He better keeps his hands to himself!
Josiah Duggar only announced his courtship to Lauren Swanson on Jan. 23, but he’s doing things that may be way too advanced for his conservative Christian family. In addition to giving full chest-on-chest hugs, Josiah was recently spotted getting even closer to Lauren all in plain view of his family. The Duggar daughters didn’t seem to take things quite as far as their brother is right now…
Celebuzz! reported in mid-January that 18-year-old Lauren Swanson — whose family is friends with the Duggars — jetted off to Australia and New Zealand with the Counting On stars to make an appearance at the Institute of Basic Life Principles conference. Lauren was seen standing right next to 21-year-old Josiah on stage when members of the family took turns speaking about faith, family, and their personal beliefs.
Duggar matriarch Michelle announced on stage that Lauren’s family helps to home-school children and that the Lauren comes from large family who also hold values strict Christian values.
Josiah and Lauren’s closeness had fans speculating that they weren’t just friends.
Josiah and Lauren finally announced that they were officially courting on Jan. 23. “I can definitely say I have found a great friend … even better than I could have hoped for or imagined. I so appreciate Lauren’s Christlike character and tender heart toward others,” Josiah told People Magazine after the big reveal. “She brings sunshine into the room and encourages everyone around her.”
He continued to say that he’s looking forward to “establishing a relationship, getting to know one another even better and praying together toward our future.”
Josiah held onto Lauren throughout their announcement video on TLC and in some photos he’s posted on his Instagram page. While that may have been too close for comfort for their strict parents, these new photos may be even more shocking.
See the Pics
The Duggar daughters are held to strict courtship and engagement rules before they got married as the family believes that women must follow their father’s rules until they are married (at which time they follow their husband’s). The rules, set forth by their father Jim Bob, state that two people who are courting can only give “side hugs” for a few seconds. The courters must allow their parents to see their text conversations, though they may advance to be allowed one hour of phone conversation a day. A chaperone must also be present whenever they’re spending time together. If Jim Bob and Michelle aren’t available to do it, a male sibling usually tags along.
When the couple gets engaged (often three to four months after announcing their courtship), they may start holding hands. They can finally kiss at the altar, then they can have whatever physical contact they want.
It’s not clear if the Duggar boys are beholden to the exact same rules as the girls when they court, but it looks like they might have a different standard than their sisters.
Just a week into Josiah and Lauren’s courtship, things are heating up. The young couple was seen at the Army Museum in Waiouru, New Zealand. Josiah’s extended family was around, but they didn’t seem to be paying much attention when they got handsy with each other.
Josiah and Lauren climbed on top of a tank, but Lauren has some trouble getting down in her knee-length skirt. So Josiah rushed to help her, putting his hands on the sides of her chest and letting her down gently.
Then they sat down on a bench so close to each other that Lauren rested her head on Josiah’s shoulder. Josiah’s mom Michelle could be seen in the background, but she didn’t seem to want to stop the PDA.
The paparazzi also captured the courters when they sat on the banks of Lake Taupo. They sat on the ground very close to each other, and it appeared as though Josiah leaned in for a kiss at some point. Josiah’s brothers and sisters were told to wait until getting to the altar to kiss, so he could be breaking several courtship rules if the photos shows what it appears to.
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