In light of certain events, I have decided to do a post on advice for women thinking of marrying Saudis, co-authored by my husband (a Saudi---so no one can say I am bashing Saudis in anyway). This can be applied to any person thinking of getting married, but it is written from the only perspective that I know.
OUR ADVICE FOR SISTERS THINKING OF MARRYING SAUDIS (OR ANY OTHER GCC GUY)
by Y and Pixie
Pixie: Alhamdulilah, I am married to a Saudi man and everything worked out and yes, we are a couple deeply in love, and yes, everything has worked out for us and when people see how we treat eachother they forget that it is not easy.
Y: Marriages are never easy, but people [Saudis] look at us, and see us, and think, "I can do that" and they don't realize what ...[Pixie] and I have given up for to be with eachother. They [Saudi guys] also look at how ...[Pixie] and I met in school [before Pixie had converted] and want the same kind of meeting.
Pixie: Ain't gonna happen, lol. Not with a practicing Muslimah. I (as a practicing Muslimah) am not gonna look twice at a brother until I am approached with a meeting with a wali et all. And I was kinda like that even before Islam. I didn't want someone to defend my honor at the time, but I didn't want to waste my time. Western girl and Saudi guy seemed like a bad match from the get-go. Until I had Islam, I didn`t see too much in common with me and Y, besides a guy that liked my morals and sort of idealized the charitable person I was. Which was a bad thing to me. When you put someone on a pedastal, they are gonna fall from that pedastal, and shatter that image you have of them. So don`t marry an image, be it beauty or ethics.
Y: Love at first sight can be dumb at first sight, lol. I forgot how much you talk. Advice to the brothers, think with you head, not your heart. My wife actually told me to do this before I got to know her for the purpose of marriage. It`s good advice.
Pixie: [to Y] I wasn't star-struck with you ya know. That was all you. I was like, I am too busy in my life and Saudi men are the scum of their earth, the way they treat their women. Prejudiced as I was, lol. So we got to know eachother, but didn't flirt. It was all very-workplace, since I worked at the school. With a Muslimah, you know it is going to be marriage if you guys have to contribute to anything other than work or an Islamic issue or greeting ya know? So it is like you skip this step in an Islamic way of getting to know eachother. Which is good, because you don`t get an illusion of the person. A mistake Y and I made was having overly idealistic images of the other person. Believe me, just cause a girl took care of orphans, it doesn`t make her an easy sweet person to live with, lol.
Y: No kidding, lol. Your family warned me.
Pixie: One thing Y did was he went to meet my family right away. Y told my father of his intentions in a way that would be honest (marriage is my purpose) but that wouldn`t weird my non-muslim father out. And this was before I was even interested in him.
Y: Remember, she wasn`t Muslim yet, otherwise, I would have gone through the Masjid, got the Sheikh to speak to her. But she would have been offended then,
Pixie: Yeah, I was prejudiced. Patronizing Islam I would have scoffed. LOL. When I became Muslim, that really changed. And I did this A YEAR AWAY from having anything to do with or speaking with Y, revert I mean. It did have nothing to do with him, as I had no interest in him UNTIL I became a Muslim.
Y: When she became a Muslim, I knew I had to treat her how I would want my sister to be treated. None of this cultural bull-****. Some Saudi guys think of her as a Canadian girl, but she`s not. She`s a Muslim woman. That comes first. Be patient in explaining the shariah-way of doing things with her, if she gets offended by them, or thinks you are trying to tell her what to do when you are simply telling her what Islam says is the right way for you to conduct yourself around her. Let her realize it. If she is a convert, she will, when she studies more. She`ll end up knowing more than you, more than likely, and will end up teaching you things.
Pixie: Yes, don`t let a guy treat you in a way his father never treated his mother, or in a way different than he`d want a man courting his sister to be. Let him be the kind of man he wants for his sister. You`ll make him better, and if he is going to change to be a better person, this`ll be the only way that`ll come from himself. Because people don`t get better (I mean you can`t change them) so be prepared for them to get worse. If they get 40% worse in something that annoys you will you still love them ... i.e like being around them, then you have a chance. As a woman, please educate yourself about the ideal Muslim man (don`t expect to see him instantly though) so you can know what you will need in your life. As a convert, you might not see yourself as overly religious in the early stages of your marriage, so you might reject more religious men, but find later on that the man you ended up marrying does not fulfill your Islamic requirements of a husband (he keeps you away from your deen rather than helps you pursue it).
Y: Find a wali that knows the character of the man you are thinking about marrying but is Islamic enough to give the idiot up in a heartbeat if he does anything low to you. Your wali has to care more about Islam than he does finding either of you a mate. And any good wali has to take the Islamic rights of the woman over the cultural ones of the man. The wali should also be practical, not Islamically idealistic, so he can point out where both of you are going to have difficulty should your Islamic manners fail upon occasion (and they will).
Pixie: Saudis like many Arabs are very family-orientated. Determine very early on where you are going to live, and if the family approves of you. If the man is not willing to share the idea of taking a foreign wife with his family, then leave the situation. And lol, of course, consider if they only disaprove because they don`t know you, or they object to the idea of anyone not from an elite social group. The latter there is no hope for. If the man says he`ll cut off all but Islamic ties because his family is behaving so unislamically after he`s tried everything, then consult your wali if it is still safe to go ahead.
Y: Try and get the support of both your families. Family is very important in Islam, and while we as men owe our first obligation to our mothers, we should not support our mothers in unislamic behaviours. The Islamic way is the best way.
WILL WRITE MORE LATER INSHAALLAH, we have to get ready for juma.