Monday, May 27, 2013

Loving and Dying...In Oman

There are a lot of things to consider when you marry outside of your culture. Love alone doesn't cut it sometimes.

For sure, if you have found your one-and-only true love and are able to settle in his (or her) country, and it happens to be Oman, one thing you can pretty much be sure of is that you or your love will die one day. This should affect how you plan your marriage.

I know, that is a horribly morbid thought.... Especially for those embarking on the honeymoon phase of their relationship or intended upon that route. But it is one that us OPNO girls recommend thinking about. It will affect your life.

We've known women who had the perfect situation, perfect husband, and were married in and in love in Saudi Arabia. One thing they didn't consider was their husband's family was wretchedly awful. Life was a fairytale for one woman until she woke up one morning and discovered that her true love, her soul-mate, her beloved husband... had died in a car accident. He was already well on his way to being buried before anyone of her inlaws bothered to drive her anywhere. She never got to see him before he went into the ground, say goodbye. Worst thing of all from this story is that the place that had been her home for over ten years, was ripped from her by those horrible inlaws, and she was not a GCC-citizen, had no reason to be a resident anymore with no local husband, and was sent packing penniless and alone back to America. Tragedy is... they didn't let her take her kids. I've heard stories simlar to her's on the internet, though her's is the worst in my personal experience of anyone I've known.

Marrying an Omani isn't like marrying another GCC country. I mean, the experience can be similar, but it isn't exactly the same. Each GCC state has unique culture, unique laws... that affect a marriage and its outcomes. Death is certainly one of them. Death is one thing a person can be absolutely certain about, whereas love is not definate in span or what it may or may not encompass.

Things to consider with loving and dying in Oman:

Being married to an Omani, with the majority of the population being Muslim, you will have to deal with Islamic burial rites. For those with a Western background, burial can seem very sudden, with little chance to say goodbye or adjust. Know this upfront. Talk about it with your Omani spouse and make arrangements for it.

Like me, I was terrified if my husband died in a car accident on the way to his village say, that he'd be buried before I could get there. I wanted it arranged that provided I could get there before two days time, that he wouldn't go into the ground before I was there. This was a weird request to most.

Also, funerals are social affairs. They are highly-family and tribally orientated. From morning until evening, people will visit the house of the deceased person's relatives/family to show support. Only, honestly, I always find it more intrusive than supportive. Like, I want to be alone to be sad or just adjust. I don't want to be around that many people. I told my Omani husband this. He was like, it won't be about you, it will be about my mother and brothers and sisters. So I am supposed to deal.

So I was like, better brief everyone I don't mean to be rude, but after the actual burial and funeral prayer, I am going to isolate myself and that's how it would all go down, and no one should be offended.

I have been to too many funurals when I see the deceased wife puting on a brave front for hundred-upon-hunrdeds of tribe members, arranging lunch to be served for all that many people, ect... and dealing with the fake-cryers, and just wanting be alone or with close close family ands friends to just deal.

I don't want that for myself.

Also, what if you die? You will be leaving behind kids sometimes. What do you want in terms of funeral arrangements may not be available if you are a non-Muslim, and how your children will be looked after is a thing you MUST consider and arrange with your spouse or a lawyer beforehand: Who will raise them after?

Usually in Oman, if a husband dies, it isn't a big issue for a mother to keep custody as she will maintain residency but of course, may be financially vulnerable without support from her inlaws or a working income of her own. My own Omani in-laws that wouldn't be a big deal, but I have friends whose inlaws hate them, never supported the marriage, and would try for custody of the kids.

Also, expect marriage proposals from close relatives of a husband if he dies. Some tribal families consider this a charity, i.e. a brother of the deceased husband will propose to prevent the widow from having to marry a man outside the children's family. Some husband's only dying arrangements ever thought about are this, trying to make their wife promise to marry so-and-so from their family if anything should happen to them. Not a big issue in my family, as family just tends to pay the living expenses of the widow, but in other tribes I know it to be quite common.

The only aspect of life entirely sure is death. I think, even though it sounds morbid, it is smart to consider these aspects of life-plannning when marrying---- custody of minors, customs regarding burial that may affect one emotionally, ect...

Anyways, that's all I can think of right now.

9 comments:

Marcello Mongardi said...

HI,
I read your post and it is very interesting. The reason that I came upon it is because a friend told me that she came across a photo of my wife and I on a blog, and was very surprised.
The photo you have used belongs to me, and I posted it on my blog. Please, if you want to use other people's photographs, ask them first. Sometimes they will say yes, and sometimes they will say no. In this case, I would rather my and my wife's faces were not the face of a blog post, so I am respectfully asking you to remove the photograph.

Thanks very much.

Marcello Mongardi

Think said...

You should also deal with divorce - the blog Sweetness of Salalah is a big warning.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Dear Marcello Mongardi: Sorry! Just spotted your comment. Photo is removed. I didn't find it on your webpage but just on tumbler account of photos of Oman. I didn't mean to take anything belonging to anyone that they wouldn't mind using;).

Sorry for any inconvenience.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Think: Sweetness of Salalah I know personally. Her blog is an example of what happens when someone doesn't know their legal Islamic rights and ensures them in the original marriage contract, for sure.

Marcello Mongardi said...

HI,

Thanks for removing the picture so promptly, and for letting me know where you found it!

Keep writing!

StylishMuslimah said...

Interesting post. I have to add though that what you have described unfortuatly occurs in all Arab countries, not just the Gulf.

Salam x

Anonymous said...

Its a sad topic but definitely something that needs to be thought out..i always thought i was weird by asking my husband what would happen if he died and who would he appoint as my "mahram" if we were living in his home country in the gulf and of course i not having any blood mahrams as a revert. It important to ask especially in saudi were you cannot drive and everything needs permission from your mahram.
Most tribal families within the gulf look after their widows very well mashallah.

sasha said...

Hello! I've been reading your blog for quite a while now and I love it! But I wrote this because it seems like no one could understand me and give me a two-sided advise about my situation right now. I am an expat and I am really liking on Omani guy right now. He's single, younger than me, we get along well. But we're not in a relationship, just friends but we know we like each other. How will I know if I should go for this? I'm so confused.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Dear sasha: sorry for the lateness of this reply. I hope you don't mind but I have replied to this comment on a post linked to here: http://howtolivelikeanomaniprincess.blogspot.com/2013/09/reply-to-sasha-to-do-or-not-do-date.html