I’ve been thinking quite a lot about the discussions we’ve had recently concerning power struggles within a relationship. We’ve been talking about John Gottman’s book “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail“. He observed many couples in terms of their conflicts and issues with power. He concluded that success depends on how you handle conflict. He found some very interesting statistics on how to balance anger and fighting with positive energy, and that to succeed, a relationship needs a ratio of at least 5 compliments to every criticism. He believes that all relationships contain conflict.
Ours is a very different experience and pattern. We have learned that it is possible to have a core of passion and peace as the foundation of a relationship. We believe that the idea that all relationships are weighed down with conflict is a fallacious one, and that there are other alternatives.
We’ve never talked much about power and power struggles within our relationship. The issue of power, of who has it and how it is exercised, doesn’t play a part for us, and there is a very good reason. Our relationship is based on a foundation of celebrating and honoring the uniqueness of each of the partners. This practice obviates the need for any one-upmanship. Each partner is complete as they are. Each partner is all powerful in the sphere of being themselves. For the couple to be strong and powerful, each of the partners wants the other to be strong and powerful. There is nothing therefore to be gained by any pushing or pulling, or attempts to direct, correct, overpower or intimidate.
In fact, all that is desirable comes from each partner feeling safe, undefended, supported, acknowledged, and appreciated within the relationship.
Conflict, fighting, anger and power issues do not have to be part of a relationship. Other ways of relating are real and attainable. What we have experienced is not just a one off, or amazing good fortune. It is possible for you to experience peace within your relationship. We hope our explorations will help you to experience this truth.