The Truth About How The Duggar Sisters Met Their Husbands

The Duggar sisters are no strangers to reality television. That said, members of the large and ever-growing family from Arkansas are also no strangers to controversy either. With a family as big as theirs, there's bound to be drama, and, as the family is also pretty conservative, that drama oftentimes takes place in the press. Their show 19 Kids and Counting was hugely successful, and its spinoff, Counting On, which follows the older Duggar kids as they make their way through life, had gained many fans.

The whole family has all lived so much of their lives on camera, but the older Duggar sisters have had the added embarrassment of dating on camera. Well, sort of. The Duggar family doesn't really believe in "dating" as most people know it, and their strict rules and procedures for what has to happen before they let their daughter go off with a man are confusing. There are courtships, chaperones, and procedures more complicated than the instructions for an IKEA bookshelf. The truth about how the Duggar sisters met their husbands, then, is pretty interesting, as it's always a family affair with the Duggars.

The Duggar sisters like to be courted

One of the biggest things that sets the Duggar family apart from the mainstream world is their belief in the courtship process. Anyone who has seen an episode of 19 Kids and Counting or Counting On knows that the Duggar family doesn't date. Rather, they court, and their version of courtship comes with rules.

In an interview with Today, the head of the Duggar family, Jim Bob and Michelle, explained why they value courtship. "Courtship is really waiting for the one God has for you and praying through the whole process," Jim Bob said. Michelle added, "It's really examining the person and considering, 'Would this be the guy I want to be the father of my kids?'"  

But as nice as that sounds, in order for the Duggar sisters to enjoy a courtship, there are rules. As the Duggars told Today, the two lovebirds must never be left alone, their texts aren't private, and they can't hold hands or kiss. And to begin a courtship, you have to ask Jim Bob first. The entire process might seem outdated, but it seems to work for them.

The Duggar sisters have high standards because of their parents

All of the Duggar kids have a seemingly great example of love and romance to look up to. So when the Duggar sisters started courting their then-future husbands, they may have thought about their own parents' relationship. In fact, the story of how Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar first got together is adorable.

Michelle explained on the TLC website, as reported by Romper, that she was in high school and working with Jim Bob's mom when he first asked her out. "Jim Bob came in and asked me if I would go to the junior/senior banquet with him," she wrote. "He was a year older, so he was graduating that year. My friend that worked with me knew him and said he was a really sweet guy." Michelle added that, even though she barely knew him, she believed her friend and went for it with him, and the rest is pretty much history. With such a sweet, innocent story of how their parents met, it's no wonder the Duggar sisters have such high standards when it comes to their own love stories.

Jessa Duggar met her husband at church

With all the rules regarding how the Duggars deal with courtship, it's kind of a wonder that any of them get the chance to meet someone at all. But there's one place that even the Duggar family has deemed safe enough to let their children mix and mingle: church. Yes, their church is the spot of a lot of meet-cutes in the Duggar sisters' world, and that's where Jessa Duggar met her beau.

"Jessa and I met at her church while on a mini vacation in Northwest Arkansas. Jesse's family was really friendly and invited us to a conference just a few days later," Jessa's husband, Ben Seewald, wrote on the Seewald family blog. After first meeting Jessa, Ben wrote that he was determined to see her again, and he practically begged his mom to let them go to the conference the Duggars had invited them to. After that, Ben and Jessa slowly started to get to know each other, and Ben was embraced by the Duggar family. In short, it was the perfect start to a Duggar romance.

Jessa Duggar was worried Ben Seewald wouldn't be interested in her

Because the Duggar family is so conservative and place such an emphasis on getting married and pregnant (in that order), as noted by Newsweek, it's not exactly surprising to hear how young the Duggar sisters were when they got married. Jessa Duggar, for instance, was 21 when she got married. And as young as that sounds, she was actually older than her husband, Ben Seewald, who was only 19 at the time. In fact, when Jessa and Ben first met, Jessa was concerned Ben wouldn't be interested in an older woman.

In a blog post for the Seewald family blog, Jessa reminisced about her first meeting with Ben. "When first I laid eyes on you, a dapper seventeen-year-old young man, I never could've dreamt of what the future held for us," she wrote. She noted that he'd had a goatee at the time, and, because of it, she thought he was in his 20s, and when she found out he wasn't, she had doubts. "Surely he wouldn't be interested in an older gal," she recalled thinking. "He's a teenager, and I'm already twenty!" But age is just a number, and it didn't get in the way of Ben and Jessa falling in love.

Jinger Duggar met her husband through her sister

If it seems like the Duggar sisters live in a romantic comedy, well, it's because they just might. While their old-fashioned values of courting might seem outdated, they clearly yield results and some good stories. For Jinger Duggar, true love was just a church fellowship event away. In fact, Jinger wouldn't have met her husband, Jeremy Vuolo, if it weren't for her sister, Jessa, and her husband, Ben. Jessa and Ben had met Jeremy at a church event in San Antonio, according to In Touch. Ben and Jeremy had stayed in touch, and so Jeremy was able to reach out when he started developing feelings for Jinger.

In a post on the Vuelo family blog (via In Touch), Jeremy reportedly wrote about how he knew Jinger "was a godly young woman... but we had never really interacted on more than a surface level." Then he watched a video of her, and he fell hard. "I remember watching her testimony video that she had made with Ben and thinking, 'Wow. This girl is amazing,'" he recalled. Basically, Jeremy knew he had to reach out when he saw Jinger's video. Their relationship blossomed after that, and it's really all thanks to Ben and Jessa.

Jinger Duggar went on a mission trip with her husband before officially courting

In true Duggar fashion, Jinger Duggar and Jeremy Vuelo didn't just meet up for coffee after he saw her testimony video. After visiting Arkansas and meeting Jinger in person (along with her entire family), they took things international. Jeremy joined the Duggar family on a mission trip in Central America where the two really got to know each other and realized they wanted to be together (via Romper).

In a video for TLC, as reported by CBS News, Jinger announced her courtship with Jeremy and seemed thrilled. "I met Jeremy last May and then we had the opportunity to go on a mission trip together," she said. "It was there that I really saw his heart and admired his character."

In the video, Jeremy added that he couldn't be happier. "We are very excited to begin this journey together, and for you to join us along the way," he said. Sure, they could have first gone on a chaperoned date like other Duggar sisters, but why not take things to Central America? Jinger and Jeremy truly have an exciting love story, and they have mission work and family connections to thank for it.

Jill Duggar fell in love because of her dad

The Duggar family's strict courtship rules typically mean that the Duggar sisters don't just go on a dating app and find a guy she's interested in. Usually, a Duggar sister will meet a guy at church or through her sisters, or even on a mission trip. When it comes to Jill Duggar, her love story with Derick Dillard probably wouldn't have happened were it not for her father, who practically set them up. Yes, the Duggar patriarch knows a thing or two about making love connections.

When Derick was doing missionary work in Nepal, Jim Bob Duggar was one of his "prayer partners," as Derick explained on the Dillard family blog. So, Derick and Jim Bob would talk regularly, and it was through those conversations that Derick learned about Jill. "Jill's dad would also mention periodically the work Jill was doing in her studies as a student midwife and her desire to someday use her skills overseas on the mission field," Derick wrote. "Being that we had similar life goals, she caught my attention." Even though Derick was thousands of miles away on a mission trip, he started falling for Jill, and it didn't take long before she started to fall for him, as well.

Jill Duggar caught feelings for her husband before ever meeting him

Even though Jill Duggar had only really heard about Derick Dillard from her father's phone calls with him, this Duggar sister could tell he was something special. It took some time, but before too long, Jill and Derick were a regular part of each other's lives. After her dad introduced the two of them, they began to talk on the phone and video chat on the computer more often, and they actually got to know each other really well, as noted by the Dillard family blog. So well, in fact, that Jill found herself catching feelings virtually.

"We got to know each other in the first few months pretty quickly," Jill told People in an interview about how her courtship with Derick was going at the time. "I was in love with someone I had never met in person, but we really knew each other well." Jill added that she "was really impressed with his character" and was "surprised how much we have the same vision and life goals." To have feelings of love for someone you've never met in person is intense, and it would suggest that the two had a genuine connection that couldn't be denied.

Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard met for the first time abroad

In a total Bachelor-esque moment, Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard met in person for the first time in a totally romantic way. While Derick was in Nepal, Jill and Jim Bob got to go and visit him, which is when Jill and Derick finally met in person, as they both detailed on their blog

As Derick wrote, he felt led to take things to the next level with the Duggar sister. "By the end of the trip I felt the Lord directing me to ask Jill to officially begin a courtship relationship," Jill Duggar's husband, who has been involved in some of the craziest Duggar family moments you didn't see on TV, wrote. "She agreed and we continued getting to know one another." As for Jill, she wrote that after she "observed his integrity, sweet spirit and love for God and service to others," she fell even more in love with him. "Our goals aligned perfectly with how we saw God leading us and we both felt we could serve Him better together than separate!" she explained. With such a whirlwind romance, its clear that Jill and Derick's courtship is the stuff Duggar sister dreams are made of.

Joy-Anna Dugger knew her husband since they were young

Though the Duggars are known to travel all over the world doing mission work and attending conferences, sometimes their future spouses are closer to home than they might realize. At least, that was what happened with Joy-Anna Duggar, who actually first met her husband, Austin Forsyth, when they were just kids. Of course, their romantic relationship didn't start until they were older, but it's sweet that they went from childhood friends to husband and wife.

In a video announcing their courtship reported by People, Joy-Anna explained, "We've known each other for a long time." Austin added that they'd been in each other's lives for "almost 15 years." According to People, Joy-Anna and Austin met when his family relocated to Arkansas and started going to the same church as the Duggars. "It's really special that I got to grow up with him and my family knows him really well," Joy-Anna told the magazine. 

As fans know, the Duggar sisters take courtship and romantic relationships super seriously, so it probably worked out for everyone that the Duggars already knew Austin before their courtship even began. For the happy couple, having known each other for so long presumably only makes their relationship all that much more special.

Joy-Anna Duggar's love story sounds like fate

Even though Joy-Anna Duggar and Austin Forsyth had known each other for years, most of that time was spent as friends. So, when Austin knew he wanted to take things to the next level and begin courting Joy-Anna, he wanted to ask her somewhere special in a place that meant a lot to Joy-Anna.

In a video on the Duggar family website, as reported by People, Joy-Anna explained that the spot Austin asked to court her was great because they had been there with friends before. "There was a whole group of us that came up," the Duggar sister said. "And we were just hanging out and it was really late at night, stars were just gorgeous." As for Austin, it was a place he went to "many times to just get away and spend time with the Lord," he said. "I just knew that this was the place that I wanted to ask her." Honestly, their entire love story sounds like it was meant to be.