Throughout the past few years, there has been a flurry of Duggar weddings. In the past three years alone, five Duggar kids got hitched, which would likely be considered a lot of nuptials for an average-sized family. The Duggars are anything but ordinary, however, and a lot of fans have questions about the family, especially where it concerns the Duggar's rules before marriage. As one might expect of an ultra-conservative family, the Duggars have a strict set of guidelines for courting and engaged couples.
When the Duggars first appeared on television à la 19 Kids & Counting, viewers got to learn more about the family's day-to-day lives. Cameras followed Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar as they went on mega-shopping trips and took care of household chores, and the format of the show mirrored that of a documentary. Now that 19 Kids & Counting has been replaced with Counting On, fans now get to see the Duggar children navigating relationships and pregnancies, which has generated a renewed interest in the family's conservative views about dating before marriage. And as viewers of the show already know, patriarch Jim Bob has developed his own set of rigid expectations as for what dating before marriage should entail. In fact, Jim Bob recently instated some new rules for his daughters' prospective suitors.
So, without further ado, here are some of the Duggar's rules for courting and engagement.
Suitors Must Fill Out Jim Bob's 50-Page Questionnaire
Although Jim Bob claims to be a very busy man personally and professionally, he sure seems to have a lot of time on his hands, as evidenced by the 50-page questionnaire he drafted up his daughters' prospective husbands. Yes, you read that correctly — Jim Bob has a lengthy and detailed survey ready for anyone who expresses interest in marrying one of his daughters. Unsurprisingly, there is no survey available for any woman that might express interest in one of his sons — that's not how things work in Duggar-land.
So, on to the survey.
In October 2016, the Duggar ladies discussed Jim Bob's questionnaire on an episode of Counting On. If a guy wants to marry a Duggar daughter, they must fill out the survey — if they balk at this rule, they will be considered a non-viable option for marriage. The survey, which originally started at 30-pages, covers everything from religious beliefs to finances. Jeremy Vuolo said of the survey, according to the Daily Mail:
I got sent a 50-page questionnaire, I sent it back at 105 pages. The major question, where I spent most of my time was 'tell me about how you became a Christian, how you came to the Lord.'
Interestingly enough, Jill Duggar's husband, Derick Dillard, didn't fill out the marriage survey. Apparently, Jim Bob didn't come up with his survey until after the two were married. Go figure...
Pre-Marital Counseling With Jim Bob & Michelle
Ah, there's nothing more uncomfortable than pre-marital counseling with your very own parents, right? As awkward as it may be, Jim Bob's daughters must attend pre-marital counseling sessions with himself and Michelle before they walk down the aisle.
Michelle said of the pre-marital counseling with Derick and Jill, according to People:
The four of us meet on a weekly basis for counseling. I believe it is our responsibility to equip our children to be prepared for that next step in life of marriage.
As for the learning materials Jim Bob and Michelle rely on, they use the Getting Ready for Marriage workbook, according to Duggar Family Blog.
No Kissing Before Marriage
Yeah, this one isn't too much of a shocker. Jim Bob and Michelle have reiterated time and time again that kissing is a no-go before marriage. Although Jim Bob and Michelle did smooch more than once before marriage, they now believe it's inappropriate for unmarried couples.
Michelle said of the idea behind the no kissing rule, according to Today:
We believe it’s best for them to save the physical part for marriage.
Suitors Must Approach Jim Duggar First
If you want to marry a Duggar daughter, you'll have to reach out to Jim Duggar first and foremost. It actually seems like this is one of Jim Bob's most valued rules, although I imagine that it might be an uncomfortable process for the guys.
Michelle said of the reasoning behind this rule, according to the Christian Post:
It's just understood that they're getting that clearance from the father because Daddy has their heart. And then he's the one who's gonna give that heart away to another man.
On a personal note, I'm curious as to how the suitors get in touch with Duggar to begin with — do they shoot him a message on Facebook? Do they send a note via carrier pigeon? I need more details.
No Alone Time
This might be one of the Duggars' most infamous pre-marriage rules — chaperones on dates. All Duggar kids, ladies and guys, must have chaperones accompany them on their romantic outings, according to TLC. Chaperones can be other siblings, friends, or parents.
Jim Bob said of the philosophy behind chaperones on dates, according to Us Weekly:
As far as our kids dating, we believe a lot of times if you're alone with the person, it can create desires that can kind of get stirred up, and you don't have any accountability, and [that] can kind of lead to some hanky panky.
Side note: is there any other word more cringe-worthy than "hanky panky?"
Although these before-marriage rules might seem a little intense to some people, it's how the Duggars prefer to lead their lives, and as long as it's not hurting anyone (this might be debatable...), then people have to live with it.
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