Not every country is as easy going as Australia. Read about the countries you need to be married in so you can live together.

Australia is a relatively young and very multi-cultural country. With the utmost dedication to freedom, its laws attempt to protect the equal rights of men, women and of religions. As a country built on a base of many cultures and in turn many religions, an important part of the Australian way of life is the choice to practice or not to practice, as you see fit, unless your actions cause any harm to another person or break domestic laws.

While Australia works gradually towards a more free society, with even gay marriage just around the corner, other countries operate on a more traditional and religious-based foundation. While countries like those in the Gulf may offer higher than average pay cheques and are much closer to Europe, it is important you take into consideration their culture and respect it as much as possible, if you go there. In some countries, if you don’t, you could end up behind bars.

Which Countries Support Marriage?

While we are free to live as an unmarried couple as soon as we live in Australia, and to pop out the engagement ring when we feel good and ready, this is basically a forbidden practice in some parts of the world. In particular, countries with large populations of people of the Islamic religion often operate on more traditional, religious-based laws and customs. These countries forbid any romantic action between men and women prior to marriage – this can mean anything from living together in some countries, to even being in the same car together in others.

If moving to areas like Dubai or Doha – two of the most rapidly growing cities in the world – living together without being married is forbidden. And while there is some leniency shown to expats, this is not always the case – so you need to ask yourself, ‘do I want to be looking over my shoulder the whole time?’ Regardless of legality, the areas, stooped in religious tradition are based on traditional customs, and as a visitor, it is important you respect them.

Can We Travel in Them if We Aren’t Married?

If you’re more at the roses than the ring stage, and you’re not ready to get married yet, you should definitely not do it in order to visit or work in a particular country. For the more Westernised cities like Dubai, you can generally holiday as an unmarried couple, as long as you are careful and respectful. This means not holding hands or being affectionate in public, dressing modestly, and in some accommodation, such as hostels, sleeping in separate rooms.

In the stricter countries, such as Saudi Arabia, the laws are much more rigid. Even Western women are not allowed to drive cars, and shouldn’t shop or get around alone – or in the company of their unmarried male friend. If this is done, both parties may receive harsh punishments.

Should I Not visit?

By all means, still visit – what a wonderful part of the world! But before you go, make sure you do thorough research, explore the cultures, and check the laws.


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