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Jessa Duggar Is Engaged to Ben Seewald

Jessa Duggar Is Engaged to Ben Seewald
Ben Seewald and Jessa Duggar
M. Sharkey

updated 08/15/2014 AT 12:15 PM EDT

originally published 08/15/2014 AT 09:00 AM EDT

There's some new hand-holding going on in Springdale, Arkansas.

Jessa Duggar of TLC's hit reality show 19 Kids & Counting agreed to marry Ben Seewald on Thursday night. The couple began courting last year, deciding together to save holding hands until their engagement and their first kiss until their wedding day.

"We are so blessed to be engaged! God has written an amazing story through our courtship, and another chapter has just begun!" the giddy couple said in a statement. "We are thrilled to see what the future holds – especially the wedding bells!"

Duggar, 21, is third daughter of Jim Bob, 48, and Michelle, 47. Their show starts its new season Sept. 2 (9 p.m. ET).



"We do have a lot in common," she told PEOPLE during her courtship with Seewald, 19. "He is a mellow personality, very romantic and very sweet. I am very cut and dried. And my sisters are coaching me on sweet romantic things to say."

Duggar's older sister, Jill Duggar, 23, married Derick Dillard, 25, on June 21 at a ceremony attended by more than 1,000 family and friends. The couple's rehearsal dinner included more than 100 family members and volunteers, who helped make and serve food at their reception.

"People always ask us when we are getting married," Seewald told PEOPLE at the wedding of his soon-to-be sister- and brother-in-law. "We don't feel pressure to get married. If there's any pressure, it's a good kind of pressure."

Now that they're planning a wedding of their own, how will the newest member of the Duggar family handle the spotlight of reality television?



"The Duggar family gets asked a lot of questions," he told PEOPLE. "A lot of times we take it as a lesson, and we ask other people who are older and wiser than us to share wisdom with us about relationships. It's an important thing."

Like Duggar's parents, she and her new fiancé say they want to have a big family, and leave the number of children they have "up to God." Seewald is the oldest of seven children.

"We are talking about our goals and even just like future, with family, we both talked about adoptions," Duggar told PEOPLE. "We are open to having children and both want to adopt, too."

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