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Well, it’s almost that time of year.
A new season of Counting On is nearly upon us, and it seems longtime viewers may be in for some surprises:
Now, that may seem impossible as not a day goes by without the family revealing some sort of courtship, marriage, or pregnancy news on social media.
But like the Kardashians before them, the Duggars are savvy enough to keep some details of their lives under wraps so that fans still need to tune into their reality show to get the full story.
Case in point – who would’ve guessed we would ever hear the Duggars admitting to their need for additional chaperones?
As fans of the family are no doubt aware, Duggar courtship rules forbid just about all forms of physical contact before marriage.
But it seems the dating guidelines aren’t always so easy to enforce.
Joseph Duggar and Kandra Caldwell got married back in September, but the early episodes of CO S7 find them in the final weeks of their engagement.
And it seems they’re not finding it easy to keep their hands to themselves.
“I would say when you’re engaged you almost need more chaperones because you’re getting closer,” Kendra tells the camera.
“The desires are getting stronger.”
It’s interesting that the Duggars would choose to acknowledge the harsh nature of their dating directives, as they’ve been a source of controversy in recent months, due in large part to the “shotgun wedding” rumors surrounding Joy-Anna Duggar.
Speaking of Joy-Anna, she appears in the trailer and reminds fans of just how difficult the ultra-strict Duggar courtship rules can be on a young couple.
“During our relationship, all the way up to our wedding day, we have never been alone together,” Joy-Anna explains.
“So it was really amazing being on our honeymoon and just being by ourselves.”
And all this candor isn’t the only thing that’s different about season 7.
As many fans have pointed out, the promotional materials released contain some noteworthy absences.
Jill Duggar and husband Derick Dillard are nowhere to be seen, but that’s not unexpected, as Derick was fired by TLC after making inappropriate comments about fellow network star Jazz Jennings on social media.
What is surprising is that OG Duggars Jim Bob and Michelle appear to be MIA.
Viewers have speculated that the show is returning to its roots by focusing on Jim Bob and Michelle’s eldest children, rather than on Jim Bob and Michelle themselves.
Perhaps Jessa Duggar best summarizes what fans can expect from the long-anticipated seventh season of Counting On:
“We’ve had a lot of exciting things happen in our family in the last few months, and you never know what’s around the corner,” she says.
That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the once uber-predictable Duggars have actually been throwing fans some curveballs lately.
But if it all sounds a bit overwhelming, fear not:
There’s still some boring BS about Jeremy Vuolo moving books into his office, or something.
That should be enough to slow you heart rate back down.
Watch Counting On online to get caught up in time for the show’s February 26 premiere.
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Last week, the world learned that Joy-Anna Duggar and Austin Forsyth are engaged.
While they’ll still be forced to forgo sex until their wedding night, some of the harsh restrictions placed on the couple’s courtship were lifted the moment Forsyth put a ring on it.
For example, Joy-Anna and Austin can hold hands now, which, in Duggar Land, is actually treated as a major step forward in the courting process.
But just because the young couple is now giving in to their wanton desire to press palms, that doesn’t mean they’re exempt from one of the more stifling strictures of courting:
Young Duggars are not permitted to spend time with their significant others without the presence of a chaperone, even after they’ve gotten engaged.
Interestingly, sources say the Duggars are doubling-down on c-ck-blocking security in Joy-Anna’s case, often forcing her to get to know her fiance under the supervision of not one, but two family chaperones.
According to The Daily Mail, when Austin proposed to Joy-Anna, both Johannah and Jennifer Duggar were brought along for the ride – literally.
The couple went horseback riding prior to Austin’s proposal, and we imagine the romantic mood was somewhat dampened by the presence of two of Joy-Anna’s many younger siblings.
Joy-Anna seemed to confirm the double-team chaperone treatment in a recent interview with TLC:
“We were going to go horseback riding and I decided to bring Johannah and Jennifer along because I knew that they would enjoy that, and they got to be the chaperones of this date,” Joy-Anna said.
“It also made this day really, really special and then he asked me to marry him and I said, ‘Yes!'”
It would be one thing if Jennifer and Johannah were simply chaperoning a date that ended in a surprise proposal.
(Don’t get us wrong; it would still be super weird.)
But the situation is made even stranger by the fact that that Austin asked for Jim Bob’s permission to propose.
Nothing in the Duggar family happens without Jim Bob’s say-so, which means the patriarch knew that Forsyth would be popping the question, but he felt the need to send two of her younger sisters to supervise anyway.
Of course, at this point the Duggars have set the weirdness bar so high that if that’s the strangest thing to come out about the family this week, they can consider it a victory.
On the bright side, the stringent rules don’t seem to be affecting Joy-Anna’s enthusiasm for her romantic future:
“I’m so excited to be engaged to my best friend,” she said, when asked about the proposal in a recent interview. ‘Austin made it so romantic, it’s amazing.”
Watch Counting On online to get caught up on this budding romance.
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