There are probably few things more romantic than going on a honeymoon with your new spouse while you're both still basking in the afterglow of your wedding, but for the Duggar siblings and their partners, the post-wedding getaway is a seriously big deal. Not only is it the first time they have a chance to be alone together without chaperones, it's also the first time they're able to have physical contact beyond hand-holding and brief side hugs. But in the Counting On season premiere Monday, Joe and Kendra Duggar admitted kissing and being alone together on their honeymoon took some getting used to, and honestly, I don't really blame them for feeling a bit uncomfortable about the whole thing.
The ultra-conservative Duggar family famously eschews typical dating rules in favor of courtships, which are short-term arrangements that allow the couple — and their families — get to know each other, and to determine whether or not marriage is in the cards. Usually the answer is yes, as almost all the married Duggars tied the knot with the first person they courted, and in most cases within a year (Josiah Duggar and Marjorie Jackson called off their courtship in 2015, but he recently married Lauren Swanson after a brief, 41-day courtship, and a three-month engagement, according to In Touch Weekly).
The Duggars clearly feel that it is important to keep very strict boundaries to avoid getting "too close" before marriage, and that means that the first time the couples actually kiss each other is on their wedding days. But from the sound of Joe and Kendra's post-honeymoon interview, that decision can be pretty daunting.
In the show's season eight premiere, the couple told TLC producers that even though they were newlyweds, embarking on their honeymoon together to Athens, Greece felt "strange," given that they'd never been able to be alone before without a chaperone (usually one of the couples many siblings would join them on dates). But luckily, it didn't take long for the awkwardness to subside. Kendra explained, saying:
The first time we were together alone was really different, we were like 'whoa, this is strange.' But I think after just a few days we got used to it, and it just became more of the norm, and so it wasn't very hard at all. We enjoyed it.
For a couple who had only just shared their first kiss at the altar, going on a honeymoon also meant they could *finally* start piling on the PDA. Prior to their wedding, Joe and Kendra decided to maintain strict rules about physical contact, and, according to Cafe Mom, they even tried to limit their side hugs to two per day, so that, as Joe explained, they wouldn't end up "[thinking] about things [they] can't carry out at this point."
And it sounds like it wasn't exactly easy: in an earlier episode, Joe admitted that reigning in his urges became "so much harder" the closer they got to their wedding, according to The Hollywood Gossip, which is why avoiding alone time was so crucial for the couple. Kendra added, "You just start loving each other more and more and you just get excited about the wedding but I think having chaperones allows us not to fall."
On Monday's episode, Kendra said that finally being on their honeymoon meant they had time to "kiss and practice that," instead of just being stuck holding hands. And, well, it seemed they figured a lot out on their trip: like Joe's sister Joy and her husband, Austin Forsyth, Joe and Kendra announced they were expecting their first child only a few months after their wedding (their son, Garrett, was born June 8).
These days, the couple have settled into family life in Arkansas, and with an infant to care for, their newlywed time in Greece must honestly feel like a distant memory. But for fans of the couple, there's so much to look forward to — although they may not be on social media, Joe and Kendra seem more than happy to open up their lives to cameras on Counting On. And from the sounds of it, the once-uncomfortable newlyweds are now totally loving life as a close-knit family of three.