This year, the Duggar family has made a concerted effort to show that they are still sustaining their relationship with the Bates clan. In 2015, when Josh Duggar, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s eldest son, was ousted for child molestation, pornography addiction, and for cheating on his wife, the Bates created some distance from their friends. But now that the Duggars have recovered from that, it looks like they are trying to grow their respective family reality TV shows – Counting On and Bringing Up Bates– by strengthening their bond.
The Duggars and the Bates have a lot in common. They both have 19 kids in the family with many of them getting married now. They also hold the similar religious faith. While the Duggars have a long history of exposing their family to the cameras, Counting On and Bringing Up Bates both have six seasons under their belt.
As 2017 came to a close, the Duggars started posting a lot more about the Bates family. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar revealed that they went on a trip with Gil and Kelly Jo Bates to the Bahamas to celebrate their wedding anniversary. They drew some criticism as they had to leave their kids behind during the holiday season to make this vacation possible, but it looks like they prioritized celebrating their friendship more than being with their children for the whole month of December.
“We had a special time in the Bahamas with Gil & Kelly Bates (who also have 19 children) helping them celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary,” the Duggars wrote on their family blog. “Michelle surprised us all wanting to go parasailing! It was a lot of fun!”
Then the Duggars posted a throwback photo of the two families to thank them for all the years of friendship.
Most of the fans were glad to see the two families find their way back to each other.
“I’m so glad that the Duggars and the Bates had such a good time of fellowship and friendship,” one fan wrote. “Beautiful couples each raising their families in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Perhaps the fans will see these fun adventures in the new season of Counting On!”
It is a good time for the Duggars and Bates to be showing support for each other as both families have a new season of their TV series coming out in 2018. The seventh season of Bringing Up Bates is set to premiere On January 4, 2018, on the Up Network.
“Storylines for the new season include planning for Tori Bates and Bobby Smith’s wedding, Carlin Bates and Evan Stewart’s upcoming courtship, a growing relationship for Josie Bates, Michaela Bates Keilen and her husband Brandon’s fertility journey, possible babies on the way, job changes and others,” reports Knox News.
Just this month, TLC announced that the new season of Counting On will premiere in the spring of 2018.
“You’ll be able to keep following Joe and Kendra’s story when Counting On returns to TLC in Spring 2018,” the website states.
The fans of both families are eager to see them become more than just friends. There have been rumors that Jana Duggar may be courting Lawson Bates, which speaks to the fact that the fans want the Duggars and Bates to become in-laws.
A fan asked on the Duggar family Facebook, “Is it just me or does anyone else think a Bates and a Duggar need to get married?”