‘Counting On’: How the Duggar Girls Show Their Love While Sticking To Jim Bob’s Courting Rules

As evangelical fundamentalists, Counting On stars Jim Bob Duggar and his wife, Michelle Duggar, have created a host of rules for their sons and daughters to follow when they start courting. The rules range from limited physical contact to chaperoned dates, all of which make it difficult for the Duggar children to get some much-needed alone time. Here’s how the Duggar girls show their love while sticking closely to Jim Bob’s outrageous courting rules.

Counting On Duggar Girls
‘Counting On’ stars Jessa Duggar, Jinger Duggar, Jill Duggar, and Jana Duggar | D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra

A look at the Duggar courting system

The top priority in the Duggar household is their faith in God, but procreation is a close second. After all, the family’s first reality series was not called 19 Kids and Counting for nothing.

Although Jim Bob and Michelle push their children to start families of their own as quickly as possible, they also enforce a strict set of rules to ensure none of their kiddos get sexually active before marriage (that would pretty much violate their entire belief system).

Counting On fans know most of these courting rules and have become experts on the ins and outs of Jim Bob’s system over the years. So far, it has been very effective at keeping his children in line.

Once they start courting somebody, the Duggars typically get engaged right away, as fans have seen on Counting On. After they tie the knot, having children is their next mission in life. In fact, most of the Duggar girls have started families of their own within the first year or two of exchanging vows.

While the rules are clearly meant to keep their children’s integrity intact, some of the regulations are pretty extreme by most people’s standards.

Here are Jim Bob’s weirdest courting rules

At the top of the list, Jim Bob has outlawed most forms of physical contact during the courting phase. This includes touching, kissing, groping, and fondling.

Even hand holding is highly restricted in the Duggar household. According to The Hollywood Gossip, the Duggar children are only allowed to hold hands for 15-seconds at a given time. Anything beyond that mark is a major no-no.

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The Duggars are also not allowed to give front hugs to their romantic interests. As Counting On fans are well aware, Duggars are, however, allowed a short side-hug.

Jim Bob and Michelle enforce these rules by keeping close tabs on all their children’s activities. Even text messages are monitored as all of the children are required to do group texts with Jim Bob and Michelle.

Basically, all of the rules prevent the stars of Counting On from having intimate one-on-one time with a member of the opposite sex.

How do Duggar girls express their love?

With the Duggar girls not allowed to engage in physical contact, expressing their love for a boy can be a little tricky — not to mention bordering on odd.

As Counting On fans may have picked up on, the women in the Duggar family often show their love by looking adoringly at their lovers in what has been dubbed the Duggar Gaze.

While most fans think the behavior is a bit creepy, you can’t really blame the Duggar girls. After all, they don’t have any other way to express their love because of Jim Bob’s strict rules.

“Oh, Jinger does her fair share of reverence-staring,” one fan noted online, while another added, “She does this thing where she looks at Jeremy [Vuolo], and then she looks at the camera like, ‘Isn’t what he’s saying just the most brilliant thing?’ and then back at Jeremy.”

When do the ‘Counting On’ stars start showing more affection?

Luckily, Jim Bob and Michelle ease up a little on the courting rules once one of their children gets engaged. During the engagement phase, for example, the Duggars are allowed to hold hands for longer than 15 seconds.

On their wedding day, the Duggars are even allowed to kiss — but only after they exchange vows.

“We want to save the physical side of our relationship for our wedding day and not go further than we should,” Jill Duggar previously shared.

All the rules are thrown out the window, of course, on the wedding night. In fact, the Counting On stars usually start trying to have kids of their own as quickly as possible. If at first they don’t succeed they try again — and often.

But just because they are allowed to have sex after marriage doesn’t mean they ditch all of Jim Bob’s rules. The biggest rule they follow into marriage is the idea that women should submit to their husbands.

On the bright side, the Duggars no longer need to continue their creepy stares after they tie the knot.

New episodes of Counting On will return later this year on TLC.