The Chadian Arab's lifestyle is a mix of settled and nomadic. Some tribes have wholly settled. These groups have taken up farming millet, tomatoes, and other local crops while continuing to shepherd sheep, goats, and cattle. On the other end of the spectrum, many Arabs live a completely nomadic lifestyle traveling with their herds year-round. The most common situation is somewhere in between. Many densely populated Arab villages have few inhabitants during the dry season when much of their population leaves to seek a more abundant food supply for their herds.
Though some Arabs have moved to cities and adopted urbanized, the majority still live in a rural setting and are subsistence farmers and herdsmen living off their animals and the land. Arab men and women have distinct roles. The men are responsible for animals and crops. They are also the spiritual leaders in their homes, leading daily prayers, often sending their children to koranic school. Women are responsible for the home and children. They and the children fetch water, cook, and clean. They also sell dairy products at the market and own the home and household goods.
Marriage is a significant event in Arab life. The families generally arrange marriages. Women are often married in their early teenage years and men in their mid to late 20s. Weddings are several day affairs. The bride remains hidden to all except select women, generally the female members of her family and her new husband's family. In the wedding's finale, the groomsmen pretend to fight off the bridesmaids and kidnap the bride to take her to the husband's house.
While weddings are important events, especially first weddings, and some marriages are happy, polygamy and divorce are rampant. Only men can divorce their wives. However, wives may also leave their husbands without divorcing them. Polygamy is a common practice here as it is in many Muslim societies where husbands are allowed to have up to four wives at a time. Polygamy often creates competition between wives for their husband's attention and resources for their children.