Going through the paper this morning I read an article by Amna al Haddad of The National, concerning a trend in Emirati men marrying non Emiratis http://bit.ly/bcm0U8. It presents one of many challenges of finding a suitable Emirati spouse. The data is attributed to the Dubai Statistics Centre dated 2007 through 2009, and states the number of marriages between Emiratis and foreigners rose 10 per cent to 539, while the number of marriages between two Emiratis dipped two per cent to 1,178.
“Social experts have attributed the trend, which started in the 1980s, to the large dowries demanded by Emirati women. Sheikh Zayed, the founding President of the UAE, limited the official maximum dowry to Dh 20,000 ($5,465) but it can go as high as Dh 800,000 ($218,580) in unofficial family agreements.”
“A lot of people in the UAE complain that families of the Emirati woman demand a large amount of dowry and a wedding in an expensive hotel,” said Fawzya Taresh Rabee, the director of family development at the Ministry of Social Affairs. “So they end up opting for the foreigner.”
The figures, which are for Dubai only, are based on the annual report from Dubai Courts but it reasonable to assume this is true for the other major urban center, Abu Dhabi City. I believe the article is worth reading to give you further insight of how the family unit works and the challenges they face.
It seems many barriers (both financial and social) are put up by families of men and women. In the case of a man looking for a bride it can be the demand of excessive dowries. In the case of a woman wanting to find a spouse who is Emirati, it may be her desire to delay marriage until she has completed college. Also in some cases a woman going to a western nation for her education causes problems due to the perception she has been too exposed to western society.
Give the article a read and let me know what you think.