How to save a marriage

Mai Samih , Tuesday 4 Oct 2022

With divorces in Egypt on the rise, initiatives are underway to help reverse the numbers, reports Mai Samih

How to save a marriage
How to save a marriage

 

In the span of just one year divorce rates have shot up in Egypt by more than 14 per cent, rising from 222,000 cases in 2020 to close to 255,000 cases in 2021.

Data issued by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) this month thus raised the red flag regarding the status of marriage among young generations in Egypt.

Most divorce is within the age group of 30 to 35, is in urban areas and predominantly involves vocational school graduates.

The number of marriages on the other hand has seen a 0.1 per cent decrease.

As such, the government has already founded initiatives like Mawadda (Cordiality) which aims at raising awareness regarding the value of marriage in a bid to stem the rising tide of divorce.

Also in January 2021 marriage consultant Ahmed Mortada founded BeitDafea (A Warm Home), an initiative which aims to raise awareness regarding divorce and the potential pitfalls leading to it.

The initiative was laid out in a TV interview hosting Mortada in which he described successful family life as being exemplified by “a warm home”.BeitDafea“targets engaged couples, married couples, and all family members in general,” Mortada told Al-AhramWeekly.

Seminars and workshops have been organised by BeitDafeawith seven lectures held so far, and preparations are underway for a course to be held for “married couples and couples-to-be”.

Mortada says that some of the causes for the alarming rise in divorce rates include the “different backgrounds of husband and wife, not being prepared for marriage or having incorrect concepts about it. For instance, a husband may think that it is okay to beat his wife just because his father did so to his mother.”  

Negative marriage experiences in the extended family of ayoung couple may also cast a shadow, whereby one partner may relive and repeat the pattern that led to his or her parents’ divorce, according to Mortada.

Other causes include one partner setting unrealistically high expectations regarding the other, or simply not being emotionally or psychologically mature enough to shoulder the expectations of marriage and its responsibilities, Mortada added.

Lack of empathy by one partner towards the emotions or views of the other is also a factor fuelling misunderstandings that may lead to divorce.

Mortada points to social pressures sometimes borne by young women to get married and to conform to socially accepted norms, which could go against their freedom to choose their partner without coercion.

“Other couples may be just too busy preparing for their future instead of getting to know each other,” he says.

Interference by family members in a married couple’s affairs is also a prevalent problem suffered by educated as well as uneducated couples.

“Those considering marriage should carefully and consciously choose their partners,” Mortada stresses, underscoring the importance of partners listening to each other and being available for one another emotionally as well as physically.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 6 October, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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