS and has no intention of courting/marrying a fundie guy...but then I started to wonder about if perhaps someday we may see Jessa or even Jill decide to make an escape from their husbands.

 

To my knowledge, there has not been any research specifically looking at the rate of divorce in marriages that were started with a "courtship" (if any of you are sociologists, PLEASE DO THIS RESEARCH :) ). However, I have seen some statistics that seem to indicate that being a fundamentalist Christian does not mean you will necessarily be any less likely to encounter marital infidelity or divorce.

 

Of course, I think it would be far better if people didn't get married in the first place rather than having a messy divorce.

However, since it probably is not realistic to hope that most fundamentalist teenagers would have the knowledge, money, or resources to be able to live independently from their parents, is the best outcome we can hope for that some of them will end up developing those skills after marriage and make a run for it?

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chaotic life

The rates of infidelity and divorce are higher the more a person strongly identifies as Conservative, Evangelical Christianity.

I'm in intermission at the theater. I'm not pulling the stats out, but I think the Pew report has them. I know Religion Sociologists have studied it (my father is a minister turned Sociologist, though he generally studies pastoral phenomena per se).

There IS an alternative path out of that world. If both spouses exit religion approximately the same time and forge a new relationship together. The woman who runs Shepard Photography's blog did it this way. My marriage is intact currently in large part because we exited religion together, though I held onto a liberal interpretation of Christianity until just a year ago and he went full agnostic immediately.

Without exiting together, and often with the unhealthy dynamics that the Fundie or Fundie lite paradigm creates in the marital relationship, even those who might want to fight to salvage something new often fail.

Despite my marriage being intact, there are struggles and unhealthy dynamics we battle and continue to prune as we become aware of them in the marriage. We no longer measure our marriage as successful by the litmus of forever, but that we remain friends and terrific parents. We both recognize every day we remain married is precious but it might not ultimately be enough to overcome the courtship and Fundie lite beginning that we experienced.

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I cant fathom Jill trying to escape at least not now. She seems to enjoy playing house and the attention. Besides, didnt they get a 'covenant marriage? It makes divorcing a bit more difficult.I dont know if Jessa and Ben have this type of arrangement. While I think Anna wouldnt lever eave Josh she seems to have those what did I get into moments?

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I don't follow the Duggar family closely anymore. But I think any quiverfull wife may face challenges similar to women fleeing the FLDS. For example, with every new child leaving could become increasingly more difficult. Divorce may lead to shunning by their family. The ability to find employment and childcare.

Divorce could be a path to freedom, but it might be easier to divorce before having children.

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16strong

You know, I can see Jill one day pulling the covenant marriage card: "If we hadn't gone through the Godly path of covenant marriage, we would have divorced like 50% of the population instead of having to trust God and work through our issues. Like people used to do." *cue "tell-all" Christian marriage book*

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NotALoserLikeYou

I believe both couples have the covenant marriages which makes it ridiculously hard to get out of a marriage.

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16strong
I believe both couples have the covenant marriages which makes it ridiculously hard to get out of a marriage.

If they moved to another state where covenant marriage isn't available/legal, could they get a divorce easier there?

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Coldwinterskies

Despite my marriage being intact, there are struggles and unhealthy dynamics we battle and continue to prune as we become aware of them in the marriage. We no longer measure our marriage as successful by the litmus of forever, but that we remain friends and terrific parents. We both recognize every day we remain married is precious but it might not ultimately be enough to overcome the courtship and Fundie lite beginning that we experienced.

Your view on this as someone who has lived it is definitely interesting. I am sorry to hear that you are having some struggles in your marriage because of the courtship issue - especially since I imagine that you probably didn't know what you were really getting into when you did the courtship.

I have only had personal experience with courtship relationships a couple of times. In the first case, the guy I knew was engaged to a woman he had courted with but thankfully found out the woman had some significant problems with emotional stability before he fully committed to her.

The second situation I am witnessing right now is a young relative who has plans to marry the guy she has been courting. I feel like they are moving way too fast and don't really know each other well, but what can you really say to someone who is in the grip of religious extremism?

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Coldwinterskies
I cant fathom Jill trying to escape at least not now. She seems to enjoy playing house and the attention. Besides, didnt they get a 'covenant marriage? It makes divorcing a bit more difficult.I dont know if Jessa and Ben have this type of arrangement. While I think Anna wouldnt lever eave Josh she seems to have those what did I get into moments?

Yes, it may not happen right away, but I think they are probably in the honeymoon phase right now. I think with the sheer number of kids that the Duggars have, statistically it is probably inevitable that some of them will end up deciding to divorce.

I also wonder if they may find their views changing now that they finally have uncensored access to the Internet for the first time in their lives.

I don't know if Jessa actually reads comments to her Instagram posts, but I would think that if she does that it is quite possible that at some point someone might get through to her about her naive beliefs.

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NotALoserLikeYou

If they moved to another state where covenant marriage isn't available/legal, could they get a divorce easier there?

Yes, but they'd probably have to live there 3-6 months to establish residency first.

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Yes, but they'd probably have to live there 3-6 months to establish residency first.

Six weeks in Nevada. No residency requirement in Washington state, but it takes 90 days to finalize after you file.

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Coldwinterskies

I don't know very much about covenant marriages, but I could imagine that it would be very easy to agree to that arrangement when your dad is probably encouraging you to do it, you think that you have God on your side, and think that you are much wiser than the heathen non-believers out there who are fornicating all over the place. However, I could definitely picture one of them changing their mind once they have lived with the reality of marriage for a while, grown up a little bit, and developed their own personality more. Since a lot of times the rules are different for rich and famous people than they are for normal people, I wouldn't be surprised if a Duggar could somehow find a loophole in the laws to make it easier to get a divorce.

The hard thing about relationships is that you never REALLY know what a relationship is like unless you're part of it. Sometimes I have met couples that acted and sounded completely happy, but later on I found out that things were really not good between them at all. For all we know, the Duggar who seems happiest in their marriage might be the one who is actually struggling and end up divorced over the long term.

I would expect that, even if one of the Duggars actually does feel unhappy with their marriage or disappointed in their choice of spouse, they certainly would not be ready to publicly admit that at this point.

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SPHASH

If one of the Duggar girls divorce, wouldn't that put them back under Boob's headship?

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whoviana

Much as I would like to see them break free, I think that misleading another human by marring them and divorcing them without the other party having any idea of what they are being used for is cruel beyond words, it can thoroughly ruin the other party's life.

I think the solution for the Duggar girls AND boys like Josiah the family's pet pariah, is something like brave little Faith Pennington did: cry out for help, turn to someone they trusted and use all sources available to get their lives on track.

Luring someone into the illusion that they will be married for a lifetime is a betrayal no one deserves.

The Duggar kids have estranged relatives. Heck they even have their own cars. Betraying someone naiive to get out of fundiedom over their corpse isn't fair.

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ScarletStarlet
I also wonder if they may find their views changing now that they finally have uncensored access to the Internet for the first time in their lives.

I don't know if Jessa actually reads comments to her Instagram posts, but I would think that if she does that it is quite possible that at some point someone might get through to her about her naive beliefs.

I doubt that uncensored internet access is helping change their views at all. Have you seen the absolutely disgusting comments and crazies that post on their Instagram before they get blocked? It's not nice. At all. I'm sure it's just confirming to them that the wider world is full of sin and all that jazz and leading them to further insulate themselves in their fundie bubble.

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ILoveJellybeans

I think it isn't the only way, one of the Kellers got married to another fundie and then they decided to leave together.

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Jana814
If one of the Duggar girls divorce, wouldn't that put them back under Boob's headship?

I wonder that as well.

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Six weeks in Nevada. No residency requirement in Washington state, but it takes 90 days to finalize after you file.

Wikipedia says only one has to move

Cause for divorce is typically limited to domestic violence, a felony with jail time, or adultery; however, these restrictions do not apply if one or both spouses file for divorce in a state that does not recognize covenant marriages.

The author of permission to live left with her spouse.

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isarhenne

I don't think any Duggar girl will seriously consider divorce as an option, only if there is severe physical abuse in the marriage which I hope won't happen. I think they all will try to work hard on their marriages if they don't work out the way they imagined.

Ironically, I see the only option for them to be a "free" woman is to not get married and stay with JB and Michelle. As the years go by and the little ones grow older there will be more freedom, more free time, and most importantly not any more little ones coming every 18 months. I bet Jana has realised that and is quietly enjoying more and more freedom with every year that passes. She will eventually get married but not until her early 30s. Also, the older a woman gets the more trust is on her and she doesn't need to be chaperoned all the time, even in their cult, a sahd in her 30's has more freedom than a sahd in her early 20's because at 30 she is considered past her expiration date, if you know what I mean...

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KittenMitten

Why do people feel the need for a Covenant marriage? Not JB wanting to increase ratings or showing that holier than thou attitude.

I first married at age 20. We knew we were going to be married forever. Did not need any special contract. :romance-hearteyes:

My second marriage :D , which was my husband's first was terrifying to me. He was worried about flubbing his lines. I lost it. Are you crazy? Don't you realize how scary this is? Things can go so WRONG!!!11!! :character-jaws:

Bless him, he hugged me and gave me many glasses of wine. I could have gotten behind a non-God Covenant contract then. BTW happily married 17 years this summer and had a secular wedding. :big-heart:

So, can anyone explain why the couple would feel they would need this special contract. I could understand why parents might push for it. But wouldn't taking vows in a church before their God would not be enough? Thanks.

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Four is Enough

I would hope for the "leave religion with spouse" approach. Divorce is difficult. However, if you aren't emotionally invested in your spouse.. perhaps it won't be too difficult.

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Firiel

I hope none of these fundie young women we follow have to go through a divorce. It's a really shitty, hard way to start questioning your beliefs.

I don't think it's all that uncommon for fundie couples to move towards conservative or mainstream Christianity naturally, so that's what I hope for for them, at least as a path out.

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Cleopatra7
Why do people feel the need for a Covenant marriage? Not JB wanting to increase ratings or showing that holier than thou attitude.

I first married at age 20. We knew we were going to be married forever. Did not need any special contract. :romance-hearteyes:

My second marriage :D , which was my husband's first was terrifying to me. He was worried about flubbing his lines. I lost it. Are you crazy? Don't you realize how scary this is? Things can go so WRONG!!!11!! :character-jaws:

Bless him, he hugged me and gave me many glasses of wine. I could have gotten behind a non-God Covenant contract then. BTW happily married 17 years this summer and had a secular wedding. :big-heart:

So, can anyone explain why the couple would feel they would need this special contract. I could understand why parents might push for it. But wouldn't taking vows in a church before their God would not be enough? Thanks.

Covenant marriage is supposed to help reduce the number of divorces and strengthen "traditional marriages" despite the fact that there is no evidence of this and no more than one percent of all married couples are using it. Basically, it makes it more difficult for a married couple to get a divorce, as it removes the "no fault" option. Thus, if Jessa or Jill (or Ben and Derrick, for that matter) feel like they want a divorce ten or twenty years down the road, they'll be stuck unless they can prove that their spouse is an adulterer or a murderer.

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Coldwinterskies

Ironically, I see the only option for them to be a "free" woman is to not get married and stay with JB and Michelle. As the years go by and the little ones grow older there will be more freedom, more free time, and most importantly not any more little ones coming every 18 months. I bet Jana has realised that and is quietly enjoying more and more freedom with every year that passes. She will eventually get married but not until her early 30s. Also, the older a woman gets the more trust is on her and she doesn't need to be chaperoned all the time, even in their cult, a sahd in her 30's has more freedom than a sahd in her early 20's because at 30 she is considered past her expiration date, if you know what I mean...

I hope you are right that Jana has made a choice not to court because she is planning her exit. :) I can see how Jana might be more likely than the other girls to reject the Quiverful way of life. Since she is one of the oldest kids, she probably remembers a time when life wasn't so chaotic and may have quietly reached the conclusion on her own that having 20 kids isn't for her. I have heard that often the people who grew up doing a lot of childcare for their siblings from an early age end up not wanting children of their own because they feel like they've already filled that caregiving instinct.

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Coldwinterskies

I doubt that uncensored internet access is helping change their views at all. Have you seen the absolutely disgusting comments and crazies that post on their Instagram before they get blocked? It's not nice. At all. I'm sure it's just confirming to them that the wider world is full of sin and all that jazz and leading them to further insulate themselves in their fundie bubble.

I only very casually follow her Instagram page since I don't even have an Instagram account, so I probably miss seeing those comments. It's too bad that people are acting like that. It's a missed opportunity. A sincere effort to educate them about things like evolution and the true history of the Bible might potentially make an impact. I really do not think that Jessa, Ben, Jill, or Derrick are bad people - they are just genuinely ignorant (in the sense of being uneducated and unaware of the alternatives, NOT stupid).

My experience in trying to reach people who are in the mental prison of the Jehovah's Witness cult is that a lot of them really just don't even know any other way to be because they have been forced to avoid outside information that contradicts their views. They are constantly told by their leaders to hate and fear "the world" and that outside information is dangerous. The fact that the Duggars are trying to interact with the outside world rather than hiding from it gives me hope that at some point some of them will open their eyes and want something better for themselves.

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