A Real Amish Problem

For those of you interested in a taste of Amish things, here’s a real life problem. It comes for the Amish publishing house (Pathway) which prints three monthly papers. Each month their flagship magazine, Family Life, chooses a life problem to explore, in the form of a question and answer, which readers have sent in.

The following is this months problem…If you want to, write your answers on the blog, and it might make for an interesting discussion here.

“Next Problem….

“Is there any advice out there for our situation? My husband loves to drive spirited, half-trained horses. He gets a thrill out of an exciting ride to church.

“Meanwhile, I am simply terrified. I do not look forward to Sunday mornings, and face them with an actual dread. My problem is my fear of these horses. I lay awake nights and feel sick just thinking about it.

“When the horse does act up, I freeze in terror and start being a ‘back-seat driver.’ I have tried many times to keep my mouth shut, but it seems I am powerless to do so. It drives my husband to anger. He thinks I really could get rid of this fear if I’d want to. I have told him honestly how I feel, but it makes no difference.

“So we need help before this subject cracks our marriage foundation. What can we do? Is there any way to settle this difference? How can I change if he won’t? What can he do if I won’t? We are both waiting and we need help.

“P.S. I know every question says, ‘Please hurry.’ But PLEASE HURRY! He’s thinking of getting another horse!”

“Editors note…May we hear some commonsense suggestions to defuse this tense situation? Are there any voices of experience out there? Any tips from wives who have overcome their fear? Any encouragement from husbands who have learned to get along with a nervous and timid wife? Let us hear your views and experiences. Thank you.”

(printed here from the April issue of Family Life)

My note…Don’t take the expression about the marriage foundation cracking, too seriously. She’s doesn’t mean divorce, probably something more on the line of yelling at him.

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11 Responses to “A Real Amish Problem”

  1. Oh dear, this doesn’t sound good! Well, this is actaully a similar problem to one that happens in the English world when a husband wants to drive his car faster or in a more reckless manner than his wife likes. It seems men are particularly sensitive to criticism about their driving, whether they drive a car or a buggy!

    When a wife is legitimately afraid of something, a caring husband should want to accomdate her and put her needs before his own. However, the understanding wife should recognize her husband’s needs may be different than hers. Perhaps the best solution would be for this husband to find a male friend whom he can drive the wild horses with, and the ride to church with his wife could be more gentle. If the husband refuses, my suggestion to the wife is, walk to church! Or maybe take separate buggies?


  2. I agree with what Elizabeth says above.

    I would kindly tell the horse-racing-whisperer husband, in a calm voice, that since you do not want to have a heart attack or stroke on the way to church, and that you would rather pray for your safety, sanity and physical well-being after you actually arrive at church (as oppposed to praying that you will even get there at all), that he should please drive at a safer and saner pace.

    Unless, of course, he wants to be a widower (or sleep on the couch). In all seriousness, your comfort should be more important to him than he is currently showing. If he continues to be this insensitive to your physical and emotional well-being, marital counseling might very well be needed.

    And I like Elizabeth’s idea above, if none of these ideas phase him, tell him that you’ll just walk, or ride with someone who doesn’t scare you to death.


  3. Dear terrified, I would tell my husband if I were you that unless he wants to go to church alone that he is is to stop driving so willdly.


  4. Terrified,

    Perhaps your husband wants to know that you trust him to keep you safe. Tell him how much you admire his driving skill and fearlessness. Admit that perhaps your fear is “girlish”, but then ask if he would just humor you by slowiing down.


  5. Dear Terrified,
    I know how you must be feeling as my husband was a speeder in our car, especially on the side roads where there wasn’t much traffic, however, there were alot of children playing around the roads. I was so concerned for the children and others that could get hurt, or killed by his recklessness, that I was constantly getting on to him about this childish trait of his.
    I finally told him that I would not ride in the car with him anymore because I had such a fear of not myself getting hurt, but someone else getting hurt or even killed and I stuck to that decision. Whereever we went he drove his car and I drove mine. So that settled everything except for the fact that he was still a danger to others. But that would have to be his responsibility and his regret if any one was hurt by his actions. I would not be part of this.
    I wish you a special blessing that you never get hurt with riding in the buggy with him and that others will be kept safe also. Please consider driving yourself.


  6. First you need to pray. Ask God for the right direction to the below scenarios!!! Men think differently than women as any woman who is married knows. Something both my husband and I practice when needed is using a word picture. A word picture needs to be something that he can associate with, something of value to him. You can’t talk about loosing a boat on water if the person doesn’t care about boats. Once you find a subject for your “story” you then apply it to a story similar to what you are experiencing but use terms for his particular focus. (You don’t mix something about horses and say clothing- unless it is part of the story). Another option is knowing what fears he has and making the association so that he can relate to your fear then put his fear in the story. The word picture gives the verbal description of what you are feeling when you are riding in the buggy, but in the context of what is important to him. I suggest you write it down. That will clarify your thoughts and ensure you get the whole story in without interruption. You can make it a letter that he can “chew” on alone. It needs to relay your fears and the trauma to the same degree in whatever is important to him. Another thing is that men need to feel they can solve our problems…turn it around and ask him for practical suggestions on how you can get over the fear. Basically ask him to help you…maybe letting you drive the buggy. Let him think of suggestions for you both to try together. It might make him think about how something is happening and he will adjust his actions. Also men need to feel you respect and trust them…your fear is unconsciously telling him (in his mind) you don’t trust him. You need to restore that trust and respect. God doesn’t command us to love our husbands, the Lord tells us to respect our husbands. He knows that is a harder thing for us to do. God’s best to you.


  7. I agree with Patricia, he is probably wanting to show his horse expertise to you. Proving his “manlyness” so to speak. I would not recommend driving yourself or riding with others. He will not understand this and he will take it as an insult. Just explain that you are truly afraid and that would he just take it easy going to church? Explain that you do admire his talent at driving horses.


  8. It sounds like whether or not your husband drives fast or slow, there would be some benefit to marriage counseling. Why is he gettting angry for his wife simply voicing a fear. Why is he not willing to hear her fear and help her overcome it by making changes himself? As in any marriage, it takes two people to make changes.
    Think of the way you are preparing yourself for worship!


  9. I am not married but I do know horses and how terrifying they can be at times. I have ridden out-of-control horses and the rules of training apply to both riding horses and driving horses. A horse can still be fun to drive fully trained, if not more fun. You can ask a more out of a trained horse than a partially trained one. Maybe you should suggest that your husband finish they’re training, which I’m sure would not only make you feel better but be much safer for everyone involved. Maybe you should ask your husband what he would do if these mishandled horses of his were to hit someone like a small child he didn’t see. How would he feel about that? Or maybe you could talk to your pastor explaining how terrified you are and ask for advice. I hope everything works out well.
    God’s blessing to you



  10. The following are answer’s Published in the June issue of Family Life. To subscribe to the Family LIfe, send $12.00 (US) to Pathway Publishers, Rt. 4, Aylmer, Ontario, N5H 2R3

    Answers, sample one…
    This is not a horse problem. It is a marriage problem. The horse just happens to be involved.
    Some people are born with different fears. Some have a fear of heights, some of water, some of tight, enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), Some may overcome their fears. But to have a wife lie awake at night dreading the next buggy ride is not right. Love is kind.
    Am I saying the husband may not drive half-broken horses? Not at all. He may drive as many as he pleases, (I too get a charge out of such a drive.) But if his wife is a passenger, it is his duty as a Christian husband to drive a decent horse. I’m sorry, that is just the way it is.
    We husbands are commanded to love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. That is sacrificial love, and a marriage thrives on it.
    E.Z. Pennsylvania –

    Answers, sample two…
    There is a difference between a spirited horse and a half-trained one. Leave the half-trained one at home on a Sunday morning.
    Husband, are you keeping your marriage vows to love and cherish your wife? If something like this can crack your foundation of your marriage, there are likely other things putting a strain on it as well.
    I am sure if my wife would want to put me on top of the windmill one day a week to get me over my phobia of heights, there would be cracked foundations and sleepless nights at our house, too.
    Iowa husband –

    Answers sample three…
    I deeply sympathize with the lady, because I have been there. After trying to keep my mouth shut and my nerves paper-thin after an episode one Sunday. I told my husband kindly to please not ask me to go away again with such a horse. I said, “I’ll either walk or hitch a ride with a neighbor.”
    I would say, if he loves to drive such horses, fine. But let him drive the horse alone.
    Thanks to my understanding husband, we are now driving together in a safe and relaxed atmosphere.
    A Grandmother, Ohio –


  11. I’m not Amish, but I grew up around horses. I had one horse that was very skittish and this made me afriad of her. I knew I had to get over my fear, but I knew it was going to be difficult. I started spending time each day with her in the barn. I would bring her special treats and talk to her, even though she couldn’t answer me back. Over time she would appear to look forward to seeing me each time I came into the barn and she was no longer jumpy around me. This made it possible for me to be able to go into the stall and brush her down and give her her treats. I was no longer afraid of her and it made me less fearful of other animals that made me nervous. Maybe if you were able to get rid of some of your fear of horses you could become more trusting of the horse and know that even if your husband wants to drive fast, you can trust the horse to get you there safely. Sounds a bit silly I know…but maybe worth a try.

    As for your husband, I’m sure he loves you and cherishes you as the Bible dictates. Ask him if he could please save the wild driving for when you aren’t with him. Let him know you are working to overcome your fear but you desperately need his help; that if you work together in overcoming your fear, that maybe you will eventually enjoy his fast and wild driving.

    God Bless You!!!


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