Marriage in Different Cultures

 In North Africa and the Middle East


An OM worker serving in the Near East

The main part of our ministry is visiting and getting into meaningful conversations. But last night’s visit was a little different. A Christian Arab man on our team confided in me that he wanted to get married and had met four prospective sisters. Could I go with him to meet the sisters and decide which one I liked. Selecting a life partner for marriage in the Middle East is a little different to how we know it. Some marriages are still arranged between cousins. But the ‘more modern’ way is for the guy to see a girl, speak to her father, and it’s arranged between the man and her father! So last night we went to visit the prospective sisters. I was doing the mother’s job of seeing who would make a good wife, while he did his job of talking with the father and building a trusting relationship with him. The father was asking ‘all the right questions’ in checking out my team mate as a good son-in-law. There was no interaction between my team mate and the sisters, but he must have been observing from a distance because as we left the house, we had both decided on the same girl! He will now speak to his family for them to approve before letting her know that he has any intention of marrying her…

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