One aspect of a relationship is how much power each person has. In couples therapy, it can become important if the couple disagrees about who has what power. All relationships deal with the power each person has, but most of the time the issue itself, who has how much power, is not discussed. Couples can run into trouble, however, if there is a power disagreement and they don’t talk it through. Couples therapy, if done well, will help the couple see if there is a power disagreement and will help them work toward talking it through to resolution.
For example, can you say no to your partner? And can your partner say no to you? And about what topics can you say no? And what topics do you allow your partner to say no? And, though not always required, can you talk about saying no to one another?
Say your partner wants you to take out the trash. If you take it out and it doesn’t bother you to take it out (there is no resentment), then there is no problem between the couple and nothing to talk about. If your partner asks you to do a task and you do it and you are bugged by it (there is resentment) and those feelings go away quickly, perhaps there is nothing to talk about. If this keeps happening, however, and resentment or anger builds, then the couple needs to talk about it and work out this disagreement of power. Can you say no when you are asked to take out the trash or do some other task? Can your partner say no to you? Can you talk about when you can say no with each other?
If you are having trouble with resentments, anger, and not being able to say no, and you can not talk it through, then it is time to talk with the couples therapist.
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