‘Counting On’: Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald’s Love Story Might Be a Little Bit Creepy

Ben Seewald married Jessa Duggar in 2014, after courting for several months. The couple made quick work of growing their family. Just one year from their wedding date, they welcomed their first child, Spurgeon Elliot. In February 2017, Jessa gave birth to the couple’s second child, Henry Wilberforce, and they welcomed their third child, Ivy Jane, in 2019. While they appear to have a happy marriage, based on their social media accounts, family critics can’t shake the feeling that the couple’s initial meeting was kind of creepy.

The story might not be as sweet as the Duggars try to spin it

Ben and Jessa have often claimed that they met when he was the “new guy” at the family’s church. They have described locking eyes and feeling an instant attraction. They’ve discussed Ben visiting the family’s home a short time later, and they’ve even reported feeling nervous to approach each other. All of the memories they recount seem to be pretty typical of young love, but something feels off about the story.

There is a significant issue with Jessa and Ben’s story, at least, family critics think there is. When Jessa and Ben first met, Ben, at 17, was living with his family in Hot Springs, Arkansas. While the Duggar family has often claimed that Ben’s family lived “nearby,” that isn’t the case. Hot Springs is more than 200 miles away from the Duggar’s home base in Springdale, Arkansas.

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The story of Ben “visiting” the family’s church seems a little out of place. After all, who piles into the family minivan to visit a church more than 200 miles away from their home when there are surely perfectly good churches nearby? Noone, surmise family critics, unless, of course, they are interested in a particular attendant of that church.  Fans have long suspected that Ben specifically went looking for Jessa after watching her on 19 Kids and Counting, and he has pretty much admitted to doing just that.

Basically, it seems like Ben stalked Jessa because he saw her on TV

Ben doesn’t seem to see a problem with his past behavior. He was more than happy to share the details of what led to his marriage in the family’s book, Growing Up Duggar. In an amended version of the memoir, Ben and Derick Dillard added excerpts, from their perspective, about meeting their wives. In his passage, Ben admits that he watched Jessa on television regularly, and decided, through his regular viewership, that he needed to meet her.

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To get that job done, he showed up at her family’s church, hoping to catch her attention. He managed to do just that, and eventually, the duo began courting. His passage in the book, however, has left some family followers feeling a little uncomfortable. After discussing how he basically stalked a reality TV star down, he went on to list all of the things he liked about Jessa. Ben’s list, however, wasn’t particularly personal. He focused almost entirely on her religious beliefs and didn’t mention a single unique personality trait that he likes about his wife.

Ben once mused that he didn’t care about Jessa’s personality

Hatching a plan to meet his now-wife because he saw her on TV isn’t the only thing that strikes family critics as strange about Ben. He also has some strange thoughts on attraction. In the book, he went on to suggest that personality isn’t essential in a relationship, but attraction sure is. In one passage he mused, “My perspective was that if I got to know a girl, I was attracted to her, and, most important, she was a woman of God, then these things were far more important than personality compatibility from the world’s perspective.” In short, Ben doesn’t think that two people need to have compatible personalities to make a relationship work. They just need to find each other physically attractive, and they must share the same thoughts on religion.  

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Family followers point out that Ben’s take on relationships doesn’t exactly bode well for the couple’s long term prospects. While things seem to be working out thus far, many family followers have noted that the pair doesn’t appear to have much in common. Based on Ben’s statements, that might have been by design, but will that lead to a lasting happy union? Only time will tell.