A couple of days ago my elder son got married. He celebrated the first gay marriage in my family. In that sense it was more special than any other marriage, which might explain what thoughts befell me in the run-up to the actual ceremony.

Friends and family were gathered at a back entrance of the famous 15th century, late gothic City Hall. Because it happened to be one of the coldest days in this, the warmest year on record in Belgium, waiting outside was not the most limb warming activity that one could imagine.

Someone wondered aloud how many (people) were getting married that morning. Another, apparently “in the know”, answered “four”. Looking around me, it struck me as too few and I asked “couples” or “people”? Couples, of course.

As we had nothing else to do but chit chat and talk small, my mind started wandering, as it often does – somewhat subconsciously I guess. Isn’t it strange that 4 couples get married, which account for 8 people … – which account for ONLY 8 people!!

Of course, 4 x 2 = 8.
But, why do we have ONLY COUPLES that get married? If we lift the restriction of man and woman, and expand it so same sex, why then can we not change the number of partakers in a marriage to three, four or more: a trio, a quartet… get married. It would change the math, wouldn’t it?

When you start playing with such thoughts, it feels somewhat strange, even eerie. But twenty years ago when some people started talking about gay marriage, two men or two women becoming partners in a marriage, that must have come across as a strange concept as well, mustn’t it?

Yet, given that so many marriages end in divorce these days (and often relatively quickly), could we, could society not entertain the thought of more than two people getting married together, if only, for instance, to better protect children against the frivolousness of their progenitors? After all, if one of a trio leaves the “bond”, the two remaining parents could still constitute a full family (in the classic sense of two parents). Indeed, even the single-parent poverty problem would be easier to solve…

I know it is not here nor there, but I am convinced that society should consider trios and quartets getting married because, purely philosophically speaking, you do not have to be a “couple” to get married, nor to make or rear kids. As a matter of fact, for the kiddiess that enjoy or undergo the prerogative of being part of twice or thrice reconstituted families, for all those semi-orphans-at-a-distance, one thing is clear: the bigger the marriage would be, the better their nesting opportunities.

Who knows, pretty soon we might see parties of twenty getting married. And then we call it a commune. [Or a company perhaps, all depending on the family goals.]

30th of December, 2014