Fans of the TLC reality show, Counting On, know that the stars of the show, (aka the many members of the Duggar family) tend to do things their way. They live their lives by their own set of morals and values, which has an impact on almost everything they do — including dating. But, fans also know that the Duggars don't date. Instead, they court. So, fans of the show might want to know why the Duggars court — because, let's be real, it's something that is pretty unique.
John-David Duggar, who is 28 years old, surprised fans at the end of July when he popped the question to his partner, Abbie Grace Burnett — proposing to her just one month after they began their courtship, according to People. Although that might seem a little fast for a lot of people, courting is different for the Duggars; it isn't just dating.
Michelle Duggar does a great job at explaining why her children don't date and why they court. In a blog post, written for TLC in 2013, Michelle opened up about her thoughts on courtship. "We like to think carefully about courtship and getting to know potential husbands and wives," Michelle wrote.
While dating might be something a little more casual, for the Duggar family, courtship is seen as the next step to marriage.
Michelle continued, telling TLC:
Why would you consider really getting to know someone closely if you didn't think there would be a potential for marriage? A person really needs to ask themselves, are they at the point in their life where they are ready for marriage? If they are, then they need to be careful in how they handle this whole idea of getting to know someone because the emotions and the emotions that are involved in that season of life can get really out of hand if you don't have a good perspective.
Instead of thinking about other things during their courtship, it's clear, based on Michelle's words, that her kids are thinking about their partner as a future spouse, which involves setting boundaries for themselves with their partner, according to Us Weekly. Dad, Jim Bob Duggar, explained to TODAY in 2016. "Courtship is really waiting for the one God has for you and praying through the whole process," Jim Bob said.
"It's really examining the person and considering, 'Would this be the guy I want to be the father of my kids?'," Michelle added.
In order for their kids to focus on their partner and before getting married down the line, the Duggar family has infamous "rules" for courting, according to TODAY, which really allows them to get to know their partner before marriage and focus on what matters.
No matter how old they are, the Duggars who are courting need to have a chaperone when they go on dates, according to TLC, which is meant to hold the courters accountable for anything "bad" that they might be tempted to do. "Having accountability really keeps things from going in the wrong direction," Jim Bob told TODAY.
This means that they are limited on how much physical contact that they can have with their significant other, too, according to TLC. When they're in a courtship, they are not allowed to kiss, according to People — instead, they're only allowed to do side hugs, according to TLC — and hold hands once they're engaged.
Although these rules may seem a little harsh, it clearly works for the Duggar family. John David and Burnett are proof they knew early on that they wanted to be together and were focused on each other — which could have been attributed to their successful courtship. And although it might seem like a lot of effort involved in getting to know someone, Michelle told TODAY that courtships are definitely worth it for everyone involved.
"There is no failed courtship," Michelle said. "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.
Even though courtships might not work for everyone else, they do work for the work for the members of the Duggar family. And at the end of the day, that is great for them.