Romantic relationships tend to revolve around power struggles. Even when you manage to resolve a longstanding issue–sex, money, parenting, in-laws, quality time, whatever–another one tends to pop up to take its place. This is because power struggles aren’t really about particular content so much as the need to be right, the need to win. Ultimately, no one wins a power struggle. Even if you seem to “win,” you do so at the price of your partner’s resentment. For instance, maybe you can coerce your partner into spending more quality time–but can you coerce him into feeling good about doing so?
You truly resolve a power struggle only by letting go of the struggle. This requires that you learn to recognize the various ways in which you habitually try to “one up” your partner. Do you lecture? Do you raise your voice? Do you withheld affection? Do you emotionally withdraw? Scolding or punishing your partner in whatever way will not get you what you want. Not for long anyway. You will experience greater satisfaction in your relationship only by getting closer to your partner. Getting closer to your partner means recognizing her as your equal. It means recognizing that your partner will not better meet your needs and wants until her needs and wants are better met. It’s less about “fixing” her than it is addressing your own blindspots. With greater self-awareness comes greater power in every area of your life.