I thought it would be interesting of making a comparison between the Saudi and Finnish cultures every once in a while. They tend to be each others opposites sometimes!
These posts are not intended to be taken too seriously. I’ve written them with a dash of humor with them so please read accordingly!
This cultural comparison will be about moving to a new house and how the newly wed couples participate in moving process.
In KSA, typically the newly wed husband and wife will have lived in their parent’s homes until they get married. The girl will usually be around 19-25 and the boys a bit older because they have to save up money in order to get married. It’s required by Islam that the husband provides financially for everything. The couple will then move to the new apartment or house after the wedding celebrations called the walimah. At that point the house will usually be ready to move in, furnished, cleaned and renovated.
In Finland single young girls and boys will move out of their parents houses to live by themselves as young as 18 years old when they are considered legally adults. The rest will leave around their 20’s to other cities for studies and move into small apartments or shared student housing. Typically the age women and men get married is 26-30 after they have graduated and got jobs. They might move in together many years before actually getting married. Finnish women tend to be very independent and like to do things on their own initiative. All expenses will normally be divided 50/50 between the couple.
First I will shortly describe how in general the native couples would resolve the emerging issues. Then I’ll illustrate how the scene unfolds when these two cultures combine, Saudi husband and Finnish wife in KSA!
Choosing the new home/apartment
Saudi couple: The husband to be will search for the new apartment/house and choose whatever he can afford according to the preferences his fiancée has listed. The prospective wife will go see it separately with her mother or if she wishes to go along with the fiancee, her mahram (father, brother) will accompany them.
Finnish couple: They will usually move into one or the others apartment, whichever is more convenient for two people. Rent will be divided in half between them.
Mixed couple: Husband and wife will look for suitable house together and choose in agreement. Saudi husband insists on paying all expenses. Finnish wife refuses and insists on paying half because she is accustomed to doing so. They make a compromise and wife pays 1/3.
Furnishing the apartment
Saudi couple: Husband will search for furniture in few different stores depending on his budget. He will let the future wife know which store he has picked it from and it will be marked for the fiancée to look at. Wife to be will visit the store separately and approve or disapprove. Husband pays for all expenses.
Once decision has been made husband hires workers to carry the furniture to the new home, or he does it himself with his relatives. In the meantime the prospective Saudi wife goes to have her hair done at the salon.
Finnish couple: They will combine their existing furniture, or go buy new ones together and share expenses 50/50. They carry the furniture together or with help from friends.
Mixed couple: Couple looks for furniture together in different stores and come to mutual agreement. Saudi husband wants to pay for everything, Finnish wife refuses and they end up making the same compromise on the payment. Husband insists on carrying everything, wife refuses to let husband do all the work. Compromise is made and husband carries the heaviest things and wife gets to participate.
Cleaning the new home
Saudi couple: Husband will hire a maid/ maids to clean the whole new home. Mother of husband or wife will likely supervise. If he cannot afford the maid, his sisters will most likely do the job for him. Meanwhile the Saudi wife to be will be shopping for new shoes and a handbag.
Finnish couple: Presumably the wife will do majority of the cleaning. Husband might pitch in as a consequence to wife’s persistent nagging.
Mixed couple: Husband suggests to get a maid to clean the whole house. Wife refuses because she wants to do everything herself in order to get the wanted result and she is not comfortable with hiring maids. Husband agrees and volunteers to help.They start cleaning the house together. After a while the wife gives in and agrees to hire a maid. Maid arrives to clean house, but wife supervises and insists to clean with her. Husband pays and is relieved he is excused from cleaning.
Decorating the new home
Saudi couple: Most likely the wife will choose most of the decorations after they have settled in. Couple goes shopping together after the wedding, wife picks out what she likes and husband pays and carries everything.
Finnish couple: Wife will choose and pay most decorations, husband is not that interested.
Mix couple: Couple go looking for decorations together, same dilemma with payment arises. Alternatively wife wants to go shopping on her own, buys and carries the stuff home. Meanwhile Saudi husband is home watching football.
Saudi couple: Husband will hire a Pakistani or Indian worker to conduct all renovations while Saudi wife will go out shopping with her friends. Husband pays for both.
Finnish couple: Most renovating will be done by the couple themselves. If they must hire help the costs will be evenly divided.
Mixed couple: Husband wants to renovate himself what he can, wife insists she can participate but husband refuses she overburdens herself. Husband then hires the Pakistani to do the rest and Finnish wife is pleased to be excused.
Returning broken things
Saudi couple: Husband will drive to the store and take care of everything; on the way he drops off Saudi wife to have a manicure/pedicure at the spa.
Finnish couple: Whichever of the two has more time goes and returns the things.
Mixed couple: Couple goes back to store together. Wife complains about broken/malfunctioning goods and causes a scene and a few raised eyebrows from onlookers that are not accustomed to females voicing their opinions. Husband gets embarrassed by the attention and makes note to self that next time he will drop off wife to the spa to have a manicure/pedicure and go by himself to the store.
Saudi couple: Husband will hire a Pakistani or Indian worker to come to the house to assemble all furniture. Saudi wife is visiting her mother in the meanwhile.
Finnish couple: Couple assembles most of the furniture together.
Mixed couple: Saudi husband wants to impress his wife and attempts to assemble all the furniture by himself. After a while he gets frustrated and goes and hires the Pakistani guy. Finnish wife is proud of her husbands attempts and makes him some special Finnish desert.