UPDATE: This giveaway is now over. This giveaway was very exciting, and I had over 450 entries! So much fun! Random.org was used to select the winner. Congratulations to Brandie W.!
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought a post about how the Amish find a spouse would be a nice topic.
Amish typically get married around twenty to twenty-two years of age, but how did they find romance inside their conservative culture?
For generations the parents have had traditions in place to help the next generation find their mate. As important as this decision is, the parents aim to keep their opinions out of the mix and trust God to direct their adult children’s steps…as long as the prospective mate is from an Amish household.
The young people begin this journey during their rumschpringe, which usually begins at sixteen.
The word rumschpringe means running around, but there seems to be a lot of misinformation about it. The phrase indicates the difference between being young and running around to enjoy days of freedom and seeking a mate as opposed to being settled with a home and family to tend to.
Those writing about rumschpringe often imply that the Amish raise their children strictly, but when those children enter their rumschpringe, they let them run wild, allowing them to indulge freely in drinking, drugs, parties, sex, etc.
That is not true. Yes, some teens, regardless of how they’ve been raised, will break free of all their parents hold dear and act in unbecoming ways. This is true for Amish and non-Amish alike. Does that mean the parents throw open the door and encourage their children to sow their wild oats while they can? Of course not.
During my times of staying with the Old Order Amish, I’ve witnessed the parents allowing their teens to express their personalities. They give leeway for their energy and provide opportunities to bond with other Amish teens. Although the parents have large families and their days are spent trying to meet the needs of all their children, they do a remarkable job of providing guidance and protection for those in their time of rumschpringe.
One of the main social events young Amish men and women enjoy is the Sunday evening singings. Amish teens begin attending at the age of 16. These singings can include Amish teens from many districts far and wide, and the events are adult-supervised. The parents who live on the property and the ones who’ve come to help out will stay seated during the singing until the good-bye song begins. Then they set out the baked goods and drinks.
It’s a great way to fellowship and to have romance spark between young people.
If an unattached young man and woman meet for the first time during one of these gatherings, or if two young people who already know each other begin to feel an attraction, the man will ask to drive her home (in his buggy). Even if a non-Amish driver brought a load of Amish from a district far away, the Amish are usually dropped off at a friend or cousin’s house so that they can drive a buggy to the event. If they enjoy each other’s company, he will begin picking her up and taking her home from future gatherings. If either of them has siblings who are married, they’ll visit that couple while dating/courting.
The parents of the young couple may or may not know they’re seeing each other. Couples often enjoy keeping their relationship a secret.
Click here if you’d like to read about what an Amish bride wears on her wedding day and what a typical Amish wedding looks like.
In years past, Amish couples did not take a honeymoon away from the community. They usually spent the first several months of married life visiting the homes of folks who came to their wedding. Some couples today hire an Englisch driver to take them somewhere special for a few days—Niagara Falls is a favorite. One young couple I know hired a driver and took a trip out west to see the Grand Canyon.
After marriage, if a couple can’t afford a place of their own, they may move in with either the bride’s parents or the groom’s, depending on which home has the most space. Or they might stay in a room above a carriage shop or rent a garage apartment of a non-Amish neighbor, or a small home on someone’s farm.
The fresh-shaven face of the groom before the wedding won’t remain smooth after the wedding. In accordance with the Ordnung, unmarried men keep their faces shaven, but once a man is married he begins to grow a beard. He will never shave it off, even if he becomes a widower. When there is a multi-district Amish event, a young woman doesn’t need to wonder if a man is married, or try to get close enough to spot a ring. His beard can be seen from quite a distance.
With great anticipation, the bride and groom’s family hopes the couple will be expecting by the following wedding season.
What is your notion of an ideal date? Where would you go?
Book Giveaway Results
I have the results of two giveaways to announce! Random.org was used to select each of the winners.
The first is the two winners of an autographed copy of Plain Wisdom: An Invitation Into An Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Congratulations to Donna Taylor and “tmhhherbelin!”
Congratulations also to Jenny Holdgrafer! She will receive her choice of either Heaven is for Real or Same Kind of Different As Me.
Ladies, please send your name and mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your book!
New Book Giveaway
If you would like to enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of A Season for Tending AND The Winnowing Season (books one and two in the Amish Vines and Orchards series), simply leave a comment at the bottom of this post on my website.
If you are reading this anywhere other than my website, such as on Facebook, in an email, or on Goodreads, please hop on over to my website (http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/2013/02/07/amish-dating/) and leave a comment at the bottom of my post to enter the giveaway.
Only comments left on this post on my website will be entered into the giveaway.
The deadline for this contest is Wednesday, February 13, 2013, at noon. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and will be contacted privately, as well as announced on next week’s post.
Both books will be shipped to the winner once I receive my author copies of The Winnowing Season.