BRAND NEW ON E!
Looks like Jessa Duggar has entered the dating courtship world.
The 20-year-old daughter of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar is currently in a courtship with 18-year-old Ben Seewald, according to People.
The lovebirds, who met in church, are "enjoying getting to know each other and are recommending sermons to one another," Jim Bob tells the mag, adding that he and his wife are "so excited" for Jessa and Ben.
As for the difference between courting and dating? Jim Bob explains that courting is much more formal process, which often takes place in a larger group.
"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," he clarifies. "With dating, a couple will often pair off alone and that sometimes leads to a more physical relationship."
Mama Michelle also adds that courting is a serious process, where a couple puts deep considering into the notion of starting a family together.
"Courtship is not just about having fun," she explains. "You are really considering if this person could be your life partner—you pray about it and see what happens."
After the couple initial met, they asked their parents for permission to correspond via text and on the phone, and while the Duggars agreed, the pair has little privacy, as both Jim Bob and Michelle are a part of the duo's texting conversation.
"Jessa has a very steady personality," Michelle says of her third daughter. "It has been interesting to watch their interactions because for her personality type, they share very similar beliefs. It has been fun to watch them and both of our phones are going off back and forth, ping, ping, ping."
And Ben must be a pretty special guy, considering he is the first suitor to earn Jim Bob's stamp of approval.
"He's the first one she has shown interest in that has a spiritual focus and legitimate calling about ministry work," Jim Bob tells People. "When a guy is pursing your daughter, you want to check him out and see if there are any red flags and with Ben, there hasn't been. He is very sharp. It appears like a match made in heaven."
While the pair's relationship is clearly going swimmingly, they still plan to wait before becoming intimate with one another.
"Dad allowed them to do a side hug when they were officially courting," the 47-year-old mother reveals. "Jessa and Ben have said that was the only contact they would have, when they initially greet each other, when he comes to visit for their first hello, they have a quick 30 second or less side hug and a goodbye side hug and they agreed that would be the only contact they should have."
"They want to wait on the physical relationship until later," she adds. "If there is an engagement that comes about, they will work together on their goals and standards for that...All of our family is involved in this relationship. It is an exciting time."
The couple's courtship will be featured on the upcoming season of the family's TLC show 19 Kids & Counting, which returns Tuesday at 9 p.m.