The Secret to a Long Lasting Marriage
April 24th, 2014, Emilene Parry

The Secret to a Long Lasting Marriage

Marriage is the ultimate expression of eternal love and commitment between two people. But what is it that brings us together forever? From expectations and motivations to the ultimate wow proposal, we’ve uncovered people’s feelings and beliefs across the MENA region.

Firstly, the majority of Lab participants consider marriage to be “a life goal” and not “just a label”. Although some admitted marriage is hard work, most of those who are already married claim to be very happy.

When asked what they think is the most appropriate age to get married, it seems there is an expectation for women to marry younger than men among the majority. Most felt women should marry before the age of 24, but men, however, should marry slightly later between 25 and 30. Most agree that there is a lot of pressure to get married young and only 1 in 10 state that the age you get married does not matter.

As for the roles of men and women in an ideal marriage, the majority of Lab participants agree it's the husband that takes on the financial responsibility, whilst the wife stays at home to take care of the family and the home.

Over half feel that the most important reason to get married is to have children. Nevertheless, the majority state that you should marry someone you are in love with, and that your spouse should be your partner in life.

Trust, understanding and patience are the top three attributes Lab participants believe are key to a lasting and successful marriage, followed by open communication, respect and romance/intimacy. Only 1 in 10 participants viewed money as a key factor contributing to a successful marriage.

The majority of Lab participants believe that people are too quick to get married before they really know their future spouse. However, more people agree than disagree that arranged marriages are usually the most successful. Despite this, the majority of Lab participants disagree with the statement “I’m only married/I only want to get married because my parents want it”.

Proposal stories

We asked married participants to describe how they proposed or were proposed to:

“Early morning, I went out to buy groceries, made breakfast and served it to her in bed. Guess what was on the menu?” Nash, UAE

“I was proposed to with a smile, a gift and a simple Will you marry me?” Parikh, Bahrain

“I was proposed through a matrimonial online site.” Mili, UAE

“I sent a proposal to her house though my mother and they accepted.” Anonymous

“It was through a phone call because there was distance between us!” Ameera, UAE

“I liked her at a party and sent a proposal to her family, which they accepted,” Hashir, UAE

“My husband invited me to lunch and gave me a letter, in which the proposal was written.” Fatima, UAE

“We were in Singapore on vacation/job hunting. He was planning to propose in Sentosa. But I had been whining for days and he ended up taking out the ring in the room where we were staying.” Jan, UAE

“I asked my husband to marry me when we were celebrating my 20th birthday with our friends.” Manar, UAE

“I was taken to Paris to the top of the Eiffel tower with a diamond ring already purchased.” Jay, UAE

What’s your ideal marriage proposal?

8 out of 10 single participants said they want to get married in the future. We asked those that aren’t already married to describe their ideal marriage proposal:

“I want him to give me a diamond ring and ask me out in a restaurant.” Anonymous

“He should take me to my favourite spot; candle lit dinner, then a ride and then ending with wine. In the end his proposal ring should be in the glass of wine! He should be on one knee and propose to me. After that he should kiss me!” Che, UAE

“I would go to her house and hold a huge bunch of red flowers in one hand, and a microphone on the other, then ask her to marry me.” Anonymous

“I never thought of it to be honest as there are a million ways to propose nowadays... so I hope the person that proposes will be creative and surprising... in the end its him who I want... so it really doesn't matter to me.... but still he has to make it memorable and valuable and also meaningful :D” Gihan, Egypt

“By the sea by the one I truly love. It actually is just an option if given but, what matters most is that you love and you are loved back and you agreed mutually to enter into marriage.” Anonymous

“I would like to be proposed to with the consent of the other person's parents and/or family!” SKJ, UAE

“Flowers with a letter that included the proposal” Rania, Egypt

“Surprise, though very private proposal. After a special dinner in an exotic/small holiday city.” Anonymous

“In a nature setting with flowers, friends and family around, through an unexpected way, basically he should bend on one knee and ask me to marry him.” Eman, KSA

“Traditional proposal. Getting my parents’ permission first.” Sara, UAE

“When I propose (hopefully) to the girl I love, I will propose in the place she loves most between her family and mine.” Hamood, Egypt

“Showing up unexpectedly while going out with friends.” Shaimaa, Egypt

“For me as a woman, I want him to be somewhere wherein we are in the middle of the crowd then he will confess his love while our music is playing. My friends and family will then surprise me by hugging me.” Hanna, KSA

“Someone with flowers and a ring and a cartoon which says would you accept to marry me?” Anonymous

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