First of its kind in the Arab world, thesis on…Marital adjustment in Yemen [Archives:2003/639/Reportage]

June 5 2003

“The Yemeni society is considered to certain degree as one of the most stable and rigid Arab countries from the social point of view. Yemen for the last forty years has managed – despite the heavy heritage of backwardness- achieved some economic and social progress. The country has followed the policy of the need to observe in a tacit way the changes taking place in the world around it, and try to understand first the great scientific and technological event and attempt within the limits of its intellectual and cultural capacity to acquire what is useful to its society. The marital adjustment in Yemen is one of the most vital and serious subjects in the society despite the fact that it is not widely and overtly discussed, although the maladjustment or non adjustment is greatly wide spread. The costumes and social beliefs harness the ability of both husband and wife to face the issue of their marital difficulties, but such problem remains like fire under the ashes of timidity and fears of other people knowing that such marriage is not a happy one.”
With this introduction, Dr. Bilqees Mohammed Jubari, Professor Assistant in Psychology at Sana'a University started her Doctorial thesis that she availed from Sana'a University, college of Arts-Psychological Studies department on 26 May this year. This was the first research of its kind not only in Yemen but in the Arab world as a whole. Not only is the research distinguished for its topic, but also with its variables and studied three parameters as well as from the environment, approach and research mechanisms, aim and objectives point of view. One of the main strong points about this thesis is that it reviewed a substantial theoretical culture, Arab and foreign, in order to result an objective comparison and to obtain general definitions suitable to the Yemeni society regarding marital adjustment, parental dealing and psychological health.
Five years ago, precisely in October 1997, Dr. Bilqees participated in an international conference in Hamburg, Germany titled “Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula”. In this conference, she presented a working paper regarding “Family Planning Policies in Yemen”, which discusses the vital decisions in the family and especially that about woman and her fate. The conference discussed the traditional heritage that invariably gives the man the right to control everything regarding the women's life in Yemen, even if the concerned issue was her personal health, needs or interests. From then on, Dr. Bilqees took great interest in the marital relationships in Yemen and their aspects. Until she finally produced a splendid researched upon which she availed her doctoral degree. The reason that motivated Dr. Bilqees to choose this topic was the observation that she made while doing her master thesis which was titled: “Psychological Stress of Yemeni Working women” in 1998. The observation she made was that there are a number of hard and painful pressures on the married working women more than on single women. She noticed that many women and their children are victims of the traditional marriage habits that do not pay any considerations to the women's psychological and biological needs of women. Yemeni married women generally live in a monotonous and depressing married life, consequently leading to divorce, unfortunately.
Divorce because of psychological pressures is one of the most common divorce cases taken place in Yemen. And this is why Dr. Bilqees decided to research this phenomenon its reasons and consequences. She named three measurements which were termed after her; Marital Adjustment, Parental Dealing and Children's Psychological Health. In order to implement these gauges and to come out with practical results Dr. Bilqees Jubari applied them on a sample of 300 couples with their children. The children were male and female students in the first and second year of secondary levels in 8 schools, private and public. The result of the study revealed that 68% of the sample's marital adjustment measure was of average level. The core of this study is the Yemeni families, husband wife and their children. The marriages in Yemen take place in two major methods: one is the result of family arrangement, so the choice is not that of the husband or wife more than it is the choice of the families from both sides, and the other is the result of the mutual interest that comes from both man and woman who have had some chance of acquaintance by virtue of both male and female get to know each other before marriage. The latter kind as seen by the researcher has a stronger chance in what she termed as martial adjustment and hence reflects more positively on the wellbeing of the family as a whole.
Dr. Bilqees in her thesis presented a number of practical recommendations which ought to reduce the marital suffering in Yemen especially that resulting from incompatibility. She hopes that through this work of hers, a breakthrough would take place in the social relations in our country.
Of the main recommendations presented in the thesis are:
– Establishment of marriage counseling centers in the main cities in Yemen, providing the specialized guidance to married couples, aiming eventually to ensuring happy cohabitation at homes and eliminating factors and conditions effecting children's well-beings and happiness. These centers should be sponsored by government financially and administratively.
– Embark on a widespread public information and guidance, showing the negative aspects of parental wrong methods of children's rearing, and proper care.
– Conducting further studies on marital relationships using deferent variants, like age at time of marriage, duration of marriage, the special merits of both husband and wife, and the emotional stability and so on.
Dr. Bilqees is still pursuing this topic and has joined a specialized American University in psychology and is taking practical training courses in marital guidance in particular.

About the Researcher:

Dr. Bilqees Mohammed Jubari was born in Thamar, 1968. She is married and has one child. She availed her BA Honors in Psychology – 1990, Sana'a University. Then M.A. in Psychology, from Sana'a University in 1998. Between 1990 and 1993 she worked as an English Teacher at Preliminary Public School in Sana'a then from year1993 she worked as a researcher at the Yemeni Center for Studies and Research-Sana'a for three years. From 1996 to 1998 she worked as a lecturer at Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts at Sana'a University, where she remained until day. Dr. Bilqees became Professor Assistant of Psychology at the university in 1998.

Research work and Published papers

– Family Planning Policies in Yemen. Paper presented to the international conference entitled “Yemen in the Arab Peninsula “, organized by German Oriental Institute – Hamburg, September 11-13 1997.
– Self-acceptance and other acceptance in Sana'a University's Students. Sana'a University, 1996.
– Development of Education in Yemen (historical overview). Yemen Center for Studies and Research, 1994.

– Social Officer and Women affair's Officer at Psychological and Mental Patient's Association. 1997
– Health Officer of Yemeni Women Volunteers, 1995.
– Director of Research Unit at Woman Economic Empowerment Association, 2003.