To enforce this value, female circumcision is still practiced by some groups,
although there have been successful attempts in different areas to remove the practice.
Divorce is possible, although in both religions, resolution by family
and elders would be attempted before going through the legal system. Inter-religious
marriage is not usually tolerated.
In the past, arranged marriages were common. While this is not usually practiced now, it is
important to marry someone the family approves of. In rural areas, christian marriages
traditionally are arranged between families with a great deal of negation and balancing of
All things are agreed before a marriage, for the security of both parties who have equal
rights. Rural women, in particular, tend to marry at a young age and may be six to ten years
younger than their husbands.
Among the Muslim communities, husbands may have more than one wife and large
numbers of children are traditionally considered to be a sign of status. In Muslim marriages
in the east of Ethiopia women own nothing and do not have protection of their rights,
whereas in Muslim marriage in the north, women are considered equal; so the position of
women is a matter of culture as well as religion. If the husbund of a Muslim woman dies, it
is the responsibility of the husband's brother to take care of the wife and family. He may be
required to marry her.