Life Check Yourself Episode 397 Can An Emotional Prenup Save Your Relationship? with Frieda Birnbaum
Marni welcomes Frieda Birnbaum, research psychologist, psychotherapist and published author, to the Life Check Yourself studio, to look into why committed relationships and marriages fall apart, and how to prevent that. While a financial prenup is the norm, what is necessary is an emotional prenup. Where one prenup alludes to the possible failure of the commitment, the other one ensures its success. The duo talks about what it actually means to be committed and married to someone, and look into the details of the vows you make to each other. How do these vows and promises translate into real life? What does it actually mean to honor your partner? Part of the process is identifying and understanding yourself. It is by doing so, that you can set boundaries and agree on certain things, as part of your emotional prenup, before taking that step.
Takeaways from this episode:
- How to shift your perspective
- How to merge your masculine with your feminine
- You’re the only one holding you back
- Age really is just a number
- How to step up your emotional prenup
- Fighting in a healthy way
The Devil is in the (Emotional) Details [03:00]
The emotional prenup is to prevent divorce as opposed to the financial prenup which is a failsafe. So, why do people go into marriages with a failsafe rather than an agreement that defines the parameters of how the relationship will work?
When we get into a committed relationship or a marriage, there are certain things we expect; there’s a certain standard. For most, it’s monogamy; it’s a support system; and it’s a future with an aligned vision of life that we’re excited to share with our partner. These thoughts are, however, comforting but not enough.
We need to look into the details of what’s comfortable.
Because what does happen in a marriage and in a relationship, is things come up that are not expected.
A lot of times, when people move to the next step, they realize, once they’re in that stage, that they don’t have the answers to some of their core questions. And as these issues start to come up, they affect the marriage.
Frieda suggests a sort of marriage certificate as well as a certificate that outlines the things agreed upon and not agreed upon. An emotional prenup is like a manifestation of your vows. It’s looking into those vows and deciphering what they actually mean, and discussing the important points prior to making that commitment.
Identify Yourself [11:10]
Today, a lot of women have both masculine and feminine traits. And that’s not a bad thing, because these sides of you complement each other. The masculine traits are the parts of you that are driven, problem solving, and career-oriented.
Merging them and reconciling both of those sides allows you to identify yourself, which is important.
Frieda shares an anecdote of a moment where she questioned herself as a mother. At the time of the story, she was both taking care of her children and working towards her career goals.
However, as it turns out, it was in identifying herself and pushing through that she became the person she is, today. At the time where Frieda questioned herself, women didn’t hold the same positions they do today. The norm, today, is that women juggle children, careers, and so on. Back then, that wasn’t the case. In that, Frieda was ahead of her time.
The lesson is about realizing that it’s not about making friends, it’s really about having the insight to keep pushing and making yourself uncomfortable to be comfortable.
It’s about owning your space and going for what you want, regardless of what the world thinks of you.
What Goes Into the Emotional Prenup? [17:38]
It’s important to sort certain issues out ahead of taking that serious step. A lot of these issues can look like couples having the same fights over and over again. Or, one partner’s inability to let go of the past. But in discussing how you will tackle these issues in the beginning, your marriage has a better chance of making it.
Otherwise, you end up going to therapy, which is more difficult because it’s about fixing what’s broken. Whereas with an emotional prenup, it’s pre-emptive; it’s more of a unification between two people to work through it and to work hard. Because marriage isn’t easy.
Setting boundaries and having an understanding of what’s important for you and for your partner is part of that agreement. Because what’s important for you, might not be as important for the person in front of you.
We tend to repeat ourselves, we tend to argue in the same way over and over again.
It’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong, or what’s right and what’s wrong but more about what will have the best effect and outcome. And you get to that by listening to each other, and by learning to compromise for each other, which prevents repetition.