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These families travel together and they are not exposed to people outside their tribe considering that they travel in the desert. Marriage is a contract to Bedouins (Marks, 1967). This contract binds a man to the woman after the man has made a monetary offer to the woman’s father, and the father has accepted the offer. Therefore, this marriage of compromise differs in many ways from the conventional form of marriage assumed by the Western culture. In Western cultures, marriage is a commitment and a highly respected institution. However, for Bedouins, marriage is a compromise and a stage of life that one has to go through (Bailey, 2009; Harby, 2007). This essay explains the three functions of Bedouin marriages.
Reproduction is the first function of marriage. Bedouins live in a polygamous society whereby one man has many wives and has to treat them equally. Women are required to be chaste and are protected by the Bedouin’s law (Bailey 2009). They are required to exercise abstinence. Sex for Bedouins is only allowed inside the marriage institution therefore, sex outside marriage is highly discouraged. The man who has many wives is supposed to treat all wives equally but law is not documented anywhere and therefore it is open for abuse (Bailey, 2009). Men may marry for progeny but women cannot speak for themselves. Women are secluded in tents by their male relatives up to the time when they are married and are then allowed to live with their husbands. Any girl found to have lost her virginity before marriage is treated harshly and is often killed. If a girl is caught eloping, their partner is killed. In such instances, their father or brother makes marital decisions (Bailey, 2009). This seems baffling to Westerners and indeed, it is. However, for some reason, these rules work for the Bedouin tribes. Outsiders may feel like aliens when observing some of Bedouin
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