This week, The National reported that in 2006 and 2007, 80% of newlyweds had filed for divorce before completing their first anniversary. This is the most shocking news I have read since joining the newspaper. Many of us have become afraid of the prospects of marriage when hearing about all these divorce stories.
In the modern world, when a man asks for a woman's hand in marriage it is like applying for a job. Previously, families would thoroughly vet the suitor, from his mannerism, religiosity, background, history and relationship with his parents in the same manner as checking references listed on a CV. Unfortunately, old is not gold for the majority. Today, it seems priority is given to certain items on the CV and the rest is simply overlooked.
When people apply for a new job, many of them rarely think about their position and what they wish to achieve in two to five years. Without a roadmap they get bored of their new job after few months and decide to quit. Sadly, the same scenario is befalling most young Emirati couples. Too often, the couple fantasise about their honeymoon, being with their Mr. or Mrs Right for eternity, and they forget to plan ahead. Marriage is not a two- to three-year bond, it is a long lasting relationship which many of us fail to grasp.
There is a misconception that love can conquer all obstacles. This notion works perfectly in a Hollywood or Bollywood love story that lasts a couple of hours and ends in a beautiful union – but it does not apply to real life.
Nor does reaching certain age mean a person is ready to get married.
As a Muslim nation, we are commanded by the Prophet to look for two traits in a spouse: religiosity and mannerism because both go hand-in-hand. Other factors, such as a man's education and profession, are secondary.
When receiving a proposal, families should not be hasty in their response. Nor should they push their children to marry someone, because eventually it will be the couple's future children who will bear the consequences, not them.
If we take the time to properly investigate the possible life partners for our children, it could go a long way in cutting down the divorce rate.