In the past, and to a great extent today, the Middle Eastern family provided the economic and emotional support to its members – members include mother, father, children, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins to several degrees on both sides of the marital connection.

Men and women remained members of their natal families for life, even after getting married. A divorced woman returns to her natal family, for support until she remarries. A divorced man returns to his natal family, so his parents can care for his children. In exchange for these services, the individual is expected to place the group's interest and survival above their personal desires, especially when deciding who to marry, and upholding the family reputation by maintaining the family honour.

Having the family decide who to marry does not always work, and we always see members rebelling, and refuse to marry the person chosen for them by the family. Also, maintaining the family honour in turn has caused many tragedies in the past.