saudi arabia

Saudi women demanding more rights in marriage contracts

Strides towards modernisation in the country, championed by Saudi crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman, have gained traction

12:30 February 4, 2018

Manama: A growing trend in Saudi Arabia has been observed of brides asking for more rights as a part of the pre-nuptial agreement.

In one case, a bride asked to be allowed to attend football matches while another woman demanded her future husband allow her to drive when the ban is lifted in June.

Strides towards modernisation in the country, championed by Saudi crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman, have gained traction and are being reflected in recent marriage contracts.

“One bride said that her groom should allow her to work late if need be as she insists on keeping her job, and wanted the marriage contract to specify her wish so that it is fully respected,” a marriage officiant said, quoted by Saudi daily Al Watan on Saturday.

“Another said that her husband should not mind her traveling abroad with her girlfriends.”

More bizarre pre-nuptial requests included the right to promote items for sale on social media accounts, mainly Instagram.

“One couple specifically mentioned total privacy with their mobiles. The bride said that she did not want her husband to use or go through her mobile at any time and the groom made the same request. They both agreed and we went ahead with the marriage contract and their conditions,”

One bride requested that her husband never ask for her password to check her mobile or tablet while another demanded that the couple live in a separate apartment, arguing that she was too young and she feared she would be exploited by her in-laws and made to serve them. The husband has acquiesced.

However, pre-nuptial conditions were not limited to brides and grooms, the officiant added.

“In one instance, the father of the bride said that he should receive half of the salary of his daughter, a teacher, as a condition to endorse her wedding. In another case, the mother specifically asked to be allowed to spend three days at her daughter’s house following the wedding to look after her and ensure she was faring well,” the officiant said. “One young girl said that she would marry the man who proposed only if he accepted to go abroad with her for her post-graduate studies.”