Quoting Quiverfull: Ready For Courtship?

by Michelle Duggar during TLC’s “19 Kids & Counting” & at Parentables

Question from a “19 Kids and Counting” fan on Facebook: How do you decide when one of the children is ready for courtship?

In my home, we like to think very carefully about courtship and getting to know potential husbands and wives. Why would you consider really getting to know someone closely if you didn’t think that there would be a potential for marriage? A person really needs to ask themselves, are they at the point in their life where they are ready for marriage? If they are, they need to be careful in how they handle this whole idea of getting to know someone because the emotions and the hormones that are involved in that season of life can really get out of hand if you really don’t have a good perspective.

We want them to make sure they’re ready for marriage, and that they are really prepared for it. For one of my daughters, there would be a lot of things that she would want to consider. Can I really, truly manage a household? Am I able to manage the money, purchase the things I need for my home and get all those ducks in a row to be married and run a household?

In a potential suitor, we’d want a gentleman that loves the Lord and is growing in his relationship with him. He really needs to have that relationship as the priority of his life that drives him to do the things that God would want him to do. And he would have to be prepared to provide for his wife, which would mean he needs to have an income to support them and the stability to have a home, whether renting or owning. He’d also need to be a good protector for his wife and future family.

At this point, we’ve got a number of our older children that I think are ready for that next step in life. Our son John David has got a job and a home. He’s leasing that home out as rental income and putting the money aside. He’s also getting his pilot license right now and he’s been a fireman and a police officer, and now he’s a constable. So he’s definitely at that place in life where he’s ready to be a husband and a provider and he would be open to courting a young lady if he felt she would be the one for him.

Then our daughters, we’ve got Jana, Jill, Jessa and Jinger that are very capable of being married and having that close relationship with a special one. They manage a lot of our household; they like to do a lot of our shopping for clothes and food. That’s not a big deal for them, they love doing it anyway. But they’re good at it and good at managing things.

It’s just a matter of praying as different individuals come in to our lives. If they really sense that there’s an interest, the girls will study him and try to find out more about him in their time together. They need to get along really well and might get to know each other a little better through emailing or talking. There’s a lot of ways you can get to know somebody besides just being alone with them. They need to be a friend before they would even consider making a commitment to courtship.

And that’s kind of how it goes. It’s not just pairing off and going and doing things together alone, but getting to know them and their families too. Finding out from those that know the potential suitor, is this person quick to anger? How do they handle problems at work? Do they really have it together?

I think it’s probably going to be a little different for each of the kids. It’ll be interesting to see as time goes on how all of it pans out.

Comments open below

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


Quoting Quiverfull: Protecting Your Kids From The Devil
Quoting Quiverfull: No Point At Which You Are An Actual Adult?
News Round Up: Kevin Swanson, Matt Walsh and Other Evangelicals Behaving Very Very Badly
If You Don’t Believe What The Bible Says You Can’t Be Saved
About Suzanne Calulu
  • texcee

    I hate to say it, but I do agree with Michelle on a lot of this. When/if my daughter marries, I wish for her a good, respectable, caring man who can provide for her and their children. While I trust her to find her own mate and “vet” him, since she is the one who will be living with him, her dad and I would definitely want to get to know him and make sure he’s the type of person we would like to have as a son-in-law. Michelle’s type of courtship IS a definite improvement over Von-marry-’em-young and his son’s two hour pre-betrothal travesty.

  • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

    I have to say, this sounds a lot better than the “Marry quick to get out of Daddy’s house” mentality I have seen in a lot of my Mormon friends…

  • brbr2424

    She described what anyone would want in a future son-in-law, except for the loving the Lord part. That would have to go in the con column of the pros and cons worksheet.

  • Theo Darling

    The whole “what’s the point of getting to know anyone closely unless you know you’re going to marry them” thing really makes me feel like despair-drinking. At the age of 25, I’m just starting to learn how to create close relationships (we’re talking, even platonic friendships here) thanks to this pathological Xian fear of Getting Too Close to People.

  • Trollface McGee

    It’s shockingly not too horrible – apart from the gender role nonsense – no one should be tied to a job or forced into the home because of their gender – it’s actually not bad advice otherwise.

  • texcee

    I’m not sure it’s a fear of Getting Too Close to People, although that’s definitely a factor. I think it’s also a matter of trust … or lack thereof. The Baptist family I was raised in was extremely repressed. I never saw my parents (who were married for 52 years) hug, kiss except for a tiny little peck when Dad left for work (their bodies apart and leaning in to lightly touch lips), exchange endearments, or even talk to one another very much. In my entire lifetime, I accidentally interrupted them having sex only once … and I didn’t even realize at the time what they were doing. A child learns what he/she lives and I lived in a household that was extremely religious, but also cold, manipulative, emotionally abusive, physically abusive, spiritually abusive, and where I learned to believe that I was a bad person. I learned not to trust anyone because I would get hurt emotionally if I did. I’ve been asked why I’m so slow to make friends, to trust, or to accept generosity. It’s because I’ve pulled too many knives out of my back, been betrayed too many times by too many people who were supposed to love me, and learned that gifts comes with strings attached. “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” This is the heritage of my Christian upbringing.

  • Madame

    I agree. It definitely sounds better than that, and than Von’s idea of betrothal.
    Looking back to the way things went with my husband and me, I would wish for my children that they meet at a time in life when they feel confident and are happy to be who they are, and in a place where they have people to talk about their relationship. I think everyone wants to talk about the person they think they may marry. My husband and I met at Bible college, and the first two – of three- years we weren’t allowed to date. We broke the rule and I left after one year. You can’t talk about a relationship that shouldn’t be happening.

    When my now husband went to my father to “ask for my hand” – I don’t think he would have given up at a no-, my father took him for a walk and told him all sorts of stuff about me, my personality, stuff from my past… I don’t know everything, but he got an idea from someone who knows me well. How I feel about that aside, – I only found out about these details of the talk 10 years later!- I think it’s a good thing to know a person from the perspective of people that love them. My husband’s parents did none of that. In fact, they hid details about the family that turned into major problems for us later on.

    We married quickly. I had been wanting out of my parent’s home for a long time, and had actually left, but I was in a hurry to get the next chapter of my life going. I wonder if I would have married my husband if I had known some of the details that he and his family carefully hid from me.

    But we are still married, nearly 11 years.