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Youth Shying Away From Wedlock
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Youth Shying Away From Wedlock

Profound changes in social relations have led to more girls remaining unmarried much against their will, said Dr. Mahmoud Golzari, deputy minister of sports and youth affairs.
“Currently there are 300 illegal dating websites in the country; therefore we have launched a legal matrimony website to facilitate marriage ethically. The website will be unveiled by the end of next month,” he added.
Golzari pointed to the most important challenges facing wedlock in present times including unwillingness of young people to marry, problems of finding a suitable spouse and inadequacy of premarital counseling and marriage preparation programs.
Lack of youth motivation for marriage is on the rise in the country with 50% of the reasons attributed to economic problems, particularly unemployment. On the other hand, currently most of the youth are experiencing “extended adolescence” which means they don’t want to accept responsibility even until the age of 25.
“Fear of marriage and transient pleasures” are among other factors leading to the continuing rise in the marriage age. At present, there are 10 million people who are eligible for marriage but still remain single. “The figures are alarming and necessary measures should be taken to solve the problem,” Alef News Agency quoted Golzari as saying.

 Suitable Spouse
While girls are more eager to get married than boys, they have difficulties in finding the right match.The traditional way of finding a spouse has faded away due to various reasons including urbanization and women’s education. These developments have changed social relations among neighbors, friends and even families.
“We consider singles over 40s as permanent singles, as after this age the chances of getting married decrease significantly,” the official said.  Also “pre-marital relationships” lead to a pessimistic view of marriage.
Golzari pointed to the 300 illegal dating websites which are currently active in the country and said “4 years ago, the number was 120; the country’s cyber police cannot deal with the mushrooming number of illegal websites.”
In addition to illegal websites, “we have plenty of fortunetellers who lie to victims to earn money.” The government should take necessary measures to overcome barriers to youth marriage. At present the only support offered is providing marriage loans.”

 Premarital Counseling
More than one-third of marriages in Tehran end in divorce in less than five years, despite the fact that 90% of the marriages were traditional and with parents’ consent. This indicates that traditional marriage per se is not enough for a lasting relationship and compatibility among couples is necessary for harmonious, stable and successful marriage.
While premarital counseling can increase the likelihood of a successful marriage, there aren’t enough experienced and qualified counselors in the country.
“At present, several thousand professional counseling permits have been granted; but none of the counselors have the required qualification to provide ‘Iranian-Islamic marriage counseling’ to couples intending to marry since our universities don’t offer education modules in marriage counseling for psychologists,” said Golzari, who is also a member of the Faculty of Psychology and Education at Allameh Tabatabai University.

 No Single Protocol
Actually there is no single defined protocol for marriage counseling; therefore different counselors may advise a couple differently, depending on the problems.
Meanwhile, the Iranian Organization of Psychology and Counseling (IOPC) and the ministry of sports and youth affairs are planning to establish premarital counseling centers. In this regard, four core requirements have been considered for the centers including: counselors should be married, age should be over 35 years, license from the IOPC, and providing advice according to a defined protocol. The qualified counseling centers will have special symbols for easy reference by prospective couples.
Couples need continuous education and care especially in the first five years after marriage, experts say. They should also learn to treat well their spouses and children. Many young men, it is found, have problems in this regard. At the same time there are several websites which offer wrong advice, exacerbating the problems.

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