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Total honesty in marriage? Not for Dubai’s women
The Dubai Courts warns women that being honest about their past relationships may lead to marital problems and divorce.
February 5, 2009 11:14 by Dana El Baltaji
The Dubai Courts’ marriage guidance section issued a statement yesterday advising married women not to discuss their past relationships with their husbands. The Family Guidance and Reformation Section warned women that honesty can turn a marriage “from a blessing to a curse and may serve to destroy a family.”
The warning was issued after a woman sought the court’s advice. The Dubai Court offers services to help curb the rising number of divorces in the emirate.
Abdel Aziz Al Hamadi, a family counselor in the guidance section, explained the court’s statement further: “It is not the husband’s right after marriage to demand his wife tell him her life history nor ask her questions which would only contribute to increased divisiveness in married life.” According Al Hamadi, the husband should only enquire about his wife’s past before the couple is married.
“A smart husband would do better not to ask his wife after marriage to reveal her life history, as by so doing he shows that he entered into a relationship with a woman without knowing anything about her,” Al Hamadi said.
“Such questions as ‘who did you love before me?’, ‘to whom were you engaged?’ or ‘with whom did you go out?’ only serve to increase divisions between a couple and are a warning sign of the imminent end of the relationship.”
As for how honest women should be, Al Hamadi suggests a balance.
“Honesty between couples is not as some suggest absolute,” he said, “since by such a definition honesty turns from a blessing to a curse and may serve to destroy a family, especially if either or both spouses are not mature or understanding enough or have enough trust in each other to accept certain truths.”
The statement follows an announcement made by the General Women’s Union (GWU) in January 2009 that it will be conducting classes to help prepare men and women for marriage. According to a report in The National, the GWU is organizing the classes in order to reduce the divorce rate in the UAE. “We have to raise awareness across society,” a GWU official said to The National. “Our goal is to educate people about the responsibilities of marriage. There seems to be an impression that everything will be easy.”
Dr. Fatima Sayegh, a professor at UAE University in Al Ain who has conducted several studies on divorce in the UAE, explained to The National that young couples are unaware of the challenges of marriage: “That’s why after two or three months many take a divorce. There has to be more awareness that marriage is not just a wedding, a party and white gowns.”
“That’s why after two or three months many take a divorce,” she added. “There has to be more awareness that marriage is not just a wedding, a party and white gowns. Marriage is responsibility. There needs to be counseling not only when they go to court for a divorce, but before they go to court and before they get married.”