Living in an Amish community in northern Kentucky for five years has given me the opportunity to observe many interesting things about their culture. Sometimes I’m shocked at their strict beliefs and behavior, but usually I’m humbled and impressed with the Plain People.
The Amish are people who are always willing to come to the aid of their neighbors, whether Amish or not, and they hold their personal relationships in the highest esteem. These are admirable traits for anyone, but I’ve witnessed firsthand that the basis for their success in life is their strong religious faith and their solid and loving relationships with their spouses.
Granted, the Amish culture is a man’s society and you’d think that would cause all kinds of problems with the women, but it doesn’t seem to. Most of the Amish women I know are quite satisfied of their role within the marriage. They run the household and oftentimes are full and respected partners in the family business. They care for the children and participate in church activities. They get together regularly with other women within the community to quilt or clean house together. Amish women seem busy and content within their lives.
I think the contentment begins with the giving nature I’ve witnessed from most of the men toward their wives. Even though they may be the ‘boss,’ Amish men tend to continue to display acts of romance long after the wedding ceremony. Flowers, extravagant gifts and vacations are commonplace from the men of the community to their wives. They recognize and respect the hard work that their wives do and are ever thankful for their partner in life.
When troubles do arise within an Amish marriage, the community will jump in and help through counseling to repair the damage. Very rarely do the Amish divorce, which shows their ultimate dedication in the vows they spoke to each other.
Because the Amish live a life without the entertainment of television, radio, movies and internet, they seem to place more emphasis on romance and that’s one of the reasons they may have up to twelve children or more within a family. Their religion prevents them from using birth control, which obviously contributes to the large number of pregnancies, but since there are few other things to do in the evenings, the Amish are focused on the pleasures between a man and a wife. So much intimacy keeps Amish couples close. Having so many children would be a nightmare to most outsiders, but the Amish women appear to enjoy having large families and have grown accustomed to it.
The Amish don’t hold hands and would never be caught showing public displays of affection, but the simplicity of their lives lends to a quiet and hidden romance that lasts forever.