Why Don’t the Duggars Believe in Divorce?

Large families hold a lot of fascination for many people, and this is especially true in the case of the Duggars. The Duggar family first popped on the national radar in 2008, when they were featured on the TLC show 19 Kids and Counting.

Although that series was canceled in 2015, the family has gone on to star in the popular spinoff Counting On, which has led to even more widespread fascination with the large family’s lifestyle and deeply held religious beliefs.

What religion do the Duggars follow?

The Duggar family
The Duggar family | D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra

The Duggar family, which includes patriarch Jim Bob, matriarch Michelle, and their 19 children, are members of the Independent Baptist religion. This religion follows regional branches of the church instead of a denomination convention.

In the case of the Duggars, they choose to not practice any form of birth control and believe that they will have as many children as God wills them to. 

The women in the family are encouraged to dress very modestly, mainly wearing long skirts, long sleeves, and no revealing clothes. The family also limits their access to media of all varieties.

Their belief system has caused them to come under fire from various media outlets, who claim that the Duggar’s way of life is outdated and unrealistic. However, based on their TV show, the Duggars do seem to be a happy family and have remained very close to each other (in spite of weathering an adultery and molestation scandal involving Josh Duggar). 

Do they believe in divorce?

Part of their Baptist faith includes being very strict when it comes to ending marriages. Independent Baptists actively discourage divorce and believe that marriage is for life.

This means that even if there is cheating or deep unhappiness within the marriage, the church would encourage couples to try and work on any issues before separating. In the case of Jill Duggar and her husband Derick Dillard, who are in what is known as a covenant marriage, they would have to provide a concrete reason in order for the divorce to be granted.

Needless to say, this makes getting a divorce much more difficult, and legal separation wouldn’t even be considered for reasons such as one party falling out of love with the other party. This type of marriage is very controversial and is only recognized in the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Arizona. 

Of course, issues like abuse or violence could be addressed differently, and it seems very certain that a divorce would become a far more likely option in those cases. 

Has anyone in the family gotten divorced?

Although the Duggars do not look favorably upon divorce, it is not completely unheard of within the family. Jim Bob’s sister, Deanna Duggar, was divorced from her husband Terry Jordan in 2015 after years in an unhappy marriage. 

As for Jim Bob Duggar himself, the father of nineteen claims that he and longtime wife Michelle Duggar have a rock-solid union. Infidelity rumors have dogged the couple for years, with tabloids printing various articles claiming that Jim Bob Duggar has cheated on his wife, or that the two consistently disagree on the way their younger children are raised.

The pair have been married since 1984, and do truly seem to be happy together. While reality TV is not kind to many marriages, these two definitely seem to have stood the test of time, and in all likelihood, will continue to remain together well after the cameras stop rolling. 

Fans can watch the Duggars (and their spouses and children) in Counting On when all-new episodes premiere on the TLC network.