Lower divorce rates by improving arranged marriages

newly wed hands

The hands of newly wed couples and a pink rose in between (Photo by Roudha Mejren)

By Roudha Mejren

Dubai –  Standing alongside a stranger that you’re about to spend the rest of your life with, is terrifying, but so is the thought that it would likely end in divorce. With the rapid ascension of divorce rates in the UAE, the question is whether or not arranged marriage is to blame.

In a society where traditional marriage is the more dominant practice, high divorce rates should not be blamed on arranged marriages in their entirety. It is how those marriages are arranged that can be a factor in the rising divorce rates.

When families begin to scout for suitable brides for their sons, they tend to focus on shallow characteristics. Similarly, when the brides’ families accept or decline a proposal, they are often driven by superficial reasoning. According to Dr. Ahmed Al Omosh, the dean of the College of Sociology in the University of Sharjah, families in the UAE focus on social status and wealth most of all, when arranging the marriage of their sons and daughters. However, families need to think beyond a person’s bank account and last name, when deciding if he or she are suitable spouses.

When bringing a couple together, the families should consider the compatibility of the two individuals. Having inaccurate expectations can destroy a marriage early on. Women are more educated now and their roles have changed in society. This could be a factor of conflict in arranged marriages if a career driven woman was wedded to a more traditional groom. If these details are better communicated during an engagement period, divorce could be less likely.

Naser Al Riyami, a psychologist at the Sheikh Khalifah Medical City in Abu Dhabi, believes that divorce is a result of bad communication amongst spouses. In arranged marriages communication is limited and brief. These limitations that are usually associated with arranged marriages in our society, need to be rethought to allow better communication and less risks of divorce. If families alter the traditional way that arranged marriages are conducted, divorce rates may significantly drop. Perhaps starting a life with a stranger, may not be as terrifying after all.

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