They’re as famous for their strict “courting” rules as they are for the sheer number of family members, but the Duggars have had to deliver a timely refresher on their relationship dos and don’ts.

As Jinger, the family’s fourth daughter, embarks on a trip with husband-to-be Jeremy Vuolo, her sisters, brothers-in-law and her mother step in to make sure the young couple are being appropriately chaperoned.

The long list of “physical boundaries” include the now-infamous “side-hug”, which prevents any chest-to-chest contact until the couple’s wedding day, not kissing until after marriage vows are exchanged and even having other family members sit and stand in between the pair.

Ben Seewald, Jessa’s husband, then explains that the rules allow for focussing “on getting to know each other as a person, asking lots of questions, having a lot of conversation. Really saving the physical intimacy for after the wedding day.”

“When we first started texting and talking, Jessa’s parents would be a part of like a group text,” the soon-to-be father continues on the latest episode of Counting On. “And that was just so that they could get to know me a little better as well, and see what we were talking about.

“See what kind of questions we were asking, and they could throw in some questions too and hop in on the conversation.”

So what does Jeremy think of the strict family values?


“I really appreciate the idea of chaperones,” Jeremy said. “Just really in the sense of being above reproach and having accountability.

“So I’ve really appreciated that. And it’s certainly fun, especially when you’ve got chaperones like her brothers and sisters, who you want to be around anyway.”

Described by the religious family as “dating with a purpose”, their carefully monitored courting process is just one of many beliefs the Duggars follow; female members don’t wear skirts that sit above their knee and shorts and tank tops are prohibited, and they all avoid beaches and public swimming areas because, according to mum Michelle, “it’s just too hard for the guys to try to keep their eyes averted in those situations.”

While the reality tv stars’ original series, 19 Kids and Counting, was cancelled in the wake of the explosive revelation that eldest son Josh had molested a number of his own siblings, spin-off Counting On now focusses on the lives of the three older girls and their own growing families. 

Image courtesy TLC

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