Power struggles

Sometimes, marriage troubles are about power struggles. Plain and simple. The couple gets locked into this struggle for power. Who is in charge? Who pulls the strings? Is power evenly distributed? Or is one of the two people holding all the power? Absolute power. Some strive for that in a relationship; in a marriage. And you know what they say about absolute power – absolute power corrupts, absolutely. They just forgot to say that it destroys, absolutely as well, the fragile bonds of matrimony.
I have a friend, well maybe he’s more of an acquaintance. I met him at the gym. He’s apparently a “multi-millionaire” in town and owns a bunch of restaurants and stuff. He’s taken to giving me pointers on the correct form to use on the machines as I tend to do my own thing to the chagrin of the trainers. Anyways, he and I got to talking today about his divorce. His wife apparently served him with papers over the summer, after a 30 year marriage. He is still a bit defiant about it and he basically does nothing but blame his wife for everything. It seems the whole fracas came down to some blinds. He wanted her to keep the blinds in the bedroom closed and she kept leaving them open. So finally, he got pissed off. And he called her on the intercom one day when they had company, and asked her to come upstairs and close the blinds while he took a shower. Well, she basically told him to get off his lazy ass and do it himself — his words not mine — and so he got angry and took her pillow from the bed and placed it outside the bedroom and locked the door. The wife after that moved herself to a spare bedroom in the attic and stayed there for a year before she finally asked for a divorce this past summer. He can’t understand what the hell her problem is.
I told him bluntly that, first of all, he was wrong to “constructively abandon” her like that by putting her pillow outside the bedroom and locking the door. He countered that she had no right to leave the blinds open. I said, “look, this is bul$&!+. This is not about the blinds. This is about power. You and your wife are locked in a power struggle and the both of you are willing to throw 30 years of marriage down the drain because you are too proud to admit you’re both full of it.”
He had me wrapped up in this conversation for nearly half an hour as I was trying to pedal on the stationary bike. He wouldn’t back down. He wouldn’t admit that what he did was wrong. First of all, if he needed the blind closed so badly, why does his wife have to come upstairs and closed it? “Well,” he said, “because I asked her countless times to keep it closed.” What was wrong with that? “Well,” I said, “she’s not your child. She’s your wife. The fact that she ‘disobeyed’ you does not give you the right to order her to come upstairs and close them. And then to throw her out of the bedroom? Are you serious???”
Well, at this point, he starts to get mad at me. Whose side am I on? And so it went on. But the bottom line was, it was clear this guy and his wife were locked in  a power struggle. And that can really destroy a marriage, I think. His wife probably got sick of feeling powerless and at his mercy all the time. (Sometimes rich guys can be major a$$holes, btw and he admits that sometimes he acts like his name, which happens to be Dick….no pun intended 🙂 )
The thing is, nobody wants to feel powerless in a marriage and some people like to feel all-powerful in a marriage and they are only too willing and gleeful to hold it over their spouse who often can do nothing but bite her tongue, hold her nose, and capitulate. And don’t get me wrong. Sometimes, surrender can be sweet, depending on the situation. But other times,  it’s horrible. It’s like slavery, or something. It’s not a partnership. And it is not very loving for one person to always subjugate the other person like that.
……………..I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about so I think I’m just going to shut up. Whatever….I mean, why am I playing marriage therapist to this guy in the first place? I said I wuddn’t gonna do that no more!!! Sheesh.
The takeway, I guess, is that power struggles happen and it can destroy your marriage. And what a shame. Especially when two people have already invested so much time, blood, sweat and tears in a long term relationship. Ya know?