Dating with a Purpose: Has a Duggar Courtship Ever Failed?

Now that John-David Duggar has asked for Abbie’s hand in marriage, and brother Josiah has tied the knot, everyone’s eyes are on eldest daughter Jana to find her mate. Once a Duggar enters into a courtship, it appears that wedding bells are not far off, but that’s not always the case. Courtships don’t always end in marriage proposals. So, have any of the Duggar’s ever failed to make it to the altar?

How is courtship different from dating?

Courtship, a term first made mainstream by the Duggars, is not a new concept in ultra-conservative Christian groups. A courtship differs from dating, as the intention is for engagement and marriage. Instead of romantically linking oneself to a dating partner without having serious intentions, members of the Duggar’s faith only move past friendship into romantic interest if they genuinely believe they’ll marry the person they are seeing.

John, Josiah and Joseph Duggar
John David Duggar, Josiah Duggar and Joseph Duggar (Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images)

Courtship is also more formal than traditional dating. The couple avoids spending time alone together and avoids physical contact. The lack of alone time, according to the Duggar kids, prevents them from clouding their judgment with physical attraction

Josiah had a failed courtship

Years before Josiah met Lauren Swanson; he entered into a courtship with a girl by the name of Marjorie Jackson. Marjorie was just 17 at the time. Josiah courted Marjorie for four months in 2015 before the pair called it quits, according to People. The end of the courtship was suspiciously close to revelations that Josh Duggar molested several of his siblings and a family friend.

Jackson has since gone on to attend college and has even penned a book. Josiah married Lauren Swanson in 2018, after just months of courting. The pair appear to be well-suited to one another, and Josiah’s failed courtship doesn’t seem to be an issue between the couple.

Josh Duggar courted in his teens

Before the Duggars became a household name oldest son, Josh may have courted a girl from an associated political family. Before reality, TV Jim Bob Duggar had political aspirations and was closely linked to Jim Holt, a Baptist minister, and a conservative Republican.

It is rumored that Joshua Duggar briefly courted one of the Holt daughters before things were called off. According to Star, the courtship happened when Joshua was just 16 years old and coincides with the molestation allegations. It is likely that the courtship was called off for that reason. The Holtses and the Duggars have drifted apart since.

The Holts family nor the Duggars have confirmed the rumors. It is not known which daughter Joshua was courting. The Holts have 11 children ranging in age from 30 to three years old.

Jedidiah Duggar and Joseph Duggar feuded over Kendra Caldwell

According to In Touch, Jedidiah Duggar actually dated Kendra Caldwell before his older brother Joseph swooped in. According to a family friend, Jedidiah Duggar, 18, showed interest in Kendra Caldwell before Joseph.

Jed and Kendra never made it to an official courtship, however. The pair were heavily involved in the friendship phase of their relationship, and it was believed a courtship was eminent before Joseph made his intentions known. The Duggar family has not confirmed the rumor.

Joseph Duggar married Kendra Caldwell in September 2017. They welcomed their first child, Garrett in June 2018. The pair currently live in a house on the Duggar family property. Jedidiah still resides at home. He is not presently courting anyone.