Jessa Duggar, the third-eldest daughter of Jim Bob and Michelle, has entered a "courtship" period with a boy from a local town, and the family is thrilled...but that doesn't mean anything will be happening anytime soon.
The Duggars became famous after a one-off special about their large family on TLC turned into a series, "19 And Counting" and use their fame to spread the word about their beliefs through churches around the country. They don't believe in birth control or sex before marriage and have very strict guidelines concerning dress and behavior, especially when it comes time to find a significant other. For that reason, Jessa must be very careful about her new relationship.
A courtship is different from dating, according to Michelle, in that the young couple will spend a lot of time with their families rather than being alone away from the house.
"Courting is getting to know each other in a group setting, both families spending time together and the couple setting goals together to determine if they are meant to marry. With dating, a couple will often pair off alone and that sometimes leads to a more physical relationship. Courtship is not just about having fun. You are really considering if this person could be your life partner – you pray about it and see what happens," she said.
Of course, the family is always in the know when it comes to the teens getting together, and have a definitive say on how physical they can get.
"Dad allowed them to do a side hug when they were officially courting," Michelle said.. "Jessa and Ben have said that was the only contact they would have, when they initially greet each other, when he comes to visit for their first hello, they have a quick 30 second or less side hug and a goodbye side hug and they agreed that would be the only contact they should have."
The family of 21--including eldest Joshua, who is married with three children of his own--will be back at it on Tuesday night on TLC.