UAE | Society

Think before marrying a foreigner: study

Warns of its impact and evaluates level of awareness among Emirati men

  • By Iman Sherif, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 June 29, 2012
  • Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Experts have warned that before getting married with a foreigner who is unaware of your culture, you should think about the impact of this marriage on you, your children and your family.

Young Emiratis rush to marry non-Emiratis without realising the impact of such a marriage on their lives, a study in Abu Dhabi has revealed.

Is this marriage accepted in the Emirati society and to what extent? Will this marriage generate problems different than those occurring between couples who are both Emiratis?

These are the questions that the Marriage Fund attempted to answer through a study carried out in 2011 on 424 Emirati people who are either already married with non-Emiratis or intend to do so in future.

The study aims at evaluating the level of awareness, among Emirati men, about the negative aspects of marrying non-Emirati women, and observing the type of problems that might arise between the married couple in order to address the problem and enlighten future candidates about the risks and consequences of marrying a non-Emirati woman.

The study showed that a staggering 94 per cent of marriages in this category have experienced significant problems.

According to the study, 82 per cent of Emirati men were aware, to some extent, of the consequences of bringing a foreigner into the family; 49 per cent decided not to marry a foreigner while 41 per cent decided to marry non-Emiratis.

Among the married people, the study revealed that the absence of harmony and agreement between couples are due mainly to differences in cultures, and inability of the non-Emirati women to adapt to the lifestyle of Emirati men, including social, cultural and family obligations.

Some 85.4 per cent of the cases indicated that different cultures have impacted the reinforcement of national identity, especially among the children who feel certain interest and in some cases loyalty to the mother’s home country.

While 84.4 per cent of the marriages have contributed to poorer academic performance of the children due to the inability of the mothers to help them with their homework and studies.

Comments (13)

  1. Added 15:52 June 29, 2012

    @tamam you seriously need to get your priorities right ... frankly speaking I pity your wife for being stuck with the likes of you..

    Anonymous, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 15:47 June 29, 2012

    I am married to a UAE national. Any marriage is hard and has its ups and downs. If you want to make it work, you both have to try it is a two people deal. Even in the west we have the problems with inlaws, religion, and routines. The biggest thing I have noticed here are the couples that only plan a wedding, not a life together. They do not really focus on what happens after that one day. When marrying the expats the men do not realise how much more women from other cultures have experienced or come to expect. For instance in the west anyone living with their parents after high school graduation will be questioned, so the women from this culture are not always ready or fully adaptable to living with an entire family of the husband. With patience and understanding it can all be understood and appreciated it will just take some time. But the man should fully what life will be like after the marriage and make sure she understands. The women have to adjust you married him he is your husband, you have to put the work into it as well. It is not the same as the fairy tales you grew up with because you are adults and it is real life so there will be complications. It happens when same cultures marry and it happens with mixed, it is about how you approach it and what both expectations are. KEY dont start off a marriage with a bunch of lies and false promises, it will save lots of hurt and even money if everyone just keeps it real!

    Anonymous, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 15:17 June 29, 2012

    If this study is presented in an undergraduate research requirements, I bet, you'll fail.

    Anonymous, Doha, Qatar

  4. Added 15:05 June 29, 2012

    Before you get married with anyone from a different culture and religion you should know and discuss all family issues and differences with each other beforehand so you will not have problems later on. Learn as much as you can and ask every possible question so you will not face major disagreements later. I am from UK and married with an Emirati. Before I got married I went to a local lawyer and asked questions in relation to death, divorce, children and property so I felt so much better getting married as I was informed and I know where I stand in case of any event. I do not feel a big divide in culture at all as a married couple, it is like we know each other for a long time. To conclude, I am very happy with my Emirati husband and embracing his culture, religion and values.

    Anonymous, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 14:12 June 29, 2012

    What I have always wanted to know is what happens to the children in the case of a divorcee of an expat and a local? Who gets custody? That would be a major factor to consider.

    Anonymous, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 13:31 June 29, 2012

    Marrying someone from a different country and culture would of course be more difficult than if you marry someone from the same country and culture. HOWEVER, who said that easier is better?! All couples fight. I have many friends who married girls from the same country, culture, religious sect, etc. and still got divorced! The most important thing is not from where you are born, rather how well you get along, understand each other, have fun together, love each other, compromise, etc. I am actually engaged to a foreign woman. Have been together for 4 years. I took my time to make sure that we both really get to know each other. I am happy to say that we plan to get married later this year/early next year.

    Anonymous, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 13:18 June 29, 2012

    @tamam..pls little respect for your wife and future family...just an advice.

    Anonymous, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 13:16 June 29, 2012

    It is sad to read an article like this. Again culture is given preference over religion. The common ground in a marriage is religion and our religion is Islam. So what does it matter if the women is Emirati, or Chinese or French or any other nationality as long as she is Muslim. People need to understand that nationalism is not in our religion. The issues in these marriages are because of the inability of the family to accept that the husband has chosen what is best for him from a religious perspective and not from a cultural. I am also married to a man from another nationality and so are the majority of my friends. Problems arise in each and every marriage if Islam is not the root. Everything else is a question of tolerance, respect and simply by abiding to the teachings of our religion. What a perfect example do we have there.

    Anonymous, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 12:55 June 29, 2012

    Commitment is a big gamble I would say. When it's time to tie the knot both the couples have to be ready for it. No one stops you from marrying a couple who is from another culture. In Dubai there are millions of people who are married to someone who is from another nationality. But before that it's important that both couples talk to each other, understand each other, grab and share facts and info about their culture and lifestyle so that after marriage the couples are not kept in limbo waking up one fine day screaming where am I and who is he? It's imperative that both couples have to be truthful by not hiding any thing. More over there should be no cultural clash. You are taking chances of committing a lifetime to someone who might turn it into a joyous smooth journey or just simply make it a burden to carry. Marriage is a life-long commitment of love, respect and belongingness. It is the ultimate sacrifice of love, an entire life of commitment and the true sign that you have and give yourself to that one person. Marriage is not for a one night stand nor do we get married to impress others and outshine in front of others. those who think that they then I am sorry Mr/ Mrs you are wrong. Don't just jump into conclusions and ruin your life. These days couples still don't know each other and are not comfortable with each other nor do they have the patience and the time to know each other. A commitment in a relationship is no guarantee to end loneliness. Lifelong companionship is one potential from a long term relationship, however to enjoy companionship both people must give attention and energy to the relationship. The right person will complete himself or herself. Depending on another person for stability creates anxiety and vulnerability. It is our personal responsibility to be a complete person. Though it is an idealised image of romantic love to find the person who completes you, when considered it is not something for which to strive. A strong relationship is the collaborative effort of two people working together to grow as individuals and as a couple. While marriage presents the opportunity to grow closer, such a bond requires constant effort and attention. Without effort and intentionality to remain close, the natural progression of any relationship is to drift apart. Relationships consist of human beings who are constantly growing and changing. If the relationship itself does not change and grow with its people, there is no guarantee that the couple will remain close. Couples who truly love each other have conflicts and stress just as any other two people. In order to make it through the difficult times the couple must have a commitment to each other and effective and honest communication. It's important to let your expectations known. If you don't, you will become frustrated and then think it’s all your partner's fault. Love is not being able to read minds. It’s about sharing.

    Mathew Litty, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 12:23 June 29, 2012

    Tamam, what is wrong with you? God help your poor wife. Foreign women "amuse" you? You are bored with your wife? You sound like a teenager! For goodness sake, you don't marry someone because they "amuse" you. You really should have sought professional help before getting married and dragging that poor girl down with you. I hope you grow up.

    Anonymous, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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