Jessa Duggar could become the first daughter in the infamous family's brood of 19 to marry! The third daughter to Jim Bob and Michelle is officially dating Ben Seewald. The 20-year-old Duggar met the 18-year-old Seewald at church, and the pair are in a chaperoned courtship, where they abstain from physical contact and decide whether marriage is right for them, with the support of both sides of their family. Their relationship and potential marriage journey will be chronicled on the latest season of 19 Kids and Counting.
But this isn't your typical dating situation. Jim Bob and Michelle are maintaining an active role in Jessa's relationship, and even reading their text message conversations. "It has been interesting to watch their interactions because they share very similar beliefs," said Michelle. Jim Bob said that he is in full support of their relationship, and that Jessa and Ben have even been recommending sermons to one another.
"He's the first one she has shown interest in that has a spiritual focus and legitimate calling about ministry work," said Jim Bob. "When a guy is pursuing your daughter, you want to check him out and see if there are any red flags. With Ben, there hasn't been. He is very sharp. It appears like a match made in heaven."
Due to their conservative, fundamentalist Christian beliefs, Jim Bob and Michelle believe couples shouldn't even kiss until they get married. Jessa and Ben are limited to "side hugs" during their official courting process. The oldest child in the Duggar clan, 25-year-old Joshua James, is the only one in the family to have gotten married. He and his wife, Anna, have three children together and recently moved to Washington, D.C.
Jim Bob and Michelle's last child, a girl named Josie Brooklyn, was born in December 2009 via emergency C-section. Michelle experienced several health issues during the pregnancy, but announced in November 2011 that the couple were expecting their 20th child. However, Michelle miscarried the following month and a memorial service was held for the unborn girl, who they named Jubilee Shalom.
The upcoming season of 19 Kids and Counting will premiere this Tuesday on TLC.