"She is such an incredible young lady," Duggar matriarch Michelle tells PEOPLE

By Alicia C. Dennis
April 14, 2015 12:50 PM
Scott Enlow/TLC

After a 70-hour delivery and surprise C-section, Jill and Derick Dillard open up about their firstborn’s arrival. Subscribe now for Jill and Derick’s exclusive interview – and to see photos of their son Israel David – only in PEOPLE!

Josiah Duggar is courting Marjorie Jackson, and it’s no surprise that the Duggar stamp of approval is fairly coveted, considering the tight-knit nature of the 19 Kids and Counting clan.

Since Marjorie is a bilingual, enterprising 17-year-old who is already an accomplished pianist and actress and has written a book that encourages young ladies to read the Bible, it was basically a given that the Duggars would approve of Josiah’s new girlfriend. Not to mention that Marjorie’s family would approve of 18-year-old Josiah!

“I don’t think either of us was surprised,” Greg Jackson, a graphic designer, tells PEOPLE of his daughter’s courtship with Josiah. Adds Marjorie’s mother, Analucia, a Spanish teacher: “You know, we saw their relationship as friends growing, and we saw it heading that way.”

“She is such an incredible young lady,” says Michelle Duggar, 48. “Those firstborns tend to be go-getters, and that is definitely the case. She has such a fervency and will make such a difference in the world. She has so many gifts and talents and has such a humble spirit.”

Jim Bob Duggar, 49, also has high praise for his son’s choice.

“I have always told my sons, if they find someone like their mother, snap them up,” Jim Bob says. “We went to El Salvador on a mission together, and Josiah asked Mr. Jackson if he could do an apprenticeship with him, and once a week he would go over a few hours or so and visit with the family. Josiah maybe had some other intentions.”

And what do their parents think of their tender ages?

“I was just looking at a picture of Michelle and I on our first date,” says Jim Bob. “We were married when she was 17 and I turned 19. A lot of it is somebody’s focus in life. They get to a maturity level where they can focus on their relationship with the Lord, the true joy in life comes from serving God and serving others. Josiah has a lot of skills, he is gifted in doing video work, and he’s making a living.”

Michelle agrees: “I think age doesn’t really have a whole lot [to do with] this,” she says. “They are young, but they have strong focus and one of the best work ethics I have ever seen. For Jim Bob and I, our lives have just been better [by starting our relationship young], and it has been wonderful to see a lot of the similar things for Josiah and Marjorie. It will be a sweet thing, and they are an incredible, outstanding family.”

Marjorie’s parents express similar feelings about the young couple.

“Of course, we think Marjorie is an incredible young lady and we think very highly of Josiah,” says Greg. “And not just because of his family, but he personally shows a lot of character, and he is very thoughtful, he is very respectful, he chose a love for the Lord that we share, so we have a similar heart there, but he has a desire to do things right. He treats Marjorie with a lot of respect in the way he talks to her and treats her.”

Says Analucia, “One thing we noticed is that both of them show a strong level of maturity – they love God, they love their families and thrive around people and both make other people feel special. They like to laugh, they are always laughing.”

Fans of TLC’s hit show 19 Kids and Counting can see a special message from Josiah and Marjorie on this week’s episode, airing Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET, and the birth of Josiah’s nephew Israel David Dillard will air on TLC on May 5 in advance of Mother’s Day.

Want More Duggars? Click here to get weekly updates on the stars of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting in the Duggar Family Newsletter.

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