Just when we think the Duggar Family has exhausted all Rated-G activities to partake in on Counting On, they’re packing up their outdoorsy-skirts and plaid shirts for yet another adventure you couldn’t pay us to go on ourselves.
On the bright side, this outing doesn’t require anyone to “relieve” themselves in a hole in the ground, so things are looking up for the group this time around. #Blessed
This week’s episode kicks off at a marriage retreat, where “Jim Bob and Michelle” (aka a desperate-for-a-storyline TLC) have sent their married children and their respective partners to ensure that their unions are long and fertile enough to keep this TLC gravy train chugging along for years to come.
The retreat, led by Kendra’s dad, Pastor Caldwell, takes place in a large lake house. However, despite the sizable home, a couple of the rooms feature more than one bed in them — a taboo move in Fundie world. Just because you’re at a marriage retreat and a bunch of your siblings are snoring within feet of you, that’s no reason to postpone the blessing-making for a few nights!
John-David and Abbie are gifted the most plush “baby-making” bed: a giant four-poster in a room all by itself. That way they can bang it out without bothering the rest of the Dugs.
The other siblings must figure out a way to make the shared bedrooms work, though. John has a great solution to the problem. He suggested that the Dugs who are sharing the rooms wear blindfolds to prevent any accidental glimpses of knees or shoulders that don’t belong to the life partner
Jim Bob The Lord chose for them.
Austin suggests that they can throw one of the mattresses on the floor in the game room if necessary. But everyone (well….actually just Jessa) agrees that John and Abbie should get their own room, since they are the “newlyweds” of the group.
After touring the lake house, the producers ask the Duggar kids and spouses what they hope to get out of the marriage retreat. Joy says she hopes to “learn a lot” during the weekend because she says she needs a lot of work. Lucky for her, she has Austin, her always supportive husband, there to lean on. Oh, wait…
“I hope she gets a lot of work done,” Austin tells the producers. “Just kidding!”
That Austin sure is a jokester! His marriage retreat comments are almost as funny as that time he made pregnant Joy load his kayak into the icy water all by herself. We’re sure he’ll be serving up plenty of other knee-slappers this weekend, just as soon as Joy gets his luggage out of the car and hauls it up the stairs.
Next up, Pastor Caldwell has the group sit in the living room for a lesson on communication. He says the word “communication” about 75 times in five minutes, but still no one looks like they’re actually listen to him yammer on. Ben is sitting there next to Jessa, not uttering a word. Jessa keeps looking at him with that loving “Embarrass me and I’ll break your neck” look.
After finding out during the living room chat just how terrible all of these couples are at communicating, Pastor Caldwell decides to prove his point with a communication exercise involving inflatable rafts, blindfolds, walkie-talkies.
For this particular activity, the guys are blindfolded and put into rafts with one walkie-talkie while their respective spouses are left to direct them with the other walkie-talkie on dry land. The goal is to retrieve a duck decoy and not drown (we assume).
After tying on their blindfolds and loading up into the lake, the communication exercise begins and to no one’s surprise, it’s a bigger disaster than a Duggar wedding night.
Between Jessa admitting that she doesn’t know her right from left, Austin not understanding how boat paddles work and Abbie basically leaving Pilot John to fend for himself, the group puts on one hot mess of a display.
In the end, Josiah and Lauren are the winners and Ben and Jessa come in last place. You can almost see the steam coming from Jessa’s ears as she realizes she’s been defeated…and it was her fault. There’s absolutely no way she can even blame Jana for this one!
After drying off, the couples head back inside for another activity. This activity requires the couples to work on compromising, which they are supposed to do by building a nest for some marbles…or something. The couples are instructed to make these nests out of twigs and grass (which Jana probably had to gather in between feeding her younger siblings and hiding that calf before Michelle forces it to wear some bad costume jewelry.)
Austin and Joy (aka just Joy) are the first to successfully construct their marble nest, while Jessa and Ben decide to work separately because in addition to not knowing their left from right, they don’t know how to compromise either. As for Josiah, he’s left to carry on through the activity solo because Lauren doesn’t feel well. Not going to lie, we would’ve played the same card if we were in her situation, except we would have done it at least two activities earlier.
Over in Laredo, Jeremy and Jinger are still working to purge their home of junk in preparation for their upcoming move to Los Angeles. They decide to hold a moving sale to hawk their crap because, honestly, how many wooden signs that say “Blessed” does one home need?
The day of the moving sale, Jeremy and Jinger are shocked to see people literally running up their driveway for a chance to
be on TV buy something previously owned by a D-list reality TV couple. Jinger is even more shocked when Jeremy begins letting said items go for significantly less than what they originally agreed upon.
Relax Jinge, it could be worse… just ask your siblings over at Marriage Bootcamp for Fundies.
When we check back in with the boot campers, they are gearing up for another “grand activity” as Ben puts it. Soon, Pastor Caldwell arrives, Bible in-hand, to teach these Duggars how to work together outside the bedroom.
Almost immediately, he jumps into the lesson for the day and begins telling the group that marriage isn’t about liking each other, which is especially great news for Austin.
Pastor Caldwell instructs the couples to rewrite their wedding vows and prepare for some vow renewals in the living room.
Who needs scenic views of the lake when you can express your love in front of a Party City sign hung on a flat screen?
One-by-one, Pastor Caldwell invites the couples up to the TV-altar to recite vows that are nearly identical to one another — aside from Abbie’s inclusion of John’s new nickname of “John Boy.”
(Well, if the morning sickness didn’t make Lauren puke, hearing that nickname surely will.)
The highlight of this otherwise snooze-fest of a activity is hands down Josiah’s vow renewal, which he recites into a phone, as Lauren’s still down with a case of the Blessings and feeling too sick to participate.
Next week on ‘Counting On’, Jessa and Ben celebrate their anniversary/the first time they awkwardly kissed each other/touched above the knees, Josiah and Lauren host a gender reveal party and Jessa goes into labor on the floor of her living room — let’s just hope she doesn’t get any body fluids on Ben’s toy trucks.
To read The Ashley’s other ‘Counting On’ recaps, click here!