Duggar Love! All of the Family's Courtship Beginnings

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Kekenapep –

Love is in the air! The Duggar family has been captivating viewers with their unique courtship process since 2008 — and have kept the tradition going strong ever since.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar share 19 children: sons Joshua, John-David, Joseph, Josiah, Jedidiah, Jeremiah, Jason, Justin and Jackson, and daughters Jana, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joy-Anna, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn-Grace and Josie. The family’s first reality series, 19 Kids and Counting, quickly became one of the most popular shows on TLC from 2008 to 2015. They later returned for a spin off, Counting On, which has aired for 11 seasons so far.

Over the years, fans have watched many of the Duggar children explore their own relationships in hopes of scoring a love as strong as their parents’. Due to their conservative Christian background, the family enforces a number of strict rules when it comes to courting, or “dating with a purpose.”

“Courtship is really waiting for the one God has for you and praying through the whole process,” Jim Bob explained during a 2014 Today interview. Michelle agreed, adding, “It’s really examining the person and considering, ‘Would this be the guy I want to be the father of my kids?’”

Kissing, hand-holding and other physical markers of affection aren’t allowed until a couple’s wedding day. Early in the courtship process, partners must have a chaperone present on their dates. For many of the Duggar daughters, their brothers have been by their sides when getting to know their suitors.

“Having that accountability really keeps things from going in the wrong direction,” the father of 19 told Today.

The patriarch has also warned his children to be mindful of their text messages while courting, as he and Michelle are both looped into all of their chats. Having Jim Bob and Michelle as an example of a happy marriage has given the Duggar’s high standards when it comes to their love lives — and their parents don’t mind.

“There is no failed courtship,” Michelle explained in 2014. “A parent that loves and cares for their children, they want the best relationship for their child. It’s fun to be involved in the whole process in choosing it.”

Scroll down to learn more about the Duggar family’s courtship beginnings!

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar

The longtime couple met in the ’80s when a mutual friend invited Michelle to her future husband’s church. Some time later, Michelle found a job at the yogurt shop that was managed by Jim Bob’s mother. The two hit it off and bonded over their love for the Bible. “I remember when he left … I looked up and said, ‘Father, I can’t imagine anyone better than this that you have planned for me,” she told the website Love to Know. “From there, we believe our hearts were knit together.” They wed in 1984 and share 19 children.

Courtesy of The Duggar Family/Instagram

Josh and Anna Duggar

Josh, the eldest Duggar, met his now-wife in 2006 at a Christian homeschooling event and began courting soon after. They exchanged their vows in September 2008 near Anna’s hometown in Florida, and their nuptials were featured on the second season of 19 Kids and Counting. Josh and Anna welcomed six children between 2009 and 2019: Mackynzie, Michael, Marcus, Meredith, Mason and Maryella. 

 

Courtesy of Anna Duggar/Instagram

John-David and Abbie Duggar

In June 2018, the Duggars announced that their second son, John-David, was courting Abbie Burnett. While they’d “known of each other for several years” before making their relationship official, they didn’t meet until John flew to Oklahoma for a church event in early 2018. “We fell in love very quickly,” he said in a video on the TLC website. “And it’s been a wonderful journey thus far and taking the next step to move onto a courtship.” They tied the knot in November 2018 and welcomed a daughter, Grace, in early 2020.

 

Courtesy of John and Abbie Duggar/Instagram

Jill and Derick Dillard

While on a mission trip to Nepal in 2012, Derick’s future father-in-law was one of his “prayer partners.” They would discuss their faith and “Jill’s dad would also mention periodically the work Jill was doing in her studies as a student midwife,” according to a post on the Dillard family blog. “Being that we had similar life goals, she caught my attention,” Derick wrote. The pair first spoke on the phone in March 2013 and began courting that November. By June 2014, they were married. They share two sons, Israel and Samuel. 

Courtesy of Jill Duggar/Instagram

Jessa and Ben Seewald

The pair, who tied the knot in November 2014, began their formal courtship one year earlier. “Jessa and I met at her church while on a mini vacation in Northwest Arkansas,” Ben wrote on their family’s blog in March 2015. “Jessa and I only exchanged a few words our first meeting. … I didn’t want to say too much and make a fool of myself or look like I was wild about her (though I was on the inside).” The couple courted for 11 months before their engagement and now share three children: sons Spurgeon and Henry, and daughter Ivy.

Courtesy of Jessa Seewald/Instagram

Jinger and Jeremy Vuolo

Jinger met the former professional athlete while on a mission trip to Central America in 2015 and the two were married in November 2016. Two years later, they welcomed their first child together, daughter Felicity. The pair announced in May 2020 that they were expecting another daughter after suffering a miscarriage the year before.

 

Courtesy of Jinger Vuolo/Instagram

Joseph and Kendra Duggar

Joseph met his future wife while attending Lighthouse Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where Kendra’s father is a pastor. They announced their courtship in March 2017 and got engaged two months later at Joy-Anna’s wedding reception. In September 2017, the pair exchanged their vows in Arkansas and jetted off to Greece for their honeymoon. They share son Garrett and daughter Addison, and confirmed in August 2020 that they’re expecting a third child.

 

Courtesy of Joseph and Kendra Duggar/Instagram

Josiah and Lauren Duggar

The eighth Duggar child confirmed his courtship in January 2018. “I came up behind her at a meal while she was hanging out with some of my siblings and surprised her,” Josiah said of the moment he decided to take his friendship with Lauren to the next level. Lauren, for her part, was “shocked” to see him. “He wasn’t supposed to be there,” she said. “It was a girls’ night out.” They wed in June 2018 and welcomed their first child together, daughter Bella, in November 2019.

 

Courtesy of Josiah and Lauren Duggar/Instagram

Joy-Anna and Austin Forsyth

In November 2016, the then-19-year-old announced that she was being courted by her close friend of 15 years, Austin Forsyth. At the time, Austin chose a sentimental place to propose his courtship. “I picked this spot because last time we were here together was August 1, 2015,” he said in a video announcement at the time. “It’s a place that I’ve come many times to just get away and spend time with the Lord. I just knew that this was the place that I wanted to ask her.” They tied the knot in May 2017 and share son Gideon and daughter Evelyn.

 

Courtesy of Joy Forsyth/Instagram

Justin and Claire Spivey

Us exclusively confirmed in September 2020 that Justin was the latest Duggar to enter a courtship. “God brought Claire in my life and I wasn’t really expecting it, but he brought her along right when I needed her. Ever since then, I just knew that she was the one,” Justin gushed in the pair’s video announcement. The Duggars and the Spiveys “have known each other for over 20 years” and connected their children in 2019. “I’m really looking forward to the memories to come spent with him. I’m excited to see what the Lord holds for us in the near future,” Spivey said.

 

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