Mother-of-19 Michelle Duggar and husband Jim Bob Duggar are celebrating their 29th wedding anniversary on the Tuesday (October 8) episode of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting.
Michelle, 47, opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about the special episode where her husband “overdid it” and “really surprised” her. She goes on to talk about the joys of motherhood (and grand-motherhood), her top tips for a successful marriage, her thoughts on “me” time, her “hope” to become pregnant with a twentieth child, and the “misconception about overpopulation.”
CBS: Tell us about the upcoming episode of 19 Kids and Counting: Anniversaries to Remember. What can fans expect to see?
MD: “Oh boy! It is really going to be fun, because we go back to the beginning and reminisce over how Jim Bob and I met. We go on a journey from the beginning of our relationship until now. It’s a lot of fun seeing the old pictures, because there’s a lot of great stuff.
My favorite part about filming the episode was how much Jim Bob surprised me and how he was able to keep the anniversary surprises secret. It was amazing for me. He did such a neat job in bringing together the past, the present, and then the future of our relationship. I’m always so surprised by Jim Bob’s creativity when it comes to birthdays and anniversaries. He is such a creative person! He definitely overdid it this time and really surprised me.”
CBS: Congratulations on our upcoming 29th wedding anniversary. If you could share your top three tips for a successful marriage, what would they be?
MD: “Oh wow! I definitely think my first tip is to pray together. I think a couple that prays together really has a head start. We asked a couple who had been married for fifty years what their number one tip was, and the fella said to Jim Bob, ‘There’s two things I would say. ‘Number one: I was wrong. Number two: will you forgive me?” [laughs].
So pray together, be very quick to admit when you’ve made a mistake, and ask for forgiveness, because when you live with someone day in and day out, there’s always going to be those misunderstandings that come up.
If you wanted to place the last two tips together, then my third tip would be to communicate on a daily basis. When you pray together, you do that with the Lord and with each other. Communication is vital and it’s important to take time every day to talk. Jim and I always pray together every day. When the busy days come, which they will, try to always make the time to communicate with one another.
Oftentimes, Jim Bob plans a date for us once a week, usually on Saturday. Our dates are a really special time for us to communicate more with each other.”
CBS: Are you hoping to become pregnant with a 20th child? Or maybe you have a special announcement to share with us?
MD: “I would hope, but we are not expecting right now. I would be so grateful if the Lord blessed us with another one. We’re trying at this point and we shall see if that is a possibility. If not, we are so thankful and grateful for the ones that God has given us so far. We are also definitely enjoying our grandbabies! They are so precious!”
CBS: Do you ever feel like your multiple pregnancies have worn-down your body? Additionally, do you ever feel like they have taken a toll on your mind and spirit?
MD: “I feel great. I think that exercising and eating right definitely makes a difference. My health is good and I am grateful for that. I think it could be different; every person struggles with different things, but I am so grateful that my health is good and I am able to enjoy running and chasing my little ones around at this point in my life [laughs].
In regard to my mind and spirit, I am so grateful, because as we received each child from the Lord, he has given us so much joy. Each child is a gift from God.
I went through some morning sickness in the beginning of my pregnancies. As I’ve experienced that, many other moms told me how grateful I should be, because the morning sickness helps me know things are going along okay. I’ve had a number of friends who experienced no morning sickness and had early complications. In all my pregnancies, I rejoiced even when the morning sickness came, because I knew it was a good sign and a good reason to be sick. In all of my pregnancies, I have also looked forward to that little one and I really enjoyed getting prepared. It is a lot of responsibility to look forward to a little one coming, but at the same time, there is so much joy when you are anticipating that little one becoming a part of your family and a part of life.
I think my mind, my spirit, and all of that has been just great. I am so grateful and I don’t even know how else to explain it. I am so thankful for the children that we have. They are all such a joy!”
CBS: Do you ever make “me” time a priority? Do you see value in taking some alone time? Or do you believe all your time and attention should go toward your husband and children?
MD: “I love when all of my little ones are in bed and it’s quiet. I love having quiet time in the evening, because I am more of a night owl than a morning bird. I enjoy reading books and my Bible and having my quiet time before going to sleep at night.
The scripture says that the evening and the morning were the first day, so I tell my children that their day begins the night before. I always encourage them to make lists and plan their next day before they go to bed at night, so that they can go to sleep in peace and know that their day is scheduled and they are ahead.
In the evening time once everyone is quiet, I can enjoy reading a good book, reading the scriptures, or listening to a great message that I wanted to listen to. That’s my favorite time. Even in the mornings when I get up, I’ll oftentimes jump on my elliptical machine and exercise while listening to great preaching messages on OnePlace.com, which is a free app that I love using every day.
I am a people person, so I love being with my family and kids. I absolutely love that. I know that when everyone is asleep and quiet, then I’ll just enjoy reading and having that time to myself. I am not the kind of person that needs to have alone time…too much of that will really drive me nuts. I think it’s important to be around people, communicate, and have heart-to-heart talks and all that good stuff.”
CBS: What do you think is the biggest misconception about you? What is the biggest misconception about your family?
MD: “I don’t know! People were saying, ‘Oh, that’s way too many kids and I can’t imagine that many children in one family!’ However, my daughter, Jill, said to us, ‘Mom, Dad, I don’t understand why people would say that. Love really, truly multiplies…it doesn’t divide. When you have more people in the family, there is that many more people to spread love all around!’ I think Jill said it very wisely; love does multiply. It’s a joy, because there are that many more people and that much more love in the house!”
CBS: What do you say to the critics who think you should stop getting pregnant? What are your thoughts on the planet’s overpopulation crisis? Do you feel you are contributing to that? Why or why not?
MD: “I think I’ve shared that in the past before. We have studied it and I believe that there is a misconception about overpopulation. I think that the whole mindset of overpopulation is really overrated. A few years back, we stated that the whole population of the world could be stood shoulder-to-shoulder in Jacksonville. That may have changed a little bit since we’ve heard that statistic.
I think that there is this ideology that goes behind overpopulation that I don’t really agree with. It’s a different perspective and that’s where people have their different ideas, and that’s okay. That’s what makes the world go around; there are many different ideas and different perspectives about certain topics.”View Slideshow »»