Reality stars Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar have been married for more than 30 years, so it's understandable people would look to them for relationship advice. But we're not sure people should follow that advice. After all, let's not forget their sex rules, which are questionable at best…
Michelle and Jim Bob spilled the secrets to their long-lasting relationship in a Today interview timed around Valentine's Day 2014, and yes, they talked about their intimate times. For example, Michelle related the advice a friend gave her before Michelle and Jim Bob's 1984 wedding: "She said, 'In your marriage, there will be times you're going to be very exhausted. Your hubby comes home after a hard day's work, you get the baby to bed, and he is going to be looking forward to that time with you. Be available. Anyone can fix him lunch, but only one person can meet that physical need of love that he has, and you always need to be available when he calls.'" (In case there was any doubt, Today even explicitly specified Michelle was talking about sex.)
As a bride-to-be, Michelle couldn't imagine not wanting to be available to her husband, she said. After kids, though, she understood the exhaustion of parenthood, and yet she still follows her friend's advice. "That has been such a lifesaver for our marriage," she said. (And Jim Bob is clearly happy with that rule, raving, "We're like a newlywed couple every day!")
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On Valentine’s Day everyone is thinking about LOVE and finding ways to express their love. I am so thankful for Michelle. Not only is she a wonderful wife; caring, selfless, kind and compassionate but her beauty continues to radiate from the inside out and I genuinely love her more today than ever. One of the things we’ve learned as a couple is that no matter how many children you have, or how busy you get, you have to continue to place a high priority on your marriage. Don’t neglect it. Don’t take it for granted. I always tell husbands, “Continue to date and romance your wife. Make sure she knows how special she is. Love you Michelle! •Click the link in our bio to see our list of Romance Advice!•
That isn't the only rule they follow between the sheets. These parents-of-19 told Today they abstain from sex during Michelle's period, for 40 days after welcoming a boy, and for 80 days after welcoming girls.
So what's up with the 80/40 rule? The couple claimed it's is based on Old Testament traditions but it's more about what works for their marriage. Love, Joy, Feminism blogger Libby Anne, however, noted those regulations match those reportedly laid out by Bill Gothard, the now-disgraced founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles and the Advanced Training Institute.
"At his Advanced Seminars in 1983, Gothard introduced sex regulations based upon Old Testament commands," Personal Freedom Outreach's G. Richard Fisher reported in 1996. "He told married couples to abstain from physical relations: 1. During the wife's menstrual cycle; 2. Seven days after the cycles; 3. 40 days after the birth of a son; 4. 80 days after the birth of a daughter; and 5. The evening prior to worship."
(Need even more evidence of that connection? Michelle even seemed to reference Rule No. 2 in her Today interview, saying, "When you've missed it for seven days, you look forward to it even more.")
All of this has us seriously skeptical. Let's hope Michelle enjoys their sex schedule, never feels pressured to do anything she doesn't want to do, and has no reason to look forward to those breaks.