Arabs seek partners via matchmaking channels

Saudi and Egyptian women most dependent

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Good manners, beauty and wealth topped the list of the most sought after qualities in mates among Saudis and Egyptians, a study released Sunday in Riyadh found.

Saudis and Egyptians looking for that someone special resoundingly chose good manners, beauty, and wealth as the most important traits in a potential partner, followed by religiosity, according to the study on communication techniques and social change released at a conference at King Saud university.

Only six percent ranked religiosity as the most important qualities despite the teachings of the Prophet Muhammed, who stressed religiosity as the highest quality in a mate, followed by the other more worldly traits.

What to look for in a spouse

Good manners and beauty ranked as the top two sought-after qualities in potential wives at 21 percent, with wealth coming in third at 18 percent. Nine percent ranked romantic sensibility at the top of their list wile religiosity ranked lowest at a surprising six percent.

As for the most prevalent qualities Arab women looked for in men, good manners ranked highest at 28 percent followed by wealth at 19 percent with beauty a following closely at 18 percent and religiosity tailing off at 10 percent.

The level of education and economic status of their dream partner did not figure into calculations of marriage potential.

Saudi and Egyptian women

Satellite channels are an increasingly popular matchmaking tool, especially among Saudi and Egyptian women, who are more dependent on them than other Arab women the study found.

Siham Ahmed Azab, assistant professor of sociology at King Abdulaziz University, spearheaded the study, which found the proportion of females relying on satellite channels for marriage higher than the number of Arab males who use these channels.

One such channel is Wasit al Khair, a Gulf channel that acts as a SMS forum for marriage seekers. Participants send SMS messages describing themselves and the partner they seek that are posted on the screen.

Potential matches can contact each other live via the interactive texting forum.

Popular among 26-30 year olds

Twenty-six to 30 year olds were most likely to seek out partners via matchmaking satellite channels. Of such users 52 percent were never married, while 26 percent were divorced.

Saudis were the biggest callers into Wasit al Khair, accounting for 39 percent of callers, followed by Egyptians at a close second with 36 percent.

While the vast majority of marriage seekers, 83 percent, did not specify the type of marriage required, only 10 percent specified legitimate marriage as their goal.

Other type of marriages in the Arab world include temporary marriage, a contractual agreement lasting for a specific time period and the more controversial marriage type al-mesyar where partners contract only for sexual gratification, forsaking any economic and domestic obligations.

(Translated from the Arabic by Marwa Awad)