An Honest Opinion For Those Wanting To Marry A Saudi Man

The interviewee requested to remain anonymous. She explains the reason for being so direct, “I have to warn you that I was bluntly honest about some things that I am not usually so bluntly honest about.  I just thought that if there are women who will be reading this and trying to decide what to do…they deserve an honest opinion.” Thank you!

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-What country are you from? The USA, born & raised

-What is your nationality? American

-Are you married to a Saudi or non-Saudi? My husband is a Saudi

-Do/did you live in Saudi Arabia and for how long?
I lived in KSA for just over a year

-What is your job in your country of residence? Wife & Mama

-When and where did you meet your Saudi husband?
I met my husband in 2003 while he was here in the states studying.

-How long did you know your husband before the marriage took place?
4 years! I would have been happier if we had done it sooner, but we were officially married in 2007.  The topic of marriage came up almost immediately after we met, and we even met with the imam to get married, but my husband backed out at the last minute.

-Did his family accept his marriage to you? Why/Why not?
His family had a hard time with the idea of me at first and for good reason…my husband didn’t tell them I existed until a few weeks before we moved there!  After the shock, my inlaws have been like family to me and welcomed me with open arms.

-Did your family accept your marriage to him? Why/Why not?
My family was also unhappy with the way things were done at first (keeping his famiy in the dark), but they were happy when we were married.

-How did you/your husband overcome the resistance (if any) to your marriage?
By not telling anyone, which was the worst idea ever, IMO.  honesty is always the best policy, but even when I begged him to tell his family, he wouldn’t.

-How are your relations with your family/in-laws now after marrying your husband? I’d say I have better relations with my inlaws than my husband himself has.  I love them like my own family and I miss them dearly now that we are back in the USA.

-What is your advice when a non-Saudi woman meets her potential/future Saudi in-laws? I would say, just be yourself.  I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting my inlaws until I was already married with a child, but when I did I was terrified!!!  My fears were calmed when I was bombarded with hugs, and told that their homes were also mine, that I was their sister/daughter.

-Do/did you like living in Saudi Arabia? Please explain why you like(d) living in Saudi Arabia and why you don’t/didn’t. Yes and no.  I loved it because it was easy to be a muslim there.  I loved the emphasis on family.  I didn’t like it because my husband was not the family man I thought he’d be…which means I spent a lot of time alone & bored. I was also disappointed because my idea of the perfect Muslim country was almost immediately proven wrong.  It was sad to see people let maids raise their children, mistreat their maids/drivers/etc, and see people spend loads of money on luxuries while people around them are poor and hungry, find out that you can get hundreds of indecent programs on the tv, etc.

-What would you like to see improved in Saudi Arabia? I think that Saudi Arabia is growing and changing all the time.  I think it would be a mistake to push change too quickly, but the thing I would most like to see changed is more independence for women in their work lives and daily personal lives.

-Do you think you should change anything about yourself in order to fit into Saudi society? I didn’t have to change anything about myself, but I think that it is wise for anyone considering going to KSA to be prepared to do so. When in Rome, right?

-What do you think about the abaya and is/was it a problem for you to wear it? I loved the abaya most of the time.  I liked the fact that I could go the grocery store in my pink flannel pj’s and no one would know! It made life easier, honestly.  It was a little cumbersome at first and I had a very embarassing and painful public slide down some stairs on my first outing with my mother in law!!  Lift it up ladies!

-Do you have children? Yes, I have a daughter who is almost 5 years old, MashAllah!

-Is your Saudi husband involved in raising your children? 99.9% of the time….NO! He is a great provider, but when it comes to hands on parenting and discipline…no way!

-Does your Saudi husband help you with the house chores? Again, NO!  He does take out the trash, which I am thankful for, but other than that, I do all the cooking and cleaning, even if I am also working outside the home.

-What do you think non-Saudis should know about Saudi women? The Saudi women I had the pleasure of knowing were all wonderful women.  I think people would be suprised at how “normal” Saudi women are.

-Do/did you feel trapped in Saudi Arabia or do you feel comfortable living here?
I never felt “trapped”, but I felt intensely homesick at times, which can be a little suffocating.

-Do you think a non-Saudi can be happy in Saudi Arabia? I think that the expat population in Saudi Arabia is proof that you can.  A lot of a Saudi wife’s happiness depends on your husband and his family though, so…do your research.

-Do you think you would be willing/able to live in Saudi Arabia alone? Why/Why not? That is a growing question in my mind these days, as my marriage goes thru a rough spot.  I would love for my daughter to be raised there, but I would have a hard time getting by there, I think.  I do not have a university degree, so the employment options for me are slim.  I also have concerns about what I would do about owning property, traveling in and out of the country, etc. So I guess I would be willing if I was sure of a few things…but able is a whole other question 😉

-Do you think a non-Saudi woman would have any problems living alone in Saudi Arabia?
It would depend on what she was doing in Saudi Arabia.  If she was coming as an expat worker (most likely a nurse, doctor, or professor) then I think she would be problem free. If she was the divorcee or widow of a Saudi husband, the issue might be a little more complicated.

-What advice would you give a non-Saudi considering marriage to a Saudi? Investigate, investigate, investigate.  if you are a non muslim, American/Western girl, please be careful until you are sure he is serious about marriage.  Make sure you meet and talk with your future inlaws before the marriage. Learn about Islam, even if you don’t intend on converting. Learn about Saudi history and culture. Talk to other wives of Saudis!!!

Photo Credit:  S.e.re #1 , S.e.re #2 , S.e.re #3 , S.e.re #4

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Tara Umm Omar

American married to a Saudi.

2 thoughts on “An Honest Opinion For Those Wanting To Marry A Saudi Man”

  1. >Very interesting interview! I would have had some big red flags though if it were my husband backing out of the marriage ceremony with the imam… Secrecy from the family is a big deal too, but alhamdilulah, it seems that it all worked out for the best. My Saudi husband (Islamically, not legally yet) told his family when we first began our relationship, but they are less than thrilled, and I think they are taking the 'head in the sand' approach. I think meeting them will be the best step to take.

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  2. >Sakina08- Masha'Allah I didn't know you're also married to a Saudi. Insha'Allah the subject of the interview will reply to you soon after I alert her to your comment.My alarm bells would have went off too. And secrecy would be a big no-no in my book because I think it can make the in-laws resentful of the relationship. Marriage is a special thing and should be announced. A man who loves his wife would be proud to share the news with his family. I understand that some Saudi men wish to avoid the fitnah as a result of their family's reactions of marrying a non-Saudi woman and I think they should be stronger but then again, they know their families better than I do.I'm glad that your husband told his family about you alhamdulillah. They are just going to have to deal with it whether they like it or not :-)I think your personal story would serve as a good example to Saudi male FHWS readers to have the courage to stand up to their families when it comes to informing them of their non-Saudi wives and introducing them. If you're comfortable, feel free to share your story on FHWS (anonymously if you like). You can write it yourself or just email me for details on how to develop it: taraummomar at gmail dot com.

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