While the divorce rate can be quite high for celebrity couples, it’s not as common for everyone else. But as the years go by, the sacredness of marriage is being devalued by the attitudes of young people and cultural factors in general. It’s not being held to the same standard, as say, 60 years ago.
In particular, this story explains how young couples in Saudi Arabia are not viewing the holiness of marriage as they should. A few examples of newlyweds in this story shed light on what’s really happening in the country and what the much bigger problem is…
Premarital or prenuptial agreements, commonly abbreviated to “prenups,” are a legal documents agreed upon and signed by both parties before marriage. These written agreements establish the property and finances of each spouse in the event of a divorce. The contract sets forth what will happen to you and your spouse’s assets and income in the unfortunate end of divorce or death.
In one very unusual contract, one man decided to create a binding agreement between him and his bride. In the agreement, he specified what was and what wasn’t allowed at their wedding. Although she signed it, she had no idea what she was in for…
The Saudi couple had a prenuptial agreement in place that prohibited them from using social media applications such as Snapchat, Instagram or Twitter to post or send pictures from the wedding. The Saudi press reported that this agreement was a binding one.
Breaking Their Contract
“It was included in the marriage contract and became binding. Regretfully, my sister did not honor the pledge and used Snapchat to share pictures from the wedding ceremony with her female friends,” the bride’s brother said.
“Cancelling” Their Marriage
Her husband of only two hours decided to “cancel” their marriage and demand a divorce. “[It] resulted in the shocking decision by the groom to cancel their marriage and call for a divorce,” the brother confirmed. What was even more shocking was that the groom’s relatives argued on his behalf saying that he was perfectly within his rights to file for divorce.
This is where part of the problem lies. Unlike U.S. law, under Saudi law, men have the unilateral power to divorce their wives without any legal grounds, effective immediately. Women, on the other hand, need the consent of their husbands or the judiciary before ending a marriage. Mothers will also lose custody of their children if they are over a certain age.
According to a Saudi legal expert, around half of divorces in the country involve newlyweds. Ahmad Al Maabi said “Misunderstandings, differences in views and the easy approach to marriage without a deep appreciation of the responsibilities are among the major causes for divorce among young people.”
He added, “Marriages are bound to fail when there are no robust foundations or trust.” Saudis, in particular, are becoming alarmed over the rate of divorces in the country for trivial reasons. In another startling instance…
Ending in Divorce
After the guests left, the woman said that her angry husband accused her of embarrassing him in front of everyone by forgetting to present the most important part of the dinner to his guests.
Another husband divorced his wife during their honeymoon for wearing foot bangles after he told her not to. Earlier this year, a Saudi man divorced his wife after their wedding because she was too busy texting her friends to consummate the marriage. The groom then took his bride back to their hotel room after the ceremony.
When he tried to get intimate with her, she pushed him away because she was trying to respond to congratulatory messages from her friends on the phone. She became angry when he asked her to stop and pay attention to him.
He then asked her if her friends were more important than he was and the bride answered that they were. The frivolous argument brought serious contention between the newlyweds and the groom stormed out of the hotel, telling his wife that he wanted a divorce.
This divorce epidemic in Saudi Arabia is calling for the country to provide married couples, especially newlyweds, with counseling services. Humood Al Shimmari, an official who conducts marriages, said that in the past few years he has seen an increase in divorces. He cites that there are many reasons for the steady rise.
The Concept of Marriage
Some include evolving views toward traditions and social norms, with modern technology being a culprit. “Currently, there seems to be a poor understanding of the concept of marriage and these attitudes are much more common among young people,” he said.
Education is Necessary
Lateefa Hamid, a social consultant, says that divorces related to customs and traditions were individual misjudgments and reflect a great level of ignorance. “Families should educate their young men and women and encourage them to engage in psychological, social and religious awareness and education programs that will protect future spouses from family problems,” Hamid said.
A Stable Marriage
“Training couples in ways to build a shared life ensures the success of the new couple and family. The more the new couple is aware of the concept of happy marital life, the more successful the marriage is,” Hamid added. But more importantly, the U.S. State Department considers that “discrimination against women is a significant problem” in Saudi Arabia.
They believe that women have very few political or social rights. In fact, every adult woman has to have a close male relative as her “guardian.” Human Rights Watch has described the position of Saudi women as no different from being a minor.
Restricting Women’s Rights
Even if a guardian’s approval is not legally required in an instance, some officials may ask for it anyway. In courts women face discrimination as the testimony of one man equals that of two women. The list of what they can and can’t do is endless.