Dating means you're shopping around, says Jim Bob Duggar, while courtship is the path toward marriage. 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 or not.
"Dating with a purposeful mind-set is really such a contrast from what we are used to seeing in our world," mother of 19 Michelle Duggar says. "Emotions get heated the closer you get. You're like two magnets being pulled together, you need boundaries. What is so great is to set boundaries together at the beginning of a relationship ... it sets up accountability."
Jill Duggar, 23, who married Derick Dillard in June, was happy to reserve her first kiss for the altar. She is not alone. The family is committed to only side hugs and no other touching until they are engaged, or even married. "Obviously, you can kiss and not have sex," Jill said. "It's about setting a higher standard so you don't struggle [with temptation]."
Before Derick and Jill began courting, she wrote a three-page list of questions for him, including no-nonsense queries about faith, family, drinking and smoking habits and more. If that sounds like an interrogation, that's because it was ... but it helped her realize what a perfect fit they were.
Jim Bob says he and Michelle have a weekly date. Even more, iIt's important to remember those things about your partner that are wonderful, and not just those that cause conflict or stress. "A great rule of thumb is to say 10 nice things to every one critical thing," says Jim Bob.