The Duggar family courting process has always been a lively topic of discussion for fans – especially for those who are less conservative. Former 19 Kids & Counting stars Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have always made sure their daughters date with a chaperone and they monitor all phone communication. But now, after Josiah Duggar has officially announced that he is engaged to Lauren Swanson, fans are wanting to know, just what is the protocol for the sons?
According to In Touch Weekly, fans recently had a huge discussion on Reddit about whether there is a “girl version” of the famous Duggar family questionnaire for the parents to find out if a fundamentally religious female is good enough for their boys.
Fans quickly agreed that since the men have all the power in their “cult,” a son has the ability to court as he sees fit once he is ready.
I feel like the most blessed guy on earth ?… Lauren said YES! God definitely opened our eyes in his perfect timing to show us how we complete each other. The more time I spend with Lauren the more I realize how I can't live without her. There's no one else I'd rather spend my days and grow old with! #engaged #weddingplanningbegins
Jim Bob and Michelle have tried to rationalize their behavior of monitoring their daughters’ phone communication with suitors by explaining how fun it is to see their conversations.
But former members of the Institute of Basic Life Principles – a religious organization that the Duggar family has ties with – say that the courting process can cause huge problems.
“I signed a contract with my dad about not courting or marrying anyone that he did not approve of when I was 13,” said an ex-follower. “The damage of this is huge. It causes a lot of shame, even if all you’ve done is think a guy is cute without your dad’s approval.”
There are a few basic rules of a Duggar courtship when it comes to a daughter. The first, and probably most important, is that Jim Bob must approve before it can begin. A boy cannot even approach a Duggar daughter without first getting Jim Bob’s go-ahead.
To help enforce the family’s strict rules, the courting couple must always have a chaperone, and there can be no chest-to-chest contact, meaning side hugs only.
Other rules include: no hand holding until you are engaged, parents must always be cc’d in texts, you must always dress modestly, they can consume zero alcohol, and there is absolutely no kissing.
Courtship, unlike regular dating, is a pathway to marriage. And, for the Duggars, it is meant to promote a higher standard.
But, skeptics point out that it can cause serious problems because the couple is never allowed to be alone together or have any private communication until they are married. This often leads to weddings at an incredibly young age and pregnancies almost immediately after the couple ties the knot. So, how can people really get to know each other during a few weeks of talking with members of the family always around to listen in?
If fans want to know more about the Duggar family courting process and teenagers getting married and having babies, all they have to do is tune in to Counting On, which airs on Monday nights on TLC.