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Viewers became fascinated with the Duggar family ever since TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting — and even today, we’re keeping up with the family thanks to Counting On. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are the proud parents of 19 children, and over the years we’ve watched their oldest kids become adults and their youngest grow up right alongside them. And when it comes to their kids having families of their own, the Duggars have a variety of rules they must follow when dating.

Fans are continually shocked by how antiquated the rules of dating a Duggar really are. Here are the courtship rules that must be followed.

The Duggars believe modern dating is much different than their way of courting

While modern dating involves casual get-togethers that may eventually lead to marriage, the Duggar kids have marriage on the brain from the beginning. And that’s why they view courtship as “dating with a purpose,” according to Today.

Courtship involves a lot more commitment and seriousness and is not to be viewed lightly. As Jim Bob has said in the past, “Courtship is really waiting for the one God has for you and praying through the whole process.” And the father of 19 also mentioned that his daughters should be viewing every man she enters a courtship with as a possible father to her children, since having kids is also most certainly on the brain for the Duggars.

Jim Bob must approve of every courtship before it begins

The Duggar women can’t begin dating a man in secret, TLC notes. Instead, all courtships must first be approved by Jim Bob himself. The proper protocol is for a potential suitor to go directly to Jim Bob and ask if he can court one of his daughters. From there, Jim Bob decides if the man in question has the right values and a good head on his shoulders. If he does, the courtship can proceed.

There have even been times when Jim Bob has played matchmaker for his daughters. We can’t forget that Jill met her husband, Derick Dillard, thanks to Jim Bob bringing them together.

There’s absolutely no physical contact between the two

This rule doesn’t just refer to no kissing or further intimacy — it means absolutely all physical contact. TLC notes only side-hugs are allowed when the Duggars are with a potential future partner, as full-frontal hugs require too much physical contact for Jim Bob and Michelle’s liking. When it comes to hand-holding, that also must wait until the couple is engaged. “We believe it’s best for them to save the physical part for marriage,” Today notes Michelle said. “That way there’s no regrets.”

There have been a few times the Duggars have broken this rule while courting, however. We’ll never forget when Jinger gave Jeremy a full-frontal hug after he proposed to her — and we’re willing to bet other Duggars have snuck in a hug or two as well.

All dates are chaperoned

Double dates are a fun and modern way to hang out with your friends and love interest at the same time — but a chaperoned date is an entirely different scenario. Michelle and Jim Bob require that all courtship dates have a chaperone. While sometimes it’s them who join the dates, typically it’s a sibling who can keep an eye on the two and make sure no one’s up to any funny business.

“The chaperones then have clear guidelines for what is acceptable and what’s not,” TLC reports Michelle said. “They’re the accountability. What that means is they’re allowed to say, ‘Hey, are you supposed to be doing that?'” And though Jim Bob and Michelle may not actually be chaperoning every date, they do get to see what their kids are talking about over text with their partners. The Duggar kids are required to CC their parents on every text they send their possible future wife or husband.

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