The legal age for marriage is eighteen, although half of the women marry by age fifteen. Marriages are not arranged.
In accordance with Islamic law, a man can have four wives at any time if he can support them financially. Sex before marriage is a punishable offense. Marriages can take place only between Muslims. Maldives has one of the highest divorce rates in the world; according to a 1977 census, nearly half of the women over the age of thirty had been married four times or more.
As a very masculine style culture – The father or the eldest male in the house is considered as the head of the family.
On local islands, men are engaged primarily in small-scale fishing, while women are responsible for child rearing and household duties such as cooking, cleaning, and collecting water. While these traditional gender roles are still the norm, many men now seek formal employment on resort islands or fishing boats, forcing them to be away from home for months at a time. On some islands, both a husband and wife may be employed, but the wife is still expected to fulfill her domestic roles.