‘Counting On:’ How Old Do the Duggars Have to Be For Their Parents to Let Them Marry?

The Duggars are one of the largest families in the United States, and they are definitely no ordinary American family. They follow incredibly strict rules and live a lifestyle that most Americans are not used to. The Duggars also typically marry very young. But how young is too young? When do Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar officially allow their children to marry off?

The older Duggar children
The older Duggar children | Ida Mae Astute/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

The Duggars notoriously get married very young

The Duggar family is very religious, and they don’t play by the same societal rules that most Americans do. The family believes that everything they do on earth is for God, so they live their lives the way they think God would want them to. With that said, the family dedicates their lives to the Lord and practices religion rather than seeking a college degree. Michelle Duggar homeschooled all of her children so that she could make sure their education properly incorporated their Baptist religion. Since the Duggars skip public education and college, they essentially start their adult lives very young — which includes getting married.

With the exception of Joy Duggar, most of the Duggar women wed in their early 20s

Jill, Jessa, Jinger, and Joy Duggar are the only Duggar daughters who have wed. Though Jana is 29, she has not yet married, and the other daughters are still too young. Jill, Jessa, and Jinger all waited until they were in their early 20s to marry, but Michelle and Jim Bob allowed Joy to marry when she was only 19. It’s unclear if the Duggars have an unwritten rule about their daughters waiting until a certain age to wed, but it’s possible that they allowed Joy to marry young because her husband, Austin Forsyth, is four years older than her and was looking to settle down.

The Duggar sons’ wives tend to be very young when they marry

Although the Duggar daughters waited until their 20s to marry, the Duggar sons’ wives were not nearly as old when they joined the family. Kendra Caldwell, who is married to Joseph Duggar, was only 19 when she and Joseph Duggar wed. Now, at just 20 years old, she is already expecting the couple’s second child. Lauren Swanson, who married Josiah Duggar, was also only a teenager when the two wed. She is now 20 years old and expecting the couple’s first child. Josh Duggar’s wife, Anna Keller, wanted to wait until she turned 20 before the two married in 2008, so they courted for two years.

Kendra Duggar, 20, is expecting her second child with Joseph Duggar.

It’s assumed the Duggars must be at least 18 to wed

It seems that Michelle and Jim Bob’s sons marry women who are much younger than their own daughters are when they get married. But they did allowed Joy to wed at a young age, so it’s possible that it’s only a coincidence the Duggars daughters waited a while before tying the knot with anyone. One Reddit user suggested that the Duggars only care about the ages of their daughters when they marry, though it’s unclear if that’s true. It’s assumed both their sons and daughters must be at least 18 to wed, but beyond that, there don’t appear to be any specific age restrictions put in place by Michelle and Jim Bob.