I was recently asked by one Omani man, and one Qatari;) (H, see if you can guess which blogger I am now, keeping in mind this blog has three authoresses from time to time), as to my advice regarding successful marriages for GCC nationals and Western Muslimah converts (like moi).
So first off, there are two kinds of convert girls marrying GCC guys.
1.) The chick who converted to Islam (or became Muslim to get an Arab dude) IN ORDER to marry the GCC guy. I don't know her success rate but in Islam, I usually find her weaker in mind that the next kind of girl who marries a GCC guy, so she is the type more likely to have marry a dud or abusive/controlling fella.
2.) The girl/woman who was already Muslim of her own decision and reasoning BEFORE she met the GCC guy. This doesn't protect her completely, but general good sense WILL.
I can only talk about the second kind.
Step #1 for success: AN INFORMED WOMAN WHO CHOOSES THE RIGHT MAN FOR HER GOALS AND BELIEFS
Well, first step is the woman has to be informed enough about Islam and life to know what marriage is, how she wants her life to basically go, what makes a good husband and who suits her. If she doesn't know all of this she isn't ready for marriage and won't be able to choose the right man.
Step #2 for success: PATIENCE IS REQUIRED ON THE PART OF THE HUSBAND AND WIFE
Both spouses have to equate for their cultural differences and neither can expect to make a clone of the other into an image of their culture. No Western girl who chose to become Muslim on her own is going to become a quiet yes girl. It won't happen. So the husband, if he thinks he is really right about something (and it IS in Islam, not his culture) he is going to have to prove it and be gentle in doing so to convince his woman. She's probably willing to make a few exceptions (food, clothes, sitting on the floor, no talking to men without reason) to her own culture to ease into his, but she isn't going to be an Omani village girl ever. Accept it beforehand. It is FACT.
Step #3 for success: THE HUSBAND DOESN'T HAVE TO BE RICH BUT HE SHOULD BE STABLE AND HARDWORKING (and that means on showing attention and reassurance as well as financial)
The husband has to inspire the respect of his wife or she will not love him or listen to him. Nothing else really needs to be said.
These three things generally ensure success, but in Oman I have noticed, families pick and choose what parts of Islam they follow, and generally in a paternalistic, sexist way.
For example, did you know? It IS completely halal for women to talk to men, should there be no fear of fitnah, ie the subject and tone of conversation is kept neutral?
Narrated by Asmaa: Allah’s Apostle passed by a group of women near the mosque. He waved his hand to them in salutation and said: "Beware of being ungrateful to your husbands, beware of being ungrateful to your husbands.”
Narrated by Anas bin Malik: The Prophet passed by a woman who was sitting and weeping beside a grave and said to her, "Fear Allah and be patient."
Not in my husband's family apparently (we shouldn't talk AT ALL in the presence of any men, even to other women in quiet voices, apparently), but I am going to stand my ground on this one.
Just for one example? Why do women where abayas and headscarfs?
So they can go about their business and needs (such as lunch) even if unrelated men are present. Yet, my husband is insistant I should not order lunch unless a place has a family section. While I personally love the privacy afforded by face veils and family sections, I will not ascribe to one being a requirement of women unless they are immodestly dressed Muslimahs. Which I have a good mind not to be. Else maybe we should say women should not leave their homes at all.
MOP glares at OPNO because he knows he is being ridiculous.
Not even the strictest of the Sahaba [muslims we use as behavoural examples] did this, so it doesn't hold with evidence.
Yes boys, keep in mind, while you WERE delighted to tell you family your new convert wife has memorized Qu'ran and Sahih Al Bukhari this means you married a THINKING woman, who probably (make that definately] will not just do as told, or as the group/ village if the group/ village is sexist.
Sorry but no.
LOL, Sweetness, don't worry, I always win my arguments, unless I am, of course, wrong, and then I allow my husband the right to divorce me. In which case, I will know if he truly believes in what he is fighting for, because he simply refuses to divorce me over family section restaurants in Muscat:D and would DEFINATELY divorce me over hanging with KH. So. It is a system that works ladies, unless of course, you marry an ignorant idiot or hypocrite. In that case, you are not wrong, or maybe even he, but the marriage.