We probably don’t need to tell you that Duggar marriages are not like other marriages.
They differ in many important ways, not the least of which is the fact that the men tend to hold all of the power — and we mean all of it.
The imbalance in Duggar relationships is the kind that one would sometimes see in the 1950s or before, but is very rarely found in the 21st century, even among members of other evangelical sects.
But the Duggars remain proud of the oppressively patriarchal society, and in most of the family’s marriages, the man is 100 percent in charge.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule …
For example, Jessa Duggar seems to hold just about all the cards in her relationship with Ben Seewald.
This unusual — some would say refreshingly unusual — dynamic is a common topic of discussion on Reddit’s Duggar-related subs, and many commenters have pointed out that Jessa appears to have been in the driver’s seat from the very beginning.
As proof they point to the 19 Kids and Counting scene in which Ben sheepishly asked Jim Bob Duggar for permission to court Jessa.
"I was wondering if we could make it official, if I could ask her to make an official courtship?" Ben asked.
Now, this sort of conversation probably precedes every Duggar courtship, but even Jim Bob seemed a little put-off by Ben’s apparent nervousness and uncertainty.
Once he received JB’s permission, Ben asked Jessa if she would go a-courtin’ with him, and she eagerly accepted his offer.
"We’ve been praying and talking for awhile. I was just wondering if you wanted to make it official and if you wanted to officially court me?" Seewald asked.
With Jim Bob’s permission, Ben gave Jessa a side-hug, and thus began his life of servitude to two masters — his wife, and her domineering father.
We’ve talked before about the extent to which Jim Bob controls his daughters, and most of them gain some measure of relief when they get married.
Once they’re hitched, the women enter their husbands’ control.
And while that’s not exactly the most enlightened system, at least the husbands are usually more progressive/permissive than Jim Bob.
But Jessa might be the closest thing this family has to a true feminist icon, as she took the true path to freedom by marrying a man who seems to have no desire to control her.
Another option, of course, would be for Jessa to remain single like her sister Jana, but it would be difficult to her to escape Jim Bob’s control in a culture where she’s not even permitted to hold a job.
Speaking of employment, Ben is a stay-at-home dad, and both he and Jessa seem to be perfectly alright with that arrangement.
She does the majority of the breadwinning through her sponsored content deals, and even though they’re breeding at a breakneck rate, Jessa and Ben don’t seem to have any financial problems.
There’s a lot of talk about how Jim Bob feels threatened by the sight oif Jill drinking alcohol or Jinger wearing shorts, but ironically, it’s the daughter who’s maitained a close relationship with her father that threatens his reign the most.
Because once the younger Duggar daughters look at Jessa and realize that they don’t have to spend their entire lives under the control of a man, it’s over for JB.