Another slant on the marriage discussion we've been having....
Costly fairy tale weddings can become nightmare divorces, Dubai experts sayhttp://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/08/06/14/10221006.html
06/14/2008 10:33 PM | By Fatma Salem, Staff ReporterDubai: Many newly-weds end up in divorce courts because they do not realise the consequences of their financial extravagance to stage lavish weddings.
After the honeymoon, when the wedding bills start arriving, accusations begin to fly around and often this leads to divorce, said Eisa Bin Haider, a lawyer.
Couples do not realise the huge commitments they unwittingly put themselves into and the fresh ties of marriage can break easily under the financial burden, he said.
The lawyer was one of many specialists who spoke recently at a symposium on weddings organised at the Juma Al Majid Centre for Culture and Heritage.
"Such dramas could be avoided if only there were better (financial) planning," said Bin Haider.
The head of a charity organisation pointed out that marriage should be based on understanding and mutual respect, not on social extravagance and meaningless showing-off.
"People put themselves in a delusional golden castle, forgetting that the bills won't go away," said Abdeen Taher Al Awadi, deputy director general of the Beit Al Khair Society.
He said studies have shown an average wedding costs between Dh100,000 and Dh300,000.
Abdullah Al Kamali, a cleric at the Department of Islamic Affairs, warned against extravagant weddings. "According to Islam, there are many ways to get two people together (in matrimony) without having to shoulder the burden of debt."
Widad Lootah from Dubai Courts said the first sign of problems is when the couple turn cold towards one another. "The trust between them is lost. The blame game starts over the huge debts. The relationship becomes sour and leads to divorce."
She said many people stay single past 30, or, sometimes, 40, because of the unbelievable cost of marriage.
"To motivate the youth to get married early and at reasonable cost, society should raise the level of awareness and educate them to avoid extravagance," she said.
Ahmad Mohammad Al Shibah, head of the Gulf Arab Educational Consulting Centre, pointed out that men sometimes blame women for their "unreasonable demands". "After marriage they ask them to look for jobs to help settle the bills and take up some of the financial burden," he said.
"Women sometimes do not wish to work and that leads to frequent fights and misunderstanding, and then separation," he said.
Mubarak Juma'a, an Emirati father, was of the opinion that there is a need to change the thinking of society. "Such symposia need to be held from time to time to keep reminding greedy people of this huge problem in our society. They should be told of the harm they do to their daughters," he said. Saeed Abdullah, a single 29-year-old Emirati, said: "A wake-up call is urgently needed to stop such needless extravagance. For instance, I am still single because I really cannot afford a wedding. Where do I get the money for this fairy tale wedding? Then there are the endless demands either from the bride or her parents. I wonder why our society pays attention to such meaningless stuff."
Mariam Abul Rahim, a single 32-year-old Emirati, said: "Whether we like it or not, people judge us based on our social status. We have no choice but to keep up with it. A wedding happens only once, so certainly any girl would want it to be an extraordinary event."