The Therapy Sessions
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Nordic marriage dying?
I don't know if I buy the main premise of this article: bluntly, the authors believe that same sex marriage is largely at fault for the decline of marriage in Northern Europe.
But this information is striking: Death of marriage in Scandinavia:
Data from European demographers and statistical bureaus show that a majority of children in Sweden and Norway are now born out of wedlock, as are 60 percent of first-born children in Denmark. In socially liberal districts of Norway, where the idea of same-sex registered partnerships is widely accepted, marriage itself has almost entirely disappeared...
....scholars note that many family changes that eventually sweep the West show up first in Scandinavia, probably because of Scandinavia's unusually large welfare state and its notably strong secularism.
There is something special about marriage that is regrettably being lost here.
My relationship with my wife and children is the most important thing in my life, and I think it is sad that others cannot see the value in such a simple, but vital, commitment.
Shouldn't children be more than the responsibility of the woman? Or worse (and more frighteningly: the responsibility of the state? (I think the excessive welfare states of the Nordic countries shoulder a lot of the blame here.))
After all, marriage is the method by which modern society advanced. In primitive societies, men's sexual appetites were free: they impreganated any woman they could, and any resulting offspring were the sole responsibility of the female. Women were (and in some cultures still are) bought and traded like cattle.
Marriage linked one man to one woman for life, and it elevated the importance of women to the point where - throughout the West - we now view men and women as equals.
It is ironic that hardcore feminists view marriage as such a sexist burden. The dissolution of the instituion of marriage would be a huge setback for women. A woman with children but no husband (or generous boyfriend) is usually doomed to poverty: daycare, health care, food and housing are huge expenses, and they are not easily paid for with a single income.
Children also benefit from having two role models in the household. Parenting, which is hard enough, is easier when it is a shared responsibility.
The psychological effects of this Nordic experiment will be seen in the next few decades.
Here's a bet that the children will have suffered.
Liberals will be shocked: there are some things that the state cannot do.
Replacing absent fathers is one of them.