Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dear Elizabeth

Dear Elizabeth,

Each of us at Jordan Journals has been asked many times what living in Jordan is like, and what being married to a Jordanian is like.

If you look through the blog you will find a variety of postings about life in Amman and the positive and negative aspects of living in the Middle East. There are, however, some things that we can tell you that are very different from life in the USA, England, or most countries in the West when one is married to a Jordanian.

Jordanian life revolves around the family, nuclear and extended. Their traditions regarding family relationships are respected and observed. For the most part these traditions make life here appealing, but they do encroach on one's privacy and concerns at times.

Moslem laws regarding inheritance are applied to all Jordanians regardless of one's religion. Women who are not Moslem cannot inherit from a Moslem husband. This law, in particular, is one of the most difficult for all expatriate wives to accept. Women do not have equal rights in other instances as well, so it would be in your interest before marriage to ask about your legal status in the case of divorce, alimony, child custody, child support, as well as inheritance.

On the other hand, marriage is a great leap into the unknown, but hopefully to a person with whom you want to face the uncertainty. If you're not sure, it's probably better to wait for a while. Ideally a visit to Jordan to meet your future family and situation would answer many of your questions and initiate many more.

We hope that these comments help you with your decision.

Sincerely,
Joladies

18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marriage to a Jordanian depends on which kind. Where his roots are from - whether he is a "P" or "J" determine the opportunities he is given, or not. These roots are not obvious to ones who have none. This very subject has more roots than any tree, but I hope one day that I am able to.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose I am anonymous '2'

Don't forget that the concept of a 'pre nup' agreement exists in Muslim marriage, which is a contract, not a religious sacrament. As such, a woman can stipulate virtually anything she wants in her marriage contract and it is up to the man to agree or not. One of the most useful things to put down is to retain the right to ask for a divorce, what provisions you want made in case of divorce for any children of the marriage, and anything else that you may feel important enough to be sure about. Of course, the 'mahar' is all about alimony, allowing for it being decided when everyone is feeling friendly towards one another and not after acrimony has set in. It is sad that so many women do not know or insist on their rights, and I have often wondered who in their right mind would want to marry a man who would quibble and perhaps even deny them these rights in the first place. Unfortunately I have seen too many women who meet their future husbands out of the country, maybe when they are students studying together, and they rush into marriage with a man who is very different on his home turf.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

Thank you sooo much for the advice, I was not aware of some of these things, and am very grateful that I have had an opportunity to mull these things over, before I have irevocably committed myself. I love this Jordinian, and look forward to a future with him forever. I hope divorce will never be an option, but Am grateful to know the information you have offered. If any other american or western women have married Jordinian, (east Amman) men, and have any other information I would be really grateful to learn everything I can. I am Christian, he is Muslim, His mother is palestinian, and his father Jordinian. His mother has given her blessing, and would like for me to become muslim, but does not require it. My future husband says it is my choice. He doesn't want me to change my religion just for him. I plan to visit Jordan in May to visit my future home, and learn about life there, and to meet my future family. I am sooo excited. And nervous at the same time.

Thursday, December 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2 again

I do not want to sound harsh. but please do check on your future intended's relationship with his mother and sisters. Are these ladies equal in status within their personal family structure, and are at least his sisters, if not his mother, educated to the same level that you are ? These things can make a huge difference, especially when children come along. Aspirations and standards must be compatible, in opinion at least, for a long term relationship being successful. You say East Amman - it worries me that you mention this - are you aware that East Amman is often used as a synonym for less affulent and privileged, and often more conservative. Nothing wrong in that as such , but it all should give you food for thought as to the mileu this young man might come from. Good luck.

Thursday, December 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2

Elizabeth, I have just read your initial query on another thread. I see you are 36 years old. May I ask how old your Jordanian friend is, and how long he has been living in the US? I mistakenly thought you were younger, perhaps a student.

Thursday, December 14, 2006  
Anonymous Khalidah said...

Hi,

Please send me your email address

Khalidah
Jordan Planet

Thursday, December 14, 2006  
Anonymous Elizbeth said...

Khalidah you can email me at nestle_grl@hotmail.com.

His mother is not educated, but his sisters are, at least two of them. He has one who is married and with children, and two who are in University. He assures me that his mother is aware of everything about me, and is happy to have me join her family. He has explained to me that he does not come from a wealthy family. I do not come from a wealthy family either, and have lived in american inner cities, so I do not have a problem here. (unless you know something else I do not) He is a little younger than me, but not by much. I am not a student, I have gone to a University, and I am a professional woman now. I was hoping to bring my business to Amman, but.... we will see. (He has said that he will help me in any way i need if I want to bring my business there, but it is not necessary to do so.) I think maybe he doesnt want me to work.

Friday, December 15, 2006  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

He is close to my age, perhaps a couple of years younger.

Friday, December 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2 again :

Well, without souonding like a wet blanket, I think it is a good idea that you visit Jordan and your friend's family before making any final committmnet. Material matters are nor the most important issue, but there is a world of difference in the life style of even most ordinary 'working class /middle class' US family and what in theory would be their opposite number here, and sadly, I have to say that in recent years, many people who in Jordan would have considered themselves 'middle class' in previous years, are finding themselves hard pressed to keep up their standard of living, at whatever level it was proviously. Also, why do you think your friend would not want you to work ? I would be rather worried about this unless he had a very good reason for his objection. Working women are to be found in every strata of society. There are no legal constraints on women being part of the work force, but some men, or families, have personal reservations on the subject. Anyway, good luck, and keep in touch.

Friday, December 15, 2006  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

Ok, we have discussed in depth the working wife thing. He has said that I can work if I want to, but his personal wish is are that I say at home with our children and take care of the house. He insists though that I am free and If I want to work he will not stop me. He explained that he would feel less of a man if he could not provide for his family wihout his wife working.
While I can compromise, I do come from the land of two incomes. It makes no sense to me that more money in the household would be a bad thing. He said I could have my business if I wanted it and he would help me in any way necessary, but that the money from the business would be mine, and not (like in american marriages) ours. What kind of sense does that make?
But anyway, I think that I can better make my decision after visiting Amman, and seeing the house he will rent, and knowing the money exchange.
I am willing to just stay home and be Goddess of the house,.... If he insists. (although he insists that he wont insist)

Sunday, December 17, 2006  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

Can anyone here tell me how much it might cost to have my car brought to Jordan permanently? I have checked, and all I could find out was that there were fees for up to six months of "visiting" Jordan. I have a 1999 Cheverolet Tracker. I have contacted the Jordinian Embassy in Washington D.C. but, they havent replied. I have also contacted the American Embassy in Jordan. But no reply there either.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mlpThe more I read what this young man has to say, the more I think it is vital that you do not take any major decision until you have visited his home, and met with his family and friends. Unless he is an extremely high earner, he will be hard pressed to give you the basic standard of living I assume you would want on just one regular income. Is his father still alive ? You do not mention him. Just a mother and sisters. Beware of a young Arab man who is 'king' within a traditional family. Often, these young men have been indulged for life, waited on hand and foot, and usually want to get their own way.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006  
Blogger joladies said...

You might try www.customs.gov.jo and get their email and ask them directly what the rules are for car importation. You should ask your boyfriend what the prices of cars are here as you might find it cheaper to sell yours in the USA and buy a used one here - in YOUR name!!!

Here in Jordan what the woman earns in the household is hers. And what she owns is hers. I STRONGLY advise you to have control over your own money. You can contribute to the household if you want but keep your own account. I think you should not sell up everything but come here for a visit first and see what the situation is and then make up your mind. It is a huge decision to make and you will be so far away from family and friends. T

Wednesday, December 20, 2006  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

WOW! I am getting soo much information here!
ok, Q: Is his father alive? Yes he is, and is a part of their family; however, For about 2 or 3 years, while his father was away, He was the man of the house. I am sure that his mother and sisters have cooked and cleaned for him. And I expect to do the same. I am not sure if he has been regarded as a King, within his family, but I do intend to visit before I sign any marriage contract.

I will definitely have control over my own money. I will keep my personal accounts and transfer money to me as needed. (my mama didnt raise any dummies)
But from what i understand from our conversations about finances, He expects me to handle his money also. I am not sure if he is a high earner or not, because, I am not aware of the costs of living in Amman, Jordan, and have a problem understanding the money exchange also, this is something I am working on presently.
I have researched real estate online, and the properties with homes seem to be very expensive, 3000000 USD being expensive to me. ( I am hoping that as in America, there are more affordable homes for sale that just arent advertised online)

Even though I love my car, I have finally found the import fees for my car are 16% of the value of the car. And although my car is nice, Jordan doesnt allow anything domestic older than 5 years old to be permanently imported. So, since my oldest son is 16, and wants to remain living in the States, He gets the car. I will buy one in Jordan. I can run my business in the States from the internet, so, I will have my own income
I really dont want to appear spoiled, but if we are going to be living a middle class life, that might be lower class than I am used to, I should have my own money. Also, I plan to visit my family in the States, at least once per year. So, If he's paying the bills, the least I can do is insist on buying plane tickets. (this business of whats his is ours, and what's mine is mine, is very confusing to me. It just doesn't seem fair.) This is seeming to sound more and more like a business merger than a marriage.

I will be spending a month or two in Jordan, visiting his family, and then decide whether or not to be engaged. Then set a date to marry, come home to the states, and complete any business matters necessary then move to Jordan, get married, and begin life in Jordan. So there will be plenty of time to make a more permanent decision, and decide on the contract details. I plan to visit a female attorney, who is Arab/Muslim, who grew up in an Arab country. Not necessarily Jordan, but Arab nonetheless. I think maybe she will have some insights on the differences between American marriages, and Arab/Muslim marriages and can help me with the contract, so I can be prepared before I go. I can discuss the contract with him during the two month visit, before we get engaged officially, and he can think about some things too.
I have learned so much and I suspect there is so much more to learn. He is an accountant, and he also works for his government.

Oh, well, I am indebted to all of you for your information and insight. I think you all just might have saved me from making some terrible mistakes. (I know they say love is blind, but it doesn't have to be stupid also!) I will be happy to know any other information if anyone has any more advice, or oppinions.

Thursday, December 21, 2006  
Blogger joladies said...

If he is an accountant and working for the government I reckon he is on a very low income.

Remember, blood family always comes first and you could be well down the list of importance. A nice 3 bed room apartment in a good area would be about JD150,000 which is about US$211,560. T

Thursday, December 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is Anonymnous 2 again ( it was me the time before as well re Christmas.

You mention your eldest child who is 16. How many children do you have and will they remain with their father ? This too could make some problems in the future. If you intend to have children of your own together, your husband will not be able to afford to put them into a resonable private school on his income, and I doubt that you would be satisfied with the average state school, although much is beig done to improve these.

Thursday, December 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My message re Christmas didn't seem to get on line. I will repeat it it. I have just finished dressing my tree . Although my husband and I are Muslims, we always have a tree and a turkey and give gifts to our Christians friends who reciprocate on Eid, the Muslim feast. This is quite common in our personal circle, but I know of some Christian women whose Muslim husbands will not allow a whisper of Christmas in the house, even though Jordan is bursting with trees, Santas and the like. In fact the style of celebration owes more to the West than to Bethlehem.....!

Thursday, December 21, 2006  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

I have 2 children who are going to be living with us. I am making plans to "homeschool" them as I have my oldest for the last few years. If I can afford to send them to a good school myself, then I will do that. I already know that I can afford to have them on online classes, with tutors and such. I dont expect him to support my children other than to provide a home and food. Their clothing and schooling etc. will be taken care of by their father and his family.

We have discussed Our religious traditions. When his mother expressed that she wished I would become Muslim, He said that he wanted me to keep my religion, and keep all of my traditions, as long as we also kept all of his. He insists that I am free and have rights. He doesnt want me to become Muslim for him, or his mother, he said if I chose to become Muslim, then It should be for God and myself.

I wonder if I can put it in a contract to come first. I wouldnt expect to refuse him of helping out his own family if they are ever in need, but not at the expense of his wife. I am expecting to marry him and be taken care of. (though I have no problems taking care of myself) But if I agree to not work, and stay home he had better be planning on meeting my basic needs whether his family has needs or not. I will have to discuss this with him as well. In our conversations about things, though, he leads me to believe that he is leaving his family to make me his family. I mean, he is going against some of his families oppinions by marrying outside of his religion, he is marrying an american, when his mother gave her blessing and said that she wished I would become Muslim, he said that he would go against that. Do you really think that he would neglect me for his family? I am worried now.

We are planning on having only one child together If my doctor agrees that I can. Otherwise, we wont. (if I cant, I cant and he knows this) He wants only one child, and he said (girl or boy) he will be happy with that. I explained to him that my doctor may not agree that I can have any more children. He said that if thats the case, then its ok with him. I hope nothing changes with his attitudes. He has been very accomodating (with words) If he is being honest about everything we discuss, then I think all will be well, but if he changes after we are married, it will be a problem. I am getting really scared.

The apartment you mentioned is very expensive even by American standards. I couldn't afford that on my income in the US. I wonder about renting then. I dont know the specifics of his salary, but he assured me that he can afford to house, and feed, and clothe, and support us. He says that he has other income from other ventures. All I know for sure is that since he is in Jordan now, he can afford to call me from Jordan and talk to me for several hours every day from his cellphone to mine. (on cellphones the rates are more for international calls)
While I know that one cant live on an international phone bill, If he can afford that with no worries, then, maybe He can support us. I wish I could feel comfortable asking his exact sallary. I just concider it rude. Would he become offended? Is this something that people in Jordan would be offended by? In america, you dont simply ask "Hey, what exactly is your salary?" I am not used to luxurious living. during my 36 years, I have lived everywhere from government housing to a nice 4 bedroom house in Spain. I have owned my own home ( a 3 bedroom ) but it cost no where near $200,00USD. I rent now, and support my children by myself, (except for clothing and schooling, that is paid for by their father.) I am used to adapting to different standards of living. When I visit Jordan for those two months, I will get a chance to see the very house we will live in at the start of our marriage. And he will get a taste of what it will be like financially to support me for two months. Is it rude for me to ask him what are the costs of the bills while I am there? Most men, when paying for things, don't let you see the bills.

I have another question now, It is my greatest fear of embarrassing myself, and him, by not knowing Jordinian ettiquite. I have learned a couple of things, but I want to make sure there is no more I can learn about it. I am very nervous about this. In america, as some of you may well know, people dont exactly pay a lot of attention to ettiquite. I mean, we cover our mouths when coughing or yawning, we dont burp at the table, etc. but there are more things that are different in other countries, and I want to know everything before I go.

Thursday, December 21, 2006  

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