Health & Well-Being

Marital Power Politics

If you’re in a continuous power struggle and don’t like it, you can try to discuss the issue with your partner. However, be aware that such conversations are likely to be confrontational, since a domineering person likes the position they hold, and will often resort to hostile tactics to stay right where they are. Be patient, stay calm, and stick to your guns. Point out that you expect to be treated as an equal and your partner cannot always have their way or tell you what to do. Point out how being treated as an inferior makes you feel more resentful than loving, and that means you’re less interested in doing things that make them happy.


Talking it through is one approach. Another, and a more important one — don’t allow yourself to be forced into doing something you don’t want to do. When you feel that’s about to happen, calmly explain that you will do this instead of that, and don’t allow your partner to draw you into an argument about it. To learn how to be effective in this regard, you might want to consider assertiveness training, on which there are a number of excellent books, or you may want to seek help from a marriage professional.

Regardless of how you approach the problem, it’s important for your personal well-being and the goodness of your marriage that you do something. While submitting to your partner’s demands is less stressful in the short-term, in the long-term you’ll be much happier if you can find ways to make your relationship more balanced.

If you occupy a submissive role in your marriage and you’re comfortable with that, well, frankly you shouldn’t be. A willingness to be submissive can signal other problems, such as a lack of confidence and self-esteem, attachment anxiety, or a fear of abandonment. If you feel your emotional state or personal traits are at the core of your submissiveness, these are issues you need to deal with first and foremost — ultimately you will be much happier for the effort.

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