The marriage of Kate and Jon Gosselin cracked under the pressure of raising many kids and changing priorities under the bright lights of low-rent reality TV.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar says they won't follow the same path.
The couple, who have 18 kids together and are expecting #19 next year, want people to understand that everlasting happiness in a marriage can survive.
No matter how many kids you have.
"One of our goals is to encourage families and parents that marriage can be strong even if they have kids," Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, 44 and 42, say.
Jim Bob, Michelle and the absolutely enormous Duggar family.
The Tontitown, Ark., couple credit a few key relationship rules:
- Make time for each other. "We have a weekly date, even if it is just to take a walk in the park," says Jim Bob. "We will go out to lunch or dinner and talk together about the kids, upcoming events, what we have coming up."
- Try not to be critical. "It is easy to think of things that are bothering you more often than things that are wonderful," Michelle says. "It's important to remember those things about your spouse and think about those things."
- Forgiveness is essential: "We asked an Amish couple who had been married 50 years what the most important thing to know was, and they told us, the most important thing to say is, 'I was wrong and will you please forgive me.'"
Jim Bob praises Michelle Duggar for her "soft response" and kind nature in raising their 18 children, and anyone who has seen the Duggars on 18 Kids and Counting (Tuesdays on TLC) knows their home is filled with praise and encouragement.
"We have purposed to compliment our children – we do that on outward beauty and what is wonderful about them inside. We do that with each other as well."
The Duggars have written a book about their experiences with raising lots of children, living debt free and home-schooling, The Duggars: 20 and Counting!