Balance of Power in A Relationship?

Successful parenting is founded on successful relationships between spouses and relatives. We must not neglect our spouse while we focus our attention on grooming our children to become the best they can be. Discuss relationship issues here.

Balance of Power in A Relationship?

Postby Funz » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:52 pm

I seldom start a topic. Just give my 2centsworth in some topics but just wound up one of my businesses so having some free time on hand and doing some musing.

Something one of the forum members wrote got me thinking about the balance of power between spouses.

I think in any relationship, one party usually has the upper hand but for many, the power may shift back and forth between partners, over time. When I was 21, someone, much older than me told me, find someone who loves you more than you love him. I told him, but that might change over time, nothing is static, during courtship, he might love me more than I him, but as we settle into a relationship, my love for him may grow much faster than his for me and so forth. And with this will the balance of power not shift?

I am wondering does this balance tilt heavily towards the husband if the wife is a SAHM or one whose earning power is a lot higher than the wife’s. Which side is the power in your relationship tilted towards? How does one even the keel? Is there such a thing as an even keel?

Just one of my ‘nothing better to do’ musings.

Funz
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Postby 3Boys » Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:32 pm

No, there is no even keel. Two different people, two different roles, two different value systems, two different reasons to be married (you married a husband, he married a wife).

My wife holds the power in some aspects of our lives, and I in others. We don't always like it, but it works (so far!).

<edit> Its a lot of give and take anyway, I've never really felt any serious tension with my DW regarding who has the power in what. Do women feel these kinds of things more acutely?

3Boys
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Postby auntieM » Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:06 pm

Agree! Loads of give and take...luv and respect. If you've been together long enough, it usually developes into a certain 'pattern' on who decides on what.....For my case I must admit I 'm really lucky, my hubby dotes on me after all these years. So I make sure I dun 'guo fern' on certain issues...

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Postby foreverj » Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:16 pm

interesting. may i suggest that this balance of power depends very much on the personality of the individual person. as in, for certain couples, it is very evident for people who know them to be able to see: if the hubby is an MCP by nature, he will naturally hold the power in the relationship whereas if the wife is a domineering figure, she will naturally hold the power in the r/s. in such r/s, the power seldom shift back and forth.

if talking abt a couple who does not have either of the above, then wil be more of give-and-take by both parties and more of the shifting of powers.

foreverj
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Postby Funz » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:11 pm

I totally agree that both party holds some 'power' over different issues affecting them. But somehow, I also think that 1 party will have more of such 'power' in totality as compared to the other. Whether it affects the couple's relationship, that depends on the couple. And circumstances do shift that 'power' regardless of the person's character.

Take for instance, my parents. Dad is a typical MCP, sole breadwinner, mum a SAHM. So when we were growing up, everything is decided and controlled by Dad. Mum did mention, even if she was unhappy with the marriage, nothing she can do cos financially she is unable to support herself and us. Fast forward 20+ yrs. Dad retired and kids have grown up and each giving them pretty decent allowances. This time, I feel that Dad is a little lost cos mum has been taking care of all his needs all the while, cooking, cleaning, even buying his clothes for him. He was leaning on mum a fair bit, which drove her nuts, while he find another purpose after his retirement. Whereas mum is 'financially independant' and free of her responsibility as a caregiver. Move ahead another 10yrs to now, Dad has been taking on his fair share of domestic duties and even taken over the marketing. He has found his groove again and I see a better balance of 'power' between my parents. Dad is more willing to hear mum out or let her have her way as compared to when we were younger.

As for DH and myself, I think there is a better balance now then before. When we first started dating, I admit, I hold the cards. But as our relationship progresses, he started holding more of the cards and in the 1st 2 years of our marriage, the keel was tilted very much to his side. I started to fight back to gain control. And things got pretty bad. It came to a breaking point where I became a cold hard bitch of a wife and he went into major depression that we both had a meeting of minds and stopped fighting for control. Now, we are learning to give away some 'power' while standing firm on others. And to be very frank, I think the keel is tilted a bit to my advantage now. But I know some day, it may tilt back to his side and I believe, this time, I am ok with that.

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Postby MMM » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:36 pm

I do agree with most of what others have said. The power will depend on :
* Personality
* Love for each
* Nature of activity, etc...

In our case, I think it's pretty balanced. We both have our say but when it comes to maybe kids' related stuff, I think i tend to have a bigger say. Eg. classes, activities, etc...

Meanwhile for finances, we are a dual income family. Though hubby earns more than me but he always claim that his after tax income is about the same as mine. So in that aspect, we contribute equally to the family expenses. But being a WCP, I would expect him to contribute more.

Was just having this conversation with our son last night. Daddy insisted that only mummy can control the 8 year old boy as he only listen to mummy and everything that mummy says. He is just a mummy boy. Daddy then suggested to son that, marry a woman like your mummy next time. I told son that if he is a everything "mummy says" boy, I am sure his wife will be furious and will literally give him a punch. Hubby then commented to me that I need to "becareful" of my speech as there are many ears listening (including pils). :lol: So that very much describes our relationship... give and take and each of us just have a role to play. Eg. in a company, without the respective depts, can the CEO run it alone by himself successful???? He can't. So we need to work as a team. I think a family is very much like that and sometimes one's power may be greater than the other but that's because they are "expert" in that matter.

I still believe in give and take and we need to stroke each other's ego at times. No point being too domineering that it comes to a point of dissatisfaction and discontentment about the relationship that it breaks down eventually.

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Postby spikey » Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:43 pm

from my own experience, a long time ago when we did our own balance of power calculations in a relationship, our relationship goes downhill from there...petty squables centring on 'power negotiations' (e.g. who gave in more during the last quarrel so this time the other half must give in, last time i did the housework so this time u do etc) are extremely destructive...

my wife almost gave up on me...until i realised how fortunate I was that she had tolerated me all these years...

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Postby sleepy » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:14 pm

I will consult dh before making any decision. Similarly he will ask my opinion before making any decision. Both of us are easy going & soft spoken by nature, very hard to argue about anything since we reached concensus so quickly. If I veto, he will listen to my reasons. He hardly disagreed with me. So I guess I have the ultimate say? By the way, I'm a SAHM.

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