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Despite Josh Duggar’s porn habits and cheating confession, a source close to his family reports that his wife, Anna, is sticking with him. “Divorce is not even something that will be discussed.” (Photo: TLC)
Josh Duggar has admitted to molesting his sisters, cheating on his wife, and being addicted to pornography (a claim he later deleted from his confession on his family’s official website), yet the 27-year-old’s wife, Anna, isn’t ever going to leave him, according to a report in People. “She is fully and permanently committed to her marriage and her children,” a source close to the family told the magazine about the 27-year-old mother of four. “And she’ll have the support of Jim Bob and Michelle and everyone else in their circle in terms of staying with him and making this work. Divorce is not even something that will be discussed.”
Anna and Josh Duggar (Photo: Getty Images)
Anna’s brother Daniel Keller, however, isn’t pretending that he supports the idea. Keller took to Facebook and called Josh out in a comment on Jessa Duggar’s Bible verse post about forgiveness on Sunday. “You have to confess and forsake your sin to have mercy. Not sin confess and repeat,” he blasted. “Think for a min about the victims,” he continued in a separate reply. “Tell me how you would feel if someone cheated on your sister and brought so much disgrace to you and ur family….Confessing and getting caught are two different things.”
Keller admits in a later reply that Anna is “staying where she’s at,” but he’s hoping she changes her mind. “I have told her I would pay for her to move out here w me and pay for her kidz,” he wrote. “I don’t think josh will see that this is a big deal and be truly broken till that happens…But I won’t stop trying to get that pig out of our family.”
The Duggar family, meanwhile, reportedly isn’t even that stressed about the state of the couple’s union. “In the end, Josh and Anna will pull through this, [his parents] Jim Bob and Michelle will weather this, and they will give a lot of praise and glory to God for helping to strengthen their bonds to each other and to Him,” said People’s source. “This will be seen as a test, and they — all four of them — will be determined not to fail.”
To cope, the insider said Anna “is turning more to her faith than ever. She and Josh are probably praying around the clock right now, I would assume.” No word on how the couple’s children — daughter Mackynzie, 5, sons Michael, 4, and Marcus, 2, and daughter Meredith Grace, 1 month — are faring.
The Duggars with baby Meredith. (Photo: Josh Duggar/Instagram)
“When dealing with any type of crisis or trauma, it’s important to try and keep children’s routines the same,” psychotherapist Amy Morin tells Yahoo Parenting. “Shielding them from as much of the problem as possible is important. If a child notices a parent isn’t quite herself and asks questions such as, ‘What’s wrong?’ a simple answer like, ‘Mommy is a little sad right now,’ is appropriate.” The kids, after all, are too young to absorb the meaning of dad’s self-described double life. If the eldest should ask, all Morin, author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, advises is, “a simple, yet honest answer. Saying something like, ‘Dad made some bad choices,’ is all the children would need to know.”
But since the scope of the scandal is so big — and the family so public, despite their reality show 19 and Counting being cancelled in the wake of Josh’s molestation news — appetite for updates on the family is inevitable, making it impossible to shield their kids forever. “The kids are likely to hear a little bit about the scandals over time,” says Morin. “The parents should talk to the kids honestly about what has happened, but only give information that they’re able to understand. Simple works best. Too many details could cause them increased anxiety.”
Family therapist Paul Hokemeyer says that “difficult emotions” will nevertheless emerge throughout the rest of their lives from their father’s behavior. “These feelings will include shame, anger, resentment, fear, and disdain,” he explains, noting that helping the kids feel secure by spending a lot of time with them is essential. “That will provide them with the tools they need to handle the situation.”
Note that the experts wouldn’t encourage Anna to pretend. “Rather than putting on a happy face, which will teach her children to subrogate their feelings and develop false selves, she needs to show her children that negative emotions are a part of life and that they can be tolerated and used to a good outcome,” says Hokemeyer. “Basically, she needs to model resilience for her children.”
And Anna will have a lot of practice if she makes it through the next few years dealing with, as the expert describes it, “the crushing humiliation and shame” of Josh’s behavior. Says Hokemeyer, “Anna will need to make a decision each day and, at times, every hour of each day, whether she wants to stay in the relationship.”