Find Ways To Balance Power In Your Relationship

The most difficult strategy involves trying to balance power within a relationship or marriage.

Power is a fundamental aspect of all relationships. Power is the ability to make choices and decisions and it comes in many different forms (see Ng & Bradac). In any given relationship, someone has the upper-hand due to their resources, personality, social skills, connections, and so on (see French & Raven; Foa & Foa).

And typically, power shifts back-and-forth between partners depending on the issue or topic at hand. For instance, it is possible to have more power than a partner with respect to friends, family, and social connections but lack power with respect to financial decision-making, and vice-versa.

As mentioned elsewhere, these power differences are important to recognize because they influence the use of deception. As a general rule, the person in the low-power position is more likely to use deception (also see power differences).

When people lack power, they often feel like they have little control over what happens—decisions are not necessarily theirs to make. As a result, deception is very useful when someone does not feel empowered—it helps level the playing field.

Accordingly, when trying to get someone to be more honest it is important to pay attention to power differences. If you have more power on any given topic, try to include your partner in the decision-making process. Ask for his or her input and respect what is said.

Individuals are a lot less likely to use deception when they feel like they can actively participate in how decisions are made.