Thursday, October 28, 2010

Divorce: an unfortunate phenomenon

As I heard news of yet another divorce back home I started to wonder about all the possible reasons there is such a high rate of divorce in the UK, particularly compared with Oman. Many questions have been arising in the UK surrounding the breakdown of the traditional nuclear family and the social effects this is having. Whilst I don't want to judge cases on an individual level, I do feel that as a whole the casual attitude people have developed towards marriage and divorce is having a detrimental effect on society.

I think that despite the disdain with which arranged marriage is looked upon in the West, perhaps there is something to be learned from it, or at least the attitudes that drive it. Here are some reasons I have come up with about why there are more successful marriages here (and I don't intend to show any bias to either side).

1) Religion; people who believe in the afterlife are usually more content with what they have in this life and Muslims strongly believe there is religious benefit in a good marriage. (This view could be supported by the correlation between religious affiliation and divorce rates in the UK.) There are those who don't have these beliefs, who would like to get the most enjoyment from life and are on the constant search for "happiness" which is often accompanied by a sort of 'the grass is greener on the other side' attitude.

2) Love; feelings are great but they are also changeable. If you expect to be passionately in love with your spouse for the rest of your life you are likely to, at one point or another, be disappointed. Traditional Omani marriages are not based on any Hollywood-induced idea of being in love. It is hoped that love will blossom over time but it is understood that the key to marriage is effort.

3) Bad examples; perhaps those who are surrounded with more divorce are more likely to get divorced themselves. They may have a lack of confidence in the success of marriage as well as less positive examples to look to.

4) Arranged marriages; they aren't always the outdated tradition they are portrayed as. If you are lucky to have good parents they will find a spouse who will suit you, have the same values and the same ambitions, which will help maintain a balanced relationship.

5) Maybe Omanis are just more inclined to settle?! More serious grounds for divorce such as adultery and violence are probably no less common here, but maybe people are more likely to look the other way or forgive.

6) In some cases here in Oman an unhappy marriage is dealt with by the man marrying a second wife. While this is certainly a way of avoiding divorce I'm not sure it's a valid one....

7) More kids: Omani families tend to be a lot bigger. When a couple are completely consumed with children they probably have no time for personal disagreements! ; )

Anyway I hope this post hasn't felt like a condemnation of divorce, but I do wholeheartedly believe in marriage and only feel sad that it can't work out for everyone.


  1. Actually, according to statistics, divorce is on the rise in Oman, probably because women are more independent and want 'more'.

    In Salalah, the reason unhappy women decide to remain married is because they are not 'welcome' back into their parents' house. Most families here tell their daughters they are not welcome back home (i.e. divorce) unless the man hits them. With no way of supporting themselves financially, their best case scenario would be to remain married.

    Also, divorced women are more likely to remarry again in Salalah (wife number 2?) as it's not that shocking to be divorced. However, according to what I've heard, divorced women in the Northern parts of Oman are unwanted and find it very hard to remarry. Muscat obviously is more liberal, but the interior parts are not.Divorce is a huge taboo up there.

    Am I making sense? Haven't had my regular dose of caffeine yet! :)

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  3. Interesting post! Thanks. So many seem to actually encourage divorce in this self-absorbed generation.
    I was wondering...What's wrong with a condemnation of divorce?! God Himself has declared "I hate divorce" (Malachi 2:16). Jesus also confirmed, "What God has brought together let no man separate." Isn't it possible to condemn divorce without condemning those who have been through it? Just a thought.

  4. I don't actually think it's fair for anyone to butt their noses in to other peoples marriages.
    We, as outsiders, have no idea what goes on in other peoples homes and that in itself makes it unfair for us to judge.

  5. As salam alaikum sis.

    i was reading a report the other day for the number of divorces in salalah, for what ever reason they may be, i dont know and i dont think society needs to know all the fine details of another personnal life..but from waht i read there has been over 100 divorce cases reported in the local court so far this year.

    Divorce is not liked by Allah but in some cases it is needed. Id never exspect a woman to sit in an abusive marriage because she feels if she divorces the Lord above would disapprove of her or because her family think such and such. Some people just dont go through hardships that others who are we to comment generally speaking.

    God bless all with a healthy & happy marriage.Ameen.

  6. Victoria, with all due respect you need to look around you.

    I have lost count of the number of women who have been blind sided by suddenly being divorced. In the West, there is less stigma and women can go on and support their children.

    Divorce is never an easy option but at least I have a choice to divorce an alcoholic and bring up my family in peace and stability - I wouldn't have had this option here.

    As Angry in Oman said, it's not for outsiders to judge.

  7. Thanks for the really great comments, its really important to get different perspectives, particularly on social issues. My post wasn't a comprehensive study so I realise there is a lot I left out. I'm fairly new to Oman and am just voicing my observations as I go along.
    I wasn't intending to judge anyone, and I wasn't talking about individual cases, nor would I want to. I do however think its important to look at these issues. It may help give you a better understanding of a society and some issues it faces. For example, if divorce is on the rise we might want to look at why that is and what can be done to address it.

  8. To futher note if someone who is not local gets divorced here, dont exspect to be treated well by the courts. Because your an expat ( i mean being married to a local in this case,) you'll be wiped of ur rights and told your country is no better.
    A note of advice to women, even if your being abuse by someones fist dnt think you get maintaince etc..ur answer is you WONT !
    Its said the country follow shariah laws for famiyl law and personnal law but in matter of fact it does not. DOnt trust the words of lawyers even if your paying them top money.. they do work for people under the table even when your paying them.
    Embassy officals need to be updated on this issue.