Joy-Anna Duggar has news to share with fans. The former 19 Kids and Counting star turned 19 on October 28, but that wasn't the only big event in her life. Duggar is dating — er, courting — her longtime friend Austin, and though the pair seem thrilled about their new romantic endeavor... I have some questions. Duggar, who appears on 19 Kids and Counting spin-off Counting On, revealed her new relationship status on Tuesday's episode and in a TLC digital exclusive video. In the video, Joy-Anna says that Austin, her friend of 15 years, took her to his special place — a peaceful nature spot — in order to ask her to enter into a courtship. The reality star happily agreed.
If you're wondering why the Duggars "court" rather than "date," it's because courting has very different rules than typical dating. According to Duggar patriarch Jim Bob Duggar, in an interview with Today.com, courting is not dating — it's "dating with a purpose." Says Jim Bob: "Courtship is really waiting for the one God has for you, and praying through the whole process." Other ways that courting differs from dating? There's always a chaperone, and there's no kissing or holding hands allowed. (Hugging is okay.) Given the rules, it makes sense for the Duggars to call their version of finding a partner by a different word entirely. Should Joy-Anna and Austin not work out, mom Michelle Duggar told Today.com that there's no such thing as a "failed courtship." Every courtship leads someone one step closer to the person they're meant to be with forever. Will Austin be the one for the 19-year-old Duggar? If so, I'm sure TLC will be all over their wedding special.