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    Crumbling buildings in Rome (pictured) only add to the atmosphere in a country where old is redefined and western civilization begins. Explore Italy!

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Relationships, Marriage, & Family Life in Norway

Relationships and marriage in Norway are fairly relaxed compared to most countries in this world. Like many of its neighbors, Norway is a very liberal country that views relationships and marriage quite differently than they did a century ago. Today marriage is not viewed as a necessity and a couple living together or having children prior to marriage is not seen as a negative by most of society.

This attitude towards marriage begins with relationships in Norway. Many young people want to establish themselves as individuals prior to marrying, which means dating is generally drawn out over time as individuals place education, careers, exploration, and owning a home as higher priorities than marriage. Most Norwegians date much as they do in other European and North American countries, but rarely does a relationship become serious until the couple is in their mid-20s if not older.

Despite the delay in marriage, many Norwegians find themselves in committed relationships through the dating process, which often leads to living together and even having children (most first born children in Norway are born out of wed-lock). These things, much like gaining an education and starting a career, are often viewed as more important than marriage itself. A part of this is because many people view marriage as simply a legal standing, plus few people put great weight in religious reasons that encourage marriage. Despite the delay, and at times lack of belief in marriage, people in Norway still marry in significant numbers. Both heterosexual marriages and same-sex marriages are legal in Norway and many people do marry, although that might not occur until a couple is in their 30s or even later.

When, and if, couples decide to marry, they do so for a number of reasons. Many simply decide it's the right time to marry, while others marry for legal reasons, or to have a large party. In fact the party is the one consistent in large Norwegian weddings as these generally go well into the next morning. Of course with these weddings, expenses can quickly add up so some people chose to have a small civil ceremony instead. For couples with children, it is common for their kids to participate in the wedding as it's truly a family affair.

Family life in Norway follows much of the same lines as dating and marriage. Children are sometimes born prior to marriage, but most children are conceived willingly and parents, married or not, often share the responsibilities and household chores. However, generous maternity leave laws mean mothers are still the primary care takers.

As most people work in Norway, both women and men, day cares are common and government-supported so most children attend these care centers. In the past most Norwegian couples only had one or two children, but this is slowly changing as couples tend to have any number of kids today and the population is actually on a slow incline due to this (although immigration is making that rise in population grow a bit more quickly).

This page was last updated: August, 2013