Dear Barb—Living in an Amish Paradise

Dear Barb:

I am dating an Amish man.  We met many years ago as kids while we were growing up.  His family tried to keep us apart, but we saw each other secretly and eventually they turned their heads.  I believe they hoped if they stopped fighting this relationship that it would eventually just run out of steam.  That didn’t happen and we are in love and talking about a future together.  The problem is the future he envisions for us is not the future I envision.  Consequently I am having doubts, because Daniel expects me to live the Amish lifestyle.  I don’t know if I can live that way of life; I’m used to a different existence, which includes all the creature comforts.  Although I love Daniel, when I look at his mother and sisters and how they live, even wearing the attire with the full bonnet does not appeal to me.  I was hoping I would be able to get Daniel to leave the Amish community, but he is not open to that possibility.  I don’t want to get trapped into a lifestyle I cannot sustain and even worse bring children into a situation I am not comfortable with.  Looking for advice, thanks, Christina. 

Hi Christina:

Thanks for your very important letter.  Customarily Amish people are expected to marry within the Amish community.  Amish men can marry outside of their community as long as the woman becomes Amish; on the other hand Amish women are not permitted to marry outside of the Amish community.  Although men are allowed to marry outside of their community, it will be very difficult for their wives to be fully accepted by others within the community.  No doubt Christina it would be a difficult road and you have to be fully committed and prepared to undertake this journey.  Since you are having doubts, perhaps you are realizing this may not be the path for you.  The Amish people do not seek or desire to add outsiders to their community.  After marriage you are required to live within the Amish community and this includes a conservative lifestyle without electricity, travelling by horse and buggy and without many other modern conveniences, which obviously you are aware of.  There are pluses to marrying an Amish man, one being that they share the responsibility for child care, working in the fields and household chores, equally.  I would suggest that you and Daniel attend a couple of premarital counseling sessions together.  These sessions are helpful in bringing out things a couple may not have discussed, and I believe you and Daniel have many concerns to discuss before you take a serious step like marriage.  Best of luck to you both.

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