In recent months, Saudi Arabia has recorded an alarming rise in divorce rates, and it seems the kingdom is now seriously trying to tackle this problem.
Launching programs aimed at counseling soon-to-be newlyweds is one initiative the country is taking. Saudi Arabia is currently hosting an intensive marriage training program for 3,000 young men and women, organized by Al-Zawaj (The Marriage) - a civil association helping young Saudis in marriage and family guidance.
The program is being held at the NGO's headquarters in Jeddah and features "a list of training courses offered by a number of specialists in family rehabilitation."
In a statement on the session, Ahmed Al-Sultan Al-Omari, chairman of Al-Zawaj, explained that the courses "would help young people to understand the requirements of marriage." The classes highlight a couple's responsibilities towards each other, he said, in a way to help them "build a stable family and live a friendly and harmonious life."
The program comes just over a year after the kingdom's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the launch of a social initiative aiming at motivating "young couples to get married and to ensure a stable family and social life."
Titled "SNAD Mohammed bin Salman," the social welfare program has given over 300 million riyals ($79.98 million) to more than 15,000 Saudis. It's part of "its aim to support newlyweds, promote knowledge and achieve sustainable social development."
Similar initiatives are needed amidst the kingdom's skyrocketing divorce rates
Divorce rates in the kingdom are increasing as the country reported a rise in separation cases in six of its regions earlier this year.
A closer look at the numbers recorded in recent years also shows an increase. In 2017, the kingdom recorded 53,000 separation cases, compared to 35,000 in 2015 and 40,000 in 2016.
Now while most cases can be attributed to reasonable causes, a lot of them can't. An example would be the case that saw a man divorce his wife because she threw him a surprise birthday party.
In 2015, concern over skyrocketing divorce rates in the kingdom led the Ministry of Justice to launch "marriage workshops."
However, separation rates have continued to rise, and several of the kingdom's counselors and social workers are working on raising awareness on the issue, especially among young people in the country. Others have urged authorities to expand the areas covered by existing "marriage training programs" in order to reach people across the kingdom.