Saudi Men Marrying Non-Saudi Women Is A Trend…Excuse Me?

photocreditartsySFMy husband didn’t marry me because it was a trendy thing to do…as if marrying a non-Saudi woman was a fad or a passing fancy. He certainly has not treated me like a fashion object to be replaced when it goes out of style with something more en vogue. Allah save us from this type of attitude. Marriage is a sacred bond with no time limit and for Muslims, half of their religion. Nothing in Islam says that your better half must be from the same family, tribe, culture or nationality in order to fulfill this Sunnah. Because Islam is easy. But some so-called educators want to make it harder by imposing conditions on Saudi/non-Saudi marriages that are inexistent in the Qur’an and Sunnah. This is what can happen when culture is given more precedence over Islam. Additionally, these educators are NOT speaking from their personal experience of being a Saudi married to a non-Saudi which would enhance the relevance of their viewpoint. No matter because the stats speak for the situation much better: numbers show marriages between non-Saudis and Saudis are increasing while divorces between Saudis and Saudis are increasing. For the latter, something is clearly not working and for the former, its working out fine. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Educators, please concentrate on solving the Saudi/Saudi divorces instead of trying to break up Saudi/non-Saudi marriages. Thank you, Tara Umm Omar

Marrying Foreign Women: A Trend?
By Saudi Gazette | Hail
19 January 2014

Some families do not allow or encourage their sons to marry foreigners, whatever their nationality. But majority of families have seen for decades, youth breaking social restrictions, barriers, customs and traditions.

Such that marriage to foreign women has become an adventure worth trying for youth, turning it into a trend. They forget the consequences they, their families and children may have to face.

In justifying their preference of a foreign woman to a Saudi woman, some say foreign women are more romantic, easier to coexist with and more perceptive about a man’s needs, Al-Riyadh reported.

Educators, however, are wary of this kind of marriage and reject them offhand due to several reasons, including the fact that most of these marriages end in divorce and the children become eventual victims.

The children’s suffering doubles due to separation from one of their parents, and raising them becomes difficult due to this separation. Reasons also include disturbance of their social and psychological life. The best example is that of Saudi children stranded abroad.

Educators demanded sterner conditions and restrictions in place to limit the granting of permits for marriage between a Saudi man and a foreign woman, except in two cases. The first is if the Saudi man is going to get married to his non-Saudi relative. The second, if the Saudi man suffers from a chronic condition and it would be difficult for him to find a Saudi woman who would accept him.

In either case, the Saudi applicant must submit documentary proof. These are the two instances in which Saudi husbands can be granted marriage permits. In other cases, they should not be issued any permits because there are a large number of spinsters in the Kingdom, according to educators.

Haphazard marriage

Sarah Al-Mash’hoor, at schools development unit in Hail Education Administration, said some youths prefer to marry foreign women come what may. She said the young men believe that Saudi girls do not understand their life needs, while foreign girls know exactly what they want.

She further said she supports marrying foreign women, but with strict restrictions. The reasons could be that the Saudi man has health reasons. This matter is not shameful, as long as the two parties agree. Also, if the wife is related to him, he can marry her.

Family problems

Bashaer Al-Thunayyan, secretary of the director of education development unit at Hail Education Administration, said she was a supporter of marrying foreign women, as this meets some people’s wishes. Also, every forbidden matter is desired, so the youth becomes convinced after experience that he cannot do without the Saudi girl.

However, with the rise in cases about this phenomenon, Al-Thunayyan said she has become against allowing Saudi men to marry foreign women, unless she is a relative or due to sickness. She said there is a prevalent attitude among the youth that foreign women are better than Saudi women, but reality has proved otherwise. Foreign women are the ones who fall prey to family problems due to the difference in customs, traditions and thinking. The true victims are the children.

Al-Thunayyan said a foreign woman has no experience of the social life and environment in which a Saudi youth lives. Differences erupt and there is no choice but to escape to her country, so the children remain in a state of limbo.

Abdullah Al-Khateeb, an educator and family counselor, said no one takes the initiative to marry this way except one of two — either he is a person who is not liked in society and is suffering from behavioral problems and despite his repentance, he is still rejected by society, or he is sick or old. So the foreign wife becomes a nurse for him. Al-Khateeb does not think that anyone will marry in this way except if he has special circumstances. Otherwise the Saudi girl has priority.

Al-Khateeb said such a marriage brings with it lots of problems that affect all parties, especially the children. There are cases in which the foreign mother leaves her husband and takes her children to her country. Then the father and his children become victims of these problems.

Dr. Farhan Salim Al-Enizi, family counselor and dean of the Faculty of Education in Hail University, said the foreign woman might not succeed in achieving the ends of marriage including stability, creating a family and providing the needs due to the difference in customs and traditions between the family. This creates a gap that the couple cannot bridge. This leads to ending the marital relationship or its disruption.

He added that in most cases a foreign woman accepts to marry a Saudi man with the aim of achieving financial and moral needs that she could not achieve in her country. The whole marriage might be an objective to achieve higher objectives. The moment the least of her needs are achieved, continuation in this relationship becomes fruitless.

Meanwhile, Fahd Al-Otaibi, sociologist and director of the social protection unit in Hail, said with the existence of awareness campaigns by institutions, marrying foreign women will decrease, except in difficult circumstances.

Original article appeared on Saudi Gazette but as of 22 January 2014 appears not to be working. Follow up comments from Saudi Gazette readers posted on 21 January 2014. 

Photo Credit: ArtsySF



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Tara Umm Omar

American married to a Saudi.