It was not only a piece of folly but in bad taste or even sinful.This view prevailed in many circles till late in the 19th century.The deacon usually served as the "Schteecklimann." His ordination charge included the words, "and if there are brethren and sisters who wish to marry, you are to serve them uprightly." One manuscript adds the words, "according to the Christian regulation." Among all Anabaptist-Mennonite groups it was once customary for the preachers or elders to make the marriage proposals.The principal reason for this rule was to insure a "marriage in the Lord," that is, the union of two young people who were members of the church.Among certain of the more conservative groups in Europe, however, the parents still in fact have a large share in selecting a marriage partner.
As a result, major tensions and disaffection develop sometimes between traditional parents and their modernized offspring.Tobit of the Apocrypha still serves the Amish as a model of betrothal and marriage.The rules of the Frisian Mennonites prescribed that young men and women should not associate too freely.In conformity with general medieval practice Anabaptists expected to supervise and direct the marriage arrangements for their young people.To a medieval European parent the marriage of a son or daughter without his consent was unthinkable.Until recently, among the Old Order Amish "courtship was secretive, and the community at large was not informed of an intended wedding until the couple was 'published' in church, from one to four weeks before the wedding" (Hostetler, 1980, p. Although free to choose whom they wish to marry, Amish youth had to submit to the formality of having a "Schteeklimann" (a go-between, often a deacon) go secretly to the girl's house to obtain her consent and the consent of her parents. ©1996-2018 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.