Can Amish Divorce? The Amish Beliefs and Views on Marriage

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

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 in accordance with Amish etiquette. 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.” 

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.

The Amish Man is the Head of the Home

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.

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.

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.

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

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.


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