Marriage and Control 1

You do not always have to agree or share the same opinion after you get married. Your ideas do not have to match. Richness and variety in relationships grow from the newness each brings. The key is to avoid the coming controlling and learn to handle conflict.


Marriage and Control: Balancing Individual Rights- Part 1

By Dr. Coach Love


Without going into details, although our parents have been married for over 30 years now, neither his parents nor mine have been the best of role models for a healthy intimate relationship. We have been married for five years and our relationship is beginning to look like that of our parents.  We love our parents, but…we don’t want to repeat their marriages. Yet, we seem to be struggling with each other for control.


In his family, his dad is the dominant one; in mine, it’s my mother who is very bossy. My husband and I agree that our parents’ marriages are based on control. It looks to us like their marriages only continue because one gives in to the control of the other.


We are getting tired of the repeated conflict between us. How can we change our relationship before we get locked into an unhealthy controlling pattern— sort of like our parents?



It is greatly helpful for you that you both can see what goes on between your sets of parents. Understanding the dynamics in your parents’ marriages is an excellent start to understanding your own. Chances are good that, in the early years, your parents’ marriages looked similar to yours with lots of conflict. Instead of learning to create a balance of individual rights and respect for differences, your parents may have adapted to a power struggle by one of them becoming submissive to avoid conflict. May be and could be…


A popular theme used at weddings has been “and the two shall become one.” ‘ONE’ what? Which ‘ONE’? Why only ‘ONE’? You do not lose your individuality and rights when you enter into marriage. I believe that this is a serious misstatement about the dynamic process of a healthy marriage.


More appropriately stated, the theme of a healthy marriage should be “and the two shall become ONE COUPLE of people”. The difference in this second statement reflects that two people still exist and are joined together to meet both common and individual goals in life. You do not lose your self in marriage. In fact, your sense of self and esteem ideally becomes stronger and better developed through your intimate connection. Is this what you would like to do in your marriage?


You do not always have to agree or share the same opinion after you get married. Your ideas do not have to match. Richness and variety in relationships grow from the newness each brings. Couples only need a ‘reasonable’ overlap in values and goals— joined with respect for differences. Conflict and differences are normal in healthy relationships. Differences must be addressed and aired out between partners.


In this ongoing series of blogs on marriage and control, I will discuss individual rights, how to balance them, how to deal with differences, and to handle conflict in a healthy manner. Check back for more discussion. You will be able to grow your marriage without destructive conflict.


What do you think? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.



Dr. Coach Love




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