Duggar Family Shares Standards For Courting

By: Lindsay McCane - April 16, 2014

Jill Duggar recently announced that she was engaged to her beau Derick Dillard. Their wedding date has been set for this summer, and Jill explains that they will share their first kiss then.

The Duggar family has been very open about their standards for courting on their television show 19 Kids and Counting. They do not believe in holding hands or kissing before marriage. All dates are chaperoned, and the only physical contact made is an occasional side hug.

So, why the strict rules? Jill explained to ABC News that they want to keep their relationships more about getting to know each other, rather than the physical attraction. “We’re just really trying to keep our relationship focused not on the physical but really just more on communication and continuing to learn more about each other,” Jill said. “We’re saving our first kiss and things beyond that for our wedding.”

Michelle Duggar, the mother of the family, admitted that she and her husband Jim Bob did not wait until marriage for their first kiss, and now she wishes that they had. “Michelle and I are really grateful that they have chosen to set high standards,” Jim Bob said.

Jim Bob also revealed that he and Michelle let their daughters set their own standards for courting. They were fortunate enough that their daughters share the same beliefs as their parents.

“What’s so neat is Jessa and Ben and Jill and Derick have set their own courtship standards and now engagement standards, and they’ve said they want to bring them out in the open and be accountable,” Michelle explained. “I think it’s good for couples out there, young, old, whatever, you can set those standards and really focus on getting to know each other and wait for the physical aspect.”

Michelle and Jim Bob confirmed that they did give Jill permission to hold Derick’s hand after they became engaged.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

About the Author

Lindsay McCaneLindsay McCane is a writer, student, wife, and mom to a two-year-old little boy. She loves to read, write, and spend time with her family. Follow her on Twitter @lrmccane.

View all posts by Lindsay McCane
  • WS
    • balletlady

      When Jim Bob & Michelle sat in on daughter Jill’s “skyping” visit with boyfriend that was a little creepy….they’ve raise their children with strict morals & religious values yet they don’t seem to trust their daughter’s privacy skyping with a boyfriend Jim Bob selected himself, OR to go out on a date unchaperoned …they are 20 & 22 years old & have been watched over by their parents or a church guardian, parents say the daughters make their OWN courting rituals…No Way, as I said before, it ANY of the daugahters wanted to move OUT of the “Duggarville Compound” to live with her boyfriend that would be forbidden.
      Daughter Jinger spoke on one of the shows to wanting to “live near the city” with some feeling she meant moving to NYC i.e. move out of Duggarville to live on her own. Michelle went on record saying “oh, she doesn’t mean a move to NYC, she means moving closer to stores like Walmart etc for shopping”…..REALLY Michelle?

      It seems they have 10 perfect God fearing respectful children who follow in their parents’ footsteps with religious beliefs, modest dress, obedience to the family doctrine,

      The children don’t seem to be individuals as they all dress, speak, & behave exactly alike…what would happen if ONE of their kids wanted to dye their hair purple or the girls to cut their hair short or have nose/eye piercing of tattoos. Seems highly unlikely Jim Bob OR Michelle would allow that to happen even though the kids are adults.

      I would what would be the case if one of the children confided to their parents they were gay.

      • Anna Lopez

        The imperfections will eventually come out. Wanna know another compound who tried so hard to present a perfect image, the Campbell clan of aboverubies.org. Google their family especially the story of Serene’s failed adoptions. Much more to that bunch than you see in the air-brushed pictures they present to the world.

  • balletlady

    Jill at age 22 has never held hands with anyone, nor has she kissed a guy in a one to one relationship…she has no experience with romance, nothing to compare him to….very interesting…she may or may NOT regret waiting til marriage for the hand holding, the kiss & “everything else”…..we’ll never know. She has been skyping with him for about a year, they only recently met face to face & decided after spending a few hours together for the FIRST time, they would marry.
    Duggard daughter Jessa is 20, her boyfriend is ONLY 18, they have no previous dating experience yet are talking about marriage. At 18 it’s really young in today’s world to be married.
    The life experience the Duggar girls have is all family & church related, they’ve never gone away to college OR lived on their own. Their lives have always been overseen by their parents who seem to control their every lives.

    They say their daughters “decide” on their own courting ritual…however I BET if ONE of the daughter told Michelle & Jim Bob: “Hey, I’m leaving home & I’m going to go live with my boyfriend”…THAT would never happen.

    • Gabby

      Yea proboly not. But in the same account, they have been raised this way with religion being the center of everything and proboly don’t want to mess that up. Its really hard to hold off on “modern dating styles”, I applaude them for showing us it could happen. 😉

      • Normandy

        the mariage wont last-there is a 75% chance of divorce at their age

    • Young&Married

      Living in new towns and being in college is something they can experience together. The only man I have ever been with, kissed and dated is my husband. He has kissed someone before me, but nothing else (as we were both from religious households) and people that didn’t understand told us all the time that we were too young and had no “real world” experience. We were 18. We are graduating college this year and then we’ll be off to where ever we want to go, together. :-) She may regret it, I can’t speak for her, but we don’t and I sure hope she doesn’t either. It’s a beautiful thing. Others our age have created so much unnecessary stress and drama for themselves and they are still trying to find ways out all in the name of dating and experience. There are billions of people in the world! I don’t need to meet or date every one of them to know which one is for me. I have learned that you can make it work with anyone of your choosing as long as you want to. We are committed to keeping each other happy and I pray it stays that way for the rest of our forever.

      • Normandy

        yeah but youre a just a young, dumb kid. Report back when youre fully formed at 30. Its a whole big world, little sheep.

        • Anna Leung

          Idk, same as Young&Married the only person I have ever been with is my husband. We met when we were 17 at a study abroad program in Japan. We are 27 now both have good jobs in the fields we pursued and looking to buy our first home. It can happen.

    • hairkutter

      18 is awefully young. hes the one that may not know what he wants. and my gosh they should at least hold hands.. and ur right i said that before it seems they dont trust them to always be there. how dumb . u have to trust michelle and jim bob.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      .

      • balletlady

        Jim Bob recently said “when Michelle & I were courting, we made mistakes…but he didn’t go in to it”…it seems he was going down the path that “maybe they held hands or kissed or hugged frontally BEFORE marriage”……AND “he wanted to make sure his kids were well schooled in acceptable courting relationships”.
        To NOT hold hands with someone, HE says s he girls’ decision?? They are religious to the point of being extreme. DAD screens the many email requests from young men asking to court one of his daughters. Good enough, HE gets to screen out the possible suitors, whom HE thinks “aren’t good enough”.
        Does DAD ask the SEX question of possible email suitors…i.e. “have YOU had sex with a woman”…yet? If they tentative suitor said “Yes” No doubt DAD would cross this guy off HIS list.

    • Angel Joy

      You seem very jealous of this beautiful family. With God all things are possible. The Duggers got it right! The girls are not missing anything be it collage or other boyfriends. Sex is sex no matter how you swist it or turn it. So beat it!! Take a page out of the Duggers book and train up your children right. Marriage before sex is God’s plan for mankind. It will save many illnesses and unwanted pregnancies. Oh and by the way collage these days is full of premiscuious people, drugs and alcohol. What in the world are the Dugger clan missing?

      • balletlady

        These “children” are missing out on the realities of LIFE and a chance for higher education. They ONLY know the life their PARENTS let them “lead”.
        Outside of home schooling & religious doctrine & being surrounded by parental supervision or supervision or guidance of people exactly like their parents, they have no true life experience. Not ONE of them has lived on their own outside the Duggarville Family Compound, nor do they socialize with “outsiders”, i.e. people outside the family/church/mid wife spectrum. They have led very sheltered over protected lives.
        Hopefully they will survive once they , leave parental control & are under the complete control of their husbands.

  • Edward L Buck

    at least these girls won’t be waking up naked on the lawn or in the hospital and every boy that’s been close to them gets accused of rape, they have established trust so he can go out of town to work and she won’t checking cellphone calls and he won’t be checking underwear;’ good luck kids, I hope you stay married 60 years

    • Normandy

      true, but he’ll cheat on her in a few years and theyll have six kids and dicvorce at 30-its very sad

      • Tracy M

        Please, tell us what else you see in your crystal ball.

      • Edward L Buck

        you know nothing about relationships where folks have strong moral values, these two are together because they like each other, listen to jive talking by the BeeGees to get the message

    • Rach

      A woman can be raped ANYWHERE. A parking lot by a stranger, a breakroom by coworker. I was on duty as a security supervisor when I was attacked by a hurricane relief worker. I managed to get away, but, that was because I had the life experience and street smarts of 10 years security experience. And I still deal with anxiety and PTSD. A sheltered life doesn’t guarantee a safe one. I wish them all the best, but the world is a dangerous place full of predators.

      • Edward L Buck

        you are mixing apples and oranges, I am talking about girls who go out and drink all night and wake up to haing sex with every man that was nearby, you were attacked by a violent predator and I am glad you are still with us. I maintain that the Duggar girls won’t fall into the this trap of alcohol fueled sex or put themselves out there by inappropriate behavior, my girlfriend of 7 years and myself are on the no sex challenge until we get hitched, take time to know the person you want to spend your life with, this will be the second marriage for both of us, so I love what the Duggars stand for

  • delta54

    With divorce rates what they are, their way has to be better than what most people are doing these days. I have nothing negative to say.

    • Normandy

      studies show theyll be divorced in mid twenties. They have over a 75% chance of failure at so young an age

  • joan swindells

    I agree, in modern times, which aren’t always good for either one, things happen, marriages aren’t for real, at least these kids will be happy which is what life is all about…we have become too modern, we all need to get back to basics..

    • gabi532

      They have no empowerment. IT’s sad.

      • Kat

        Perhaps their empowerment comes from their faith. Or more from the support of family and knowing they are following God’s word. I’m not overly religious but empowerment doesn’t mean sleeping with someone before marriage, getting tattooed, cutting your hair or anything else it means living the life you feel right about living. Just because many people see them as having no rights I see that they are protected and cherished. And if this boy is willing to wait for sex among other things it must mean he sees something in her other than physical pleasures.

        Perhaps (shocking) he is interested in more than just getting laid.

        • Tracy M

          Very well put Kat.

        • gabi532

          i am very faithful and it’s more of a cult than faith. There’s a difference. Think about it.

  • Anna Lopez

    Just remember, courting in and of itself is not the answer. You can allow “courting” with another family’s son or daughter, but make SURE it is a family you know **really well** before you allow it. We got burned on that, the family we allowed our teen to “court” their teen turned out to not only have very different ideas of “courting” but also turned out to be crazy, manipulative people – the whole bunch of them. Our teen is now trapped in an early marriage with a crazy person.

    • Aunt Bea

      Your married teen has a choice about whether she stays in a marriage with a crazy person or not. She might want to seek help in her decisions, past and future, with a mental health professional. She needs help in developing tools for coping with or ending her relationship with her husband. She is by no means trapped by marriage, though through time and years of mental abuse she may come to believe that.

  • Leah

    what if they have no physical attraction once they “get together” if you know what I mean. If the spark in the bedroom isn’t there that can really tear apart a relationship too.

  • Shelby Melbourne

    Unfortunately, all their daughters will take after the old lady. Vaginas with no “Off” switch!

    • hairkutter

      true… the daughter in law is a prime example of that.. she even talks like michelle.

  • Kasy

    You know what? At least they have a good foundation. The rest is up to them.
    I agree with many of you. Look at all the divorces. At least they have a clean chance of staying together happily.

    • Normandy

      wrong-at so young, they have the worst foundation for marriage success. Best chance is to wait until late twneties ot marry

      • Medina Mee

        normandy just shut up do know the number one reason people get divorce its because of money not age but money ..prior to the 1970’s most people were married before the age of 25… now you can wait till your 30 or 40 if you want .. if more people actually still courted today it would be less divorces anyway, instead hoping into bed with every tom, dick jamie and vanessa.

        • Chance

          The 70’s were almost a half a century ago.

  • css

    its al very cultish…a shame people give them any attention…the girls may have a prayer of a normal life without media given the parents more power and making it all such a deal

  • Normandy

    i hope this kid doesnt use her vagina like some twisted religious clown car the way her mother did. Women are not baby machines

  • Becky

    The kids choose their courtship standards? Really? What adult would allow their parents to be a part of all pre-marriage conversations? I never knew that hand holding led to sex. This is way too creepy.

  • sonja

    why do all the girls always wear skirts or dresses never pants or shorts? I just love little josie shes a doll all your kids are great very smart michelle you have a lot of patients I watch your show in the afternoon and at night when its on.

  • Leah D Cassidy-Rust

    I don’t see anything wrong with the way these kids are being brought up. If we had more families like this, our world wouldn’t be as messed up as it is. It is not for us to judge these people.

  • 21st Century Woman

    Let me get this straight. They are “courting” and being chaperoned in their 20’s. Not only are they doing this, they are teaching their daughters how to totally depend on a man and just stay at home and have babies? Um sure, that’s the life. (Hence the sarcasm)

  • meme1950

    These people don’t trust their adult children to make smart choices for themselves.

  • ciecie

    those girls need to start making decisions for themselves. my sister met and married her first husband after knowing him less than six months. BIG MISTAKE! he cheated on her and was abusive!

  • rachel

    honestly it is none of you judgemental peoples business about how the children or young adults handle their lives and for the hateful comments towards this amazing family maybe you should sit down and watch the show from the very beginning to understand what the family is all about instead of running your mouths about things you don’t understand or know it is because of judgemental people like you that kids are suicidal depressed etc because you have the nerve to open your mouths about things you don’t understand so stop judging and start listening open your minds and hearts the world would be a better place if you did have a nice night

  • tina

    Ear piercings tattoos and sex are all adult decisions fortunately the Duggars both children and the parents have a loving and trusting relationship that allows both parties to be in each others lives for as long as necessary. Anyone who sees a problem with this should maybe find out what your children are doing right now. Why do we allow our children to make adult decisions when they’re not ready? Our children should grow up with boundaries and slowly if they do everything adult wise as a child what is there to look forward to when they do become an adult? Children are growing up too quickly nowadays. What is so wrong with parents watching out for their children?

  • what???

    Jim Bob gives me the creeps. He is the human equation of a rabbit in constant heat.

    • mayaka

      Really. the only difference between you and him is probably because he has the only one woman. Most men are just like him. the only difference is that they are using condoms or aborting the effort of their union. Sex does not have to be done all the time to produce many children. They could be having sex once a year and still produce the same number of children. Duh!!

  • SmileyFromMassachusetts

    This seems less like religion and more like a cult. They are allowed to live their lives the way they want to, however they are not allowing their children to live their own lives or make decisions for themselves. You can not possibly know that you should marry someone when you are only 18, you have no life experience, you have no relationship experience and you have only met the person once! The whole thing just seems odd and cult like! They clearly want to control their children and their lives!

  • Mp

    The fact these kids are forbidden any physical contact with someone they are interested in is good in terms of respecting one self etc. BUT it’s making them want to get married at such a young age just to experience that physical contact! This is not good. They are all rushing to get married at such a young age with no life experience just to be able to experience that boyfriend/ girlfriend relationship that an average person has in their teenage years. Not good.

    • Julia

      Aunt Bea, the reason these kids are rushing into marriage is that so they can actually experience real life. Being that they can’t do that living with mom an dad. I am telling you from experience and as someone who was raised in that religion. I saw it all the time in my church. Kids 17, 18, 19 getting married just to experience life because they are no longer living with their parents. If you decide to start making your own decisions and living how you want to live not how your parents want to you to live you start getting called a “rebel” and get disowned. That is what happened to me. Some people just aren’t brave enough to do that so they do what they are told.

  • Heather

    Ben & Jessa’s interview is so cute! Good for them for setting boundaries. There is no “one size fits all” rules to dating or courting.

  • Joe Mahma

    .
    Die, you filthy breeders.
    .

  • $29856544

    My my he is losing 2 of his child labor….I am surprised one or more of them has not flown the coup….do any of them work outside of the home….

  • guest2727

    OMG. I want to see one just one of these girls go a different way. Have a career that doesn’t involve breeding and cleaning and go out into the real world and live. Date different guys until you actually find the one you really do like and then get married. Not someone your dad picks out for you and you don’t even know if you really have feelings for because you can’t even kiss and see if something is there. It must be like marrying your brother or just a friend to them.

  • Chance

    Can you even imagine holding hands, kissing, and having sex for the first time in the same day?! That would be terrifying. I had years of hand holding before I was ready to kiss. Years and years of kissing before I was ready or had any desire to have sex. Do they really do it all on their wedding day? Surely some of the ppl that wait still have to wait a little while after marriage to consummate? I just can’t imagine just kissing for the first time and going straight to sex that same day. I suppose that happens to FLDS girls daily though.

  • Donna Moore

    FREAKS

  • Mel

    To put it simple, if they trust in God, he will show them the road to travel and care for them through all, even if they do get lost during their traveling. He will lift them up, forgive and remember their failures nor more. Why, because they are human. There can be SOME truth in all comments below however, you who have not sinned, throw the first stone…………….

  • balletlady

    Jim Bob recently said “when Michelle & I were courting, we made mistakes…but he didn’t go in to it”…it seems he was going down the path that “maybe they held hands or kissed or hugged frontally BEFORE marriage”……AND “he wanted to make sure his kids were well schooled in acceptable courting relationships”.
    To NOT hold hands with someone, HE says it the girls’ decision?? They are religious to the point of being extreme. DAD screens the many email requests from young men asking to court one of his daughters, which since this is a TV show he must receive hunreds of “courting permission requests”. HE gets to screen out the possible suitors, whom HE thinks “aren’t good enough” in his opinion.

    Dad Skype chatted with Derek for months before introducing him to his daughter. THEN with Dad’s approval, his daughter began an on ling Skype courtship with Derek, going so far as to travel to Nepal to meet Derek personally for the FIRST time. When Derek as a gentleman, put his hand on Jill’s back to guide her through a crowd, JIM BOB placed BOTH his hands on each one of Jill’s shoulders & STEERED her WAY from Derek.

    Before the actually meeting of the daughters, oes DAD ask the SEX question of possible email suitors…i.e. “have YOU had sex with a woman”…yet? If they tentative suitor said “Yes” No doubt DAD would cross this guy off HIS list. No doubt all that is talked about is scripture & Bible versus to see if this guy meets DAD’S requirements of Biblical knowledge before approval.

    Ben is ONLY 18 years old….most guys this age are NOT ready for marriage, yet the Duggars AND his family seem to want to push them in to an engagement & marriage as quickly as possible. He is also only a freshman in college, & it seems how will they support themselves & WHERE will they live? . Jim Bob wants his family living close by, & I am sure so do Ben’s family.

    It will be interesting to see WHERE Jill & Derek will live…he’s due home shortly from Nepal when they marry, I am sure Jim Bob will be happy to rent them one of his rental properties to KEEP his daughter under his thumb.

    That MAY change IF Michelle GETS PREGNANT again at 48…she isn’t ready to throw in the towel. If the OB GYN gave her & Jim Bob the LOW DOWN on what could happen in a pregnancy at age 48…Jim Bob looked disappointed……like he wants her to have another child despite almost losing her, Josie & the recent stillborn baby Jubilee.