Can Amish Divorce? The Amish Beliefs and Views on Marriage - (2023)

Under the rules of Amish church leaders, the congregation must take marriage seriously – that they should continuously work to keep their marriage strong. When an Amish couple gets married, they are expected to stay married for the rest of their lives. Now, can Amish divorce?

In Amish communities, divorce is not acceptable or authorized by the Amish church. When an Amish man seeks divorce, he must leave the Amish faith, resulting in him being excommunicated. On the other hand, the remaining spouse will not be allowed to remarry until the other one passes.

To get a better understanding of the Amish views on divorce, read on.

The Amish Culture Views on Marriage and Divorce

Like most aspects of the lives of Amish people, marriage is heavily influenced by the laws of the Amish church. Marriage is the foundation of a family, which is one of the core elements of the Amish community. This is why they are known to have large families and, for years, this is how and what many Amish people live and believe.

These Amish beliefs on marriage strongly contradict the idea of divorce. It is considered a reason for excommunication, since divorce violates the vows taken by all Amish men and women during their Amish baptism.

Amish Beliefs and Views on Marriage

To fully understand why many religious groups, like the Amish, prohibit divorce, we must learn how they value and respect the Amish marriage. The Ordnung, the Amish Code of Conduct, regulates how each of them should live.

It is a set of written and unwritten rules that also tackle centuries-old traditions that uphold each Amish way of living we know today and even Amish marriage customs centered on their strong faith and beliefs.

Amish Couples “Sleep Together” Before Marriage

Some Amish communities allow (or encourage) young Amish couples to sleep together before marriage. Unlike our usual understanding of “sleeping together”, this is literal for the Amish. Premarital sex is strictly prohibited. Some stories even say that a wooden board is placed between them to prevent them from doing something “unlawful.”

(Video) Can Amish divorce? Remarry?

This practice is done so that the young couple can talk and get to know each other well before marriage. It helps them decide whether to pursue this life-long commitment, which is very important to the Amish community.

An Amish Man Should only Marry an Amish Woman and Vice Versa

Marrying someone with the same belief and religion as you can be a common preference for many religious groups and cultures. But for the Amish church and laws, this is a strict rule all Amish men and women should observe.

Can Amish marry outsiders? If an Amish woman or man wants to marry one, he or she should leave the Amish faith. In rare cases, the Amish church accepts converts, although they do not encourage it.

Only Amish Fathers will Work Outside the House

Amish wives or mothers’ most significant obligation is to take care of their small children at home while their husbands work outside. They are allowed, however, to run home-based small businesses to help with the family finances without neglecting their obligations to their children and husbands.

The only exception is if an Amish couple has no children. An Amish wife can work or run a business outside their property or in a nearby town if she has no small children to take care of in their home.

The Amish Man is the Head of the Home

In every conservative and old-fashioned unit of society, the man is almost always the head of a team. Understandably, this also applies to the Amish community.

Although Amish husbands are the dominant figures in every family and are in charge of financial matters, the wives still have an equal say to all the decision-making that affects the family’s welfare and future. Amish couples work together to share workloads.

Many Amish men help with household chores, yard work, and tasks regarding the children. In fact, you will see many Amish fathers hold their children outside their homes or inside their churches.

Amish women help their husbands in the fields or even in furniture making. No tasks are heavy for them since they are known as exceptional hard workers. Most importantly, this is one of the core values of an Amish marriage – being there all the time for the spouse and family.

(Video) Can Amish marry non-Amish? (+2 special situations)

Amish Couples Spend Time with Each Other and Have Fun

From an outsider’s point, it’s common to think that everyone in the Amish community doesn’t know how to have fun. Whenever we think about the Amish community, we think of people wearing plain clothes while working in the fields or their wood crafting shops.

On the contrary, the Amish love telling jokes, playing indoor and outdoor games, and bonding with their Amish friends over sumptuous meals. Many Amish women love quilting, crafting, gardening, and many other creative things.

Amish men, like their counterparts outside their grid, are also involved with fishing, hunting, and other fun things we usually see men do outdoors. Amish couples enjoy traveling as well, even without their kids sometimes.

These activities, and their faith in God being the center of everything they do, help strengthen Amish couples’ marriages, especially during trying times.

What Happens If The Marriage of An Amish Couple Fails?

Not all marriages are perfect – even for the most conservative and God-fearing people.

Since the Amish are prohibited from taking their problems to the court of law, the couple experiencing marital difficulties may seek the help of their church leaders to intervene.

A Christian counselor will guide the couple to resolve their differences until they meet an acceptable ground. They would be convinced to strive harder to keep their marriage strong.

What If An Amish Man Cheats on His Wife?

Unfortunately, such marital issues are not openly discussed with others within the Amish community, as many view cheating victims as just as guilty as abusers.

Consequently, most Amish women with cheating husbands have nothing else to do but pray that their spouses will eventually realize their sins, return to them, and repent.

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During this challenging chapter of their lives, they usually rely on financial assistance from the Amish church, family members, and other generous people from the Amish community.

When Can An Amish Man or Woman Remarry?

After separation, it will still be considered an act of adultery if one begins a new relationship with someone else. Even though the split had already happened decades ago, the Amish community will still view them as a married couple.

An Amish person will only be allowed to remarry after their spouse’s death. The courtship should also be discreet and can only be done through mail out of respect for the deceased.

However, many Amish believe this to be unfair since Amish men tend to die first, and men are most likely to remarry based on statistics.

What If One Leaves The Amish Community to Pursue Divorce?

Even if an Amish man leaves the Amish faith and goes to modern society to pursue the filing of divorce, the remaining will still not be allowed to remarry since the Amish church doesn’t recognize nor sanction divorce.

The one who leaves, however, would be free to remarry a non-Amish person since he’s already excommunicated and shunned from the Amish community.

What Happens If One Gets Shunned by The Amish Church?

Amish shunning is a centuries-old practice in the Amish culture in which church members isolate, ignore, or punish someone for breaking church rules. Shunned Amish people eat alone and are forbidden to join community activities. Everyone is often prohibited from visiting, doing business with, or receiving anything from a shunned member of the Amish church.

For example, a shunned Amish church member who left the faith to seek a divorce can rarely return if he shows great remorse for breaking his vow during his Amish baptism. Since, for the Amish, breaking such is like defying God’s laws, this is a harrowing journey to take.

(Video) The Death of Amish Spouse * can they remarry?

Like the decision to enforce such punishment upon the individual, the acceptance will also depend on the congregation’s votes. If, for example, the shunned individual didn’t win the votes to get reaccepted and would be disregarded forever, this won’t be the first time.


In general, marriage is a life-long commitment that should be honored and taken care of for the rest of the married couple’s lives. While it is true that everyone should stay married once they take this road, not everything works out the way we want it to.

After all, living a married life has its ups and downs. Even though Amish people are highly conservative, they have a good sense of what they truly deserve.

Family is a core element of the Amish. To have a family is to get married to the partner you chose from the start. Therefore, Amish marriage is as essential as keeping families intact for the whole community.

For centuries, Amish people have lived this kind of life. Taking good care of their marriage is an Amish way of honoring God’s words and wisdom. If you look at it, divorce is not the main problem of the Amish church – it’s the desire to end a marriage permanently through divorce.

Tags: Amish Divorce

This entry was postedon Monday, January 9th, 2023 at 8:56 amand is filed under Amish Ways.You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


Can an Amish man marry a non Amish woman? ›

Marriage between Amish and outsiders is rare. That's because it's not allowed by Amish Law. However, should an outsider decide to convert to the Amish faith and get baptized, they'll be accepted as a member of the Amish community. They'll then be allowed to marry an Amish person.

What are the Amish rules for marriage? ›

Marriage in the Amish community is seen as a passage into adulthood. To get married in the Amish community, members must be baptized in the church. Outsiders, non-Amish, or 'English', as they call the rest of the world, are not permitted to marry within the Amish community.

Are Amish marriages recognized by the state? ›

Yes, the Amish are required to and do obtain marriage licenses. Their marriages are therefore recognized by the state.

What age do the Amish get married? ›

Dating among the Amish typically begins around age 16 with most Amish couples marrying between the ages of 20 and 22. To find a prospective date, the young adults socialize at functions such as frolics, church, or home visits. One of the most popular activities is the Sunday night singing.

Why can't Amish girls cut their hair? ›

Hair Is Sacred

The Amish are devout Christians, and as such, many of their traditions originate from the Bible. The Amish perceive hair as a sacred symbol of devotion to God. Because of this, cutting it is considered a shameful dismissal of this precious token.

Can Amish remarry if spouse dies? ›

Differences and remarriage

In addition, members of the Amish community are allowed to remarry after their spouse passes. Widows sometimes garner financial assistance from their families or the church and may even find work outside of the home, according to Amish America.

How do Amish treat their wives? ›

They Must Be Submissive to Their Husbands

Amish rituals and traditions, coupled with bibilical teachings, place a high value on submission. In the Amish community, women are expected to be submissive to their husbands. This means that they must defer to their husband's wishes and opinions.

What happens when Amish get divorced? ›

Divorce is not acceptable, and if an Amish church member should get a divorce, the person would have to leave the Amish faith, which would result in them being shunned. The spouse of the one who gets the divorce would not be allowed to remarry, as this would be considered adultery.

What are the Amish bedroom secrets? ›

The Amish bedroom rules contain what is known as bundling. This is the practice of sleeping in the same bed with someone of the opposite sex while fully clothed. Bundling is not considered sexual in nature. Rather, it's seen as a way to get to know someone better before marriage.

What does a blue door mean on an Amish house? ›

As one of the most recognizable Amish signs, the blue door symbolizes prosperity and abundance, as well as God's protection and guidance.

Do Amish use birth control? ›

The Amish are exempted from social security and reject health insurance coverage, do not practice birth control, and often veto preventive practices such as immunization and prenatal care.

Do Amish wear wedding rings? ›

As you probably already know, Amish don't wear jewelry. This includes wedding rings and engagement rings. No jewelry of any kind.

How can you tell if an Amish woman is married? ›

In the case of Amish women, this identification of marital status is very simple. The bonnets they wear are how to tell if an Amish woman is married. They all wear traditional bonnets on their heads, but while single women wear black, married women wear white.

Do Amish marry their cousins? ›

Marrying a first cousin is not allowed among the Amish, but second-cousin relationships are allowed. Marriage to a "Schwartz" cousin (the first cousin once removed) is not permitted in Lancaster County. The onset of courtship is usually not openly discussed within the family or among friends.

Do Amish give birth in hospitals? ›

The vast majority of all Amish deliver at home for many reasons which include cost, comfort and the need to be close to their home and family. Amish do not carry commercial insurance and many families have eight or more children. They also prefer midwives and doctors who understand their culture.

Can Amish show their hair? ›

The practice of wearing Amish bonnets or head coverings is stated explicitly in 1 Corinthians 11. It strongly suggests that men should keep their heads uncovered during prayer and prophesying, while women should wear head coverings at all times, especially during prayers.

Can Amish have beards? ›

Because Amish men shave their mustaches off, you may be wondering now if Amish are allowed to shave. While married men may shave their mustaches only, unmarried men may shave their beards, too. The only prohibition on shaving applies to the beards of married men.

What time do the Amish go to bed? ›

Early to Bed

Since morning comes early, most Amish families are in bed by 8:30 – 9:00 pm. Rest and getting adequate sleep is imperative for the Amish since much of their day is spent doing manual labor.

Do married Amish couples sleep in the same bed? ›

Couples who are bundling typically sleep in separate beds that are pushed together. They may also sleep in the same bed, but with a board between them to prevent any physical contact.

Do Amish females shave? ›

In short, Amish women don't shave because they aren't allowed to cut their hair. Similarly, married men don't shave their beards, but do shave their cheeks and trim to keep their beards tidy.

What happens if an Amish husband dies? ›

Remarriage After the Death of a Spouse

Widows and widowers may enter a courtship and remarry, and many Amish people do after losing a loved one. Because the Amish have large families, remarriage results in large extended families. Not all Amish wish to remarry, but most Amish widowers do.

How many wives can an Amish man have? ›

An Amish man may only have one wife. Should that wife pass away, he is free to remarry. The same goes for Amish women. They may remarry in the event of their husband's death.

Can Amish be friends with non Amish? ›

Yes. Many Amish have friendships with English people. Amish appreciate those who respect and practice Christian values, though Amish maintain relationships with others not of their faith.

Do Amish people marry their own? ›

Amish couples are expected to remain married to the mates they select as young adults. The Amish church depends on the biological reproduction of its members rather than on acquiring new members through proselytization.

What do the Amish call non Amish people? ›

Non-Amish people are generally referred to as "English" by the Amish, and outside influences are often described as "worldly". Amish church membership begins with adult baptism, usually between the ages of 16 and 23.

What do Amish do on their wedding night? ›

The Amish wedding night will usually be spent in the bride's parent's home, as the couple will need to assist in clean up the following day. They will then spend their first months of marriage – their honeymoon – visiting relatives. (This is when most gifts they receive will be given.)

How are Amish wives treated? ›

Amish women are esteemed in Amish society for the contribution they make to home and community. They are mothers, managers of the household, and play an important role in maintaining communal ties.

Do the Amish marry their cousins? ›

Marrying a first cousin is not allowed among the Amish, but second-cousin relationships are allowed. Marriage to a "Schwartz" cousin (the first cousin once removed) is not permitted in Lancaster County. The onset of courtship is usually not openly discussed within the family or among friends.

What are the Amish forbidden to own? ›

As part of their Ordnung, Old Order Amish forbid owning automobiles; tapping electricity from public utility lines; owning televisions, radios, or personal computers; attending high school or college; joining the military; and initiating divorce. All Amish groups expect men and women to wear prescribed clothing.

Can Amish people have social media? ›

It's still uncommon for Amish people to have social media accounts, but there are more progressive settlements where some people do — especially young people during Rumspringa, the period between roughly ages 16 to 20 where your behavior isn't being dictated by either your parents or the church.

What is the most strict Amish? ›

Swartzentrubers are the most restrictive concerning the use of technologies among all Amish affiliations, see table below. Their style of dress tends to be heavier and plainer, especially in the case of women; only the Nebraska Amish dress in a more conservative style.

What are the Amish rules in the bedroom? ›

The Amish practice a form of bedroom ritual called "bundling." In bundling, a young man and woman spend time together in the same room, usually fully clothed and often with a board or blanket between them. This allows them to get to know each other without the distraction of physical contact.

What is the syndrome that the Amish have? ›

Amish lethal microcephaly is a disorder in which infants are born with a very small head and underdeveloped brain. Infants with Amish lethal microcephaly have a sloping forehead and an extremely small head size.

What Bible does Amish use? ›

But the Amish do not have a specific Amish Bible. They use the German Martin Luther Bible or the English King James Version.


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