It’s often reported that the Duggar family doesn’t allow their children to engage in any sort of physical contact prior to marriage.
But that’s not entirely true.
Once they’re engaged, Duggar kids are not exempt from chaperoned dates or other strict boundaries, but they are permitted to hold hands.
Reportedly, this policy is based on the little-known 11th Commandment:
"Thou shalt take a creepy level of interest in thy children’s sex lives."
We kid. But anyway, now that Joy-Anna Duggar and Austin Forsyth are engaged, they can hold hands in any position they want.
They can interlock fingers, or go the old-fashioned palm-to-palm route. Hell, they can even thumb wrestle if the mood should strike them.
It’s a brave new world they must be so excited about.
Soon, plenty of fans who watch Counting On online will start to become sick of hearing about Joy-Anna and Austin’s relationship.
As producers squeeze every drop of storyline juice from the situation, just as they did with Jinger Duggar’s wedding, it will border on overkill.
At the moment, however, the relationship feels fresh and new, the latest in a line of next-gen Duggar romances dating back to 2013-14.
To a point, it is. Joy-Anna and her fiance started courting just a few months ago, and they’ve been moving at a breakneck place since.
Even by Duggar standards, this is a fast courtship.
Reports that Joy-Anna got pregnant during premarital sex with Austin were exaggerated, but they do illustrate how fast their love is growing.
On last week’s Counting On, we saw Austin take the first step – awkwardly asking Joy-Anna’s father if it’s alright to court the 19-year-old.
“I came over tonight to ask Mr. Jim Bob if Joy and I could start an official relationship,” the aspiring son-in-law explained to the cameras.
“I’m hoping that Mr. Jim Bob will say yes, but he’s said in the past that it might be a little while, so Lord willing he’ll say yes.”
Asked by Jim Bob what he likes about Joy-Anna, Austin said:
“You know, over the years, I have just been watching and I really admire her heart for the Lord and her character. She’s such a diligent worker."
"She gets all the younger siblings working. She’s a good delegator,” says Joy-Anna’s suitor, adding, “and then, of course, her beauty.”
He got the nod, they got engaged, and the rest is history.
With that said, allow the young lovebirds to give you the low-down on the moment that Austin proposed to her, as they confirmed Friday.
The cute young couple recalls that moment, and discusses the joys – the wild, unbridled, untamed passions, if you will – of hand-holding:
"I knew we were ready for this next step because everything fell into place," Austin tells the TLC cameras in a digital exclusive.
"The OK from Mr. Duggar and my dad and just timing on the Lord."
“Now that we are engaged we are holding hands," Joy-Anna.
"So that’s pretty special," she says, stating the obvious. "Thanks everyone for your support and well wishes for us. We’re so excited.”
And so it is then. Joy-Anna and Austin just go ahead and hold hands right in front of the entire world, with no gloves or anything.
Get a room, you two!