Josiah Duggar, one of the stars of the hit TLC show "19 Kids and Counting," is reportedly engaging in the courtship phase of dating before marriage with 17-year-old Marjorie Jackson, Jessa Seewald has confirmed.
According to People Magazine, 18-year-old Josiah started dating Jackson several months ago after the two went on a mission trip to El Salvador. However, the teenagers' two families have known each other for many years. In addition to speaking fluent Spanish and English, Marjorie is also an accomplished pianist and actress and has even written a book which encourages young ladies to read the Bible.
On Monday, Josiah's older sister, Jessa, took to social media to express her excitement regarding the pair's budding relationship.
"Another Duggar is courting! Congrats to my bro Si and his girlfriend Majorie!" she captioned a sweet photo of the young couple.
As she is the oldest of five girls, Marjorie says she feels right at home with the massive Duggar clan.
"I really appreciate the Duggar family," Marjorie recently told People. "I respect and admire them. I will just take this one step at a time."
In a separate interview with People magazine, Josiah said that the courtship with Marjorie has reportedly "been going very well" and said he was initially attracted by her strong Christian faith.
"I met Marjorie a few years ago when I was taking Spanish lessons at her house and I was very impressed with the way she was with her siblings and her love for the Lord," Josiah said.
In the Duggar family, courtship is not entered into lightly, and includes strict rules and the intention that the couple is preparing to marry. Among the family's courtship rules are no hand-holding until engagement, no kissing until marriage, and chaperoned dates.
The older Duggar siblings and their spouses--including Josh and Anna Duggar, Jill and Derick Dillard, and Jessa and Ben Seewald--all chose the courtship process for their relationships and are now happily married.
"Dating with a purposeful mind-set is really such a contrast from what we are used to seeing in our world," explained family matriarch Michelle, "Emotions get heated the closer you get. You're like two magnets being pulled together.
She added, "You need [to set] boundaries together at the beginning of a relationship and tell others, so it sets up accountability."
Duggar patriarch Jim Bob also shared his perspective on the matter, and highlighted the difference between courtship and dating.
"Courting is getting to know each other in a group setting, both families spending time together and the couple setting goals together to determine if they are meant to marry. With dating, a couple will often pair off alone and that sometimes leads to a more physical relationship."
The family will address Josiah's relationship in a special message airing on Tuesday night on TLC.