Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Daughter-in-Love: Anna Comes Out of Her Shell

I love Anna. I think she and Josh make a great couple, but this isn't abou them, this is about HER. I think that she has done a great job jumping into this family with both feet and taking on a role of "public" life well. Not many people could handle being a newlywed (in every sense of the word) and have it filmed for the world to see.

We don't know a lot about Anna's life before Josh, but we know a little, and some things people seem to gloss over. She is constantly referred to as having a "sheltered life." And while that may be true in the sense that she grew up in a home school/ATI family like Josh did, she wasn't as sheltered as you may think. After all, her father was called to lead a prison ministry for youthful offenders. That took him to juvenile detention centers around Florida. Anna has spoken about helping her father with his ministry after graduating, so visiting youth prisons isn't exactly 'sheltered' in my point of view.

While she has had a different upbringing than Josh, we've seen where she grew up and it wasn't as prosperous as the Duggars, but still a close-knit family full of lots of love, she carries herself with such pride and passion that she is such an equal match for Josh. I read comments that Josh over-powers her and even "abuses" her emotionally, and that just angers me. All I see is Josh the usual camera-hog, but Anna carries herself with a normalcy that "growing up Duggar" hasn't seemed to give Josh (i.e. being on time, waking up in the morning, staying on task.) No I'm not bashing Josh, just remembering the episode when she was trying to get him to put balloons on cars at the carlot!

I think all it took was a season of being on camera to get her out of her shell. This second season of Anna has seen her growing, talking more, really sharing more of her feelings, and personality. She's witty, charming, funny, and not a pious, quiet little mouse that everyone assumed she was at the beginning of their engagement and marriage. I also think at the beginning, especially when she found out she was pregnant, she was intimidated by Michelle, not because of the usual Mother-in-love (that's the term they use) issues, but because, let's face it, she married the son of one of the most famous Mothers there is...and now she's about to be a mother herself! Who wouldn't be intimidated? I think Michelle getting pregnant while Anna was pregnant actually took some pressure off, Anna seemed a little relieved, but if I'm not mistaken, also a little weirded-out--did anyone else catch that?

I think Anna is a great Duggar addition and just might not be the follower that everyone thinks she is. I have a feeling that behind closed doors Josh does a lot of listening.


  1. I think this is one of your most delightful posts!

    Anna has really come into her own in the last year and it's a joy to watch. She seems much more confident and comfortable with herself now, and she even looks prettier!

    I think she was a little bit upset when Michelle got pregnant, but it's certainly understandable. It was her moment to shine, and Michelle sort of stole part of her glory.

    I sense a certain tension between Michelle and Anna, but can't quite put my finger on it. Has anyone else noticed this?

    Mackynzie is truly an adorable baby. I think motherhood has been good for Anna.

    Josh is difficult to like, at least for me. But I think Anna goes along with his antics when the cameras are rolling, so she doesn't embarrass him. I like the idea that their relationship is much different when they're alone.

    Anna is a beautiful young woman and is setting a great example as the next generation begins.

  2. Madison...yeah i got that too--i think it took some of Anna's "thunder" but i think it kind of creeped her out too--they way she said "Michelle's baby will be younger than ours" or whatever it was she said, the tone of her voice sounded like she was a little grossed out by it...but it could be that some people never think of "parents" having sex...after all Josh and Anna are married and Anna's parents are older than Josh's....so she probably figured, "my parents aren't still having kids...what's the deal??" that kind of creeped out...if that makes any sense at all...

    i think some of the tension comes from not wanting to be filmed making any kinds of mothering mistakes when you're the daughter-in-love of Michelle Duggar "world's famous mother"...that has to be a huge burden to carry, when you think about it...and i don't know if you've noticed, but she's still calling her "Mrs. Duggar" in Season 4..and they've been married over a year!! You know Michelle wants her to call her "mom" or even "Michelle"....she's probably just too nervous!

  3. Catrina MoncriefMay 25, 2010 at 1:09 PM

    I really like Anna! I agree with Madison about Josh he is difficult to like, but I adore Anna. I did think she seemed a little irritated that Michelle got pregnant right after she did. I am amazed by how she handles Josh, honestly sometimes I wish she would go Kate Gosselin on him! Like when she was doing all the packing and loading for their trip and he was doing nothing or when she was carrying all the bags in to the airport and he only had one bag. I know we only get to see little pieces of their life so I hope it is not like that all the time. Mackynzie is adorable, and after watching Anna interact with the other Duggar kids I really think she is going to be a great mom!

  4. One thing that we may have over-looked about Josh...he may be trying to "get away" from all those years of responsibility he had as the oldest brother. Remember for all those years he had to do everything all the time and maybe now he's thinking (a bit wrongly, but still) that he has a bit of a vacation from all that...but he does need to step up and be more of a partner, i think that's one thing you lose out on not dating, there are pros and cons to the courtship, while i approve of courtship, you lose out on learning what it is to be a partner, the practicing you get from dating that person...and i don't think he's gotten that yet.

  5. Also...Anna is very take-charge...she's the up at dawn, do it all girl...Josh, isn't and admits it...so while he does need some Southern manners, I think they'll do ok...besides, they do seem to be head-over-heels in love and not everyone gets that out of a marriage sadly...took me a couple tries.

  6. I think Anna is indeed coming out of her shell this year, and I think the Duggars moving to LR has helped that. Anna (and Josh) have now had some time without the in-laws constantly giving advice, looking over their shoulder, implying that the Duggar way is the only G-d approved way. I think that has allowed them to get a chance to develop their own opinions about their desired family unit. Anna seems to have bonded with Amy, which also pulls Anna out of her shell.
    I also think that them watching the 7 little ones for that week was a good thing... because I think they realized what like would be like with two adults and 7 wee ones... and I don't think they found it appealing.
    I am truly amazed that they do seem to fit together as well as they do. I certainly didn't think that would work out well. I agree that Josh/Anna didn't get to practice that being half of a couple prior to the engagement. That first year of marriage is hard enough with a dating period first.

  7. My husband and I emailed and talked over the phone for 4 days before I came to meet him for what was supposed to be a 4 day weekend (after the matchmaker matched us.) That 4 day weekend stretched to 8 days when he put a 2-carat ring on my finger and proposed. Mind you, I was staying in a hotel and not at his house during this period, but we were "dating" or "courting" during this period. Then we drove up to my home in Oregon so he could meet my friends and family (he did call my Mom and ask her permission just before he put the ring on my finger and proposed.) We drove back to California and I stayed in the hotel for 20 more days--until we got married and moved into a home together. But I will say that yes, while it sounds rushed, we did try to "date" ...moving in together after the wedding did feel like something completely new--even though both of us had been married before. It was the honeymoon that it really hit me and I felt the absolute bond--we were in it for life and there was nothing that would tear us apart, 4 years later and I still see us walking along the river in Dublin, walking along the beach of the North Sea in England, or taking the walk around Stonehenge, and I wouldn't change a thing.

  8. MaryBeth,

    You really had a matchmaker? I've read about that in the Jewish faith, but have never known anyone I could ask about it!

    Would you consider starting a new topic, and telling us about this very different( for most of us) experience? Other than the matchmaker, which I'm REALLY excited to learn about, I can't believe you went through this process after having been divorced.

    Sorry, but I think many of us are fascinated by the customs we know little or nothing about.

    This IS a Duggar blog, maybe you could compare Jewish courtship, marriage and even *divorce* to the Duggar version. It would be sort of on topic, and very intersting.

    It's just a suggestion, from ONE reader, but I think it would be a great topic!

    Thank you for reading this, I hope you'll at least consider this idea.

  9. Madison---you're the second person to bring that up, so I'll take it under advisement :) I do try to compare and contrast my experiences and my differences in religious beliefs when I write about the Duggars in my posts, but from now on I'll try to focus on that more when it's appropriate...I'll also consider some seperate posts on that specifically :) Thank you for the suggestion!

    On the Matchmaker note...it's rarely used in our culture anymore...in Chassidic families, the families do have a lot of say in who you date--is the family acceptable, etc...before you're allowed to date that from that family...at least that's the way it's been explained to me...they do date, not necessarily marrying the first person they date...but still the family has to approve ahead of time...I can't remember if that's just for girls or for boys as well...anyway, both my husband and I chose to use a Matchmaker for different reasons, I won't tell his story, but mine was that I wanted to find a Jewish husband and where I lived I knew that the chances of that were slim, but besides a Jewish husband I wanted a PRACTICING Jewish husband--one who took his Faith seriously and actually went to temple and wanted to live a Jewish life and raise a Jewish family--not all Jews practice the religion. If you're at all famililar with Seinfeld...I decided to be George Costanza and do "The Opposite" of everything I'd done in the past when it came to marriage/choosing a spouse--if what I'd done before was wrong, this time it had to be right...so I went "old school" and it was the best choice I ever made. I did have moments of apprehension and "am I making a mistake marrying someone I've known less than a month?" but I have no regrets and love him more and more every single day.

  10. I agree about Anna calling Michelle "Mrs. Duggar"- after all, she's also Mrs. Duggar!


  11. MaryBeth it's nice to hear you have a wonderful marriage. I think in today's society so much emphasis is put on a physical relationship that people do not talk first. And having a third party that is looking out for your best interests I think they can take an impartial view and get to know the person(I am assuming you had conversations with the matchmaker) and find a match comparing the wants ,desires and personalities of the couple. My landlord dated his wife for 4 years before they married and he isn't ashamed to admit that the wedding night was a real wedding night! And they have been married for 60 years! A lot of people base a relationship on looks only and the lack od ability in a lot of people to communicate what they want from life leads to a lot of disapoointment. I think it would be very interesting to hear more about your matchmaker!

  12. Mary Beth,

    I hope you do decide to tell us more about your matchmaker and courtship. It's fascinating to learn about rituals and customs that are unusual. I can understand that it might seem like an invasion of your privacy, I hope you know I didn't mean it that way.

    Here's my question, I hope someone has an answer! The DWOP forum ran a story in 2009 that was supposedly written by Anna's BIL. Someone who is married to one of Anna's sisters, not a Duggar BIL. It's called Insights from an Insider, and it describes Josh and Anna's wedding ceremony in terms that make the Duggars seem to be more or less puppets, and TLC is portrayed in a very negative light.

    Has anyone read this, and what did you think? At first I didn't really believe it, but it does seem to have a certain ring of the truth to it. I posted on the DWOP forum asking if it was real, I'm leaning towards believing it.

    It supports my belief that TLC intentionally portrays the Duggars in less than real situations, and often makes them the butt of jokes. I don't think the Duggars are sophisticated enough to see the difference of having people laugh at them as opposed to with them. I also believe that the Duggars are smart enough to not care about a lot of this stuff, and they can laugh all the way to the bank. JMO.

  13. Once we were matched I knew we were compatible, so all that was left was "getting to know you" we'd talk on the phone for hours for about a week before we met face to face and I knew the second we hugged that first meeting that I'd be marrying him...

  14. I will say the difference here is that we weren't 20-somethings on our first relationship---we'd both been married twice before (no kids) so we'd been around the block...so the comparison to us and Josh and Anna isn't all that fair...

  15. Madison, i've been telling my story slowly above, so hopefully that will answer some of your questions :) As to your other point, I don't know what a BIL is and I haven't read the report you speak of, but I will try to find it and then get an answer back to you :)

  16. Madison...ok i read what you were talking about..and finally got what BIL means :) I'll get back to you with an answer :)

  17. I have been married 16 (going on 17 years) to the same man. When speaking ABOUT my m-i-l I call her Mrs ______, when talking TO her I call her by her name. Anna does the same thing.

    Unless I missed something when she is talking TO Michelle she's isn't saying "Mrs Duggar do you want any more to drink"?

  18. I really do like Anna and live that she is coming out of her shell. I loved the episode oftheir honeymoon where she gets all sentimental about the ocean. I know that will be me if we ever leave Florida. And I'mnot really big on the beach!

    I will say that some of the kids seem to be more modern than their parents. Not in a bad way. Still conservative but more open to maybe watching a baby Einstein DVD or something. Lol.

    I do think Josh and Anna will make it hut it does seem sometimes like he doesn't always realize what he is saying and how it comes across. But then I remember the episode where Anna kept calling him to figure out the paperwork and he said he had every confidence she could do it on her own if he wasn't reachable for any reason. She didn't think so but he did. Just a sweet moment in the videos we see of their marriage lol.

  19. Sorry, Mary Beth. Whenever I attempt to use the internet abbreviations or slang, I tend to mess it up:(

  20. Hey Madison! Yes, I too remember that post (BIL). Thought it was very interesting and at the same time it was good to hear someone sticking up for the Keller family.

    I will admit that I thought Anna was a little...weird at first. In fact I thought both of them were weird about EVERYTHING they were doing. But, now I understand things better. They are very lucky to have found true love SO early in life. Wish them the best with very little stress. :)

  21. Cyn, as always you make a good point about referring to Michelle as "Mrs. Duggar" ...I have never done that with any of my MILs...I've had MANY--with 3 marriages and 1 husband alone gave me 3--this one has given me 2--I refer to all of them by their name when I speak to them or about them, and some I referred to as "Mom" or "your mother." But then I am from the Pacific Northwest.

  22. Rebecca--I agree..did you see how quick Anna was to "google" something--when they were making booties? ...I doubt that would have been easy to do in the Senior Duggar's house with the internet controls!

  23. Most people here in the South call their mil's by their first name, HOWEVER, I am betting that when Anna was first introduced to the Duggars (several years before she and Josh were married) she was young, and required, likely, by her Southern parents to call Michelle Mrs. Duggar. So it's a little difficult to change it now, and it may even feel disrespectful to her, even though she knows in her *head* that it isn't. Know what I mean? I know it is SO odd to me to see adults that I knew as a child and was then required to call Mrs. Last Name, and have them expect me to call them First Name now. It's just weird!

    I call my mil by her first name and my step mil also. Both sets of my husband's grandparents are alive, and I call them by the same 'grandparent' names that he does.

    My grandmother always referred to her own mil as 'Mrs. Johnson'. but that was b/c they did not get along. They lived with her husband's parents from marraige until the inlaws died and 'Mrs Johnson' apparently liked things HER way. ;)

    Mrs P