As fans of TLC’s Counting On likely know, Austin Forsyth and Joy-Anna Duggar’s one year anniversary was this week.
Not their wedding anniversary — they got married in May — but of when they became an item. (These things move fast.)
Even such a short ways into their relationship, it seems that Austin and Joy-Anna don’t mind spending some time apart.
And the context for that is bound to be controversial.
You know how some Counting On fans have been asking the extended Duggar family to try to keep a lid on their politics?
Well … those fans should brace for disappointment.
Austin Forsyth is 23 and Joy-Anna Duggar is 19. These two are one of the younger Duggar pairs, but they’re clearly making up for lost time.
Following a lifelong friendship, their courtship began with Austin sending Joy-Anna flowers, as traditional a courtship gesture as they come.
The couple graduated from side-hugs last May, when they got married. They got married pretty quickly, even by Duggar standards.
And Joy-Anna is already pregnant.
In fact, the size of Joy-Anna’s baby bump is fueling rumors that this wedding might have been rushed after some hypothetical rule-breaking led to a premarital pregnancy.
You know, making it one of those “shotgun weddings.”
Even if that’s true, we doubt that the Duggars would ever let it be publicly confirmed that Joy-Anna got pregnant out of wedlock.
If that’s what really happened, it took place within a month or so of the wedding, so you’d be hard-pressed to prove it, admittedly.
Family patriarch and father of 19 Jim Bob Duggar is, in his own twisted way, very concerned with the family’s public image.
Even with the questions lingering of whether or not they had some “secret front hugs” of the pregnancy-inducing kind before getting married …
(A thing scandalous only in the world of the Duggars, where Joy-Anna effectively remained Jim Bob’s property until getting married.)
… These two have seemed to go out of their way to show that their politics are heavily on the conservative side.
That’s not a surprise, exactly, considering that they’re Duggars.
But even in a family where Joy-Anna’s brother-in-law Derick Dillard bashes Jazz Jennings, it seems like Austin and Joy-Anna are racing to prove that they’re the most staunchly conservative in the bunch.
(Maybe it’s sincere, maybe they’re trying to compensate for a premarital indiscretion … we just don’t know.)
Fans have implored the couple to keep that to themselves. A lot of people who don’t agree with the Duggars watch to keep up with … well, with the Duggar girls, mostly.
But it seems like Austin and Joy-Anna just can’t help themselves.
On the couple’s shared Instagram account (don’t get us started on shared social media accounts between spouses; it’s weird), they posted a promotion for the conservative and controversial Fort Rock Family Camp.
“Fort Rock Family Camp hasits last Family Camp for the season coming up on October 6-8, 2017. Check out our website at fortrock.org @fortrockfamilycamp”
Just a few weeks after the end of their honeymoon, at a time when most newlyweds are still in, well, the honeymoon phase and cannot bear to be apart …
(This is usually even more the case for couples who have abstained from sex before marriage.)
… Austin attended an all-male retreat at Fort Rock Family Camp.
Along with Jim Bob Duggar and Austin’s new brothers-in-law, Austin seemed to embrace a lot of culturally conservative traditionally masculine activities.
Disturbingly, the motif of the retreat was “Battle Ready.”
The all-male guests threw hatchets and fired rifles and shotguns.
Sort of strange for a retreat that’s supposed to encourage men to become spiritual leaders to feature so many weapons and to focus so much upon violence — even if no one was getting hurt.
And then there’s the weird gender segregation involved.
Fans noted in the comments that women might have enjoyed some of those activities, too.
“Bet the girls would love [things] like that too,” one fan commented.
“Hope they boys had a precious bonding together.”
Though Austin and Joy-Anna are featured on the Fort Rock Family Camp website, it’s always possible that this isn’t exactly Austin’s idea of a good time.
After all, Austin has only just married into the Duggar family. Maybe he’s just going the extra mile to bond with his in-laws.
Still, a lot of fans of Counting On continue to find the Duggar family gender roles to be unsettling.
Many enjoy seeing the girls break free of those restrictions as they get married.