Sunday, November 15, 2015

Questions from Omani Men about How to Marry (and stay married) to Western Women

More than one Omani male looking to get married have written us OPNO girls, asking the same general questions. I am going to write my answers here for future easy reference.
Q1.) Dear OPNO, is it possible to find a good conservative western Muslim woman to marry?

A1.) Dear Omani Men, there are a lot of conservative and fully-practising-Islam western women. Many of us wear niqab, pray sunnah and fard prayers, may practice not mixing with men ect... but "good" is a wholly cultural definition.
When you think of "good" does it entail being quiet, submissive, gentle, willing to undertake housework without help from you, going-along-with-your-family-and-personal-preferences? In general, do you think of your Western wife being "good" like your Omani mother and sister are "good"?

 If so, you may find a woman exactly like this, but those are a rarer lot.

While there are some women of my culture who may even be okay being housewives, wearing niqab, and cooking and cleaning without any help from you, they all too often had to be very brave, to become Muslims in the first place, or to survive life in a Western country, and go against society there to do so.

So, if they think some of your Omani cultural practices are contrary to Islam (even in things that are not sinful) they may not go along with everything and be "good little Omani girls" ;). Most of us, will speak our minds, after time, and do what we think is right, even if you don't like it, or your society doesn't.

Q2.) Dear OPNO, will Western women accept to marry an Arab (Omani) and move here (Oman)?

A2.) Many women are totally okay to marry Arabs. And to move to Oman, sometimes...if you will support them to do so (financially, and emotionally). Emotional support is important, because your culture may be against our culture at times, and you have to stand by your wife occasionally, against society and maybe even your own family, and certainly, against the general law.

Although, if you don't already know a Western woman, I suggest you study your intentions as to why you want to marry a Western woman exactly.

If it is because you like our culture, individual personality, or like a convert's practice of Islam, most Western women are totally okay with that.

If it is because we are white, or less knowledgeable Muslims maybe that you can tell your own brand of Islam to, we think that is backwards and racist, and probably won't want to marry you, just a heads up. We'll wonder why you don't marry a girl from your own country instead, and be way happier.
I still laugh when I remember a Saudi guy who thought about marrying one of my friends and then changed his mind "because she looks too Arab" despite being Western. When he said he wanted to marry a Westerner what he meant was he wanted a white-skinned, blue-eyed, blonde-haired (pretty or beautiful) convert girl.

Well, let me tell you, all the blonde-haired or blue-eyed+white skinned convert girls I know, we all laugh at this Saudi guy even to today, and we all think he is an idiot and none of us would ever marry him or recommend him to a friend.

Q3.) Dear OPNO, I want to marry a Western Muslim woman, but my income is not a large one. Will she be okay with that?

A3.) Women have different requirements of a husband, depending on how she was raised. She may require a husband fully support her financially, she may not. However, in Islam a man should in the very least (even if his wife wants no money from him) be able to support a wife in case she is unable to support herself... Such as feed her, and your children, buy them all clothes, and pay rent for them to live seperate from your relatives or other wives. That's the minimum requirements in Islam. If you can afford to do this, than you can afford a wife.

But many women, myself included, work when we are able to, and I actually pay my own rent, bought my own house, buy most of my own clothes, and my children's, and sometimes food and electricity too;). That way my husband can buy me gifts and take me places with his money. That makes me feel special, and yet, close to my own culture, but as a Muslim, he has to be able to afford the minimum requirements. Because when I was pregnant, I was too ill to work, for example.
Some women, might be very different from myself, and require their husband provide them with a housemaid to clean for her, and a tutor for her children, and a cook for her food. If she had all these things provided by her parents before she married you, she has a right to ask for them, so tell her upfront if you cannot afford to do so, so she agrees to take less than is her right to ask for, up front. You'll be much happier that way.

Also, marrying a non-Omani is currently illegal in Oman without permission so if you should lose your job, consider how you would support your wife (are you able and willing to move to her country to be married). If not, you probably don't care for her enough to risk marrying her in the first place, without getting permission first.

Q4.) Dear Omani Princess, how do I get married if the law ( 92/93) won't allow it ( I am working in the government ) ?

A4.) You May lose your job. Your wife MAY get sent away (depending on the country of her passport). You MAY have to pay a fine. You will have to do a lot of paperwork, a lot of running around between different government offices. You may have to go to court.

Depends on what the government does, if you get permission, or you try to fight the law and marry anyways. If you aren't willing to risk any of that, don't do it.  Otherwise, try to get a scholarship or pay for your own study for a certain length of study outside of Oman (length of time as required by the Ministry of the Interior), and marry the woman you want to marry there, and apply for permission. Or move to her country and apply for citizenship there. That's a lot of work (and money) too.

Otherwise any advice I could give you, varies by a case-by-case basis, and what worked for the happiness of some, may cause you to lose your job or for your wife to be deported. If you aren't willing to take the risks, don't do it. You don't want it enough. If you can't afford the consequences, don't do it either, because you may just hurt the woman you love or yourself and any woman who loves you will not want you to be hurt for her sake. Make sure those factors aren't a strong enough issue for you.
Q5.) Dear Omani Princess, my family might not agree to the marriage, is it wise to do it anyways?

A5.) If your family doesn't agree to the marriage (my husband's family originally didn't) you have to be strong for it to work. If your mother refuses to meet your new wife even your new wife is a good Muslim or the woman who you love despite all odds, then you have to be willing to tell even your own mother she is wrong, and you won't change or put away any of your wife's rights for your family. If you can't do that, then don't go against your family. Don't marry a woman, to just later divorce her, or treat her less than she deserves, so that she eventually has to divorce you.

And if your family really wants what is best for you, and your happiness, if your wife brings those things to you, then your family will eventually come around. Just have the strength to hang in there and defend your wife when she is in the right.

Q6.) Dear OPNO girls, do you have any advice for making a marriage between Western cultured women and Omani men work and last?
A6.) We sure do!

Examine what you want in a marriage, why you want to get married in the first place, what you expect the role of a future wife to be, and the responsibilities of a husband and wife, before you explicitly seek out or contemplate a Western wife. Before marrying, discuss these things with her.

Your culture has less privacy and individuality than ours. Discuss living arrangements, cultural requirements such as treatment of your family members and guests, how a wife will dress, where she'll live and for how long, what she will be allowed to do, what she won't be allowed to do? What your future wife requires from you? How you want to raise children? What you would do and how you would both act if you had to divorce in the future?

Discussing these things beforehand, will make everything go a lot smoother later.

Have patience. Have strength. Try to understand your wife's cultural perspective. Do not try to force her to change overnight, or with ultimatums, ever. Spend a lot of time with her.

Your culture's ideas about marriage are different than ours. There is a lot of men-hanging-out-with-men and women relegated to hanging out all day with other women. Understand, not all Western (most of us) women enjoy this, and many of us even resent it.

There is probably more advice but I can't think of any right now;).

1 comment:

Rusty Rockets said...

Very useful advice, I'm currently involved with an omani guy, we don't have the family acceptance issue but I know it is basically impossible to get married because of the law. It is truly a shame and we both feel extremely powerless. At this point we are going to have a big talk to discuss our options and see if a relationship is possible, to be honest I don't think it will be viable because of prohibitions and our lack of wasta even if his family is ok with the union.
At this point we are both kind of in a grieving period and trying to make the most of our time left before we move on... :(

PS: the law sucks...