Saudi Arabia has one of the highest divorce rates in the world and this is because wives have more time for friends and cosmetics than their husbands.
The findings were published in Saudi Gazette newspaper, which said they were a result of a survey by 50 men participating in a seminar organized by the National Committee for Marriage Facilitation in the western Red Sea port of Jeddah.
“The majority of Saudi husbands at a two-day focus group blamed Saudi wives for the high divorce rate in the country,” the paper said.
“Most of the 50 participants at the meeting said Saudi wives are not properly trained for domestic life, spend extravagantly and have more time for friends and relatives than their husbands and children.”
But the paper said it found some points of agreement among the couples, including that Saudi females come into marriage ill-prepared and are not willing to do the daily chores of cooking meals, laundry, ironing clothes, caring for sick children and assisting them with their homework.
“Females from well-to-do families expect a husband to maintain similar standards to that of their families. They also insist on domestic workers and drivers even if this puts a dent in the family’s budget, say the participants,” it said.
“Saudi wives also spend too much on cosmetics and perfume, hairdressing and party gowns even to the point of draining a credit card. In addition, they insist on maintaining pre-marriage, time-consuming obligations with family, relatives and female friends at the expense of quality time with their husbands.”
The paper quoted a participant, Ziyad Bagabas, as saying that there is an “over-emphasis” on female education at the expense of fundamental skills necessary to maintain family life in Saudi Arabia, the world’s oil powerhouse.
“The first eight months of marriage were spent at my family’s house because my wife could easily burn water in a kettle. I think we are pushing formal higher education too far which creates an imbalance in a female’s home-skills,” he said.
Husain Bahuthailah, Fahad Alelayani and Sameer Nutto, all architects, said they believe that mothers should teach their daughters to manage a household. Alelayani said that while six years of home economics is part of the curriculum for females, his wife either had a “poor memory” or was “falsely promoted” because she cannot “grate a carrot safely”.
Other participants suggested that there should be domestic tests drawn up for wives-to-be and if they fail they should be forced to undergo training.
“Look, maids recruited overseas are trained to carry out domestic work prior to their arrival, particularly to Saudi Arabia. A family with a daughter of marriageable age should seriously look at her daughter’s lack of domestic skill,” Nutto said.
The paper said more than 85 percent of participants blamed wives’ alleged lavish spending for marriage disputes. Almost all agreed that this behavior was widely prevalent whatever the level of education.