Unable to afford expenses, young Saudi men opt for ‘limited marriage’

Misyar is a type of marriage contract carried out normally according to Islamic customs but with stipulates couples give up certain rights

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Experts said more and more Saudis are opting for the “misyar” marriage due to unaffordable living expenses, Makkah daily reported.

The misyar is a type of marriage contract carried out normally according to Islamic customs but with the stipulation that the couple give up certain rights of a normal marriage, such as living together, the wife’s right to housing and living expenses and the husband’s right to housekeeping.

Family consultant Nasser Al-Thubaiti said most young men do not have the means to get married while most young women have high expectations of their marriage.

“The rate of divorce is increasing and the rate of polygamy is decreasing. More and more marriage officiators are willing to sign misyar marriage contracts now. It is a way for men to get married without having the liability of dowry and family support,” said Al-Thubaiti.

Sultan Al-Saleem, a marriage officiator, said many engagements have been dissolved and it is becoming a trend.

“There are a few reasons why engagements fail. Many engaged couples are not open about their marriage conditions in the beginning and are shocked when they see certain conditions in the contract,” said Al-Saleem.

He added the man usually finds himself unable to pay the dowry or support the marriage, which leads to breaking up the engagement.

“Another reason is when the parents force daughters to accept a man against their will. Being forced into a marriage creates tension and unhappiness in a relationship and things usually fall apart quite quickly,” said Al-Saleem.

He added in some cases the couple agree to marry based on what they know of one another but are surprised by facts and behavior they did not expect from one another.

“A lot of men grow impatient or become temperamental during or after their engagement. In some cases, the couple are forced to break up a marriage because they are unable to complete the official paperwork with the marriage officiators,” said Al-Saleem.

This article first appeared in the Saudi Gazette on Oct. 29, 2015.