The Huge Rule Michelle And Jim Bob Duggar Broke While Courting

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar are known for the seriously strict rules they place on their children when it comes to relationships. Their 19 kids aren't allowed to date the same way as many teens and young adults do. Instead, they engage in courting, which is entering a relationship with the intention to marry (via Today). It's part of the family's deep commitment to their faith.

"Courtship is really waiting for the one God has for you and praying through the whole process," Jim Bob explained. And Michelle added, "It's really examining the person and considering, 'Would this be the guy I want to be the father of my kids?'" However, it appears the deeply faithful couple didn't quite follow all the rules when it came to their own courtship. In fact, it appears Michelle and Jim Bob broke one of their biggest rules during the early days of their own relationship more than 30 years ago.

For Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, courtship rules are about accountability

First, let's take a look at those courtship rules. Jim Bob and Michelle believe that physical relationships are for married couples. Once a Duggar child commits to courting, they aren't allowed to kiss their significant other or hold hands. Side hugs are permitted, but frontal hugs aren't (via Christian Post). The idea is not to put themselves in situations that could result in feelings they cannot act upon until marriage.

To make sure they follow those rules, all Duggar daughters have chaperones with them when spending time with their partners (via In Touch Weekly). Usually, that's by Jim Bob or Michelle themselves. Sometimes, an older sibling, usually a brother, can step in to keep a mindful eye. 

Courtships typically last a few months, and weddings come a few months after that. The process seems unusual to many people, but it's worked for eight of the 19 kids so far.

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar did things differently

Jim Bob and Michelle didn't stick to the rules they've put in place for their children during the time they were courting, however. They revealed that they kissed before their 1984 wedding. "We did not save our first kiss for our wedding day," Michelle shared on 19 Kids and Counting (via YouTube). "We really regret that we didn't. We should have."

In fact, the decision to wait until marriage for a first kiss was one that the family came up with collectively. Jim Bob and Michelle encourage the kids to come up with their own courtship rules, then bring them to mom and dad for approval and to keep accountability. The Duggar siblings all agreed to wait for marriage for their first kisses. "All of us kids have agreed that we want to save our first kiss for our wedding day," Jessa revealed. 

Justin was the most recent Duggar to begin courting at 17 years old. He also is the first Duggar to announce a courtship before turning 18. He and Claire Spivey began courting in September 2020, per People. And now they are engaged!