Monday, June 17, 2013

The Case For The Traditional Marriage

Traditional marriage  has long been under attack. Contrary to what some people think, this attack didn't start in the 1960s, but much earlier. It has been rather popular nowadays to assign the blame for its demise solely to women, but how true is it?

Not so long ago, the law of many Western countries recognised the man as the head of the family, but this authority came with the responsibility, as it was expected from the man that he would provide the living. I remember a sermon in our church when an elderly guest preacher said that in his times men didn't see their children, because when they came home from work, children were already in bed, and by the way, Saturday was a working day too, until the end of the 1960s. Than the reform was undertaken, which reduced working hours for men and also eliminated their legal status as the head of the family. Was it a coincidence? Somehow I don't think so.

Since that time most women moved into the workforce and assumed part-time positions, while their husbands started working less and less. However, if you calculate the total amount of hours worked by an average couple with the man in full time employment and his part-time working wife, you'll come to about 50 hours a week and that was how long men used to work in them bad old days of patriarchal oppression. In short, men got emancipated, too, selling their birthright for shorter working hours.

Divorce laws in my country were pretty liberal already since the end of the 19th century, but the divorce rate started growing steadily since married women had entered the employment in large numbers. Several years ago there was a researh which showed that the longer hours the wife worked the higher chance of divorce the couple had, because the man started feeling neglected. When a case is made for married women to stay home, it's usually about the children who miss their mother, but apparently (what a novel thought!), men have their needs, too.

Another big problem with female employment is that a lot of women work in the government-subsidized positions, and their salaries are paid by the taxpayer. Most young girls graduate with diplomas in nursing, teaching and social work and have to compete for positions with married part-timers, while the economy is doing worse every year, and as the governments across Europe implement austerity measures, the amount of jobs for women keeps shrinking.

I believe in general it's rather unproductive to keep discussing who is more responsible for the current mess, men or women. The correct answer is probably both. The modern ideas about marriage are based on the idea of both husband and wife basically continuing to live their separate lives after marriage, which, of course, will never work in practise. The whole idea of marriage is two becoming one flesh. It's time we stopped demanding more rights and started remembering about our duties.


  1. The men with a family used to be less taxed here untill the 1990's, when their single co-workers started to cry *it's not fair* ´Why should they provide more to the society (via taxes) when they are unfortunate enough not to have a wife, who would share the cost of living by working...

    Now everybody is taxed equally. Suddenly the statisticians have found out that the poverty among families with children have increased since 1990's! I'm in awe how genious they are! The social workers are crying out to government to do something because of the side effects of poverty... and the answer is more social workers... It's epidemic how children are taken away from their families to foster care, because the families are in crisis. This is supposed to gain some savings to goverment? I really don't think this kind of 'support' is something almost every family need (this really is epidemic)AND it is really expensive for the society.

    Nobody seems to remember there was such thing as steady marriage and steady family life with steady roles. 'We need more social workers!'

    1. Well, it seems that Finland has gone further on the path of no return. We still have considerable tax breaks for families, as for social workers, there is no money for these sorts of things any more. Right now they are busy destroying the health care system which used to practically guarantee everybody a place in the nursing home when they get old. Starting next year, they will get about 75% less subsidies or something to the point, which means there will be people fired, and it's mostly women who work there. When they have finished with health care, they'll start with education. Day cares are already closing left and right. When you are an older woman without high qualifications, it's practically impossible to find work any more.

    2. BTW, off topic, but do you have housewives in Finland? Somebody told me that everyone works there, but a friend of mine spent 3 years there with her husband and she didn't, but then, her husband earned much more than the average. We go to Germany on vacation and our hostess says people are really poor in Scandinavia and that's why all women work. Is it true?

    3. There is only one I know (via blogging). I have heard of rich housewives (like a wife of a NHL player) that they exist... Everyone is supposed to work. How would you get your pension otherwise? (it was just last week my sister asked if I am not worried about my pension (I've been a housewife a couple of years now) and I answered you really think you'll get what you've earned after all the gambling the politicians have been doing with your pension money?)

      My personal opinion is that you do what you value. I don't say this as a very simplified answer, I really believe it's true. Yes, a person (and a family) have needs, but for most of us those needs are dictated by others. You need shelter, but it can be a single room, or even a tent in a remote place. You can clothe yourself in donated clothing. You need food and nutrition, but it doesn't have to look like in a celebrity cook's show. We do have options, we can choose.

      I don't know about the situation in Scandinavia as a whole, but Finland is a expensive land to live in. I don't know which one is the chicken and which one is the egg (so to speak) Did the prices begin to soar when people got wealthier with double income in a family, or did people suddenly begin to yearn for higher level of living and not be content with things their parents were content with.

    4. Don't you have private pension funds? Here everybody gets a small amount of money from the government when he reaches 65 whether he worked or not (They are planning to raise the age to 67 though) plus those who work save for their pensions. The dependent wife is entitled to her husband's pension and then there are private insurances which offer extra coverage, though with the way the economy works I'm not sure we will get anything in the end:) In Germany they already raised the retirement age to 67 and last I heard they are raising it till 70 in Sweden, while our Southern neighbours work till they are 60 or 62. Somehow I don't think it's fair:) Anyway, they used to joke in the past that men died at their working places and we seem to get back to the same situation.

      Over here Norwegians have a reputation for being very rich, but Swedes vice versa. I haven't been to either country, so I don't know.

    5. Yes we do - personally I don't know anyone who can invest private pension funds. In my thoughts they are something only rich can afford, in order to continue their lavish lifestyle in later years.

      We get also something, very little amount at 63(-65. To me the number is currently 65 and counting...) It's called something like pension for the people in English... Then there is the 'pension of the work', an amount that grows according to your salary and years of working. Every salary you get, you pay something into this 'bank', it's like an account for your future. However, the government has been 'investing' this money (hence the word gambling earlier) and have had some sad failures.

      And then there are private pension funds, advertised like: you certainly won't like to quit your hobby of playing golf when you retire. Prepare for your future! (these companies have been in media in embarrasing light too - people were so angry, their_taxed_money had been played with...)

  2. It's somewhat different over here since the amount which you are saving for your pension goes to a private pension fund, and there are several of them. Ours seems to be doing quite well but, of course, you never know:)