Jessa Duggar, Ben Seewald's one-year anniversary nearing; family invite relationship advice
It'll be a year next month that 19 Kids and Counting's Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald have been in a courtship together, and the Duggar family are inviting people to share their relationship advice with the young couple.
The invitation on the family website goes hand in hand with some cute pictures of the two love birds as they continue to get to know one another.
One visitor to the page, "Deb", encouraged the couple to enjoy their courtship while it lasts.
"My advice would be to just cherish & enjoy these carefree times together. Heavy responsibilities come soon enough & although there will still be many joyous occasions these tender early relationship moments are very special," she wrote.
Another anonymous visitor to the site had some wise words for the couple to build any lifelong commitment to each other on a solid friendship first.
"My advice: cherish this time together and do not rush in to marriage. Spend as much time as you can learning about each other and building a solid foundation of friendship and trust - that is the cornerstone of a great marriage," they wrote.
And another was also positive about the pace of the relationship: "I think it's great that they're taking their time and really getting to know each other before they make a big commitment like marriage."
Many visitors to the page left comments of encouragement as well as advice.
One praised them for their self-restraint, saying: "Blessings to these two with whatever they may decide.
"I admire their ability to remain together for a year with limited physical touch. It is natural and perfectly normal to want to connect mind, body and soul with the one you love. Just goes to show that God will keep you if you want to be kept."
However, while some seemed to think it was best for the couple to take their time, others suggested they had spent long enough in a courtship and should be thinking seriously about moving to the next stage of their relationship.
One commentator, "Annie", questioned whether it was right for the pair to have been in a courtship for close to a year.
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't see much difference between a 1-year courtship and the traditional path of dating/engagement/marriage," she wrote.
"I thought the whole point of courtship was to not get your heart attached or make your relationship public before you got engaged, like [brother] Josh and Anna's relationship.
"It's one thing to keep physical boundaries in order to make a "free" decision not based on lust. But a close and long courtship like this one also creates emotional attachment that is hard to break off. Am I misunderstanding something?"
Another wrote that it was "desirable" and one of the "Christian rules" to court for a "short period and then take a decision", while another anonymous visitor expressed the view that a courtship should not be longer than a year "unless it's a long-distance relationship".
"If it's taking longer than a year (even due to serious legitimate reasons, ie: family obligations, financials or schooling) than it's time to cool it, break off for a while...." they wrote.
"Don't court unless you are really ready for marriage. You both will not disappoint the world if you break up for a while."
And a few raised concern about Ben Seewald's suitability, particularly in light of his recent strong criticism of the Catholic faith on his Facebook page.
"The recent news of his views of Catholics leaves a sour taste," said one anonymous commentator.
But if the pictures of the couple posted to the blog post are anything to go by, the wider Duggar clan is happy with the way things are progressing between Jessa and Ben.