Marriage Lab Discusses High Costs, Reluctance of Young People & Role of Social Entities to Encourage Marriage

The Ministry of Community Development organized a marriage laboratory to exchange visions and perceptions related to marriage entitled (Marriage-family of the present and the society of tomorrow). The lab discussed three main pillars including the reluctance of young people to get married, joint institutional role to encourage marriage, and wedding high financial costs as part of the vision of educating future spouses to reduce wedding financial costs in a way that benefits the stability of the family, upbringing of children, and development of society in general.

The marriage lab came in the context of the exerted efforts by the Ministry of Community Development, represented by the Marriage Grants Department, to motivate young people to get married, encourage the stability and happiness of Emirati families, and support the UAE nation to overcome the challenges they face to achieve their family and community aspirations. The lab was held at Al Habtoor Polo Resort in Dubai in collaboration with a number of partners from both federal and local government sectors, students from various academic institutions (HCT, Dubai Police Academy, Sharjah Police Academy) and a number of non-benefit public associations concerned with social work sector in the UAE, and social counselors.

The Ministry affirmed its keenness to implement the recommendations of the marriage lab in collaboration and partnership with the relevant participating government and private authorities to empower young people and encourage them build stable and cohesive Emirati families.

The first theme of the Lab "The Reluctance of Young People to get Married", discussed a set of challenges such as the high financial costs of marriage leading to debts among young people and their inability to provide marital wellbeing, the increase in divorce cases especially in the early years of marriage, and the scarcity of studies on the challenges facing young people to get married, in addition to the role of the pre-marriage program named “Edaad” presented by the Marriage Grants Department at the Ministry of Community Development as well as non-availability of competent authorities to carry out or assist young future spouses.

The participants of the marriage lab recommended the importance of developing and strengthening initiatives that support marriage in the UAE, raising awareness of the concept of establishing a cohesive and stable family, providing and adopting a rehabilitation program for marriage life in the school curriculum especially at secondary levels, in addition to motivating more entities that support young people and their aspirations by bearing some of the marriage and alleviating the burdens of young people.

The second marriage lab pillar highlighted "the joint institutional role to encourage marriage", it focused on the importance of clear marriage support standards in each emirate, the participation of businessmen and contribution to marriage financial aid and at the same time strengthen linked efforts and unified procedures all over the UAE.

In this pillar, the participants developed a set of ideas and proposals for future projects, including the need to design an integrated program that financially supports young future spouses, marriage financial loans for marriage or home furnishing, establish a joint unified electronic platform for all social competent authorities under the supervision of the Ministry of Community Development to organize mass weddings in in the UAE, prepare a program for businessmen to promote the concept of community partnership, form accredited advisory councils all over the UAE to help young people get married.

In the third pillar (high financial costs of marriage), the participants in the laboratory stressed the existence of a number of challenges, such as: high costs of marriage leading to the accumulation of debts on future spouses, interference of parents in determining the value of the dowry and organizing marriage weddings, high prices of wedding halls, the lack of a cultural awareness lecture that can negatively affects family building.

The participants in the marriage lab came up with a set of recommendations related to this pillar such as the cooperation of banks and the provision of interest-free facilities in the first period of marriage for a specific time, the provision of awareness programs and social campaigns for parents and future spouses to spread the culture of non-exaggerated marriage costs,  support the idea of female mass weddings, promote positive trends and examples of  organizing weddings, establish a sustainable city that includes special wedding halls for Emirati citizens funded by the private sector and supervised by the government sector.

The participants in this pillar emphasized the need to conduct field studies and surveys that include that highlight the following topics and phenomena: to what extent are the young people aware of the importance of forming a healthy family, the delay in the age of marriage and reasons that lead to this, causes and impact of the marriage of citizens to non-citizens-, low fertility rate, high divorce rates among newlywed citizens.


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