If you are interested in any country or civilization, certainly you will ask questions about its history, traditions, beliefs and even superstitions. I bet that everyone had read topics like “weird marriage customs around the world” or “bizarre wedding rituals”. Anyway, regarding marriage customs’ in Gaza, you will not hear about crazy or bizarre rituals like those in India or Africa.
I may mention that there are mainly two types of marriages in Gaza; traditional marriage and non-traditional marriage.
When we talk about traditional marriage, what comes to your mind is the family arranged marriage, it is when the man’s family look for a suitable girl and arrange the thing with her family so both see each other in the girl’s family house and then make their decision about each other. What I meant by “suitable girl” is that the man’s family looks for a girl that suits them socially, but what the man and the girl look for in this kind of marriage? Typically men look for certain levels of beauty, education, social class, the less demanding and a good reputation. About girls in this kind of marriage, they evaluate the man’s social class, reputation, shape, level of education and financial abilities, then accept marrying him or not.
Yes, it is that simple.
For more clarification, I may mention too the type of girls in such situation:
- Girls who are totally controlled by their families and have no personality or vision or even opinion and they do whatever their families decide and see appropriate.
- Girls who have personality and a vision about their future life and how they imagine it to be with the ability to accept or refuse the marriage offers regarding what they want, in addition for being raised with an understanding families who encourage them to freely express themselves.
Concerning the non-traditional marriage, what sets it apart from the traditional marriage is how the man and the woman meet, they usually get to know each other before getting married whether they knew each other from the neighborhood, university, work or even from social media forums, it doesn’t differ. The challenge of this kind of marriage is the family attitude towards them, as both could be from totally different social class and what they only look for love and understanding in each others. There are families which will refuse this kind if there was a social difference and they will do whatever they can do in order to prevent this marriage, and there are families that will accept their sons’ or daughters’ decisions even if they didn’t agree in condition they won’t have any role in their lives in case of any future problems.
In this kind of marriage usually there are two types of men:
- Negative men, who can’t stand against their families and after a while they will leave their “love stories” for the sake of their family’s satisfaction.
- Positive men, who will not accept to give up and force their families to accept their desires even if they got married so late or didn’t get married at all.
Now we must talk about the girls’ families’ attitude towards this marriage:
- Families who consider it a kind of shame if their daughters had a relationship before marriage.
- Families who will not be positive at all if the man was from a less social class and will refuse it even if their girl didn’t get married ever.
- Families who will accept and regret later in case there were social differences.
- Understandable families, who will agree.
Regarding the girls’ situation:
- Girls who won’t accept their families decision and take their time to convince them and if they failed they will give up.
- Girls who will force their families by threatening them they will not accept to marry any other man and by promising to undertake the responsibility of their marriage.
- Girls who will react towards their families’ refusal by eloping and getting married, but these cases are few and rare.
This was a quick explanation for the reality of marriage in Gaza, but still as we say here, “marriage is just like a watermelon no one knows how it would be from the inside”, we can’t judge any kind of marriage as what we may seem as a bad marriage, may become the most successful and what would appear to us as a great marriage, may turn to be the most miserable one.
Even we can’t guarantee the non- traditional marriage as it depends on both sides attitude after marriage.
Personally, Marriage for me is very complicated decision and a step that really needs deep and cautious thinking, it is as a matter of luck; there is no guarantee for anything.