Just weeks after Josiah Duggar and Lauren Swanson announced their courtship, the couple has announced that they are now engaged.
“This is an exciting, big step in our lives, and the whole thing was very meaningful,” the Counting On star, 21, told Us Weekly of how he popped the question. “The place where I proposed to Lauren is the exact spot where her parents were engaged. There’s a lot of family history on this property, making it a special place for Lauren.”
“I’m really excited to be getting married to Josiah. Everything about the engagement was such a special moment for me. I’m especially looking forward to spending the rest of my life with him," Swanson said.
Duggar said that after years of being friends, he and Swanson can't wait to grow into one big, happy family.
“It’s going to be neat to see two great families come together in this union,” he said. “It’ll take a lot of planning since we have big families on both sides, but we’re very excited to get started and so thankful for how God has brought our lives together.”
When the couple announced their courtship, Swanson revealed in a video on the family's website that she was "totally shocked" when Duggar asked her to start a courtship.
She noted at the time that while they were still “learning about each other,” they were “putting God first and ourselves second.”
The couple blatantly broke the religious family's strict rules when they were spotted hugging and possibly kissing less than a week after announcing their courtship in photos from Radar. In the pictures, the two got a little cozier than dad Jim Bob and mom Michelle Duggar would probably approve of. One shows Josiah grabbing his girlfriend by the side of her chest to help her off an Army Museum exhibit, another depicts Swanson resting her head on her beau's shoulder and a third appears to capture a kiss on the lips while the couple sat by the waterside.
All of this is normal dating behavior, but not for the Duggars, who ban chest-to-chest contact, kissing and anything more than a quick side hug before marriage. Hand-holding is saved for engagement.
Duggar announced in January that he was courting the 18-year-old friend of the family after his first courtship with Marjorie Jackson ended after four months in late 2015, early 2016.
“We are overjoyed to begin this new phase of our lives together. Through the years our families’ friendship has allowed us to get to know one another as friends. I can definitely say I have found a great friend … even better than I could have hoped for or imagined,” Duggar told PEOPLE following the news of their courtship.