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Thinking about getting involved with a Moroccan man?

Things to consider when in a relationship with a Moroccan man

Are you in a relationship or contemplating one with someone from Morocco? Any mixed relationship requires great patience and an open mind. Today, I'll help you to learn more about Morocco, and relationships in Moroccan culture. 

In Morocco, boyfriends and girlfriends are taboo due to Islamic culture. Most couples will court in secret until it's time for marriage, and the relationships tend to hold more of a platonic nature than romantic. For females, virginity is often preserved until marriage to uphold the reputation of family, and for religious reasons. 

It's tremendously taboo in Morocco to live with your Boyfriend or girlfriend prior to marriage, and actually illegal. That being said, not everyone is the same and this is not something that I personally condone, although it isn't absolutely unheard of. Most hotels, airbnb, and apartments for rent will require a marriage contract prior to purchase. 

That being said, when I arrived in Morocco, I was married shortly after. We had a traditional Moroccan marriage ceremony consisting of about forty guests from our village, and close family. This was accompanied by a Walima, which is an Islamic celebration kind of like a reception. 

Overall, being in a relationship with a Moroccan man can be a tremendously rewarding experience, though often misunderstood by people initially. I've been with my now husband for two years, and wouldn't trade him for anything in the world. Our day to day life initially was pretty comical, resulting in odd misunderstandings, a ton of laughter, frustation, and exhaustion. Since I'm asked about this a lot, I wanted to share my story, as well as my advice regarding Marriage to a Moroccan man. 

I met my husband in the spring of 2016 on and actually ignored him at first, but as most of us know, Arab men can be a little..persistent. Six months later, I flew to Morocco for the first time, where he picked me up from the airport in Fes. A few months later, we navigated all of the beaurocratic red tape aka mixed marriage processes, and here we are in 2018. 

I'd say the most difficult part of this aside from the general culture shock and learning Moroccan Arabic (Darija) would be the things I heard from my friends and family, as well as general curiousity from his village on having an American girl there. People were approaching him in the street asking questions, and still gawk at me two years later. While this was difficult to adjust to initially, you get used to it. I've made many friends in Morocco, and while my patience has been tested many times, I really love living in Essaouira. 

Prior to my arrival in Morocco, my mom was horrified and thought I'd be abducted and murdered. They were genuinely terrified, but for no real reason. Morocco is a tremendously safe place for foreigners, though it can be understandingly difficult on families when you relocate to another country.

 I was a recent Muslim revert, Donald Trump was running for president, Islamophobia was rampant in the southern USA, and they were all a bit shocked. They had their fair share of extremely bizarre misconceptions, such as the following UNTRUE statements: 

  • You'll be condemned to a life in the house, you'll never see daylight!
  • Arabs beat their wives, and you'll be one of many wives!
  • You'll die over there and we will never see you again!
  • You'll get there and they'll sell off your organs
  • You'll have to wear a Burka!
Needless to say, none of these things were true. I work, I go outside alone, and I live a life similar to one that I would have in the USA, I'm the only wife, have never had any near death experiences, managed to keep all of my organs, and I eat a little too well (minus copious amounts of tacos and cheese, if you're considering visiting, please bring me some cheese!) I don't wear hijab, niqab, or khimar, but if you do, Slay it.

 Chances are, if you're a young American girl, particularly a new muslim revert, your family is going to be a little scared. Please listen to their concerns, and hold on to your logic for dear life prior to visiting. After two years, my family is really close to my husband, although they simply did not accept him at first. We've lost my mother, although he and my father talk near daily, alhamdulillah. 

 There are a lot of resources and support groups for those of you thinking of marrying a Moroccan, or living in Morocco with our husbands. I probably wouldn't have made it without sisterhood groups for Muslim expats living in Morocco, where I've met some of my best friends. I'm tremendously blessed that my move to Morocco was a success story, not all women are so lucky. While I hope everyone contemplating marriage or relationship with someone from another country has the fairy tale ending they're seeking, that can't always happen. If you take necessary precaution though, you'll be fine! Here are some things to consider:

  • Take your time when getting to know a potential spouse, especially if you've met them online. Meeting in person can be tremendously different, and I advise not getting married on your first trip to Morocco. 

  • Learn about Moroccan marriage customs, as well as the culture here. What expectations will your husband have? Do you share the same goals for the future?

  • Have you met their family? friends? - While this isn't always possible, it's strongly suggested that you've at least met his family via Skype and crucial to be sure that both families know of you/your potential spouse as well as your plans. 

  • Will you get married? - Living together unmarried in Morocco, or even being in the same house alone with a man who is not your husband is highly illegal here, and can result in imprisonment or being kicked out of the country. 

  • Is there an age difference? - This can be a huge red flag and make things very difficult to move out of Morocco, though not always!

  • Are there issues with jealousy? - It's safe to say that Moroccan men, as well as most Arab men, are extremely jealous. This should NEVER result in violence. Use common sense to distinguise what is normal and what isn't.

  • How well do you know the culture? - This is an extremely serious thing to consider, as it has a huge impact on relationships. Moroccan ideas on marriage are tremendously different than the USA, and divorce is still pretty unheard of in Morocco. 

  • Have you made friends in your situation? - If not, please refer to this post (will link later) to meet other friendly wives/partners of Moroccans.

Thanks for reading the first edition of Love, Gawria! Have any tips you'd like to share? Comment below! 


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