19 kids and counting season 8 premiere jessa duggar ben seewald tlc '19 Kids and Counting' Season 8 premiere: The courtship of Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald

It’s the Season 8 premiere of “19 Kids and Counting” Tuesday (April 1), and

lots seems to be in store for the Duggar family this season. New

relationships, travel, and of course, probably more

babies. And we’re finally going to meet Ben Seewald, Jessa

Duggar’s official suitor. 

It was announced that Jessa and

Ben had started courting (or, as the Duggars say, “dating

with a purpose”) in the Season 7 finale, and while we’ve

seen a few pictures of him here and there since then, this

episode was our first chance to get to know him. What’s he


Well, he’s just plain adorable. As two of the little

Duggars say, “he’s a GREAT guy … and he’s handsome.”

He’s 18, the oldest of a family of seven, and a bit more of a

laid-back, people-person than to-the-point, non-gushy

Jessa. Both Michelle and Jim Bob are learning how to

handle their daughter being in a forward-moving

relationship. The Duggars don’t date casually. They don’t

see the point in playing the field, as it were, and the

time and energy expended into Jessa and Ben getting to

know one another will probably, we suspect, lead to


Ben and Jessa are, of course, honoring some very strict

rules as to contact, physical and otherwise. There’s only

“side hugging” allowed, ever. Keep those parts separate

now, everyone. No kissing, of course, or

even hand-holding. They’re always chaperoned by “adults” (even the camera and sound guys get called in to help). And their

parents are always monitoring their contact, including

texts. There are many people supporting and guiding them,

and really, it’s how it works for them. Their courtship

may be strange by some standards, but there’s a charm to

it, and the sweet wistfulness between Michelle and Jim Bob

when Ben asked to make their “courting” official was nice. 

And seriously, if Ben, and his entire family, are open to letting

the TLC cameras stalk them, and get grilled by Jim Bob and

all the boys, he’s in it to win it. So it seems we’ll all

be getting to know Ben better this season. Because

“breaking up” doesn’t seem to be in the courtship

vocabulary here much. 

After a sweet scene with her sisters, thinking and talking

about their futures, Jessa and Michelle head to Hot

Springs to visit Ben’s family, being flown by John David,

in a plane, even. Non-traditional dating, and non-traditional methods getting your sister to her non-traditional weeked away with her suitor. Jessa then gets

an awkward grilling by Ben’s parents a little while at

dinner, but it seems like to-the-point Jessa appreciated their directness. The entire Seewald clan comes out for a potluck meet-and-greet, too.

And now, time will tell. What do you think? Will we see Ben and Jessa get married?