'90 Day Fiance': Studies Confirm Yazan's Claim That Jordanians Often Marry First Cousins But That's Not the Whole Story
90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way follows couples who have moved toward a very serious level of commitment. Not just marriage; in each relationship, one person is planning to move to the other person’s country permanently. One of these brave couples is Yazan and Brittany, who are working toward their life as a married couple in Yazan’s home country of Jordan. That’s a tall order for any couple, but these lovebirds have even more stacked against them than most. Brittany seems like she’s ill-prepared to adapt to the cultural expectations of Yazan’s culture, and one custom he mentioned has her and many 90 Day Fiancé viewers wondering.
A world of difference
If Brittany and Yazan seem like an odd match at first glance, well, they are. Brittany lives in Florida, where she’s a social media influencer and an aspiring rapper. Yazan, on the other hand, is a Muslim man who hails from the Middle Eastern nation of Jordan and has strict traditional values. Yet somehow these two made a love connection, and recently she flew to Jordan, planning to meet his family, marry him, and live with him there.
Yazan went to meet her at the airport with roses, and as he waited for her airplane to arrive he talked about being excited to see her, he then but followed that up with, “but she will have to accept our living condition and adapt to us and change in a way she’d be able to live with me here in this country.”
On that romantic thought, Brittany arrived, much to both their joy. However, before they got out of the airport parking lot, she had already failed to live up to his expectations. First, she hugged some crew members, then it came to light that she had alcohol in her carry-on bag. Both of these are unacceptable in Yazan’s community, and he let her know, cursing and yelling.
Clearly, Brittany was going to have a harder time adjusting to life in Jordan than she’d expected. And the surprises were just beginning.
Do cousins marry each other in Jordan?
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Yazan’s family has made it clear that they’re not excited about the young couple’s union, according to TV Shows Ace. Although Brittany has said that she’s willing to convert to Islam, they’re dubious that she will ever really fit in. They’d like to see him marry a local girl, someone with the same values, religion, customs, and … family?
Yazan’s parents wanted someone even closer than a local girl for their son. They were actually hoping he’d marry one of his cousins. “My family’s preference would have been that I choose a relative,” he explained, “My parents, they are related to each other. A lot of my family members are related to each other.”
Yazan insisted that his parents’ wishes didn’t matter; he loves Brittany. But viewers couldn’t help but wonder about what he said. Do people really marry their cousins?
It’s true — sort of
It turns out that it is a custom for people to marry their cousins in Jordan. As recently as 2012, 23% of all marriages in the country were between first cousins, according to Pub Med. So it does seem to be a normal thing in Yazan’s community.
However, current data show that this practice is starting to dwindle. Going back to 1990, 57% of all marriages were between first cousins, so the practice is clearly becoming less common. Currently, women who do marry close relatives are generally young women who don’t have very much education or employment prospects. They tend to have low economic status and aren’t exposed to mass media.
Yazan is a college graduate, and since he’s appearing on a television show, it’s clear that he’s familiar with mass media. He’s also not a woman, but it remains to be seen how much his family’s expectations of him will sway him. His country is moving away from the practice, but is he ready to leave it behind?
The question may be moot, though, since it turns out that Brittany is still married to someone else. We’ll have to keep watching to see what the happy couple will do next.
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