Jessa Duggar “Enters Courtship” with 18-Year-Old Ben Seewald

Third daughter of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar isn’t allowed to kiss or hug her boyfriend

By Elena Gorgan on September 18th, 2013 08:30 GMT

Perhaps even if it hadn’t been for their successful TLC reality show, the Duggars would have still been the center of attention because of their lifestyle and beliefs. Both are apparent in the way they let their 20-year-old daughter Jessa conduct her love life.

Jessa, the third daughter of the Duggars, is now dating her first boyfriend and, as it so happens, the relationship will be documented on the new season of the reality series.

In an interview with People magazine, her parents explain that they don’t use the term “dating”: Jessa has entered a courtship with the 18-year-old young man and, as expected, it comes with a set of very strict rules.

First things first though.

“We are so excited for Ben and Jessa. They are enjoying getting to know each other and are recommending sermons to one another,” Jim Bob says for the publication.

Then come the rules.

“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,” the patriarch explains.

The young lovers are not allowed to kiss or (frontally) hug. Only side hugging is permitted occasionally, with the couple agreeing to save all physical contact for after the wedding, if one should take place.

“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,” mom Michelle Duggar says.

“[Jessa and Ben] want to wait on the physical relationship until later. If there is an engagement that comes about, they will work together on their goals and standards for that,” she continues.

The new season of the TLC series “19 Kids & Counting” premiered yesterday.
Ben Seewald and Jessa Duggar’s courtship will be featured on new season of TLC’s “19 Kids & Counting”
   Ben Seewald and Jessa Duggar’s courtship will be featured on new season of TLC’s “19 Kids & Counting”
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