Divorce In The United Arab Emirates
Ever since the beginning of human existence, couples have generally chosen to either stay together or remain separated. In some cases, couples decide to divorce, which is a legitimate separation process that is sometimes imposed by religion. In most cases, common reasons for divorce are shared all over the world, with common characteristics being witnessed in many divorce cases. Irrespective of whether the rationale for divorce is dependent on both or either of spouses, the act of divorce is a result of cause as well as consequences that need some staid deliberation.
Unlike it is in many parts of the world, the high divorce rate in the United Arab Emirates is appalling to be honest (Elass, 2009). The number of divorce cases in the UAE is actually very high. This is surprising because about fifty years back, the UAE actually enjoyed one of the most stable societies when it comes to family cohesion.
Causes of High Divorce Rate in the UAE
Among the key causes of divorce in the UAE is the fact that people are forced to get married at an early age (UNDP, 2005). Studies indicate that many marriages are not able to last long due to the fact that couples do not have necessary experience to deal with challenges that they are bound to face once they are joined together in matrimony. As they get married, some young couples think that marriage is smooth as the former life whereby they use to live under the care of their parents. In their former families, their parents and guardians were responsible for their wellbeing and so they had no obligations. On the other hand, matrimony is an unbounded chain of new as well as diverse responsibilities that each and every new couple ought to take into account even as they enter into marriage.
Additionally, due to the fact that young couples lack mature experience concerning marital life as well as spousal obligations, they make mistakes when trying to overcome diverse challenges that they are bound to face. Most young Emirati couples actually get into marriage without having a clear understanding of what is expected of them, or the significance thereof. This is the main reason why marriages fail to pass the test of time, especially when problems come knocking. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that couples didn`t have enough time to know and understand one another well before deciding to be joined together in matrimony. As a result, compatibility concerns are bound to crop up thus leading to misunderstandings between the spouses.
It is also worth noting that sometimes families force their daughters to get married to men who are much older than the girls. For instance, there are cases that involve young girls who may either be teenagers or very young adults who are given in marriage to men who are double their age and above. This is definitely a recipe for strife since their mentalities are different. In a nutshell, such young girls are not mature enough to muddle through many challenges that come with the spousal life.
Another major cause for the high rate of divorce in the UAE is the issue of finances. All over the world, before a marriage takes place, the issue of expenditures made by a groom comes in focus. In case this is not checked, the couple is likely to run into myriads of financial challenges which are likely to pose a big threat to the life of young family. In some cases, grooms desire to gratify their brides and make them enjoy the wedding day and are therefore bound to spend beyond their means (Awadhi, 2007). Consequently, they mostly take huge loans from financial institutions. There are also cases when families ask a price for a bride which is beyond what a groom can afford. In the UAE, grooms are usually expected to pay huge amounts for the bride. This is an issue of concern because these financial commitments are likely to contribute to marital life of a young couple.
Traditional habits are another cause for the high divorce rates in the UAE. In the UAE, parents are fond of arranging marriages in which couples are forced into loveless marriages where there is no consent from both parties. In many cases, couples give in to such marriages just for the sake of fulfilling the desires of their parents. After marriage, in case they do not realize their expectations, problems are bound to crop up. In the UAE, the concerns of Middle Eastern sexism as well as women emancipation have taken centre stage (Miller, 2005). The fact that today’s Emirati woman is fighting for her monetary autonomy is in essence a recipe for spousal strife since some men are opposed to the idea permitting their wives to work in a place in which they will operate with other men. This is mainly as a result of the fact that Emirati men expect their wives to be looking after their children at home. On the other hand, women have a different perception of this, since they see this as being an act of sexism, in which they are discriminated against, with their right of equalization being violated.
The Consequences of the High Divorce Rate in the UAE
Effects of Divorce on Children
Fear of Abandonment
There is always the fear in the heart of a child that once he/she will lose one parent; they may end up losing the other one as well. In some cases, children may think that they are culpable for the divorce, and therefore they are insecure. Another thing that makes these children worry is who will look after them and even pick them from child care or their learning institutions. At times, children, whose parents are going to divorce, may hear their friends talk about the divorce and therefore create confusion as well as fear for themselves.
At times, children whose parents are divorcing blame themselves for the divorce, in as much as this may be unfounded. Sometimes, they may be singled out and be blamed by their parents for the divorce, a situation that only aggravates the already worsened situation. As a result, the children may become withdrawn and quite or aggressive and upset. This kind of anger may be as a result of the changes that they witness in their lives, thus leading to frustration.
Most children are always against separation of their parents. Consequently, the rapport linking the parents and the child end up being strained, leading to loss of contact. This is very stressful to children and has serious impact on their social relations as well as performance at school.
Effects of Divorce on the Emirati Society
Divorce is costing the Emirati society millions of dollars every year. According to the government of the UAE, divorce has become rampant in the society and is therefore costing colossal amounts of money to operate marriage counseling programs as well as taking care of children abandoned by divorced parents (Anser, 2009). Additionally, when a marriage fails, the integrity as well as the record of the couple is strained, and especially men suffer from the consequences.
This is mainly because the society identifies qualities such as rationality, leadership, and the ability to rule and diffuse conflict as masculine. They also feel like they are incompetent managers, since the perception brought about by divorce is that the man has failed to manage his household, due to the fact that he is believed to be the boss in the marriage. On the other hand, women who have undergone a divorce become depressed and withdrawn.
Solutions to the High Divorce Rate in the UAE
As it was noted earlier, one of the main causes for divorce is early marriages. As a result, in order to prevent the high rate of divorces among the Emirati families, the government needs to come up with stringent measures to curb the idea of girls being married off at tender ages. For instance, there ought to be a stipulated age when any individual is allowed to get married by law. This is vital since it will go a long way in ensuring that young girls have to wait to attain the required age in order to get married.
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In many ways, such measures will also be useful in ensuring that couples get into marriage once they are mature enough to know what to expect in a spousal life. Additionally, since the high rate of divorces in the UAE is a social disaster that affects the moral fabric as well as productivity of the nation, the government of the UAE needs to come up with programs to educate couples on what to expect in marriage, as well as how to deal with the ups and downs that come with marriage. In this way, couples will know exactly what to expect from marriage, as well as how to muddle through the challenges that come with the responsibilities of marriage.
It was also noted that financial challenges also contribute to the high rate of divorces in the UAE. In this regard, the government of the UAE needs to educate the public on the effects of setting very high prices for brides. The authorities need to engage the populace in social education since this will be instrumental in assisting parents to set reasonable bride prices, which are within the financial possibilities of grooms. Additionally, since grooms are known to borrow huge sums of money from financial institutions in order to please their brides, this should be stopped. Financial institutions need to act with a lot of discretion to ensure that impulsive decisions are not entertained when borrowing money to finance weddings. It is also worth noting that high rent cost in the UAE is also a factor that contributes to family strife especially because of the fact that most young couples are just starting their life and may not have the resources to afford to rent a place to live due to high rates. In this regard, the government needs to streamline the housing sector to ensure that it is commensurate to the present standards of living.
An Interview with My Sister Mona
In order to examine the high divorce rates in the UAE, I decided to interview my sister Mona, a divorcee, on her experience and her views concerning the divorce issue. In her view, “a mother-in-law thinks of her daughter-in-law as the woman who stole her boy.” As a result, this affects the marriage as a result of the strains that rock the new family. Mona is also of the view that Emirati men are “reckless and unfaithful” and are the main reason why divorce is rampant.
Over and above, the high divorce rates in the United Arab Emirates are scandalous. According to statistics approximately 46% of new matrimonies are expected to conclude in divorce in less than three years. In this regard, the government has to put in place proper measures to ensure that the main causes of divorce like early marriages, financial problems and cultural practices are checked. In order to prevent the large number of divorce cases, early marriages need to me made illegal, and couples intending to get married should be educated on what to expect.