As if 19 children weren’t enough already, the Duggar family just got a little bit bigger!
Jill Duggar, 22, has entered a courtship with Derick Dillard after being introduced to him “virtually” over Skype and meeting face-to-face for the first time last November.
The 25-year-old, who has spent the last year doing missionary work in Nepal, was introduced to the reality star by her father, Jim Bob, meaning he already accomplished the hardest part of the courtship—winning over dad!
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“I had gotten an email from Derick a few years ago and gave him my phone number so he could share the work he was doing in Nepal,” Jim Bob said of his future son-in-law. “I was impressed with him as I got to know him over the years. He sounded like an amazing young man.”
The reality TV patriarch said he felt his daughter would hit it off with the young man, who works as an accountant, and needless to say—he was right.
“I was really impressed with his character and I was surprised how much we have the same vision and life goals,” Jill told People. “He’s a great guy.”
The second oldest daughter is the most recent member of the extra large family to enter a courtship, which they define as “dating with the intent of marriage.” Younger sister Jessa, 18, is currently courting Ben Seewald.
Jessa and Ben met in church, while Jill admits her relationship with Derick had a much less traditional beginning.
“We got to know each other in the first few months pretty quickly,” the 22-year-old said. “I was in love with someone I had never met in person, but we really knew each other well.”
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While meeting and falling love over Skype sounds like an extremely modern romance, the Duggar girls still stick to their traditional values, which means chaperones on all dates (not only in person, but also virtual), monitoring of text messages and no physical contact or intimacy—even holding hands!—until marriage.
In their book, Growing Up Duggar, Jill, Jessa and sisters Jana and Jinger admitted their “natural physical desire toward men” and explained how they resist the temptation to avoid an undesirable situation.
“It’s easy to put yourself into physical and moral danger and give into these emotions or sensual thoughts that promise pleasant, but only temporary fulfillment,” they write. “By censoring our thoughts through the filter of God’s word, we will be able to recant any wrong thoughts or temptations that try to sneak in.”
Ben admits there’s a “large pool of chaperones” to choose from—and reveals his secret of acclimating with the extra-large family,
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“You have to come in armed with jokes and I usually have skittles as well,” he said with a laugh.
Plus, when candy and a sense of humor fails—he has love to motivate him.
“It has been such a huge blessing to get to see her a few times a week,” Ben gushed.