On May 26, Joy-Anna Duggar and Austin Forsyth tied the knot in Arkansas, completing the transition from side hugs to married life.
Much has been written about this watershed moment for Duggar Nation, but nothing compares to what Austin himself wrote that day.
Whatever you think of the Duggars and their in-laws, it is touching beyond words, and may inspire you to write a similar one yourself.
“My dearest love,” Austin Marytn Forsyth began in his handwritten letter, posted to the TLC website ahead of tomorrow’s season premiere.
“The very thought of getting to be your husband is very humbling and a great honor. You are truly a gift from our Heavenly Father.”
“The way we have been brought together is very evident that we serve a God who cares so much for us,” the would-be groom continued.
“I try to imagine God’s unmerited favor, the best example I know is how He has blessed me with you! You are such a woman of character.
“The heart you have for Him, His word, and His people has challenged me time and time again to love Him and you all the more.”
“Getting to spend time with you is my favorite thing,” he added. “You are fun, enthusiastic, adventurous, and always willing to try new things.”
“I love you with all my heart and can’t wait to grow deeper in love with you!” Austin said, putting an official end to Joy-Anna’s cold feet.
Their lifestyle choices, religious believes and sheer number of things banned by the Duggar family have been debated at length.
From old-fashioned patriarchal conventions and forced religious rituals to their aggressive procreation, many aspects are controversial.
But this? This is just touching.
Hopefully it becomes a tradition in and of itself to pen letters like this, because it’s something anyone – regardless of religion – would cherish.
Perhaps Joe will take note.
The next member and soon-to-be members of this famous family to be walking down the aisle are Joseph Duggar and Kendra Caldwell.
He actually popped the question at his sister’s reception that same day (Joe was slammed for this, but Joy-Anna gave him her blessing).
“We are super excited. It’s great to not be courting anymore, now we’re engaged!” the couple said. “I was definitely nervous going into it.”
“But I wasn’t afraid that she was going to say no,” he added, and for good reason it turned out. “She had said, ‘I’m just waiting on you!'”
Pretty wonderful all around.
The Duggars will always endure scrutiny from a chorus of critics, and often times, those detractors will raise some valid concerns.
Discussions of gender roles, in particular, and how the famous family treats women within relationships are worth having in a civil manner.
Still, there’s little doubt that relationships like Austin and Joy’s are rooted in so much love, compassion and devotion to one another.
What’s not to love.
Check out the above gallery for all the behind-the-scenes photos from the wedding day, from the couple themselves to the whole family!
Also, don’t forget that Counting On returns tomorrow on TLC for a brand new season featuring their wedding and much, much more …