‘Counting On’: Duggar Family Critics Notice That Josh and Anna’s Engagement Story Differs From the Other Duggars’ Stories

Josh Duggar and Anna Duggar’s marriage has been marred by scandal. In 2015, news broke that Josh had molested several of his siblings, as well as a family friend when he was a teenager. Anna stood by her husband, claiming she was well aware of his past when she married him. Later that year, Josh was revealed to be a serial cheater. The father of six had active dating profiles on both Ashley Madison and OkCupid. He resigned from his job in Washington D.C shortly thereafter and returned home to Arkansas of a stint in a rehabilitation center for a reported addiction to pornography. Anna, once again, stood by her man, much to the chagrin of family followers, as well as several of her own siblings. Now, family critics may have uncovered another interesting tidbit about the young couple. Their engagement may have happened without an official courtship, lending credence to the theory that Anna and Josh’s marriage was somewhat arranged.

Josh and Anna’s courtship timeline seems a bit off

Redditors dedicated to following the Duggar family noticed that Josh and Anna’s courtship seemed a bit different than many of the other Duggar courtships depicted on the family’s show, Counting On. Josh and Anna once suggested that they began courting around January 2008, just six months before Josh popped the question. Their engagement took place in June 2008, and they were married only three months later.

An eagle-eyed family critic, however, noted that Michelle revealed that Anna committed to not courting before her 20th birthday. 19 Kids and Counting viewers may remember that Josh flew to Florida to propose to Anna on her 20th birthday. If that’s the case, and Anna did keep her promise as Michelle suggested she did, Josh and Anna did not have a courtship at all. It seems as though they went from simply getting to know each other to engagement. Anna also once suggested she had no idea Josh was even interested in her until he proposed.

Josh and Anna seemed to know far less about each other than later couples

Admittedly, when looking back at footage from Josh and Anna’s courtship, the duo seemed pretty awkward and uncomfortable around each other. Initially, viewers assumed the discomfort came from the fact that they were never allowed to be alone together. As the series progressed, and  more Duggars found themselves in relationships, Josh and Anna’s level of discomfort became more offputting.

If family critics are correct, the awkwardness had more to do with the fact that the two had almost no relationship prior to engagement than natural first relationship jitters. Jessa Duggar and her husband, Ben Seewald,  courted for 11 months before their engagement, and when they finally walked down the aisle, they seemed relatively comfortable with one another. Joy-Anna Duggar’s courtship seemed short, but she and her husband, Austin Forsyth, knew each other for years before dating. Family followers seem to agree that Joy and Austin appear to be well suited to each other.

A family insider once claimed Josh and Anna’s marriage was arranged

A former church member who spoke with Radar Online once suggested that Josh was set up with Anna shortly after he was caught molesting several of his siblings. The reported insider told the publication that it wasn’t uncommon for church elders to set up troubled young men as a way to solve problems, although they did not go into what type of troubles were solved with marriage.

It has also been suggested that Jim Bob Duggar successfully set up several of his other children. It has been theorized that Josiah Duggar was pushed into marrying Lauren Swanson after his father discovered a secret Facebook account. The page has never been uncovered, but Josiah was granted social media access at one point. He opened several social media accounts after he announced his courtship to Marjorie Jackson. Those accounts went dormant after his courtship failed.

Insiders have also suggested that Jim Bob arranged courtships for John David Duggar and has attempted to do so, several times, for Jana Duggar. Jana, the family’s eldest daughter, remains unmarried. John David, Jana’s twin brother, married Abbie Burnett in 2018. The Burnett family was reportedly known to the Duggar family for years, even though John and Abbie have attempted to make their meeting sounds spontaneous and romantic.