How To Resolve A Power Struggle In Your Relationship

My husband thinks a lot about the love between us. He believes the subject to be deep and so vast it will take the rest of our lives to try to understand. I figure he is probably right.  Last night he picked a corner of one of the things he wonders about and threw it out to be chewed on…

He wanted to know what we would do if we got into an argument we could not resolve. Say I have one position and he has another and we just can’t come to agreement. He wanted to know if I would consider deferring to an outside source to resolve the problem.

Now in his case, he means the church. He said he’d be willing to go to a priest or some other religious authority. They would tell us what was right and we would agree to abide by it.

Update, eleven years later…

After a lot of thought I agreed to this back in 2007. I never thought we’d run into a problem we could not resolve, but it did happen, once. We followed through on our agreement; went to see a priest and followed his direction.

I wanted to pull this old post up because people (who want to stay married) need ideas like this.

Do you tend to have power struggles in your relationship? How do you resolve them?

18 thoughts on “How To Resolve A Power Struggle In Your Relationship”

  1. I’ve been prone to caving in to keep the peace (Libra 5th house with Neptune) and not challenging the other person enough. Our real problems don’t emerge till later, when we find we’ve been deluding ourselves or wasting our time with someone who wasn’t right for us (Mars/Venus squ Neptune). I have finally gained respect for a good fight. Uproots problems for inspection, and makes people solve them or move on.

    I grew up in a household where my mother seemed to pick fights constantly with my father, who tried desperately to avoid them. I could always see my dad’s side in this, but now I’m starting to see my mom’s. Hard to get forward movement if the other person won’t engage with a problem.

  2. With a natal Mars in Scorpio square Pluto in Leo, I am very aware of power struggles anywhere in my vicinity. However, Pluto transiting over my Mars cured me of participating in them – too much pain & frustration and the realization that ultimately others will do what they feel they need to do, and there was NOTHING i could do about it!! That’s not to say it won’t work for someone else but my lesson was essentially “Mind my own damn business!

  3. I can relate a lot to what Valkyrie said, and I think that I’ve finally found someone with whom I can have a good fight with, somebody who can listen to what I’m saying (because I’ve always been good at listening to what other people say).

    Disagreements can be good, they keep things interesting, active. I always wanted space to be me, and I might have found it.

  4. My Mars/South Node (3rd) opposed Pluto/North Node (9th) taught me that I don’t need to engage in power struggles anymore. (Of course, I still do–I’m human!)
    The SN/Mars may instigate them, but the NN/Pluto just incinerates them. If I do win a power struggle, it’s a bitter victory.

    Interestingly, my Mom (Aries) fought to the death while my Dad (Libra) taught me there was more strength in laying down arms and walking away.
    However, my Dad was in the army, the circus, and then an armed guard at a maximum security prison before he learned his lessons of laying down arms.

  5. uhm yes. and yes. I’ve got that venus/pluto thing doing the tango.
    And pisces mars has a bad habit of caving in until it’s pushed too far (and blows up) or playing the passive aggressive game. Modeled after my father’s conflict style, I guess. And I’ve been trying to cure myself of those negative expressions of it for a long time.
    But I’ve learned a lot about boundaries around what I can ask and what I am willing to let others ask of me, and to clear out my hot button topics so I’m less naive but… it’s all work, and the work keeps coming. Probably always will, but it gets easier.

    I have no patience for power games any more. If I realize someone is attempting to pull me into one of those games I’ll retreat and find some better avenue for expression. Unless I am forced to engage and then I will. But by my rules. Pretty much as long as I can respect myself, I’m fine, even if things don’t turn out the way I’d like.

  6. I occasionally get into power struggles cos i spout opinions that others dont always agree with (nor me always, sometimes i just like to offer an alternative perspective..merc/uranus). I quite enjoy a debate but if it starts turning heavy i’ll back off, healthy debate fine, emotional scenes woh, how’d that happen. My bf and i argue quite alot but i think we both enjoy the battle so it not really a struggle for power, more a struggle to get understood which eventually (so far at least) leads to growth and more understanding. My problem is being right all the time which he just cant handle 😀

  7. I needed to read this. My husband and I are in a power struggle right now.

    I feel so awful because I know I can’t win- he gets manipulative, and the only thing I can do is start name-calling like a child. He always gets what for a few different reasons… The main reason being I A) have a son and I give in so my son doesnt have to hear us argue or experience prolonged tension. B) because I don’t have any family or close friends nearby to go to. C) he is the primary bread winner and his biggest card is to tell me if i dont like something to leave because he pays the bills.

    Smh.. i want to hit him in the face with a frying pan right now. But, I have to give in. At least for a little while longer.

    1. To L, I’m sorry you feel powerless and trapped. I’ve been there. I’m not sure you son’s age but I was in a similar situation when my children were younger. Even if my husband and I were not arguing the tension was there and that is devastating to one’s peace of mind, self-esteem and kids pick up on it easily. I didn’t want my children to see me a doormat. I know I’m not you and my husband not like yours, but I slowly started amassing money of my own – making sure, though I was a stay at home mom – my IRA was funded, any money I earned went straight into a savings account. I kept hostility about this down by making sure I made purchases that my husband refused to do that benefited all of us. I just bought a new dishwasher. It’s for our home, of course, but he didn’t care since he had no intention of ever washing a dish. Fast-forward many years and my kids are young adults. They’ve seen me compromise and be fair. They’ve seen him be selfish and stubborn. I feel like a winner. Was I passive-aggressive? Yes. But I feel for the right and just reason. With Libra Mars conjunct Saturn in the first house, it’s all I knew to be.

      1. I am in grad school right now. I have a little over a year left to go. After school, I can get a job that pays close to his and then his main card will no longer have the power that it does now.

        He has no idea that I am planning on crushing his control. My son will be older then. He will have two years of highschool left by then. I may wait until he is finished with highschool if I have to leave and then, if nothing changes, I am leaving. Not just to live in the next town but a few states away. Hopefully my son will decide to come with me and my husband will never see me again.

        We will have to wait and find out if he is man enough to change. All im asking is to be an equal.

  8. Priests can certainly help, they will provide guidance, what to read, what to accept, how to pray, together. I think this is vital – I am married to a foreigner (Polish)have had to compromise, adapt, We’ve been married nearly 25 years, two sons, lots of bumps like everyone, but I want to stay married, in peace, will work at it for all time.

  9. Hmm. Confrontation teaches measure of self worth and challenges our beliefs. What I’m hearing here is many women compromising their self worth. For too long women have buckled for the children, to keep it together. It’s important that we as women hold strong to our values and fight for justice. How does this resemble the countries inability to find common ground, to cross the isle and have healthy debates? Could it be that we are showing our children an unhealthy way to approach differences of opinion? Pick your battles but hold your ground if it really matters to you. Do so with wisdom and respect for your opponent.

    1. I’m sorry, but holding your ground is not always doable. Imagine if your husband was the sole provider and your only option was to give in or leave.

      If you chose to leave, you’d have to consider where the hell you would go and if it would be better for the kids. You would have to consider if there would be room for your kids wherever you end up, and if whoever takes you in would even welcome them, you would worry about if it would be safe for the kids, how the kid/s will be fed…taken to school, and who would provide for you while you get on your feet. Etc…..

      If you’re already in a position to provide for your kids yourself, by all means, stand your ground.

      But if you are in a situation where you feel you have to give in, you probably aren’t in a position to free yourself, and it’s probably not the best idea to always stand your ground because that could put you in a worse situation than you were already in.

      Sometimes it’s better to give in, at least until you’ve got some kind of plan.

      1. Not to mention if you decided to leave, it is pretty predictable what will happen. After about two weeks the control freak will appear and start to manipulate. You are vulnerable so you will believe anything. The control freak tells you okay we can compromise and this and this is going to change for the better…blah blah blah… so you return to the control freak.

        This is why it’s good to have a plan in order to put yourself in the strongest position possible. You want to try to reduce vulnerability as much as possible.

        Im sorry for ranting, geez!!

  10. I don’t have the energy to go there. If I feel like I am being jacked around too much, I just say back it off would ya? Or call the jacker on their crap. Most times the person is appalled that I would call them into question. Today I called someone on her reversion to her shit attitude and she laughed that I had the balls to call her on it. Now that surprised me. It took some time to get to the point where I can do that with her.

    And then the trouble maker in the neighboring work group was stirring up some kind of crap about me by taking an opinion poll on who I could beat up in a fight. What the heck was that about? She is one to avoid.

  11. I tend to just agree and cooperate (let the other win) as long as I can. Until I can’t. Then I don’t budge (and I’m willing to break things up/cut ties). It’s not mature or ideal.
    Working on it, so I love your advice. Also, this year I find I just can’t “just let others win”.

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