‘Counting On’ Fans Still Cringe From How Jill Duggar Met Her Husband, Derick Dillard

We may no longer get an in-depth look into the Duggar clan through 19 Kids and Countingbut thanks to TLC’s revival of the gigantic family with Counting On, fans are more willing than ever to watch the drama and odd family dynamics unfold. Not only do we get to see parents Michelle and Jim Bob continue to raise their youngest kids on the show, but we get a chance to watch the oldest Duggars marry and have families of their own. And one pairing — Jill Duggar and husband Derick Dillard — have caused a stir on the program from the very beginning.

Courtship is a huge part of how the Duggars find eligible partners, but Jill and Derick’s courtship struck fans as particularly odd. Here’s why viewers are still cringing over how the two met.

They met thanks to Jim Bob, Jill’s father

Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard
Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard | Jill Dillard via Instagram

When it comes to dating a Duggar daughter, they have to follow strict “courting” rules set by Jim Bob, their father. During dates, the kids also have to have a chaperone with them at all time — and touching of any kind is strictly forbidden. These rules alone were enough to have fans cringing, but the fact that the ultra-strict Jim Bob set Jill up with her future husband also was tough for many fans to swallow.

As for how the connection came to fruition, Us Weekly reminds us Derick was doing humanitarian work in Nepal back in 2012 when he first got into contact with Jim Bob. “I had gotten an email from Derick a few years ago and gave him my phone number so he could share the work he was doing in Nepal,” Jim Bob told People. “He sounded like an amazing young man. I felt like from the beginning, they had similar personalities and goals. I thought they would hit it off.”

By March 2013, Derick and Jill were talking regularly on the phone and Skype. And by summer of 2013, Us Weekly notes Derick said he was “praying about Jill and asking God for direction in getting to know Jill better.” It seems Derick’s prayers were answered, as he continued to keep in touch with Jill regularly while he was in Nepal. And Jill was reciprocating his advances, as she told People, “I was in love with someone I had never met in person, but we really knew each other well.”

Jim Bob was there when the two finally met in person

Derick Dillard, Jill Duggar, and their two kids
Derick Dillard, Jill Duggar, and their two kids | Derick Dillard via Instagram

Eventually, after months of keeping in touch across countries and Jill falling in love despite never actually meeting Derick, Jill traveled with Jim Bob to Nepal to finally meet her future husband. As Jill told People, “I traveled over 36 hours to meet him and we had a film crew filming and jet lag so it is a different dynamic than most people have. But it was really special.”

As for how Derick felt about their first meeting, he had a few tricks up his sleeve for courting Jill — and one of them was candy. “We have a large pool of chaperones,” People notes he said. “You have to come in armed with good jokes and I usually have Skittles as well.” By the time Derick finally met Jill for the first time, they were officially dating, too.

In Touch Weekly notes plenty of fans were put off by how fast the two entered a relationship after only meeting in person once. As one user wrote on Reddit, “I never thought about it this way, but it’s insane how fast their relationship developed.” And another user noted, “she was married and pregnant by a man she had known less than a year.”

Some fans think Jill was trying to beat Jessa down the aisle

Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard on their wedding day
Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard on their wedding day | Jill Dillard via Instagram

Jill is certainly genuine about her feelings, and we’re sure she felt a real connection with Derick — but fans seem to think there was something else at play in regards to the couple’s rushed courtship. It seems Jessa, her younger sister, was also involved in a serious relationship at the same time as Jill. And some fans believe Jill wanted to beat her little sister to marriage.

In Touch Weekly notes some Reddit users posted their theories, and one user said, “There was just no way she was going to let her younger sister have a wedding and babies before her, so she married the first guy who showed some genuine interest.” The user also added that Jim Bob could have stepped in and slowed down the whole process, but fans suspect he didn’t because the multiple courtships and weddings were skyrocketing their TV ratings.

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