What You Can Learn From (Yes) Duggar Family Dating Rules

Before you start shaking your head and thinking, "I must be tired today," let me reassure you that yes, you've read that title correctly—but let me also give you this disclaimer: You don't have to birth 19 kids, be a Christian, wear a purity ring, have long-ass hair, or agree with any of the politics of the Duggar family to apply their rules about dating and courtship to your own life.

Furthermore, so I don't lose my "feminist street cred," I'm aware that the Duggar dating rules are rooted in patriarchy. But that doesn't mean all of their dating rules are, and I trust you fine folks to keep misogyny out of your relationship rituals.

As a brief back-story (in case you didn't know) the ever-expanding Duggar family stars in a show called 19 Kids and Counting on TLC. The Duggars are Independent Baptists and live a fundamentalist Christian lifestyle. With their daughter Jill recently married and another daughter, Jessa, currently engaged, the show has shifted to focusing on how the Duggars court. As you can image, purity is their priority, so fill in the blanks for yourself. While for many, that absence is a resounding hell no, some of the Duggar rules and traditions actually make more sense than you probably think. If you're searching for "The One," or someone you'd like a long-term relationship with, here are three of the Duggar rules, re-written for a more progressive audience.

(And no, I won't tell you to save your first kiss for your wedding day. I'm not that crazy . . .)

Duggar Rule #1 Don't date, "court," which is dating with a purpose.

Re-written Rule: Only date with a purpose.

While the Duggars court to remain pure, they also do it to find their future partner. And if that's what you're after too . . .  only date people you see a future with. Sure, it takes a few dates to get to know someone, but if you meet a guy with four roommates who is completely directionless, even if he's Chris Pratt's doppelganger, you are probably wasting your energy. Instead, allocate that time to look for or be with someone who—gasp!—just might share your dreams and goals. Date someone who wants a casual booty call, when you want something more, and you'll probably find yourself with a broken heart. Conduct your dating life with an end goal in mind and at some point—you. can. do. it.—you'll reach it.

Duggar Rule #2: To court a Duggar girl, dad must approve.

Re-written Rule: If your friends and family don't dig the relationship, it might be time to reconsider.

You shouldn't need permission to date anyone, but this rule exists for a really good reason. Jim Bob says, "When a guy is pursing your daughter, you want to check him out and see if there are any red flags." If the people who know you best and care about you the most (and hopefully whose opinion you respect)—your father, mother, siblings or friends—don't give your relationship their blessing, maybe you should think twice. This isn't to say they couldn't be wrong, but when you first meet someone and your heart is going pitter patter thunk, sometimes your thinking can get cloudy. 

Conversely, if you meet someone awesome—but aren't quite sure if you want to get involved—someone who knows you well might reaffirm how great that person really is.

Duggar Rule #3: Group dates only.

Re-written Rules: Seriously, group dates are a really good idea.

This is where it gets crazy. The Duggar girls are only allowed on group dates and cannot be left alone without a chaperone. The chaperone prevents them from sexual temptation, but group dates also serve another purpose. The Duggar girls explain this in their book, Growing Up Duggar:

We want to get acquainted with a young man in a normal family setting, where we'll be watching how he treats our brothers and sisters. We want to see how he reacts to normal family events, such as Josie accidentally spilling her milk in his lap, Jackson unintentionally ruining his board game or Joseph trouncing him in a basketball match.

It's really important to see how your partner acts around and treats other people, especially your respective families and friends. Despite what the Duggars believe, it's important to have alone time with your mate, but when you see how he interacts with different groups of people and in different situations, you'll learn who he really is.

So get thee onto Grouper ASAP! And no, that piece of advice was not in the Duggar book.

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