Entertainment Love and Romance How a Psychotherapist Wants You to Handle Power Struggles in Your Marriage 3 easy steps. Share PINTEREST Email Print Christian Vierig / Getty Images Love and Romance Relationships Sexuality Divorce Teens LGBTQ Friendship By Marni Feuerman Psychotherapist Barry University University of Florida California Southern University Marni Feuerman is a psychotherapist in private practice who has been helping couples with marital issues for more than 27 years. our editorial process Marni Feuerman Updated May 08, 2019 Power struggles can wreak havoc on your marriage if you let them. When your partner wants one thing but you want another, a mental battle of wits can ensue. And even though, in theory, you should be on the same team, it can feel like it's you against your S.O. in the moment. Most romantic relationships reach a stage where power struggles emerge and when this happens, it's important to handle them in a way that won't cause resentment between you both. When people discuss power struggles in relationships, they are really talking about "energy" tussles, where one person’s energy clashes with another’s. Most of the time, the problem occurs when one person wants the other to do something that they don't wish to do. Power struggles can happen between any couple at any time, but you always have choices when it comes to how you behave in these tough moments. Although it's easy to get caught up in the moment and let anger get the better of you when emotions are high, it's not the only way to deal with disagreements and heated issues. Ahead, find out several helpful methods for coping when a power struggle rears its head in your relationship. Back Off When a disagreement arises, you can decide not to put pressure on your partner if you want to. Then, if they try to stir something up in you, you can walk away until the situation has calmed down. No one can force you into a corner unless you allow them to. This method of dealing with power struggles is most useful when a situation has been blown out of proportion and you find that you're not getting anywhere anyway. It can also be beneficial to back off if the problem stems from an inconsequential issue that's not actually worth fighting over. Change Your Energy During a power struggle, people tend to fight each others' energy. However, if you alter your energy, there will be no reason for your opponent to be defensive. You can easily dissipate a feud by shifting your attitude. Doing so does not mean that you are defeated. It means that you have decided to find a more positive way to cope with the issue. You can turn the situation around by not talking for a while or trying to listen to what your partner is saying to you so that you can understand their point of view better. You might also try lowering your tone of voice when you respond so that you sound calm while you state your own point of view. Communicate Effectively When a fight breaks out, you'll want to use logic rather than emotion to get your message across. This can help both of you feel more relaxed and calm. Communicating with them will become easier and feel less like a fight if you approach things in this manner. At some point later, if you decide to discuss what happened, you can tap into what triggered your strong reaction. Focus on what may underlie the anger—whether you were feeling hurt, abandoned, or dismissed. You'll have a better chance getting your partner to respond to these expressed emotions than to anger. At the end of the day, power struggles in a marriage are never easy. However, you can choose to back off and let matters cool down, or let the situation slide entirely if you decide whatever you were arguing about doesn't mean that much to you. Alternatively, you can work on shifting your energy, as this will change the energy of other people around you.