Joy Duggar’s courtship, which was announced in November 2016, has become a topic of rumors and speculation. According to some sources, Joy and Austin Forsyth have “been intimate” despite Jim Bob and Michelle’s strict courting rules. Although the couple admits they have known each other for 15 years, they insist they are both committed to following the Duggars’ rules, which include abstaining from physical intimacy until after marriage.
As reported by People, Joy-Anna Duggar and Austin Forsyth met in 2001, when Austin and his family moved to northern Arkansas and began attending the Independent Fundamental Baptist church. However, they did not begin courting until November 2016.
Courting, as defined by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, is simply “dating with a purpose.” In an interview with USA Today, the parents of 19 children explained, “Courtship is really waiting for the one God has for you and praying through the whole process.”
The Duggars’ courtship process is restricted by a set of rules, which are designed to preserve purity according to the King James Version of the Bible.
— People Magazine (@people) February 2, 2017
First and foremost, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar must approve their daughters’ courtships. In many cases, the “Duggar boys” are also asked to “size up” the men who are courting their sisters.
Once approved for courtship, the Duggar girls are allowed to go on “dates” with their suitors. However, they must be supervised at all times. Although Jim Bob and Michelle provide a majority of the supervision, the Duggar brothers are permitted to stand in as chaperones.
Christian Today reports Joy Duggar’s courtship has included “lots of church ministries, road trips, hiking, hunting and remodeling houses together.” However, per her parents’ rules, she and Austin are prohibited from physical contact — with the exception of “side hugs.”
According to Jim Bob, his daughters “have committed to waiting for the first kiss till marriage.” Michelle Duggar said she agrees with the decision because “it’s best for them to save the physical part for marriage… that way [there are] no regrets.”
Although the family is clearly committed to adhering to their religious beliefs, some sources are suggesting Joy Duggar’s courtship broke all the rules.
According to Radar Online, an unnamed source claimed Joy-Anna Duggar and Austin Forsyth have already been physically intimate on more than one occasion.
“Jim Bob and Michelle can preach all they want about their children’s chastity, but the plain fact is that their kids are like anyone else’s… their hormones are raging. Joy-Anna is no different, and she and Austin went way past the hand-holding stage a long time ago.”
The source went a step further, adding that Joy and Austin had quite a “scare” when they thought Joy was pregnant. Although it was a false alarm, the couple was reportedly forced to discuss the issue with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. The rumors were not publically addressed by the Duggars or any other source at this time.
Despite the ongoing rumors, Joy Duggar’s courtship appears to be progressing according to her parents’ rules. In a recent interview, Joy-Anna said she is following the “really good example” set by her sisters and appreciates their advice about “what they did and didn’t do” during their courtships and how to make her relationship “special” without breaking the rules.
Joy-Anna Duggar and Austin Forsyth have been friends for 15 years, and seem to have a close relationship. However, the couple has not announced whether they plan to marry. When asked about the future of their relationship, Joy simply said, “You would have to ask Austin what he’s thinking and my dad… ”
— Jimi Vaey (@jimivaey) February 8, 2017
The entire Duggar family has been in the spotlight since the 2008 debut of 17 Kids and Counting. As the daughters’ relationships remain one of the most popular topics among fans, Joy Duggar’s courtship and possible marriage are likely to remain a point of rumor and speculation.
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