Jana Duggar has admitted she ‘longs’ to be married, but spending too much time worrying about her single status ‘makes things way worse.’
The 30-year-old Counting On star is the only member of the family over age 21 who has yet to get hitched — and the pressure is particularly high in her evangelical Christian community, where women are encouraged to be homemakers and mothers to lots and lots of children.
But unlike her siblings Josh, John David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, and Joy Anna, Jana has yet to find ‘The One’ — so, she told Us Weekly, she is currently making the most of her single years.
All the single ladies: Jana Duggar has admitted she ‘longs’ to be married, but spending too much time worrying about her single status ‘makes things way worse’
Alone: The 30-year-old Counting On star is the only member of the family over age 21 who has yet to get hitched — and the pressure is particularly high in her Christian community
‘Yes, I long to be married and one day I think that will come,’ she said in an interview with her mother Michelle, 53.
‘I’m just just trying to stay busy with whatever comes along my path and just making the most of these single years.’
Jana admitted that ‘sometimes’ she ‘feels a little more pressure’, but ultimately she’s ‘not that worried.’
‘I think if I sit there and I’m like, “Oh no, I’m not married” and just [get] all worried about it, it makes things way worse,’ she said. ‘So I just find the next thing to do to stay busy.’
Counting On fans frequently speculate about Jana’s love life and whether she is secretly ‘courting’ — that family’s term for ‘dating with a purpose’ to get married.
In her family, most have gotten married and starting having babies at quite young ages. Besides Jana, the only single Duggar adults are 18-year-old James, 20-year-old Jason, and 21-year-old twins Jedidiah and Jeremiah.
So Jana — the oldest girl, who is nearly a decade older than 22-year-old Joy Anna, who is expecting her second child — is used to being asked about her love life.
At home with mom and dad: Jana will appear in the new season of Counting On on TLC
If you say so: Jana admitted that ‘sometimes’ she ‘feels a little more pressure’, but ultimately she’s ‘ not that worried’
Auntie: Jana is surrounded by babies, including the daughter of her twin brother John David
She said that ‘sometimes it can get tiring’ to field ‘the same questions over and over’ — and these days, it’s hardly easy to date, with the pandemic making it more difficult to meet new people.
In the interview, Michelle also sang her daughter’s praises, sounding like a testimonial in a personal ad.
She called Jana ‘incredible’ and ‘an entrepreneur’ — possibly hoping these will be selling points for any single Christian men tuning in.
‘She doesn’t wait and sit around for anything,’ Michelle said. ‘This girl keeps us all busy. If it weren’t for her, half the projects around here wouldn’t get done. But she’s got brothers and she can really encourage them to get — “Hey, let’s get this done, let’s do this.”
‘And then she’s always looking for ways to serve and help wherever she can. And so, she’s a get-it-done kind of person and I’m amazed at all the things that she does.
‘That’s a beautiful thing about Jana is she really has that focus of just serving others and working hard and having fun while she does it, and including others and getting them involved in some of the fun projects,’ she said.
‘I’m just just trying to stay busy with whatever comes along my path and just making the most of these single years,’ she said
Riding solo: Eight of Jana’s adult siblings — everyone over the age of 21 — are already married
She said ‘sometimes it can get tiring’ to field ‘the same questions over and over’ — and these days, it’s hardly easy to date, with the pandemic making it more difficult to meet new people
On Counting On and Instagram, Jana’s projects — and the ways in which she keeps busy — are on full display.
The 30-year-old likes to garden, do home design, and play music. She also helps take care of her younger siblings still at home: Justin, 17, Jackson, 16, Johanna, 14, Jennifer, 12, Jordyn, 11, and Josie, 10.
In a previous episode of Counting On, Jana was also asked about the pressure to wed.
‘There can be that pressure, I guess. I mean, everyone’s always giving their suggestions,’ she said. ‘Some will pressure in some ways. And I’m like, “Y’all when the time comes…”
She added that there ‘have been a number of guys’ who have expressed interest, but ‘none of them worked out,’ and she hasn’t been in ‘courtships, necessarily.’
Though no relationships for Jana have played out on camera, there have been various rumors over the years of potential suitors — most notably, Lawson Bates, a fellow Christian fundamentalist who appears with his family on the show Bringing Up Bates.
Big sis: Her sisters Joy Anna, Jinger, Jessa, and Jill are all married with children
Full-grown adult: Because she is unmarried, she still lives with her parents and abides by their rules
Jana has never confirmed that they were involved, but the rumors have persisted, thanks in part to Lawson’s flirty Instagram comments.
‘Different ones of us have been in relationships, courtships, whatever you want to label it as,’ Jana added, avoiding talking about herself in particular. ‘Of course, it doesn’t always end in marriage and that’s OK. You have to sometimes talk to someone, get to know someone and just realize, you know what, it doesn’t have to end in marriage.’
Though she’s clearly trying to look on the bright side, the eldest Duggar daughter did seem to be struggling a bit with her single status.
‘If I was sitting here waiting to get married, I think that would be more depressing but instead, I really look at this as, OK what are other things maybe that I could be doing right now that maybe I can’t do later?
‘I’ve really enjoyed the different opportunities that I’ve had, [like] to travel, even still being able to travel with my family that maybe my married siblings can’t do.’
While Jana does seem to have at least some independence, viewers of the show have remarked on the fact that the 30-year-old not only still lives with her parents, but actually shares a bedroom with four of her younger sisters, age 10 to 14.
Big families: Her older brother, 31-year-old sex pest Josh, has six children with his wife Anna, also 31
Bro: Her twin John David was old to marry by Duggar standards, saying ‘I do’ to Abbie at age 28. They had a daughter named Grace in January
Smaller family: Sister Jill, 28, has just two sons with her husband Derick Dillard so far
Popping them out: Meanwhile, Jessa, 27, has Spurgeon, Henry, and Ivy with her husband Ben Seewald
She has been the lone adult sibling in the girls’ dorm since Joy Anna married in 2017 at age 19.
Jana has long been seen as a sort of surrogate mother to her younger siblings, as she’s been involved in helping to raise them since she was a young teen herself.
The family’s intense focus on marriage and childbearing has made it particularly surprising that Jana has yet to tie the knot.
Her siblings all got married in their late teens or early 20s, with the exception of her twin brother John David, who married at 28.
In the Duggar family, girls live at home and follow their parents’ rules until they marry.
One of those rules includes wearing only modest skirts and dresses, with pants being off limits. Several of Jana’s sisters now wear pants, but only began to do so after they married.
The Duggar women also abstained from social media until getting married, with only Jana being the exception. She finally joined Instagram earlier this year before her 29th birthday.
Expanding: Jinger, 26, has a daughter named Felicity with her husband Jeremy Vuolo, and the couple is expecting another child this year
All smiles: Joseph, 25, and his wife Kendra have two children, a boy named Garrett and a girl named Addison
Family of three: Josiah, 23, and his wife Lauren have one daughter, Bella
Coming soon: Joy Anna, 22, is expecting her second child with her husband Austin Forsyth; they already have a son named Gideon
Meanwhile, all of her adult sisters have already started families of their own, as have many of her brothers.
Her older brother, 31-year-old sex pest Josh, has six children with his wife Anna, also 31.
Her twin brother John David, 30, and his wife Abbie, 28, have a new baby named Grace born in January.
Jill, 28, has two sons — Israel and Samuel — with her husband Derick Dillard, while Jessa, 27, has Spurgeon, Henry, and Ivy with her husband Ben Seewald.
Jinger, 26, has a daughter named Felicity with her husband Jeremy Vuolo, and the couple is expecting another child this year.
Joseph, 25, and his wife Kendra have two children, and Josiah, 23, and his wife Lauren have one.
Joy Anna, 22, is expecting her second child with her husband Austin Forsyth.