Saudi Men Who Have Married Westerners


I’ve written many posts about the western women who have married Saudis and the challenges they have faced.  But what about the Saudi man who has chosen to marry a western woman instead of a Saudi woman?  What does that say about him?  What challenges if any does he face?  The Saudi man who has gone ahead and married a Western in many ways has “bucked” the traditions and culture of expected to marry from within the country if not within the tribe or family itself.

In most cases he will receive pressure from his extended family to have the wife convert to Islam if she is not already a Muslim.  If the couple decide to live in Saudi Arabia the husband will have additional responsibilities towards his western wife that he probably would not feel as much if they lived in a Western country.  By coming with him to Saudi Arabia she will likely be saying goodbye to her family, her friends and to a degree her Western lifestyle and independence.  She will be coming with him to a new country with a new language and very different customs and cultures.  As a result the husband will need to be mentor, teacher, protector and many times go-between and mediator.

Depending on how traditional or conservative a family the Saudi husband has come from, his wife may or may not be easily or readily accepted.  It will be up to him to stand up for her and ensure she receives the respect and courtesies deserving of a wife if they are not given naturally.  If he chooses to ignore or not intervene if someone (particularly within his extended family) has hurt her or treated her with disrespect then it will be interpreted that it is ‘okay’ to continue to treat her as such and that she is not deserving of more respect.

There really is a culture within the culture in Saudi Arabia and that culture can be very different from Saudi family to Saudi family.  A lot of the Saudis do seem to have a metamorphis or some kind of transformation after returning to the Kingdom with a western life.  It is not necessary a place where one can easily be a maverick.  People do watch and judge one another.

It is certainly not easy for a foreign woman to be married to a Saudi.  There will be many compromises and usually on the part of the woman.  And I do believe that due to the nature of the culture and the traditions, the Saudi husband is going to be protective if not over-protective of his western wife.  What she may see as overbearing and contradictory to her culture and traditions he may view as doing “right” by her to avoid loss of face or a wrong impression.  A foreign wife must must must learn as quickly as possible about the culture and the mindset in order to stack the cards in her favor with her Saudi and in the Kingdom!


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