As is common around my area, my husband was Amish for the first ten years of his life. His family then left the Amish and moved to a different school where we met in the fifth grade.
Three out of my four grandparents were raised Amish but neither of my parents were so I really didn’t know a whole lot about the Amish culture until my husband and I started dating.
Like any couple, we didn’t know how our childhood would affect our relationship until after we got married. Now that it’s been 3 1/2 years since we said “I do”, I’ve started noticing a few things that seem to come up often in our life together.
So without further ado, here’s 10 things that happen when you’re a non-Amish woman married to an ex-Amish man.
1. He Talks Dutch in His Sleep
There have been multiple times that I’ve woken up in the middle of the night to my husband talking in his sleep. I’m always intrigued by sleep talk and love how funny it can be but the problem is, his sleep talk is only in Dutch which I don’t speak. So not only do I get woken up, but I have no funny story to tell in the morning because I have no idea what he said.
2. You Disagree on Your Sleeping Habits
Speaking of sleep, there’s probably nothing that my husband and I disagree on more than our sleeping habits. I truly do love sleep and in general, I prefer to stay up late and sleep in. But when you grow up Amish, you are taught the value of the old saying “early to bed and early to rise.” There are chores and animals to take care of first thing in the morning before going to work or school. Even though we don’t currently have a farm, my husband is still accustomed to waking up before the sun, working all morning and then relaxing in the evening which is the complete opposite of me. I wish I could be more like him and I’ve tried multiple times to change but let’s be real, it’s just not in my blood.
3. You Constantly Wonder If You’re Doing Enough
If you don’t know much about the Amish let me tell you that Amish women
I am constantly baffled at how they manage to cook three full meals each day, do the laundry without an electric washer or dryer, keep a squeaky clean house, maintain huge gardens, sew all their clothes, preserve their harvest and mother a handful of children at the same time. Meanwhile, I feel like I run in circles all day and nothing ever gets done. Even though my husband is completely gracious with me, I still can’t help but compare and wonder if I’m doing all I can for our family. Maybe if I just woke up earlier….
4. Your Husband Wants to Take “Off Sundays”
One thing my husband and I differ on is our expectations for Sundays. I was raised in a family that went to church every single Sunday so to me, Sunday isn’t Sunday without it. But the Amish only have church every other Sunday and use their “Off-Sunday” to truly rest. So while I may have a tendency to feel guilty for missing church, my husband thinks complete rest is an equally important part of the Sabbath. This is a new concept for me and one I’m still wrestling with but I can see the beauty of it and those Sundays that we’ve taken to rest have been truly refreshing.
5. He Calculates Travel Time by Horse and Buggy
When it comes to how early we need to leave the house to get somewhere, my husband is the King of the phrase “hurry up and wait.” Granted, I’m not necessarily the Queen of being on time but there are instances where I am just baffled by how early he wants to leave. This is especially confusing to me because if we get there early, he usually likes to circle the block until it’s time to go in. But the other day it dawned on me that perhaps deep down, he’s thinking of his horse and buggy days and basing his calculations off of that. This makes so much more sense!
6. You End up Sitting in Darkness
We have electricity and lights in our home for a reason but sometimes my husband prefers not to use them. As evening comes, he loves to let the darkness fill our home until we can’t see anything at all. This drives me crazy. Furthermore, at Christmas brunch, my in-laws all voted to keep the lights off while we ate. They all loved it. I suppose it would be quite lovely to be more in tune with the Earth’s natural rhythm of light but my eyes simply do not agree.
7. You Must Have Applesauce in the House at All Times
One thing Amish people love to eat is applesauce. They especially like to dip their pizza in it and mix it in their casseroles. My husband isn’t even as big of a fan of applesauce as his relatives but we still have to keep a couple jars of it in the house just in case he suddenly craves it. Sometimes I will have dinner all set out on the table and my husband suddenly disappears only to emerge out of the basement a few minutes later with a jar of applesauce to accompany his meal. Who knew it was such a staple!
8. He Will Try to Get You to Sew
I will never forget the year my husband came home with a sewing machine for my birthday and said “we’re never buying clothes again.” He was joking of course. I think…
Truthfully I had expressed a desire to learn to sew and I did make a couple things when we first got the machine but I’ve struggled to persevere. It just doesn’t come natural to me. Sorry husband.
9. You Are Denied a Dessert Plate.
One thing I was very confused about when I started going to Amish gatherings was that there were no dessert plates. Everyone simply put their dessert right on top of where they ate their regular food (or even mixed it in just like the applesauce). Occasionally, I’ve asked my husband for a dessert plate and he just laughs at me. I don’t like the idea of my sweets mixing with my savory food but then I realized that it’s not as bad as washing all the dinner AND dessert plates by hand like the Amish would have to do. So while I’m thankful for my dishwasher, I don’t complain about the lack of dessert plates when I’m at an Amish ice cream supper.
10. You Get Enlightened
Anytime you mix two cultures in as intimate a relationship as marriage, you’re bound to find out that not everyone sees things the same way you do. While these differences can sometimes be frustrating, confusing, or difficult to adapt to, they can also open your eyes to a new way of thinking. Furthermore, letting a new culture teach you can bring a greater balance and wholeness to your life. And whether we like it or not, this is what makes marriage so beautiful ❤️
Do you have a cross cultural marriage? What are some ways you and your spouse see the world differently?
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