Jana Duggar has long been the odd woman out.
While her younger sisters marry and start families, the beautiful, maligned eldest daughter of Jim Bob and Michelle toils away at their behest.
Is that finally, blessedly, about to change?!
As long as there have been Duggar courtship rumors, Jana Duggar has been the one who fans would probably most like to see marry.
Yet at 27 years old, she remains single.
That’s not abnormal in most families, but her sisters Jill, Jessa, Jinger are already married. Joy-Anna is only 19 and she isn’t far behind.
One can see why speculation about Jana’s love life has always piqued the interest of Duggar Nation, and why recent reports got us excited.
A male counterpart has been whispered about in the past few months, especially after someone sent Jana flowers on Valentine’s Day.
There was even talk of Jana being forced into courting by her parents, who were finally releasing her from de facto indentured servitude.
Who is the alleged mystery man, though?
To those who watch Counting On online, and who have followed the famous family on social media over the years, he may be a familiar face:
Lawson Bates. Yes, the one and only.
One of the stars of TV’s Bringing Up Bates, Lawson also has 18 siblings and comes from a Christian family well acquainted with hers.
A handsome, aspiring country / bluegrass / gospel singer, the 24-year-old Tennessee native has been tight with Jana Duggar for years.
As well as with some of her siblings … one of whom he was previously rumored to be in a romantic relationship with. Remember that?!
Rumors of Jinger Duggar courting Lawson in secret set the web on fire back in 2015 after they were cozying up at Amy Duggar’s wedding.
Obviously, Jinger went on to marry Jeremy Vuolo and not Lawson, but has her sister Jana officially found love with this great catch?
According to the Bates Family Blog, which is run by friends of the family, parents Gil and Kathy Jo said that would be news to them.
Kelly Jo Bates said, “I think that probably Lawson and Jana would both be shocked by that news, although we have heard that rumor.”
“They are very good friends,” Lawson’s mom added, but:
“No courtships that either of our families are aware of.”
The Duggar family trip to see the Bates last month in Tennessee likely sparked the rumor, as both sides have been sharing many photos.
Lawson personally added fuel to the fire when he posted an April Fools’ Day pic of himself wearing a suit and a wedding ring.
He captioned the image, “If guys acted like girls.”
None other than Jana’s twin brother John David appears to be in that photo (above), so it’s easy to see how this whole thing got started.
Alas, Jana is still single, which she admits is hard.
“When all the married siblings are getting together and you can’t go along because you’re not part of ‘that’ group,” she recently lamented.
“I know how it feels to wait for ‘Prince Charming’ to come along. I’m still waiting,” she said, a hint of real emotion starting to break through.
“Waiting is not always easy. Especially in those times.”
“But waiting doesn’t mean sitting and literally waiting. My parents have always encouraged each of us to serve those around us.”
“Whether you are a young kid waiting to be finished with school, a young person waiting to get married, then once married.”
“Waiting to have a child, waiting for your children to go up.”
“No, we need to be busy with wherever God has us and being content and joyfully serving Jesus,” Jana told Crown of Beauty magazine.
The biggest takeaways there, besides the fact that Crown of Beauty magazine is apparently a thing that exists, are as follows:
1. Jim Bob and Michelle still call the shots;
2. The whole “being content” serving others bit feels like something one tells one’s self when one is not actually content doing it.
(Some even felt that young Joy-Anna Duggar’s dating advice implicitly called out this viewpoint for not being proactive enough.)
3. These two are way too hot not to be a thing, and clearly get along well, so as arranged courtships go, what’s the holdup?!
With that said, on behalf of all Duggar and Bates fans throughout the Ozarks, Appalachia and beyond … can we just get them together!?
Seriously, even if they aren’t courting right this second, there’s got to be a change (dot) org petition we can circulate to make it happen.