Counting On Recap: Joseph Duggar Courts Kendra Caldwell!

On the season premiere of Counting On, the Duggar family caught us up on all the latest wedding, baby and courtship news in Tontitown.

If you follow them at all, then you know that the last few months have been extraordinarily busy in those regards, even by their standards.

Fittingly just days after Joseph Duggar married Kendra Caldwell in Arkansas, the season premiere gave us all the back story on the couple.

Minus the part where Joe bumped out Jedidiah and stole his girl. You heard that one here and only here. But back to the TLC series …

On Counting On Season 5 Episode 1, we went all the way back to where Joseph was born … where he asked Kendra to enter into a courtship.

The idea being that she would start a new life with him, at the place where his life began. Gotta hand it to the Duggars on these proposals.

Court-posals? Is that a thing we can make happen?

In any case, Jessa Duggar called Joseph’s idea “sweet” and “thoughtful,” though his older brother John-David was less than impressed.

“I wouldn’t call it romantic,” JD said, noting that the home where he was born is … no longer there. “Take her to a car auction, then a slab of concrete.”

“That’s … that’s different.”

He did indeed take her to a car auction as an excuse to be on that side of town; Kendra’s dad and some of his family served as chaperones.

“I wanted to do it sooner to surprise her,” Joe said of asking Kendra if he can court her, adding that she was expecting it to take longer.

Why? It’s unclear, given the breakneck pace in which the family moves when it comes to relationships, but apparently this was a surprise.

Joseph was “trying to act cool” and “be as normal as possible” before ultimately taking her to where the home once stood and …

He pulled out a ring, asked if she would take this next step with him in life, and Kendra said yes, which he said was a major relief. 

“I didn’t know you were going to ask me today!” Caldwell said, blown away by the gesture and the timing. “I had no idea … It’s so exciting!”

As for what you’re all wondering: 

Joseph’s sisters all received necklaces as a courting gift, which is customary apparently, but his gift of a ring was his own unique twist.

As a symbol he’s not looking for anyone else and is “waiting for her” (for a matter of weeks, most likely), he placed it on her ring finger.

On the right hand, not the left. Gotta save that for the big one … which we all know got handed out at Joy-Anna’s wedding in May.

If you watch Counting On online, you know that with this exciting milestone reached, the couple may now side-hug, as per Duggar tradition.

That may not sound like much, but until that courtship – which is essentially a pre-engagement, ring or not – there is no touching. Period.

As for their courtship rules?

Every couple has their own version of the same playbook when it comes to this issue (though all of them are similarly stringent).

Joe and Kendra’s twist? Agreeing not to hold hands with one another or be alone together until they’re married … and that’s not all: 

Side-hugs are only allowed to last three seconds or less. Honestly. A five-second side hug would be borderline dangerous, you know.

When asked if they would have a long or short courtship, the side-hugging duo said they’re taking things “one day at a time.” 

In other words, super short.

Elsewhere on the season premiere, the Seewalds and the Vuolos took on a trip down memory lane when they met up in San Antonio. 

The Dillards, meanwhile, continued to settle into life in Central America, though that came with its own sets of major, stressful challenges.

There’s a lot going on. Follow the links above to see the episode in full and discuss all things Duggar with us in the comments.