It’s usually fairly easy to tell if a man is married. Many men wear a wedding band to signify their marital status. However, in the case of Amish men, this doesn’t apply.
The Amish have different marriage customs and dress codes from ‘outsiders’. So, you may be wondering how to tell if an Amish man is married. Is there a cheat code?
You’re in luck! The answer to that question and so much more are in the guide below. You’ll discover some unique Amish marriage customs and marital status cues, and you’ll also learn the reason for that absent wedding band.
What this article covers:
- Amish Marriage Traditions
- What Does a Married Amish Man Look Like?
- Why Don’t Amish Men Wear Wedding Bands?
Amish Marriage Traditions
Amish marriage traditions like most Amish beliefs on marriage are influenced by their religion. As a conservative Christian denomination, the Amish take the Bible's teachings very seriously, particularly the Old Testament.
It’s here that the foundation for many of their cultural behaviors is found. Both Amish men and women have a dress code that they abide by. An example of this is the way they dress. They dress modestly, avoiding all forms of vanity, as recommended in biblical teachings.
Amish marriage age often surprises outsiders as it’s the early twenties and sometimes younger. As soon as they’ve been formally baptized into the Amish religion and way of life, they’re free to marry. For this reason, most Amish men that you see over the age of 21 are married or, at the very least, about to be.
Amish Married Men’s Rules
As for the myth about Amish and polygamy, it’s simply not true. Amish men have one wife only, and take their marriage vows very seriously. Amish married men are the heads of their households and the pillars of the community. They’re the breadwinners and, as they grow in age and wisdom, the Elders.
In the case of the death of a spouse, an Amish man or woman may remarry. However, Amish divorce is forbidden in the community and it’s a rarity. No Amish person may marry someone who isn’t a member of the Amish faith and community.
There are also a few visual cues as to their marital status. This ensures there can never be any confusion about whether any of them are ‘available’ for Amish courting. (More about that in a moment).
Amish Men and Women’s Roles In Marriage
Amish marriage traditions may be patriarchal and conservative, but they enjoy doing things together as a couple. Many Amish women help their husbands with their work in the fields, collecting fresh crops in their skilfully woven harvest baskets: the same harvest baskets you can buy right here at Amish Baskets.
However, once that fresh produce finds its way into the kitchen, Amish women are in charge. They also bake the fresh loaves of bread that go into their rustic bread boxes.
The women in the community are keen quilters and basket weavers, and this provides additional income for their households. Amish men show great skill with their traditional carpentry techniques, handed down through the generations. Most Amish men are also involved in agriculture and animal husbandry.
What Does a Married Amish Man Look Like?
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.
So, what about Amish men? How do you know if an Amish man is married, based on his appearance? Amish men don’t have a change in their dress code, per se, but they do change their appearance after they get hitched.
Before marriage, the men have neatly trimmed beards. However, after marriage, they grow their beards out. Amish men are very proud of their beards, and it’s not just because they’re a sign of masculinity.
What’s the Deal with Amish Men and Beards?
There are passages in the Bible, extolling the virtues of growing a beard and admonishing against shaving it off. Amish men take this very seriously, and that is why they do not shave their beards.
In time, this came to be seen as a sign of marital status. Married Amish men started sporting fuller beards that any biblical patriarch would be proud of.
It became the norm for all married men to start growing their beards out after their nuptials. Not their mustaches, though!
Why No Mustaches?
Outsiders often find this odd, but there’s a historical reason for it. It’s one of the few Amish norms that are not directly based on religious teaching, although there’s an indirect link to their values.
Let’s explain. Mustaches were seen as emblems of British military men in the past. The Amish would have seen this in the early days of America’s rise to independence.
As the Amish are forbidden from engaging in warfare, or anything that perpetuates violence, they soon prohibited the wearing of the mustache.
Why Don’t Amish Men Wear Wedding Bands?
Amish men don’t wear wedding bands for the same reason that Amish women don’t - there are no such things as Amish wedding rings.
Wedding bands are a form of jewelry and thus fall under the category of vanity in Amish culture. For this reason, they prefer other cues such as bonnet color and facial hair. But why is jewelry seen as a sign of vanity? And is vanity that bad, anyway?
To an Amish person, yes, it is. The Amish faith requires that the person keep their focus on God and follow a Godly life. This can be complicated by the distractions that modern culture and fashion offer. This is the reason why the Amish community chooses to live separately from modern society.
Are Wedding Bands a Sign of Vanity?
As items of jewelry, they fall into the category of vanity. Jewelry isn’t essential like clothing as it’s worn for adornment only. Clothing can be a means of boasting about one's wealth, too. Think of designer wear, for example.
This is why all Amish men, and women, wear similar modest clothing so that no one stands out in a boastful way. And they keep their bodies covered with modest clothing.
Amish men wear plain long trousers, shirts, and suspenders. They also wear wide-brimmed hats. The women wear long dresses, aprons, and bonnets on their heads, called ‘kapps’.
Small acts of pride and vanity can open the door to bigger indiscretions. The simplest way to maintain a pious life, free from worldly pursuits, is to avoid worldly possessions. Fashion garments, cosmetics, and jewelry such as wedding bands are therefore not allowed.
Now you know how to tell if an Amish man is married or not and, once you understand the reasons for the unique Amish customs, they don’t seem so strange anymore.
Like every cultural group, the Amish have various norms and traditions, each one with a beautiful back story. Learn to love these stories, and you’ll learn to love the people.
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