Do The Duggars Do Arranged Marriages? Courtships Are Very Different

By
Share
Ad failed to load

Between all of the stars of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On, the Duggar family has a lot of kids and a lot of successful marriages. But due to their strict Christian faith and beliefs, the Duggars do things, especially relationships, just a bit differently than most. The Duggars enter courtships before getting married, instead of going on dates. Some might wonder if the Duggars are doing arranged marriages, but a courtship and an arranged marriage are completely different things.

Courting isn't dating, according to TODAY, but it is "dating with a purpose." Duggar family patriarch, Jim Bob Duggar, explained to TODAY in 2014 that the rules of courtship allow for successful bonds to be made, leading to a marriage — which is why there are so many rules attached to courting. Courtships involve heavily chaperoned interactions, limited physical touch, and a lot of supervision, according to TLC. So far, this has led to five successful marriages in the Duggar family.

Although courting isn't dating, it isn't arranging marriage, either. All of the Duggar children's relationships have started with the boys contacting Jim Bob and asking him to date his daughter and Jim Bob told TODAY that he won't approve unless he has his daughter's approval, first. His daughters are quite popular. Jim Bob told TODAY that he fields "letters, calls, and emails each week" from guys who are interested in dating his daughters.

Ad failed to load
TLC on YouTube

"A man pursuing a girl's heart definitely needs to the girl's father," Jessa Duggar (now Seewald) explained in a YouTube video from 2014. "So for us, guys would approach our dad and talk to him about that, kind of make their interest known."

Jim Bob only wants the best for his daughters, which is why he fields each boy that approaches them. In an episode of Counting On: The After Show, Vuolo revealed that Jim Bob made him fill out a 50-page questionnaire before he began courting Jinger, according to the Daily Mail. "I think the questionnaire is pretty thorough," Jessa added, revealing that there is different questions and sections to the survey — even one that asks about their finances.

Ad failed to load

This might seem a bit harsh. But in 2014, Jim Bob responded to critics who accused him of arranging marriages, telling People:

I do not choose who my children marry. Over the years, I have suggested guys to my daughters or we have had a lot of guys that approach us and are interested in this girl, or that girl, but each of our girls have chosen a spouse on their own.

In almost every instance, each boy has known the Duggars for years before entering the courtship. Joy-Anna Duggar's husband, Austin Forsyth, was friends with Joy-Anna for almost 15 years, according to TLC, before he asked Jim Bob to start an official courtship with Joy-Anna. And Jinger Duggar's husband, Jeremy Vuolo, had joined the Duggars on a mission trip and had been friends with Jessa and Ben before expressing his interest in Jinger. Jessa's husband knew her from church before entering their courtship, and Jill Duggar's husband, Derick Dillard had worked with Jim Bob before he set his sights on marrying his daughter, according to TLC. None of these people had been strangers before starting their courtship and marrying.

Ad failed to load
TLC on YouTube

It's also important to note that courtships don't always work out, either. In 2015, Josiah Duggar was in a courtship but called it quits after four months of seeing each other. Josiah opened up to People about why it ended, saying:

Marjorie and I had a good time together. We were just trying to follow God's lead on everything. She didn't feel it was the right timing then, so we called it quits for a bit.
Ad failed to load

Jim Bob even admitted to TODAY that not all courtships work — 50 percent will fail. But there is no such thing as a failed courtship to the Duggars. "A parent that loves and cares for their children, they just want the best relationship for their child," Michelle said, according to TODAY. "It's fun to be involved in the whole process in choosing it." There you have it.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}