Love Predominant Motive Cited By Non-Saudi Wives For Marrying Their Saudi Husbands

By Tara Umm Omar
12 February 2009
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

This article is pursuant to Why Saudis Marry Non-Saudis in which we were apprised of the various reasons that incited Saudis to marry and become engaged to non-Saudis or resolve to marry only non-Saudis in the future. Destiny, religion, love and compatibility were the main grounds used to justify their decisions.

Upon the completion of Why Saudis Marry Non-Saudis, this author embarked upon generating another questionnaire for Non-Saudi women married to or formerly married to Saudis. I wanted to portray their side of the story of why they married a Saudi and provide them an outlet to voice their opinions regarding why they think their Saudi husbands married them. The respondents represent six countries however I chose to withhold the names so they won’t be judged based upon their nationalities. They were given an option between displaying their name alongside their replies, opting for a kunya/nickname to hide their identities or no name at all. For those who chose not to have their names revealed, they have been referred to as anonymous.

Whilst formulating the questionnaire, an article in Arab News (Foreign Women Married To Saudis Abuse The System) reported the alleged problem of non-Saudis taking advantage of Saudis through acquiring Saudi nationality. I was then prompted to inquire whether my interviewees wanted or did not want Saudi citizenship and to explicate. With the exception of two who already retain Saudi citizenship, the majority answered in the affirmative and listed the following incentives: lots of benefits (did not specify which), having the same passports as the children, husband’s pension, makes travel easier, more rights, to be a part of Saudi society, children, inheritance and to save on visa fees. For those who remarked no, the deterrents were strict Saudi laws, blackmail from ex-husband, loss of independence/rights, delaying a decision until 5-10 years have passed and a hindrance to frequent traveling. A few were undecided because they hadn’t given it much consideration or don’t understand the consequences.

Of the 19 respondents, ten married for love, three gave reasons which could be interpreted as destiny, two claimed it had nothing to do with nationality (one offered no further explanation while the other admitted it was due to being treated well), two were motivated by religion and the remaining two were on account of a marriage proposal and being best friends. From these results, we can infer that love is the predominant motive cited by non-Saudi wives for marrying their Saudi husbands.

I conclude this article by presenting the below feedback I received from the questionnaire.


1. Anonymous wife of a Saudi

Why did you marry a Saudi? I have always wanted to marry an Arab Muslim man so that he could help me make hijrah, being Saudi was something extra.
Why do you think your Saudi husband married you? Because we had similar interests and we always had something to talk about, he enjoyed the fact that Western women are opinionated. But basically was Islam that brought us together.
Do you want Saudi citizenship? No
Why do you not want Saudi citizenship? Saudi laws are really restrictive to women, I was afraid that if I became Saudi, I would lose my sense of independence.

2. Katrina, wife of a Saudi

Why did you marry a Saudi? I was 17 and fell in love.
Why do you think your Saudi husband married you? My husband married me for love as well. We’ve all had our ups and downs but for me I’m a romantic person and want my 4 kids to have a better life than what I had in the USA.
Do you want Saudi citizenship? Yes
Why do you want Saudi citizenship? I plan to get my Saudi nationality because it has lots of benefits.

3. Anonymous wife of a Saudi

Why did you marry a Saudi? Happenstance…I guess because he asked, I wasn’t looking for a Saudi.
Why do you think your Saudi husband married you? Hopefully because he loved, was much cheaper than an Arab girl (no dowry), no family (mind) to interfere with decision, wanted more children.
Do you want Saudi citizenship? Yes
Why do you want Saudi citizenship? So I carry same passports as my children.

4. Anonymous wife of a Saudi

Why did you marry a Saudi? Love.
Why do you think your Saudi husband married you? Love and connection to America.
Do you want Saudi citizenship? Yes
Why do you want Saudi citizenship? In order to gain pension in case of death of spouse.

5. Krista, American wife of a Saudi

Why did you marry a Saudi? Just worked out that way.
Why do you think your Saudi husband married you? The same.
Do you want Saudi citizenship? Yes
Why do you want Saudi citizenship? It would make life much easier. No iqama and can travel in the Gulf States without a problem inshallah.

6. Megan, wife of a Saudi

Why did you marry a Saudi? Because I’m madly in love him and he is as good a man as my father, and that is how I knew he was good enough to be my husband. His nationality had nothing to do with why I married him.
Why do you think your Saudi husband married you? Because he is madly in love with me too, and wants to have a beautiful long life with me, enshallah.
Do you want Saudi citizenship? Don’t know, haven’t thought about it.

7. Cynthia M, wife of a Saudi

Why did you marry a Saudi? Had nothing to do with nationality.
Why do you think your Saudi husband married you? Had nothing to do with nationality.
Do you want Saudi citizenship? I already have it.

8. Anonymous wife of a Saudi

Why did you marry a Saudi? His nationality didn’t have any part in why I married him. I married him because he was the 1st man to treat me so well. He was very respectful, dominating (which is a good thing, cant have 2 captains on a ship), knew what he wanted in life and wouldn’t settle for any less, educated, responsible…the list goes on. MashaAllah
Why do you think your Saudi husband married you? He fell in love w/ me. I have my own mind yet submissive to him. I’m kind and loving and always take care of him.
Do you want Saudi citizenship? Yes AND no
Why do you or don’t you want Saudi citizenship? I really need to learn more about the process and the repercussions before I can fully answer this question.

9. SQ, wife of a Saudi

Why did you marry a Saudi? Love.
Why do you think your Saudi husband married you? Love.
Do you want Saudi citizenship? Undecided.
Why do you or don’t you want Saudi citizenship? Since I am undecided, it’s difficult to answer, but I am leaning towards “yes” as I believe it would make entering/leaving the country a little easier and also if something were to happen to my husband it might give me more rights (ha!)

10. Anonymous wife of a Saudi

Why did you marry a Saudi? In short, he became my best friend
Why do you think your Saudi husband married you? He often says it is the most selfish thing he had ever done. He needed someone in his life that understood him and his desires for free thought. Even though he was ready to accept the burden of the eldest son and running the family business, He was concerned about his mental health. In short he needed someone he could talk to that would “get him”
Do you want Saudi citizenship? No
Why do you not want Saudi citizenship? I travel a great deal and do not want to jump through the visa loops of a Saudi passport.


11. Sameera, wife of a Saudi

Why did you marry a Saudi? My mother was a widow and at the age of 15, she engaged me with a rude and dim-witted boy. At the time, he was a 23 year old American national living in Saudi Arabia and hadn’t finished his graduate studies. But this was his quality for my mother, not for me. I told him to take care of his studies otherwise I would not marry him but he did not care. He was jealous of me and did not want me to become more educated than him. I requested my mother not to arrange my marriage; I would prove myself a son (I have 2 brothers and I am only daughter of my mom). My mom said that she wanted me to marry soon. I had an auntie living in Al-Khobar who is married to a Saudi guy from Makkah. When I was 16, her son proposed to me. I told him that I will marry you with the condition of completing my education. He had to allow me to continue my studies as long as I wanted and then let me also organize my career. I fought with my family as they were not ready to allow me to marry a Saudi (as they believe that Saudis are untrustworthy and conservative). They were angry that this was the reason I was breaking my engagement with an AMERICAN. But I succeeded to marry with this Saudi man. He tried to make me discontinue my education but I threatened him with divorce and so he fulfilled his promise.
Why do you think your Saudi husband married you? My husband was searching for a girl to marry for eight years. Many times, he got engaged but broke off the relationship. When he saw me, he thought that I was the one he’d been looking for. I was 15 years old and engaged but he did not lose hope and kept coming to Karachi every week. He did this continuously for one year until I agreed to marry him with the condition of supporting me to study since my mother did not want to take responsibility of me after the age of 16. I married him at the age of 16. He thought that I was intelligent, straightforward, bold, beautiful, undemanding and frank. He liked all this about me and proposed to me. The only thing he disliked about me was my aggressive behavior. I am a daughter of a navy officer who won a bravery award from Pakistan during the 1965 war; I am brave and aggressive like my father. This is the reason I do the sting operations for my newspaper reports.
Do you want Saudi citizenship? Yes, I am a Saudi citizen.
Why do you not want Saudi citizenship? I wanted the Saudi nationality and I have been Saudi for 11 years. I was born in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia. My husband and children are Saudis. I also want to be a true part of my family and the society where I am living. And I am paying back to the Saudi society by my journalism efforts. I am providing my services to my husband, children and home as well as to the Saudi society. I am proud of that as a self-respecting person. I am showing the outside world about the positive picture of Saudi Arabia. I consider myself a bridge between Saudi Arab and other world. The human brain is precious and in fact all the countries offer nationalities to the intelligent brains. I am also the one of that kind of useful Saudi national and I have proved it as well. I am giving my brain to this society.

12. Umm Sultan, wife of a Saudi

Why did you marry a Saudi? When I met my future husband, I did not know that he was a Muslim, nor that he was a Saudi. He did not disclose this two facts for a while. He simply thought it would influence my perception of him as a person due to the stereotypes about Islam and bad reputation of Arabs in general. So first I learned about him as about a person. He possessed the qualities I liked. We felt comfortable together, he introduced Islam to me, and after two weeks proposed. But I was not ready yet for such commitment. I needed time. I could not imagine leaving my country, and I could not imagine myself living in Saudi Arabia. I had a very good work, my own apartment, family, friends. My whole life. But I realized that I loved the Saudi man, I learned more about Islam, Saudi Arabia. I pronounced my shahada and and I knew that life in my husband’s country is the only solution for our and our future children well being. If my husband was Egyptian, you would probably saw me now in Egypt.
Why do you think your Saudi husband married you? He simply found a perfect match ;). Love, friendship, religion – and here we are ;).
Do you want Saudi citizenship? Well, I think I would consider it, yes.
Why do you not want Saudi citizenship? Simply because we have children. It is also a bit tiring to proceed all of the time with formalities connected with entry/exit visas, renewals of iqamah. But it is mostly about the children. If we did not have them, I do not think I would be considering applying for Saudi citizenship. And by no means I would ever think about abusing the system nor divorcing my husband!

13. Bint Curtis, wife of a Saudi

Why did you marry a Saudi? I didn’t think of my husband as Saudi but as a Muslim so I married him for his religion.
Why do you think your Saudi husband married you? He always had a feeling he was going to marry an American. He liked what his friend and his friend’s wife said about me and that I was a da’iyah. When he first saw me, he like me alot and the fact that I look like his mother (Allah yarhamhaa ameen)
Do you want Saudi citizenship? Yes then no
Why do you or don’t you want Saudi citizenship? I wanted it to have a stable life here in Saudi Arabia in case something ever happened to my husband. But now I think it won’t help unless I want to stay here forever and I’m prepared to sacrifice more of my rights.

14. IK, wife of a Saudi
Why did you marry a Saudi? I never planned to marry a Saudi, it was Allah’s design.
Why do you think your Saudi husband married you? Because he loved me very much.
Do you want Saudi citizenship? No
Why do you not want Saudi citizenship? I just wanna be an Islamic citizen. I don’t like the way some Arab women treat other women because they [Arab women] think they are better than other women. Please reference Soorat Al-Hujurat 49:11


15. Umm Omar, ex-wife of a Saudi

Why did you marry a Saudi? For love.
Why do you think your Saudi husband married you? For love.
Did you want Saudi citizenship? Yes then no
Why did you not want Saudi citizenship? My husband took the US green card and was getting me Saudi citizenship when he decided to try to blackmail me into accepting unacceptable conditions in order to complete the process for me.


16. Anonymous wife of a Saudi

Why did you marry a Saudi? For love (Islamic marriage only).
Why do you think your Saudi husband married you? Love.
Did you want Saudi citizenship? Yes
Why did you not want Saudi citizenship? For rights (or lack of).

17. Anonymous wife of a Saudi

Why did you marry a Saudi? I fell in love with him after we met at university in USA.
Why do you think your Saudi husband married you? He told me he fell in love with me, my personality, my shyness, my characteristics, he thought I seemed like a good women.
Did you want Saudi citizenship? Yes, i think after living here in Saudi Arabia for 17years, I’m ready for it.
Why did you not want Saudi citizenship? To ease paperwork, expense of iqama upkeep and entrance/exit visa expense. and for inheritance rights if (God forbid) my husband dies.

18. Misti, wife of a Saudi

Why did you marry a Saudi? For me personally, it had nothing to do with “Saudi”. I met my husband when I was just a young girl (14 years old) and we fell in love with each other soon after. I accepted Islam and we got married a year and a half later. The question is sort of a strange one because I don’t know anyone that married their husband because he is a Saudi, it just happened that he is a Saudi. I didn’t go looking for any particular nationality.
Why do you think your Saudi husband married you? It was the same for him, it just happened. And really it would have been easier for him to not marry a non-Saudi, but when Allah has a plan, it happens.
Did you want Saudi citizenship? I resisted for years out of fear but after three children and 17 years of marriage, I decided to get it. So the answer is yes.
Why did you not want Saudi citizenship? I got the visa mainly for convenience and to save a bit on visa fees.

19. Anonymous wife of a Saudi

Why did you marry a Saudi? Because I was (and still am) so madly in love with him and I thought I couldn’t breathe without him. Now that we are married and I understand all the challenges of a mixed marriage, I look back and I think I shouldn’t have taken my decision based ONLY in my feelings, but still I guess I would have ended up marrying him anyway.
Why do you think your Saudi husband/ex-husband married you? He says I make him feel like he’s the only man on earth.
Do you want Saudi citizenship? No
Why do you not want Saudi citizenship? I rather keep mine in case something happens in the future, at least for the first 5 to 10 years in KSA.

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TG

Family historian of Broussard, Gregory, Sledge and Williams family tree

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