Long before they were even counting, TLC’s Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar were just a couple of teenagers with butterflies in their stomachs on their first date.
“This #TBT goes back a few years. This was my first date with Michelle,” Jim Bob said on Facebook today. “She is as beautiful today as ever. I am very blessed to be married to my wife who every day exemplifies Proverbs 31!”
If it looks like the 19 Kids and Counting stars were pretty dressed up for dinner and a movie, it’s because their first date was actually to a banquet at Jim Bob’s high school. (He went to a private Christian school; she attended the local public school.)
“I was working at the yogurt shop where Jim Bob’s mother was the manager and Jim Bob came in and asked me if I would go to the junior/senior banquet with him… My friend that worked with me knew him and said he was a really sweet guy. So I took her word for it — but I really didn’t know who this guy was,” Michelle explained to TLC last year. “I just remember being very embarrassed because I didn’t know him at all. We were sitting there trying to eat food and I couldn’t eat, and he didn’t eat.”
Despite the rocky start to their first date, Michelle said she really started falling for her future husband while talking about scripture later that night.
“It was so amazing. He opened up the Bible and was just sharing so much wonderful information with me,” Michelle said of their four-hour talk. “After he left, I stood in the doorway, and I just prayed, ‘Father, I have never met a man like this before. If this isn’t the one you have for me, I can’t imagine anything better.'”
Speaking to Love to Know in 2009, Michelle said Jim Bob has a different recollection of their first meeting. She said he and a friend were talking about who to give visitation cards from their church to and the friend suggested Michelle.
“Fred Pearrow said, ‘I know this girl from school that just got saved and is a cheerleader,'” Michelle explained. “Jim Bob said, ‘I’d better go visit her.'”
Michelle said she remembered talking to their mutual friend, but admitted Jim Bob didn’t leave much of an impression on her at first — even though she said he was instantly smitten: “To this day, he says that when he met me, after he left, he prayed at the doorway: ‘Lord, I would love to be her spiritual leader. Can she be mine?'”
Their first date came one year later. They were married just one year after that and welcomed their first of the 19 children three years later. Now, just for fun, here’s another throwback circa 1998…
19 Kids and Counting airs on TLC on Tuesday at 9/8c.