Marriage = Love + Bricks + Mortar?
Like many other Middle Eastern countries, Jordan is paying a high price for love these days. A generation ago, the average marrying age for Jordanian men was their early 20s while women typically tied the knot in their late teens. Nowadays, men often don’t marry until they’re in their late 20s or early 30s, while women now wait until their mid-20s.
At the end of the day it’s a question of money.
Jordanian bridegrooms-to-be must own their own homes and be financially stable before they start writing their wedding invitations, but the country’s economic instability means marriage often gets delayed. Inflation in Jordan rose by 14.9% last year. In the last five years, housing prices have risen sharply and in parts of Amman they’ve more than doubled. The upshot is that even Jordanians with decent jobs are struggling to muster the means for a home of their own.
There’s an interesting article in the Global Post, in which Majduddin Khamesh, a professor of sociology and Arab society studies at the University of Jordan in Amman explains that the marriage age has been gradually increasing for the last 40 years, “but during the last 10 years it’s become more and more salient.”
Are the Best Things in Life Worth Waiting For?
While it may be a source of sheer frustration for some, the wait to wed is helping to slow the population explosion. With many Jordanians getting hitched up to 10 years later than they did in the past, they now have fewer children. Since 2001, the birth rate in Jordan has fallen from 25.44 births per 1,000 people to 20.13.
The current trend is also a mirror for changing social preferences among young Jordanians who choose to gain more work experience before marrying. What’s more we’re not just talking about men. Many young Jordanian women in towns and cities are also eager to join the workforce before settling down.
Women Also Opt to Work Before Getting Married
In the Global Post article, Yasmin Mahmoud, a 20-year-old Jordanian who works in a women’s accessory shop, was open about the fact that times and minds are changing. She says that a few decades ago she likely would have been married already, but today she’s at peace with being single….
“I want to work so I can help my family,” she says, and explains that she hopes to get married when she’s 24 or 25 years old.
“Older than you by a day, wiser than you by a year;” – Jordanian Proverb