When a foreign woman marries a Saudi man there is the possibility that she may spend the majority of her married life in Saudi Arabia. The reasons for settling in Saudi Arabia can vary:
- The husband may have a good and stable job in the Kingdom.
- He may be the eldest son and as a result be the present or future patriarch (mahrem) for the women in his family.
- He is close to his family and does not wish to live outside of Saudi Arabia.
- The couple jointly made the decision to settle and spend their life in the Kingdom.
- It is a good place to settle and raise a family.
Some foreign wives can easily adapt to a long term life in the Kingdom. This is the wife who embraces the cultures and traditions of Saudi Arabia. She has likely established herself as part of a loving and caring family. She has made friends in her community. In some cases her life is made easier with domestic help and possibly a driver.
Ideally the wife is able to make regular trips back to her home country where she can visit her family. However, depending on location and distance, such trips can be expensive and result in limited visits.
As a result it is not unusual for a foreign wife who continues to have family ties and close friends in her home country to have moments of being torn between two worlds. She wants to know the events of her family and friends lives as well as share her own. Yet with distance and time it can be a challenge:
- If there is not the opportunity for regular travel it can be difficult for her Saudi born children to know her family.
- People have a natural tendency to get caught up in daily affairs within their own sphere.
- Family and friends may not be interested about her life in the Kingdom.
- She can’t be available when there is a family crisis such as an accident or death.
- Parents and other loved ones become elderly and require additional care. She is unable to be there for them due to conflicting responsibilities.
A foreign wife who may find herself feeling despondent and homesick should know she is not alone. She’s encouraged to reach out and share her feelings with other wives who have gone through the cycles of highs and lows. They can offer support and encouragement.
She should also take advantage of today’s technology to maintain regular contact with family and friends outside of the Kingdom. Internet based services Skype, Vonage and Magic Jack all work in the Kingdom. While Skype is software based, equipment would need to be purchased for Vonage and Magic Jack. (Aramex is a reliable method to receive mail and packages from outside of Saudi Arabia.) Last but not least, the video chat section through gmail works well from within Saudi Arabia too.
Filed under: America, expat, expatriates, Freedoms, relationships, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Living, travel, Uncategorized Tagged: | America, culture shock, gender issues, heritage, KSA, marriage, Saudi Arabia