February 22, 2012

Michelle Duggar’s Advice

Recently Michelle Duggar, the mother on the “19 Kids And Counting” show, gave women advice on how to be good wives.

I found it very entertaining.

And suffocating, and sort of sad, and I’m concerned for her daughters who may want something else out of life, but that is not my business.

I have watched the show a few times and I must say that Michelle seems very kind and clearly loves her children.

I do not raise my children as she does.  In particular I am not raising my girls to be submissive to husbands or to suspend thinking when married, or to smother their own voices and lives.

I am raising them to pursue their dreams, educations and ambitions as much as I encourage that in my son, and if they choose to marry, I hope they marry people who will love them like crazy for the independent and wonderful people they are.

There are other enormous children-raising/being a wife differences between Michelle and I, but do I like her?

Yes. She seems very pleasant.

But after reading her advice on how to be a good wife, I thought I’d talk to Innocent Husband to see what he thinks of  it. We have been married almost 19 years and we discussed Michelle and Jim Bob’s 19 kids, which Innocent Husband thought was, “quite a few.”

He is eating ice cream, which he calls “frozen protein,” that he needs to eat every night for “nutrition.”

Starting with Michelle’s advice…


Michelle: A husband needs a wife who accepts him as a leader

Innocent Husband:  I think both husband and wife can be leaders. You’re a leader.  It’s a shared responsibility.


Michelle: Husbands are commanded to govern their wives.

Innocent Husband: They’re commanded?  (He laughs).  I missed that commandment.

Cathy, moi: How do you think that commandment would go over between you and I?

Innocent Husband: Not very well. (He frowns).  If I tried to govern you there would be an immediate rebellion.  Life would be miserable for all.

I think for that commandment statement to be true husbands need wives who want to be commanded or governed.  I don’t know too many women who want that.

Cathy: Do you know any women who want to be commanded and governed?

Innocent Husband: I’m trying to think. (He seems confounded, confused. We are surrounded by strong minded, smart women, including our free thinking daughters, so he has to sift through all the women we know).

I know they’re out there. (He taps his spoon on his ice cream bowl) I don’t know where. (His brow furrows). They’re out there, though.  Maybe.  Could be. They’re out their commanding their husbands to govern them. (He eats more ice cream) How does the commanding work?


Michelle: The more a wife trusts her husband, the more careful he will be in giving her direction.

Cathy: Do you think I would take direction well?

Innocent Husband: (He snorts) No.


Michelle: Never ask others for counsel without your husband’s approval.

Brad: (He stabs his spoon in the air and sounds irritated) Why would she even say that? What if the wife needs advice on sewing?

Cathy: Just for fun. Do you know anything about sewing?

Innocent Husband: I can stick a thread through a needle. (He nods. He’s proud of himself I can tell) Like a cross stitch. Why would you ask me if you wanted advice on how to handle your hot flashes?

There’s girlfriend stuff that is girlfriend stuff, why would you ask your husband if you can go and talk girlfriend stuff with your girlfriends?

(He swirls his ice cream and shakes his head) I’ve had two bowls of ice cream and now all these Ritz crackers. This is nothing but fat.


Michelle: Ask yourself how can you become more of the wife of your husband’s dreams.

Cathy: How can I be more the wife of your dreams?

Innocent Husband: Abide by all the rules above. (Laughs hard, he thinks he’s funny)  Be submissive to my governments. (Laughs harder)  

You are the wife of my dreams.


Michelle:  Discover and conform to your husband’s real wishes.

Cathy: What are your real wishes?

Innocent Husband: That you discover and conform to them.

Cathy: But what are your real wishes?

Innocent Husband: I wish I was fishing.

Cathy:  Michelle thinks it’s important to have hair that looks soft and submissive. I don’t know how to make my hair submissive. There is not a single bone in my body that knows how to be submissive, but my hair is completely rebellious. I mean, look at it.

What do you think of my hair?

Innocent Husband: It’s curly.

Cathy: Is it submissive?

Innocent Husband: No. It’s pretty.


Michelle: Ask your husband to tell you when you have a resistant spirit.

Cathy: Do you want to tell me when I have a resistant spirit?

Innocent Husband: (He sighs) We would be at odds 24 – 7  if I told you when you have a resistant spirit.

Cathy: What is a resistant spirit?

Innocent Husband: I don’t know but you’re going to start seeing mine if you keep bugging me.


Michelle: Dispel a backbiting tongue by silence.

Innocent Husband: I think you should dispel your backbiting tongue. If you just cut it down by 10% things would be great.

Cathy: Do you want more ice cream?

Innocent Husband: Yes.

Cathy: Get it yourself. Bring me some chocolate.


Michelle: It’s a problem if the wife is financially independent.

Innocent Husband: I don’t think it’s a problem. A couple’s a team, they can share their financial independence together. It’s freedom. Each member of a relationship can have freedom without being smothered and dictated to by the other party.

Cathy: What’s the plus of a wife making money?

Innocent Husband: Life is easier.


Michelle: Whoever controls the money controls the leadership.

Cathy: Do you think you can control me?

Innocent Husband:  (Laughs once again, gets a little teary eyed) No.

Cathy: Do you want to control me?

Innocent Husband: No. Why would I want to control you?


Cathy: I give husband a kiss. This is why I’m married to Innocent Husband and Michelle is married to a man named Jim Bob who likes his wife to have submissive hair, nineteen kids, and be under his command.

Later that night I think to myself, how does a woman breathe in a marriage like that?

How does she become her own person?

How can she be happy when she is not thinking for herself but is allowing someone else to think for her?

What about literature and art and culture and traveling and growing mentally and emotionally? Where does that fit in? Does it fit in?

How can a woman stay in love with a man who wants to command her?


I am baffled.

I eat more chocolate ice cream.

I hug Innocent Husband. He is very huggable.





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17 Comments to “Michelle Duggar’s Advice”

  1. writersister says:

    Oh, Mr. Lamb. I have seen Cath submit, actually. Like the time she knew you would want to leave for home at a certain time and became very antsy as we were riding around in my van and not all that close to my house. She did not want you to think her rebellious. Or just late getting back to the house. Whatever.

  2. Cathy,
    While I respect your right to have your marriage be the way you want, you do not understand where Mrs. duggar is coming from.

    She take the Bible literally when it says that the husband is the head of his wife (that’s where they believe that the Lord has commanded the husband to govern his home and family) and literally when it says in Titus 2 that women should be obedient to their own husbands.

    Michelle isn’t trying to popular. She’s trying to obey God. As are a lot of Christian ladies, like myself. I’m not opressed, I have thoughts, I express them, but I try to do so respectfully.

    Does Mrs. Duggar seriously look unhappy to you? She doesn’t to me. She looks as though she is full of joy, which is evidence of Christ Jesus being in her heart. That is where her treasure is, where she finds her happiness and joy, in obedience to God.

    Being obedient to God and living in the center of His will is the only way anyone can find true happiness.

    Love in Christ,
    Mrs P
    Mrs P

    • Ah Sheila!

      I remember that wee ride in the van. I believe we were QUITE late, but who is to stop girlfriends? We had so much fun! So much to talk about, so much laughter about the husbands in our lives. What is one more trip down the road? And Mr. Lamb, that man, he was cool and studly.

      Us? Rebels? Surely you jest.

      Cathy – van rider with ole friend, Sheila.

  3. Mrs. P,

    Contrary to your comment, I do understand where Michelle is coming from.

    I am well versed in scripture in the Bible as a Christian myself.

    But I believe in equal, happy marriages, where the man does not insist his wife be subservient, and the wife does not feel that she is beneath her husband and must “obey,” or “submit” to him or follow all those silly rules that were listed by Michelle.

    A wife is a person. She has value. She has worth. The husband is not better than her, more capable than her, or more intelligent simply because he has different plumbing between his legs.

    Almost every single marriage that I have seen where the man has demanded that his wife submit to him, where she has no voice, no opinions that matter to him, no say, has been troubled, the wife squashed and miserable. Does Jesus really want women to live like that?

    Wives are women. They think. They dream. They plan. Decisions about the family, the marriage, and all that life throws at a couple, should be made together. Both the husband and the wife should do what they can to create a trusting, happy, passionate marriage. Relationships go both ways, not one way.

    Michelle believes that women must submit to their husbands because the Bible says so.

    I say this very respectfully, and I say this very cautiously, but there are many, many scriptures in the Bible that no one follows anymore because they’re hurtful to someone/difficult/outdated.

    For example, a girl must be given up to her rapist, (Deuteronomy 22:28-29) clothing rules, rules that say women should be silent in church, that adulterers must be put to death, that women can’t teach or have authority over a man and must be quiet, that slaves must be subject to their masters with reverence, endless dietary restrictions, that if a son or daughter curses their parent they must be killed, and if a priest’s daughter is a “whore” she should be burned at the stake, etc. Don’t get me started on the rules about cattle.

    I believe in respectful marriages. I believe in friendship and kindness, compromise and talking things through. I do not believe in submission.

    I could not possibly live in a marriage where the husband ruled over the house like a rooster and all decisions were made by him and my whole life had to revolve around being submissive and catering to his needs. Heaven knows my hair would never obey!

    Quite frankly, my husband would never be attracted to a woman like that in the first place. He would not want me fawning over him, he would not want to make every decision in this household. He would never want me to give up the core of myself to be a wife and mother.

    He likes my independence, he likes that I’m my own person, he likes that we talk on an intellectual level about a whole host of subjects, including the news, Broadway shows, books, work-outs, and our kids. It’s great that we have different interests and hobbies.

    As he says, “We’re in this together.” Stress on the word “together.” As equals. Walking beside each other.

    If Michelle wants to “obey” her husband, that’s lovely, if she’s in a happy place doing so. Her husband seems like a great man, they probably have a beautiful relationship, and this “obeying” is not an issue at all for this particular couple.

    You say, Mrs. P, that Michelle looks happy. She does look happy on the show. A little spacey, but I would be, too, if I had 19 kids running around. I have no idea if she is happy, because I don’t live with her and no one knows what is going on when the cameras are off. I wish her well. I think she seems like a kind person.

    As another Christian woman, I simply don’t believe that her suggestions on how to be a good wife fit with what I believe is involved in being a good wife.

    The primary thing that a good wife does: She loves her husband.

    • Good reply, Cathy!

    • Amen sister! I was married to a Patriarchist and my marriage was very abusive! I now realize that I am special and when Jesus walked the Earth he was not belittling women in any way, but he was liberating all!! And true, the Bible does tell the woman to submit to the husband but the verse above that says to submit to one another out if reverence for Christ.
      As Christian woman we have to stay together and support each other so that we do not become objects for men to push around. GOD made Eve for Adam as a helper, meaning that ADAM COULD NOT LIVE LIFE ALONE!! Preach on Ms Cathy!!! Liberating fundamental Christian women worldwide!!!

  4. Susan Robinson says:

    Right (Write) on, Cathy!!! THHHPPPPTTT, Mrs P. Who wrote the bible??? Men. Not God, not Jesus…MEN! Amen, no wait…Awomen.

  5. I haven’t met Mr. Lamb, but he sounds wonderful. He and my sweetie Ryk would probably get along fabulously.

    St. Paul – who was Roman and never married – did write that wives should submit to husbands. That was the Roman way.

    It was not Jesus’ way and as best as I can tell, Jesus never check-marked that addition to His word. Jesus hung out with prostitutes and never required anyone to submit. In fact, He washed the feet of his disciples, which was a woman’s job and there for supposedly beneath His dignity. To me, it sounds like Jesus was into equality and egalitarian lifestyles.

    In the Creation story in Genesis, it’s pointed out that a woman was made from a rib, so that she would stand side by side with her husband. Not from a headbone, to rule over him, not from a footbone, to be under him, but from a rib, so as to be at his side.

    I think Jesus’ egalitarian habits and the Creation equality story both trump Paul’s marriage advice on their own. Combined, it’s a slam dunk, a strike, a home run with bases loaded in favor of equality in marriage.

    That’s my opinion. :)

  6. ACtually I’ve met Mrs. Duggar, and she IS joyful, happy and exudes kindness and peace.
    The bible is infallible, and it says in black and white that women should be submissive and obedient to their own husbands. (Titus 2) The Bible(written by human beings, but inspired, every word of it, by God) does not change, even if times do.

    And as to your comments on the Old Testament: We are under the New Covenant which means we follow the New Testament and the things that were not ‘repealed’ under the New covenant. We are no longer bound by OT laws, although some of them are still good for our health (dietary laws, abstaining from s3x during a woman’s menstrual cycle, etc) and we may *choose* to follow them, as long as we understand that they are not salvation issues.

    The issues I mentioned (submission and obedience to husbands) are in the *New Testament* and we are commanded to follow them. And before you say it, yes, husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loves the church and if they are not, they are sinning and in the wrong as well. But just as a husband cannot force his wife to be submissive and obedient, a woman cannot force her husband to love them as Christ loves the church. We(the wives) are only responsible for our own response and can only control ourselves, not our husbands.

    Mrs P
    Mrs P

  7. We are equal in God’s eyes, yes. But we have different roles.

    just as an employee is equal in worth to his boss, but still has a different role in the workplace.

    I am not under the authority of *every* man, I am not obligated to obey any man but my husband. I am not less than any man, nor am I less than my husband.

    My husband does listen to my opinions (even asks them) and takes them into consideration, we discuss the issues, and then he prays about it and makes a final decision with God’s leading. If I disagree with him, I tell him (nicely) what I think. But if he decides against what *I* want, I submit to him and do as he wishes, b/c God has put him in charge of our household.

    Mrs P

  8. Someone above said ‘who wrote the Bible? men’ .

    Men *penned* the Bible, but God inspired every word of it and it is all God breathed. God *used* men to pen the Bible (actually, though it’s been suggested that perhaps Priscilla wrote Hebrews, which is a book no one knows for sure who authored, although it’s widely assumed to be St. Paul) but HE authored it.

    “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” II Timothy 3:16
    Mrs P

  9. Kitti,

    You said it better than me.

    Jesus preached love, forgiveness, kindness, mercy. Not a word came out of his mouth about women being beneath men. Not a word came out of his mouth about submission.

    He forgave the woman who committed adultery and told her to, “Go and sin no more,” as he forgave others. He was close to Martha and Mary. Mary Magdalene was by his side. One could say he favored men because his disciples were men, but women would not have been allowed to run off and follow an unmarried man 2000-plus years ago. It just wasn’t done. They probably would have been stoned, Jesus, too.

    The disciples he chose were young men – probably teenagers, early twenties at the oldest. Most, if not all, not married, so they could leave with Jesus without leaving children and wives. This does not mean that Jesus favored men. He was working within his culture.

    I love the apostle Paul’s personal story. I love his dedication to Christ. I love his courage and his commitment, and how he changed from a vicious persecutor of Christians, to a devout follower. I love his relentless work and his faith.

    These are two of my favorite scriptures written by him: Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

    …and 2 Timothy 4 – 7: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

    However, Paul had it wrong about women.

    He was from a different time and culture. He was a product of the places he grew up in. When he talked about women needing to be quiet and to submit…he was simply responding to that culture, a culture that is much like Afghanistan is today in terms of the rights of women.

    Sadly, look what those words have done for hundreds of years to women all over the world.

    I cringe thinking of the marriages some women have had to endure as their husbands hung the “you must submit to my authority because it says so in the Bible,” line. Why submit? Why can’t the couple be equal? Why would a woman agree to being less than? Why does a man want a relationship like that?

    Paul was … a man. Just a man. Not God. Not Jesus. A man. An incredible man, a brave man, a man who traveled widely preaching and teaching, a man who was jailed, tortured, beaten and starved because of his faith in Christ, which is so admirable, and I respect him enormously, I am in awe of his journey and his faith…but he had a flaw in this one area about women.

    I forgive him – Jesus would have, too.

  10. Ok, I give up. :) We will have to agree to disagree.

    Mrs P

  11. Oh my! Is it possible that you’ve made me speechless? I’ve always wondered how Mrs. Dugger maintains her marriage with her 19 children…or her 19 children with her marriage, as the case may be! Ack! What year do we live in here, people???

    Quite frankly, if my husband “dominated” me, he’d be an incredibly unhappy man. Not because I’d make him unhappy – though, I probably would – but because you have to wonder where the fun is in not having anything remotely resembling an equal partnership.

    19 kids. Wow! Reason number #1,749 why I’m not a “submissive” wife.

  12. I cannot imagine having 19 children.

    I am all for big families. I love my kids and without the medical issues I had during my pregnancies, I probably would have had one more, maybe two.

    But 19? How on Earth do you give attention to that many children? How do you maintain a marriage? Most importantly, how do you maintain your physical and mental health?

    I do understand that the older kids raise the younger ones. Is that fair?

    So she has 19 kids AND she’s supposed to be submissive and under her husband’s command.

    This is my exact image of a nightmare.

  13. Wow… Just stumbled across this and I have to say how interesting it is to read everyone’s opinions which were very respectfully expressed. I think that is one of the best qualities us amazing women have… The ability to discuss, disagree and still share chocolate after we decide to let it go. And no one yet brought up the freedom of choice we have here in the good old US of A… The fact that we each have the freedom to CHOOSE our religion and our beliefs and our way of life. You may pray how you like, when you like and be submissive to your husband or not… Your choice. God Bless America. We are very lucky to live here ladies.

  14. i have been married for 17 years and we are very happy in our married and we got 1 son who is 13 years old is very good boy at home or in school and my son has very high grades in school and we share every thing michelle duggars been married for 27 years and they are very happy


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