Dating and marriage in the middle east


Today I’ve decided to share a few lessons with you that I learned from the whole experience. Some guys in the West still have the decency to talk to the girl’s father before asking her to marry him. In Egypt (and I suspect all over the Arab world) this is something that needs to be done right at the start when you start dating.

It should give you some idea of what’s usually expected in Egyptian society if you ever meet the man or woman of your dreams. I went on two ‘dates’ (by that I mean hanging out in populated areas getting to know each other) with this girl at which time she told me that I needed to meet her father and request his permission to continue seeing her.

The next time Nisreen will see him will be at their wedding in Amman, several months from now.

If the paternal male cousin cannot marry his paternal female cousin immediately due to financial or other considerations, the paternal male cousin can also "reserve" her by making a public and formal statement of his intentions to marry her at a future date.

A more distant relative acquires priority to marry a girl over her paternal male cousin by reserving her soon after her birth.

I said I’d write about it eventually and here it is; forbidden love between a Middle Eastern girl with no English and a bloke from Australia learning Arabic, as well as the important lessons learned from the whole experience. At first there was nothing forbidden about it at all – we met, we did the right thing and approached her father for permission, he gave us the green light, preparations for the engagement ceremony were made – everything was perfect.

That was until a bunch of came our way that threw a spanner in the works and brought the whole thing to a halt. It was a heartbreaking end and one that neither of us wanted but in the end it wasn’t our decision to make.

Mousa lives in Saudi Arabia, working a job that will help him pay the cost of their marriage and provide for their future life together.

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