Jewish World Review March 19, 2004 / 26 Adar, 5764
Marriage: A peek into the crystal ball
Marriage under the best of circumstances is a mystery. Oh, let's
be honest. Some days it's an outright miracle.
If you want to peer into the crystal ball to see what family life
will be like in the event we radically redefine marriage, look to
Scandinavia. The equivalent of same-sex marriage has been legal for more
than a decade and the verdict is in - same-sex marriage has eroded the
already rusty link in the chain between marriage and family.
Marriage is passe in Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Marriage is so
out of fashion that among those who do marry, some choose to keep it
private to avoid embarrassment. Even more surprising, few homosexuals are
taking advantage of same-sex unions. The heterosexual and homosexual
marriage pool has shriveled so much that marriage and divorce statistics
are difficult to interpret.
Author Stanley Kurtz has been parsing the data coming from
Scandinavia and says this much is crystal clear - any form of family is
Marriage is no longer seen as a precursor to parenthood. When
heterosexual marriage is no longer seen as the norm, and marriage and
parenthood are no longer seen as going hand-in-hand, married parenthood
becomes an oddity. Disassociating heterosexual marriage from parenting
is like splitting up the salt and pepper, but that's exactly what has
In Scandinavia, marriage has ceased being a big event in most
young men and women's lives. Many Nordic beauties have bid farewell to
chunky issues of Bride's magazine, engagement rings and bridal
showers. Marriage once signaled the hallmark of maturity in the journey of
life. Today the mark of maturity in Scandinavia is having a baby.
Couples become an item, birth a child and often live together for
a year or so. Ultimately, however, couples can manage financially as
individuals, so they tend to split and move to the next partner. And the
next. It appears similar to that awful going-steady-and-breaking-up cycle
of junior high, only with sex, and without end.
Who bears the brunt of all these adults sailing in and out of
relationships and are unable to cast anchor? Hint- they tend to be short,
have soft cheeks, big eyes and like to sleep with teddy bears.
The majority of children in Sweden and Norway are born out of
wedlock. Sixty percent of first-born children in Denmark have unmarried
parents. An immense welfare state and state-run day care, funded by the
enormous, albeit compulsory, generosity of taxpayers, attempt to fill the
void of moms and dads, or moms and moms, and dads and dads, who opt not to
tie the knot.
Our own nation's link between marriage and family has been waning
for several decades. It makes little sense to radically redefine marriage
now and deal a death blow to an institution already gasping for breath. A
drastic and bizarre redefinition of marriage would definitely come at the
expense of the kids. One small step for man, one giant tumble for the
children of tomorrow.
You do not tinker with a social, legal and religious institution
which has stood as a foundation to nations and cultures for thousands of
years without risking serious repercussions. Whichever path we choose, we
will all married or unmarried, heterosexual or homosexual live out the
consequences, as will our children, our grandchildren and their children.
In the words of Margaret Mead, "As the family goes, so goes the
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© 2001, Lori Borgman
JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of , most recently, "Pass the Faith, Please" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) and I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.
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