Mennonite dating beliefs
Flirting is frowned upon, and is very uncommon.
While the girl may have suspicions, there is not a lot of interaction between the opposite genders in day to day life. We practice segregated seating in our church services, and it would be considered very brazen for a girl to approach a boy to talk.
Most of the interaction between the guys and girls comes during hymn sings or Bible school events, and is subtle and fleeting. Typically, a courtship starts when a young man begins observing a young lady.
He will observe how she interacts with her family and other church members and see if she holds the church standards in high regard. He may talk with her during a youth event and will probably get to know her father. Now, the Amish and Mennonites handle the next part differently. In Amish groups, the boy will first show his interest by asking the girl if he can drive her home after a youth event.
If she accepts, the courtship is on.
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In Mennonite groups, the boy will usually call the father to ask his permission before asking the girl to court. She will typically wait for anywhere from several hours to several weeks before giving her reply.
Amish courting customs - My Almost Amish Life
When the courtship starts, the young man will bring flowers to the girl, and word quickly spreads among the church family. A courtship usually involves the ministry of the church, and can only be carried on with their approval. Parents are also very involved in the courtship of their children, and their opinions are held in high esteem. Amish people are generally more physically affectionate in their courtships than are the Mennonites.
Mennonite couples have absolutely no physical contact while they are courting. Although hand shaking between genders is acceptable under normal circumstances, it is not acceptable for a courting couple to have any physical contact, and the first touch will not happen until after the wedding. The Amish vary quite a bit on this point, with some practicing the old tradition of bundling, where they will lie in bed, fully clothed, with a board between them, talking all night. Some Amish couples will hold hands and kiss, and some will even go a bit further than that, although sex outside of marriage is not permitted by any of the groups.
It is pathetic, actually, what men give out for free. But to be more guarded, to carefully guard our hearts as something precious or preservable, and keep our strengths to ourselves is impermissible. We must be like a paper plate, an adequate stand-in performer, something wanted around for temporary use, and okay to be tossed in the trash. And, yet, we must also live up to the traditional Mennonite male role and display the qualities of fine chinaware.
Stop grovelling in front of the unappreciative, open your eyes like Peter did envisioning the expansion of the church Acts Jesus spoke about not casting our pearls before swine Matthew 7: Loyalty can be a fault. There are unmarried men and women outside your own religious community who might better appreciate your Christian testimony.
However, the point that courtship is one arena in which many Mennonite women are allowed to be gatekeepers is an insightful one. For someone with with a powerful drive to protect, the military and law enforcement must have a strong pull. In the political sense, nonresistance is a lot easier for women than for men.
In a sense this contrast is saddening and frustrating. But perhaps this is one of the unseen affects of the courtship culture on American Mennonites: Like Liked by 1 person. However, there is strong emphasis of gender roles from the pulpit—women are encouraged to take their place with praise that sounds an awful lot like pressure and expected to control male impulses from afar. Would it be any wonder if this kind of male passive-aggressiveness would be met with an even more passively passive-aggressive response?
Would it be a surprise that those often portrayed as objects of male lust would reject our attention altogether? I think there is some deep female resentment for men in conservative Mennonite circles that often goes undiagnosed. That said, I do not see that as the case with you and believe you would give a guy a chance. I believe you did have a father who valued you as more than the doer of laundry or picker of drapes and did show some respect. I know one woman who said as much about her own daughters. But, alas, this is a complicated business.
There are many forces at work, many influences that have played their part in shaping the current situation, and my blog more just an attempt to bring some awareness than it is to present any precise explanation. So thank you for adding your own perspective. I pray you can find a man who affirms both your intelligence and faith. You are an amazingly strong and capable person. Very interesting blog post. I sincerely appreciate the male viewpoint on this subject, but was simultaneously a little irritated by it, because I felt as though a chunk of the puzzle was missing.
Here are my two cents on what is missing from this analysis, from a single female perspective:. I would like to know what you based this on. You mentioned that Mennonite girls have the advantage of being able to live at home until they marry. I view this a little differently. A Mennonite man can, through physical strength and the connections that a community can provide, get a really good job and afford to live on his own.
A Menno woman has a much harder time doing this. She is often stuck teaching school or working at a bent-and-dent store for minimum wage. It stands to reason then, given the lack of good jobs within the community, that the longer women go without getting married the more they reach outside of the community for employment. This includes mission work, going to college, working for non-Mennonite-owned establishments, etc. I think that, in general, life gets better for unmarried Mennonite women while it gets worse for unmarried Mennonite men.
Consider your average year-old Mennonite female, with little to no training as a teacher, trying to teach three grades in one classroom while getting paid minimum wage.
Courting is similar to dating, but it is done with more purpose.
A handsome man with a good job wants to marry her. Hmm, she could be a mommy and have a spouse to take care of her and provide for her. She is very likely to want to get married. Now, consider that no one has asked this Mennonite female, and she gets so sick and tired of teaching that she decides to become a nurse. She gets her degree and a world of possibilities opens up: Now, a handsome man with a good job wants to marry her.
Most likely she still wants to get married. But she looks at the guy, and he has spent his whole life working for his dad and living at home. And she knows that this world of possibility she has ventured into will be closed to her if she marries him.
In short, I think older single Menno guys would have a whole lot more luck with older single Menno girls if they too would venture out of their community and broaden their world. Like Liked by 2 people. Emily, thank you for your assistance in adding some of those missing pieces of the puzzle.
Little Known Facts About the Amish and the Mennonites
The common life of the bride and groom is to bear witness to the Presence of Christ in their lives and in the world. Martyrdom is usually associated with death. That is a selfish reasoning if you consider that the available spouse might need them to reach their full potential. I also know it is not uncommon to for people to reject marriage unless their own requirements are met.
Again, who is that serving? Where I am men have stuck to more traditional jobs, while women are getting degrees in nursing or education and working outside the Mennonite community. I will say though, that women who look for work within the Mennonite community will likely be paid and appreciated less than an equally qualified man.
I know this was the case with a female relative of mine and is something I have heard from others as well. But, those who go outside Mennonite run schools or thrift stores own properties and probably put me to shame in what they have been able to save. Mennonite women, like their secular counterparts, have outperformed men and thus would be going against their own self-interest to marry a guy with less income potential than their own. Which goes back to my response to your point 1 and makes me wonder if the reasons why we are marrying or rather why we are not marrying are selfish?
I guess the question I should be asking is if men have a usefulness to women besides the traditional role of bread winner? It seems there could be some underlying materialistic motives here worth discussing. It is probably true that conservative Mennonite men will need to adapt to the higher expectations and new values of their women. Or, they can take my advice, and find the many women outside their communities who know that there is more to life than worldly wealth or power. Perhaps it is time for more of them to move on to where their values will be more fully appreciated and useful.
I was turned down once and accepted once duh, right? But the rejection was so healthy for me. So my encouragement would be fit guys not to make such a big deal about asking a girl out, but pursue her in friendship. If there can be anything further, it will come clear. Having said that, I do agree there is something fundamentally wrong with how our churches handle older singles.
It feels rediculously awkward to be given more voice and credit as a younger married man than a brother who is older than me, who I know is much wiser and has more to offer. Marriage or singleness is not a sign of maturity or spirituality. If anything, we married people are often less mature. Like Liked by 3 people. But I suppose that is where the role of community comes in. I am presenting the problem and roughing in a solution, but hope that others will fill in or build where I have left off.