It seems to be common in Sweden to have children without marriage. The following conversation is in my Swedish textbook.
Renate: Are you married?
Katerina: Yes, I am.
Renate: Do you have children?
Katerina: No, I don’t have. How about you? Are you married?
Renate: No, but I have two kids. One son, Klaus and one daughter, Mirja.
Marriage is a big thing here. Many new couples don’t get married until they live together for many years. Some may decide to get married after they have children and many of them are just sambo.
Thailand doesn’t have a concept or status called sambo. I’ve never heard about it until I arrive in Sweden. It is a new, formal status developed not many years back in Sweden. Basically, couples who are sambo only need to follow the government’s procedure in order to get a document saying they are sambo. Unlike sambo couples, married couples have a marriage in church and it automatically gives a new status, which is supported by law, to the couple.
It sounds like Swedes are opened-mind and less serious when it comes to relationship. In fact, it is the opposite. To have the new status makes them more serious than other nations. It makes them lift the importance of marriage to another level. When you’re get married with a Swede it also means a life-time commitment. Importantly, family comes first in Sweden after they build one.