x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Sermon says happy marriages flow from mutual respect

The mutual appreciation husbands and wives should have for each other is the focal point of the Government's weekly sermon.

ABU DHABI // The importance of marriage - and the mutual appreciation husbands and wives should have for each other - was the focal point of the Government's weekly sermon yesterday. With the Government and experts expressing alarm at the number of failed marriages - nearly one in four marriages in the UAE breaks up - yesterday's sermon was the second in two months to tackle the issue of marriage.

"God has defined the marital relationship and urged us to do it justice," read the sermon, which is delivered in the country's mosques on Fridays. Men were urged to treat their wives well, speaking softly to them and offering praise for their accomplishments. As the bearer of children, the overseer of finances and guardian of secrets, women should be regularly complimented, it said. Women should be praised for labouring over food and drink, and for their efforts to look their best.

A husband should treat his wife the same way he wants to be treated, the sermon added. As for the wife, her heart gives her husband peace, the sermon said; as his companion, she should support her spouse and not focus on his shortcomings. "She does not ask of him what he dislikes," the sermon read. "Her purpose is to be in good standing with God and then with her husband, and to raise her children well, aiding her husband in life's challenges and encouraging him to make a good and halal living."

In May, the Minister of Social Affairs, Mariam Mohammed Khalfan al Roumi, pledged that research into the causes of marriage breakdowns would be redoubled in an effort to lower the divorce rate. Two months earlier, the ministry launched a pilot programme called Sweet as Honey for husbands and wives, focusing on resolving conflicts within marriage. The National Campaign for Social Cohesion has begun offering marriage counselling in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Gharbia.

Family advisers have also suggested introducing mandatory lessons on married life at universities, teaching men and women how to make a marriage work. relass@thenational.ae