Joy-Anna Duggar is just 19-years-old and has been dating her boyfriend Austin Forsyth for less than a year, but that hasn’t stopped the Duggar daughter from becoming engaged. Joy-Anna and Austin, also 19, first publicly announced that they were dating (known as “courting” in the Duggar’s church, the youthful pairing-up indicates an ultimate plan to become married) back in November. Indeed, the announcement that Joy-Anna Duggar and Austin Forsyth were now a couple came on a special Duggar episode, Counting On: Jinger’s Wedding.
Despite only being Austin’s “better half” for a few short months, Joy-Anna Duggar and her new fiancé have known each other nearly all of their lives – 15 years. As MSN reports, the young couple met when they were both young children, just after the Forsyth family moved to Arkansas and joined the Duggar’s church.
And what a conservative church it is. In fact, the Duggar church has received a ton of media attention since the family first forayed into the public eye with their show 17 Kids and Counting back in 2008. Marriages are generally entered into at a young age, lots of children soon follow. And dating (i.e. courtships) are about as well-chaperoned and scripted as possible. Like all members of their faith, Joy-Anna Duggar and her new fiancé were allowed only very restricted physical contact as part of the courting process. Think: nothing more than “side hugs.” It was only after Joy-Anna Duggar and Austin became officially engaged that they were allowed to do so much as hold hands.
A progression of their physical intimacy that has reportedly left Joy-Anna absolutely thrilled.
According to Austin, he chose his proposal spot because it had a special place in his history with soon-to-be wife Joy-Anna Duggar. As InTouch Weekly reports, Austin led his long-time friend and short-time girlfriend Joy-Anna to his special proposal spot after a horseback riding trip. Along for the special moment were two other Duggar sisters, Johannah and Jennifer, ages nine and 11, respectively. The little girls were reportedly there to “chaperone” big sister Joy-Anna on her date.
According to Austin, while he and Joy-Anna have been friends for nearly 15 years, they couple had last been at what would become their engagement location on August 1, 2015.
“There was a whole group of us that came up. And we were just hanging out and it was really late at night, stars were just gorgeous. For me that’s really special, but then just being with him. And then now it’s even more special because it’s where we start our courtship.”
In addition to announcing their new engagement on their reality TV show special, the 19-year-old couple shared the news on the Duggars’ website. In their public engagement announcement, a giddy Joy-Anna Duggar could barely contain herself.
“‘Hey y’all! I’m Joy Duggar and this is Austin.
I just asked her to enter a courtship with me.
And I said yes!'”
Even though Joy-Anna Duggar and her fiancé Austin have a history that goes back nearly a decade and a half, Joy-Anna admits that his proposal was unexpected, even shocking. But in a good way.
Despite courting for well under a year, Joy-Anna says that her long history with Austin means that the young couple has already had time to build solid, wonderful memories together. Mostly through church service projects, ministries, and other activities.
Being the fourth Duggar sister to go through the highly-restrictive courtship process on her way to marriage, Joy-Anna also says that she feels incredibly fortunate to have her big sisters’ (Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar) experience to help guide her on the correct courtship path as she prepares for her upcoming wedding.
“Watching my sisters go through that with their courtships sets a really good example. I was able to ask them just a lot of questions and wisdom about what they did and didn’t do and then just making it special.”
While a wedding date hasn’t been publicly announced, Joy-Anna and her new fiancé already have plenty of milestones to look forward to as they work toward building a life together. For example, Joy-Anna Duggar will finally be able to share her first kiss with Austin on the couple’s wedding day, just moments after they make their relationship official.
[Featured Image by TLC]