Power struggles in relationships are so common these days that many reality shows base their whole design on the concept. Why? Because people can relate to it. I have one word for you: Trust. Let me explain…..
Although the battle of the sexes has been raging since the beginning of time, women in the workplace have poured lots of fuel on the flames. They pull their half of the load, therefore, they want their half of the power.
People are tired and stressed out. Add the rising divorce rate to the mix and you get people in relationships who really only want control of their future. They want some say in the shaping of their relationship and life.
That’s where the trouble often begins, especially if both partners are not communicating as well as they could. (Please see the exercise below.)
Who Wears the Pants In Your House?
You or your partner? If you answered, “The dog!” then forget this article and go pet your pooch!
But seriously, do you feel like your home is a perpetual battlefield where the most aggressive sergeant gets to rule the whole army?
Power struggles in relationships usually start as small irritations that snowball into one huge avalanche. Why? Both individuals feel like they are:
a. not being heard
b. losing control of their life and individuality
c. not having their feelings considered
All this comes down to one big concept. They feel like the other person cannot be trusted to make decisions that are positive for BOTH partners. So ultimately, a big component of most power struggles is lack of trust. Just let that sink in your brain for a minute.
The sad part of this is that often both individuals CAN be trusted, but the lack of openness in the relationship simply does not allow the trust to break through, then you will see that it’s true.
Are You a Turtle Or a Sponge?
A turtle has a hard shell and doesn’t allow anything inside that shell. He keeps everything out so he can remain safe. If you are a turtle, then you are keeping out the good stuff as well as the bad stuff.
On the other hand, a sponge soaks up everything. If you are a sponge, then you soak up every single thing your partner has to offer. You are not afraid of the bad stuff because with it comes the good stuff too.
Here is the cold hard truth: If you have a relationship with ANYONE, then you will get hurt at some time. Parents, friends, family, partners – ALL HUMAN. Every single one of them. (Just like you.) People are not perfect and they will make mistakes. So you will get your feelings hurt and people will fall short of your expectations in life.
So ask yourself, “If I trust my partner, what’s the worst thing that will happen?”
Well, I will answer that question for you.
If both of you learn to trust each other, then you will have a mutually respectful relationship which will lead to both of you consulting the other’s opinion before any big decisions and you will be a great team instead of two lonely individuals.
Now, doesn’t that sound warm and fuzzy?
When you rationally think these scenarios through, you will see that the consequences are usually not that bad.
Life is too short not to love and feel and experience as much as you can. So don’t be the turtle. He has a slow, dull, boring life.
Here is the best exercise I could find to overcome the power struggle in your relationship. In the book YOU: Being Beautiful: The Owner’s Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz (I love these books!) they recommend the Your Way/His Way Four Week Trial. (Before you get too excited, this has nothing to do with sex.)
Here’s what you do. For the first two weeks your partner gets to make ALL the decisions. This means everything from what’s for dinner to who to invite over for dinner. They will decide on plans for the weekend and what goes in the basket at the supermarket.
But wait, your turn is coming. The next two weeks are your turn. Just how will this help your relationship? According to the authors, “First, it separates the actual issues from the power struggle over who is right.” This is important because allows you to trust each other without the baggage, and it also reaffirms that trust when you see that your partner considers you when making decisions and does not abuse the power even when they have permission to do so.
Back to sex. This power experiment does not apply to the bedroom. That’s one place that needs to remain the same. (It could do more damage than good.)
So, set your partner down and agree to complete this experiment and end the power struggle in your relationship right now.
Your future will thank you.
Another great resource I recommend to bring you closer is called 1000 Questions For Couples. You can download this ebook, print it off, and place it on your shelf to use for years to come. It will never be outdated because it contains timeless questions to help you achieve a level of closeness that most couples never feel. It’s a great investment for ANY couple (as well as a great wedding gift).
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Thanks a bunch!
by Angela Christian Pope @ ModernRelationship.org