I just got back from a trip to the Middle East, and it was quite interesting to learn more about marriage and divorce practices there.
I had a conversation with a guide in Amman, Jordan. I asked him about marriage and divorce there (he’s Palistinean, as are many of the people in Jordan) and this is what he said. By the way, it’s extremely complicated, so stay with me. A man — lets call him Mohammed — decides he wants to marry a woman. He has his family elder go to his tribal spokesman for approval. If the tribal spokesman — lets call him Abdula — agrees, then the woman in Mohammed’s family calls the mother of the girl to set up a meeting. Mohammed’s mother and sisters go visit the mother and sisters of the potential bride. Mohammeds family does a selling job on how wonderful Mohammed is, gives his full name, credentials, job expectations, his status in his clan,etc. Then the girls family has 3 days to check out Mohammed. (I am not sure what that entails, but I doubt they Google him). Then Mohammed’s mother calls the girls mother and if the girls mother agrees, Mohammed’s father calls Abdula, and Abdula calls his counterpart in the girls family. A date is set up for all the men to meet. The brides male family sets up a tent, and there the two male part of the families meet. The girls family elder puts a cup of coffee in front of the grooms family elder, Abdula again sells Mohammed to the girls family. If the brides spokesmen agrees to accept Mohammed, he tells Abdula to drink the coffee. Then after some pats on the back and congratulations all around, the two tribal elders work out the dowry. The dowry goes to the bride, 1/3 is for her to buy cloths, and 2/3 is for her to buy gold for her to keep. The man pays the dowry and wedding costs. Furthermore, couples can choose their own partners, and go through all the steps above. B the couple cannot have sex before the wedding. If they do, the woman can be killed by her family and the man sent to jail.
Now ,what about divorce? Of course, after all that one would be too exhausted to even think of divorce, but there is always the chance. Well, a man can have 4 wives, so not sure why he would want to divorce any one, but all he has to do is say “you are divorced” 3 times and it is over! The wife then goes to court and tells the court what happened. She keeps the gold from the dowry , and the court may award her the dowry amount again and then more if warranted. If the woman wants the divorce, she goes to court and petitions for it. If she just wants to get rid of him, she gets no additional money. However, if she can prove cruelty or cause the man will pay more.
It sounds terribly confusing and convoluted, but there you have the story I got of marriage and divorce in Jordan. What do you think?