The experience of late life remarriage and its meaning for older Arab Muslim widowed men in Israel

Chaya Koren, Hanan Ali-Morshed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Late-life remarriage is one form of repartnering later in life, a phenomenon that has developed with the increase in life expectancy and other modernization processes, such as the shift from an extended to a nuclear family structure. Knowledge on the phenomenon of repartnering is based on research conducted mainly within Western societies living by individualistic values. It has also been studied in societies such as Israel, which value self-determination alongside familism. How the phenomenon is experienced within a more patriarchal, collectivist society undergoing modernization processes, such as the Arab Muslim society in Israel, is yet to be explored. The aim was to understand the meaning of late-life remarriage and how it is experienced among older Arab Muslim widowers in Israel who remarried at old age after a long-term marriage and raising a family. Using a phenomenological approach, semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 14 Arab Muslim widowers aged 70–80 at time of remarriage, to never-married, middle-aged women. Three themes were identified: The first theme addresses motivations for remarriage, the second theme examines continuity and change from a lifelong marriage, and the third theme refers to the meaning they attribute to their current wife. Each theme addresses participants’ inner world, their relationship with spouse and offspring, and their perception of the society they belong to. Conclusions address late-life remarriage as a solution for older widowers to receive care within the extended collectivist family. Thus, the phenomenon reflects a reaction to modernization processes alongside a way to preserve patriarchal gender roles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-151
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • arab muslim
  • late life remarriage
  • modernization
  • qualitative research
  • widower

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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