28 January 2009

The Duggar Family

My kids are into this show about the Duggar family. They currently have 18 children, and the mom hasn't ruled out another one. It's all very interesting to watch, they are a very wholesome family, very religious and the kids are homeschooled and sheltered. The oldest kids (make that the oldest girls) are expected to help mom with the young ones. The boys are expected to grow up and find a woman so they can have a household to be in charge of.

Their oldest son just got married. They did a whole show just on the wedding. The Duggar boy and his fiance didn't do anything other than hold hands until their wedding day. They wouldn't even full frontal hug, just those side hugs, lest a girls breast might brush up against him and cause some sort of sinful thinking. This stuff had my daughters, 11 and 13, in hysterics. Even at their young age, they can't believe two people would marry each other having only held each others hands. They were never even allowed alone together. They had chaperone's everywhere they went.

How can you really make the decision to marry someone before you've even kissed them? I know a lot of Christians who believe in the whole courtship model of dating. Actually dating isn't allowed. Basically, they are raising their kids to seek out the one they want to marry, but they are not allowed to date anyone to find this out. I'm not even sure exactly how this works. Maybe you see a cute boy at church (is that sin, thinking he's cute, is that lust in your heart?) And then I guess you tell your sister, who tells her best friend, who's brother knows the cute boy that you think he's cute? Or maybe the girl isn't allowed to do anything. They have to sit around and wait for prince charming to come over and ask Daddy if he can marry his daughter.

During the show about the wedding, the bride's father was interviewed and he talked about how he has had "authority" (I hate that word) over his daughter until the wedding day, and now he was handing that authority over to the Duggar boy. Gag me! Does this girl ever get to have authority over her own life? Part of the vows were also that they would allow God to decide how many children they would have. Basically telling everyone in attendance and all of America watching that they won't be using birth control. Maybe the Duggar boy liked coming from a family of 18 and counting, but this girl doesn't even get a choice. Her life has been decided for her by her father and then her new husband. She will become a baby-maker. Now I have nothing against babies, I love babies, I had two. But this is it for her. She has gotten married. Her job now is to serve her husband and pop out all the children he wants. And maybe at 18-20 years old, when all you've done is lived under your fathers roof and waited for prince charming to show up, it sounds wonderful and exciting. But how do you feel at 40, when you have 10 kids, and you realize your youth is gone and you think about all the things you could have done and never got the chance to do? Maybe that realization never comes for some, those who fall under the spell of the patriarchal model of religion. The wife knows her place, is never allowed to fraternize with those who might fill her mind with things of the world, so she remains sheltered, under the rule of her husband. Ignorance is bliss I suppose.

I have had many conversations with Christian friends about letting my daughters date. I plan to let them date (shocker!). I don't even mind if they kiss a boy or two (heathen!) And I don't want them to go right from my house to their husbands house. I want them to decide for themselves what they want to their lives to be. How can they know what they want if they never learn what they don't want? And the only way to know what you don't want is by getting to know someone a little. I remember going on a few dates, and the guys seemed nice enough, and then when we kissed they made my skin crawl. Can you imagine finding out on your wedding day that your husbands kiss makes your skin crawl?

I hate to judge, and that's not what I am trying to do here. I just know far too many girls who will be under their fathers "authority" until the father decides to hand that authority over to some guy he wants his daughter to marry. I know these parents didn't live that way until they got married. Why was it ok for these parents to date, and now they won't allow their children to? It seems to me they have a lack of trust in their children. They must control every move they make until they are safely ensconced in marriage. How sad. At least it is to me.


Stephanie said...

Oh my gosh this is awful!!!!
Poor girl...

Deanna said...

The Duggars are interesting to watch in a train wreck sort of way but I wouldn't choose that lifestyle. Lisa married young and went straight from our household to Justin's but that is what SHE wanted. We in no way orchestrated it and would have been just as happy if she had chosen a different path. We want our children to thoughtfully choose what's best for them and then we support those decisions. I never quite *got* the whole courtship idea, either. But, to each his/her own, I suppose.

Jenny said...

I just wrote a long post in response to this about a family I knew who did the same thing: