Josiah Duggar and Lauren Swanson Get Close as They Court in New Zealand

Josiah Duggar can't stop gushing about the new lady in his life, Lauren Swanson

Josiah Duggar can’t stop gushing about the new lady in his life, Lauren Swanson.

During a recent trip to Australia and New Zealand, Swanson, 18, tagged along with the entire Duggar clan and had a chance to spend lots of time with her potential future in-laws.

“I’m really enjoying the beauty in New Zealand,” Josiah, 21, captioned an Instagram. “Oh, and the landscape is pretty nice too I guess. 😉 #mygirl #lauren

Photographers also captured the couple leaning in close to each other on the shores of Lake Taupo.

What exactly is courting? The Duggars don’t “date,” they “court,” oldest brother Josh told PEOPLE in 2014. “A courtship is a path toward marriage.” During the courtship period, possible mates spend time together with family members there to supervise, never alone. As for the physical parameters, “Emotions get heated the closer you get,” Michelle told PEOPLE at the time. “You’re like two magnets being pulled together. You need boundaries.”

Of course, the Duggars and their spouses-to-be are “only human” as Joy-Anna Duggar‘s husband Austin Forsyth admitted on Counting On. “Sometimes we don’t always abide perfectly by our rules,” he acknowledged after they were filmed accidentally sharing a brief full embrace after Joy accepted his proposal. “We try. That was a real hard try.”

Swanson is the eldest of eight children and has been a family friend of the Duggars for years, even making an appearance on an episode of 19 Kids and Counting.


The new couple officially announced their courtship on Jan. 23.

“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 said.

He added: “It’s truly an exciting time for us, as we take this big step in establishing a relationship, getting to know one another even better and praying together toward our future. We are thankful to God and our families for the love and support we’ve received in starting this new chapter of life and look forward to sharing it with others as the future unfolds.”

This is the second courtship for Josiah, who was previously in a 4-month-long relationship with Marjorie Jackson.

“Marjorie and I had a good time together,” he said back in March 2016. “We were just trying to follow God’s lead on everything. She didn’t feel that it was the right timing then, so we called it quits for a bit.”

Counting On returns Feb. 26 at 9 p.m. ET on TLC.

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