Anna doesn’t have a lot of choices. She probably has more than she believes, but without believing in herself, she will continue to have none. Anna, of course, is Josh Duggar’s wife, she who is standing by her man while he has admitted having two Ashley Madison accounts. The website Ashley Madison is for married people who want to have relationships outside their marriage. Josh has already admitted he has cheated on his wife. After also admitting that he molested his sisters. In honesty, he didn’t admit to molesting them. There were many excuses, most of which blamed women or refused to see their mistreatment as abuse.
Which brings me back to Anna. She is being “counseled” and much of that comes in the form of religious blame. If a man wanders (or deliberately exposes his wife to sexually transmitted diseases), she is, according to many in her family, at least partially to blame. I cannot explain that, and I cannot accept it. Luckily, I am not the one to have to accept it.
One reason Anna is staying is that she can see no way out. She married Josh when she was 20, and has had four children in the last almost-six years. She has no work experience, has never held a paying job, and moved from her parents house into Josh’s house, never having lived on her own.
From her point of view, married life is all she knows. Who would take care of the four children? Who would provide for her? She has chosen to forgive him.
The best way to forgive some people is to accept them exactly as they are–but not to bring them back into your life. Having learned the lesson the experience dishes out, it is possible to forgive, yes.
Forgiveness is a far cry from reconciliation. There is no need to continue the poisoned relationship. Some people are simply not trustworthy. Anna is under no obligation to let Josh prove how trustworthy he wishes he were. She already knows everything she needs to about his trustworthiness. She does not have to repeat what she already knows–that someone who breaks a trust repeatedly will do so again. Yes, of course, some miracle may have happened, but she does not have to be the one to test the miracle.
Sometimes survival is a miracle, and escaping with your soul intact is enough. You can forgive, but there is no need to forget the important lessons. And certainly no need to repeat them. Get out, Anna, there are hundreds of women who would help you. Strong, powerful, loving women who would show you what trust really is.
—Quinn McDonald has no patience for structures that demean women.