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Introduction

Arab societies are undergoing major changes as new patterns of marriage and family formation emerge across the region. For long decades, early marriage was the common pattern in the Arab world. However, it is no longer the only pattern. The average age of marriage is rising and more Arab women are staying single for a long time and sometimes they don’t get married at all. These new marriage trends in the Arab World are part of a world global phenomenon. The changes of marriage trends in the Arab world reflect the social and economic changes taking place in the region. Arab economies moved away from agrarian based systems which supported both early marriage and extended family numbers [Hoda R.and Magued O., 2005]. The majority of the Arab populations live in cities working in industrial or service sectors. Today, Arab women are more educated and more likely to work outside their homes for personal and financial independence. These changes create a new image of woman and change her past traditional role as a mother and household member. The objective of this research is the studying of marriage issue in the Arab world because marriage is one of the key important factors that determine the social and economic present and future in the Arab countries. Both problems of early marriage and increase of average age of marriage of marriage are explained. Finally, a recommended solutions and actions are proposed in order to naturalize the two problems for decreasing the negative impacts and creation of better Arab societies.

Importance of Marriage in Arab Society

Family is the main concern in Arab societies. Family is considered the main social security system for young and elder people in Arab countries. In Arab culture, parents are responsible for children well into those children’s adult lives, and children reciprocate by taking responsibility for the care of their aging parents—responsibilities that Arabs generally take on with great pride. Marriage for Arabs is thus both an individual and a family matter. In Arab societies, marriage is considered the turning point that defines prestige, recognition, and societal approval on both partners, particularly the bride. Marriage in Arab societies is considered the social and economic contract between two families. Marriage is also considered the right form of socially, culturally, and legally acceptable sexual relationship [1].

Early marriage in Arab World

Early marriage is any form of marriage that takes place at age of 18 years. Early marriages are often associated with enforcement. Forced marriage is the marriage conducted without full consent of both parties and sometimes with a threat [2].From human rights point of view, early marriage is considered a violation of human rights conventions. In Arab societies- especially developing countries- early marriage, is considered a means of securing young girls’ future and protecting them. Wars and social problems may leads also to early marriage as in Palestine, where the intifada has led to earlier marriage. Many countries in the world have declared 18 as the minimum legal age of marriage.

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