Saudi Arabia: What Should a Couple Know or Discuss Prior to Marriage?

getting married

Marriage should be viewed as a lifetime commitment between a man and a woman.  With marriages that are arranged between family members or a matchmaker, a young man or woman may be uncertain on what they believe they should know in advance of marriage.

Many Saudi families who have arranged a marriage for a son or daughter will generally at some point allow the young couple to have (chaperoned) time together where they can speak and ask questions of each other.  This meeting, although in most cases viewed as a mere formality, is also the opportunity for the couple to determine if they are truly compatible with one another.

Not all marriages are taking place between young men and women who are getting married for the first time.  In some cases one half of the couple may have been widowed or divorced or in other cases, a woman may be agreeing to become a second, third or fourth wife of a Saudi man.

marriage questions

American Bedu received a list of issues which should be taken into consideration prior to a commitment of marriage.  This list is a guideline and written from a Western perspective.  Yet it raises many important issues that do impact on the ability to have a successful marriage and relationship and how well suited a couple are to one another based on their upbringing, culture and values:

1.       Relationship Options and Goals
2.       Family Background
3.       Home Roots location and Culture
4.       Family Values
5.       Educational background
6.       IQ indicators
7.       Decision making ability
8.       Sense of humor
9.       Verbal skills
10.  Religious background/Tradition
11.  Level of religious participation
12.  Openness to religious discussions/learning
13.  Personal Faith
14.  Children
15.  Relationship with children
16.  Parenting skills
17.  Parenting styles
18.  Pets
19.  Work background
20.  Current living situation (own/renting – house/apt etc)
21.  income level
22.  Personal Health issues
23.  Physical Attraction
24.  Physical Preferences
25.  Physical Turn-offs
26.  Definition of Intimacy
27.  Desire for Intimacy
28.  Capacity for intimacy
29.  Sexual Experience
30.  Sexual Preferences
31.  Sexual Desires
32.  Previous relationships
33.  Relationship(s) with X’s
34.  Bad or Repulsive habits
35.  Pet peeves
36.  Meyers-Briggs Temperament Type
37.  Biorhythm Cycle
a.      Biorhythm compatibility
i.      Intellectual – 60% Ideal
ii.      Physical – 60% Ideal
iii.      Emotional – 80% Ideal
iv.      Overall – 80% ideal
38. personality type
39.  Hobbies
40.  Circle of Friends
41.  Relationship with Father
42.  Relationship with Mother
43.  Relationship with Siblings
44.  Previous personal Crises encountered and endured
45.  Any Healing/Grieving processes not completed
46.  Personal Hygiene Standards & values
47.  Physical Conditioning standards & values
48.  Any health problems or limitations? (revisit this again at later phases In the relationship)
49.  Cooking skills
50.  Entertaining skills
51.  Expressed Social skills
52.  Observed Social skills,
a.      Large Group
b.      Small Group
c.      1-1
d.      With Wait  Staff
e.      With Retail CSRs
53.  Past Huge Emotional Events – life changing level
54.  Unfinished business – personal emotional, legal, financial actions that are still unresolved.
55.  Favorite foods
56.  Favorite colors
57.  Clothing style preferences
58.  Income needs to support style of living
59.  Financial stability
60.  Tax returns
61.  Personal Values
62.  Personal Crusades
63.  Personal Prejudices’
64.  Personal Passions
65.  Personal Political views/passions
66.  Values indicated by the lifestyles and habits of your children
67.  Relationship with your children
68.  Importance of family
69.  Your Interaction with my family
70.  Your acceptance of my family – as they are
71.  My families acceptance of you
72.  Pets acceptance of you
73.  Your acceptance of my pet(s)
74.  Temper/Anger management
75.  Argument/fighting skills/styles
76.  Emotional “Hot Buttons”
77.  Any Baggage
78.  Preferred Living situation
79.  Realistic Living expectations
80.  Personal Dreams/Goals and Aspirations
81.  Willingness to relocate
82.  Willingness to commit
83.  Number of previous LTR’s
84.  Longest relationship – what kept it together?
85.  Strongest relationship – How and why was it so?
86.  Number of previous engagements
87.  Number of previous marriages
88.  On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, how attracted are you to me?
89.  On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, how willing are you to commit to being exclusive in our relationship?
90.  On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, how accepting would you be “at this time” to a proposal of marriage, if one was made?
91.  Divorce Redlines/Limits – what things would you divorce your spouse for?. .physical abuse? …Drug addiction?  & HOW does this reconcile with Forgiveness Promise?
92.   Taste in:
a.      Art
b.      Furniture
c.      Decorating
d.      Architecture
93.  Attraction to others outside the relationship, including porn
94.  Man Toys
a.      Boats
b.      Cycles
c.      Others
95.  Guns at home
96.  Division of HH Chores
a.      Dishes
b.      Yard work
c.      Car Maint,
d.      Handy Man Stuff
e.      TP – over/under
97.  Roles in Marriage
98.  Movies
99.  TV habits
100.         Ideal Vacation, Travel
101.         Jealousy
102.         Books
103.         Retirement Goals
104.         Arrests/Illegal Activities/ Drug use
105.         Handling Money
a.      Budgeting habits
b.      Priorities
c.      Saving habits
d.      Investment Habits
e.      Donations
106.         Bucket List
107.         Personal History of Faithfulness to partners in the past..
108.         Love Language….
109.         Birth Date
110.         Sporting Activities and Viewing
111.         How/where and with whom do you celebrate major holidays..

“List: Copyright 2013, by Stan Tucker”


13 Responses

  1. That is a pretty comprehensive list.

    What is ” With Retail CSRs”?

  2. CSR — Customer service reps, I think

    Wow, I just read most of these to my Syrian friend and he said it sounds like something police would ask you. 😀 Good stuff to know!

  3. Can some one give me an example where a couple is agreed on half of this long list?
    Its really interesting, still I wonder, why one needs to decide everything prior to marriage?
    It’s 13th years of our marriage, me and my husband might not share 20% of same interests or views on this list, we had our ups and downs. I love him and he loves me. We are not same, we ars different that’s how we are a couple, better half. Sweet and salty, thats what life is.
    I want to ask another question if one gets everything assured beforehand is it a guarantee that it ‘ll be happily ever after?
    I never asked many of these questions from my husband and still I can answer to many for him. 🙂

  4. Daaang….if I already knew all that about a man and he knew all that about me, we’d have nothing to talk about after marriage!

  5. Really? more than a basic background check, inspite of knowing all these .. is there any guarantee that this relationship would last? Bottom line : we always have changing perspective as we grow old and in any case have more exposure Plus any unexpected incident would change the world for one person upside down that you can never guess about person.

  6. What’s left to talk about besides Love then? No more mystery makes it history I think personally.

  7. Interesting list…I do think it’s just a wee bit overboard. Some old memories won’t resurface until later. Some things you learn in the middle of the relationship, so it won’t be as obvious in an arranged marriage. Other things people may lie about or not understand about him/herself. Looking at this list, I can see why my habibi and I clicked (because we’ve got a whole lot in common)…which brings up the question- Is this the “key” to knowing if you’re in love? Besides, relationships are constantly changing.

    “Can some one give me an example where a couple is agreed on half of this long list?”
    With the exception of personality type, myers-briggs, and other personality type indicators, I probably know at least 80% of these things about my husband and I’ve been with him less than 2 years. I’d say we’re compatible (not necessarily the same) on most of that 80%. We have been through different things, but have similar views on life. Still learning a few things about him that are past memories, but yeah…*raises hand*. We used to argue a lot, but we don’t anymore. Maybe it’s because my husband and I were very honest with each other up front? We’ve also been through quite a bit in our time together so far. Still learning about his decor tastes, but he’s really good at interior decorating and design so I’ve got no worries there! 🙂

    @okie homestay,
    Idk…I think there’d still be plenty to talk about, just not necessarily each other! 😀 There are still dreams to be fulfilled, vacations to take, news, things to do, family and friends to visit, and most of all just enjoying being alive! 🙂

  8. Looking over the list again, I have a couple questions:
    Why are boats and cycles considered man toys?
    Why did they ask for TP, why not ask about TP versus water versus both?

  9. No matter how well you think you know someone…there will always be that dark little corner where the real person lives. You can never really completely know someone…hence all those nasty little surprises you find out at some point in the marriage.

  10. This list is too long and peppered with idiocies (biotrythyms? except for the female menstrual cycle any other biorythm is just psuedoscience). There is a big difference between filling out answers about things one hasn’t done and what those answers will be when something real happens. Some years ago an overweight woman friend asked me what I would do if my wife gained weight (I wasn’t married at the time). I don’t know what I told her, but whatever it was, it was a guess. At age 61 where both of us have gotten older and gained weight, I know what happened. No guessing. For those who wonder, we are still married and reasonably happy

  11. Knowing what your pets think of your intended is important though… If they don’t like him he has to go! :mrgreen:

  12. Lol – It would take a good long time to get to know all these things. I think that rather than specific hobbies, etc the best thing to know is
    a) How they interact with their own family
    b) How they cope with difficult situations
    These things may only be found out later. They say that love is blind so even when sometimes others can see that a person is arrogant, egotistical ,rude, etc if you love them you do not notice in that first phase of love or if you notice you feel you can change them! I think experience of people is of good use in these situations but unfortunately this only comes with experience which many young brides do not have.

  13. Maybe fore-warned is a way to be fore-armed…. And this is not raising the question whether one love or doesn’t love your partner but rather how to address issues should they raise their ugly heads in maybe not such favorable circumstances – thus leading to a explosion rather then an amicable understanding! I would really like to know where one get get more in-depth information on these questions?

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