How John David And Abbie Duggar's Courtship Broke Family Tradition

John David Duggar has come a long way since the debut of 19 Kids and Counting in 2008. As the second-eldest son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, he grew up on reality television along with his 18 brothers and sisters. The world watched as the cameras followed their extremely large brood of kids around while showcasing their way of doing things and ultra-conservative values. Courting, side hugs, and waiting to kiss until the wedding were all quite unusual to viewers.

John David certainly wasn't the first one to get hitched. He watched, along with his twin sister Jana Duggar –  who is still single and living at home at the time of this writing — while their siblings started courting and eventually got married. He was quite laid back about eventually finding his soulmate. He had previously joked on TLC's "Counting On" Season 3 that he would be a "bachelor 'til the rapture," via The Inquisitr.

However, that all changed in 2018 when he officially met Abbie Grace Burnett — and he hasn't stopped smiling since. According to People, the couple quickly began courting and married within a span of six months. Talk about a whirlwind romance! John David and Abbie were 28 and 26, respectively, when they started courting, which is why they decided to do things differently when it came to how affectionate they chose to be with each other. Keep reading to find out how they broke some of the family's traditional courtship rules.

Maturity played a big part for John David and Abbie

Being that John David Duggar was about 10 years older than his married siblings when he met Abbie Burnett, the couple chose to follow slightly different rules for themselves. In a TLC clip for an episode of "Counting On," John David explained that they decided to get a bit more cozy during their courtship and engagement. "We all get to make our decision on what our standards are, and so, we chose to be able to have some contact versus no contact," he said. "I'll put my arm around her, give her a hug, and so we thought it was more appropriate in where we are in this stage of life."

The video clip did indeed show that they had their arms around each other during their engagement photo session. Abbie even placed her hand on John David's chest, which was, of course, covered up with a shirt. The marriage proposal was also captured on film by the TLC crew. He planned an airplane theme since he is a pilot and got down on one knee inside of a hangar in Texas.

A Duggar tradition John David and Abbie kept

John David and Abbie Duggar did, however, keep one family tradition going strong. They decided to keep their lips from locking up until the day of their wedding. In the Duggar world, that first kiss is huge, per In Touch. The family members talk beforehand about how they want it to be, and they think long and hard on it since kissing is usually out of the question while any of the Duggars are courting or engaged. However, the groom can sometimes plan a surprise for their bride for that very first lip-locking experience, and that's exactly what John David did!

John David and Abbie's first kiss wasn't exactly the traditional kind. Instead of the normal smooch on the lips, he started out by kissing Abbie's hands, then her shoulders, forehead, and cheeks. After much giggling from the audience — and from the bride — his lips finally found hers. Once they were pronounced husband and wife, all rules flew out the window.

Now, John David and Abbie are happily married and growing their own family, with daughter Grace Annette, born in January 2020, and a baby boy announced on Mother's Day 2022.