New laws for life as a couple: To what extent should the State intervene?

New laws for life as a couple: To what extent should the State intervene?
February 19, 2024 – 17:02

The new laws introduce perspectives that impact the ways of conceiving life as a couple; today the way of separating and the modality of emotional and sexual exchange can be chosen with greater freedom.

Marriage or a stable couple have always been constructions on which strong burdens of ideality have fallen. Historically, it has been taken for granted that what happened within this “institution” was public order and, therefore, exceeded the decision-making possibilities of its protagonists. Currently, a concept is opening up that takes more and more into account the will of the members of the couple, considering the vicissitudes of emotional life as issues in which the State does not have to intervene.

Eduardo Cárdenas (former family judge) says that There has always been and there will be a struggle between Love and Law, because both need each other and build each other and are essential forms for the course of human life.

The new laws introduce perspectives that impact the ways of conceiving life as a couple. This is observed, for example, in the changes in the use of certain terms: we say “spouses” instead of “husband” and “wife” – words that allude to the manacles with which the wrists are imprisoned, associating marriage with the lack of freedom.

Another important modification is the one that covers the way of registering and appointing oneself before the company. Now either member of the couple can choose to use the other’s last name with or without the preposition “de”. Thus, the paradigm shift of the supremacy and possession of men over women is outlined, which marked the asymmetry based on gender differences and which governed the institution of marriage from its origins. Eva Giberti says that in this way the woman became identified based on her relationship and her identity as a person who belonged to another was accentuated. The woman “lost” her own surname – which was named by an initial (e.g.: “Ana P. de Gómez”) and was also lost to her son. For this author, one of the functions of the surname would be to keep the subject linked to the superego family, which until before this modification was considered linked to the male.

The idea that the woman belonged to the man after marriage is diluted and that it contained the meta-message that only he had something valuable to give to her. It would seem to be understood that each of the spouses could “be” the other and there would be something of value to give to each other (if they agreed), an issue that would be located beyond the gender of both.

People can now divorce without alleging causes, without the need to blame the other

A procedure has also been created that allows people to divorce without alleging grounds, that is, without the need to blame the other. We observe that alongside those who separate in a conflictive and insulting manner, we also find couples who do not need to accuse or hurt each other when ending the relationship.

“Adultery” is no longer considered – which was in the first place among those causes – and Fidelity does not appear among the legal obligations of marriage, but it is mentioned as a moral duty. This implies that their “non-compliance” does not carry sanctions or presumption of guilt in the divorce as was the case before. The obligation of fidelity that the members of the couple had to maintain from the moment of separation until the divorce decree is also eliminated. This change in the law brought great excitement and numerous debates: How will it be put into practice? Will excesses be enabled?

According to these new approaches to life as a couple, the modality of emotional and sexual exchange – and even the way of separating – can be chosen more freely by its members. Do these provisions, which do not prohibit or oblige but formulate non-interference, affect the way a couple is chosen or carried out? Do they have consequences on married life? How long does it take to deconstruct strongly entrenched paradigms?

I am inclined to think that this is how ways of loving are proposed or enabled and that We can also consider Love as an epochal construction. Let us remember, for example, platonic love, courtly love, the rigid religious precepts that affected (and still affect) sexuality and marriage, unions arranged for convenience between families – not so distant and still valid in some cultures – , etc. Which shows that We are immersed in a social fabric that “constructs us” based on what happens in our time..

Psychoanalyst. Department Coordinator couple and family of the Argentine Psychoanalytic Association. She is the author of the books “The Family and the Law” and “Families Alone”.

Source: Ambito

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