Every relationship is a seesaw.
Both the good ones and the bad ones and every relationship in between.
A healthy relationship may have that seesaw swing back and forth but for the most part both partners will remain on level footing.
If partners in an unhealthy marriage saw on that same seesaw you’d see it bouncing up and down violently OR it wouldn’t bounce at all. In your case you see your husband with all his weight on one end with his backend nearly touching the ground, and you on the other end, five feet above ground and vulnerable.
Time after time women come to me describing this lopsided power dynamic.
They come to me with tales of husbands that have gobbled up all the power and refuse to share. But not all women blame their husbands. Sometimes these women feel as though they’ve lost their sense of self and purpose and that their husband’s haven’t striped them of power, but something outside of the relationship.
It doesn’t matter who is at fault.
What matters is how to reclaim your power.
The power disparity has been normalized. Your husband feels omnipotent and you want in. Expressing your desire even if it’s to me, here, right now, is a power move. Recognizing what you want and taking steps to get it is powerful.
Regaining that power is possible.
How do I know?
You’re not the first person to feel this way.
Dozens of women have come to me yearning for more of a say in their marriage. They want confidence, balance, and equality – and they’ve gotten it.
But I also realize that the road to regaining power can be difficult to both see and trod.
To help see that path, let’s look at concrete ways you can reclaim your power.
It means that on some level you feel inferior.
That at some level you feel as though your husband is king and while you’re perhaps still a queen, you feel lesser.
Perhaps you feel like you have less of a voice and less autonomy because your husband is calling the shots. He’s the one deciding what food you order out, what movie you watch, which car you buy, where you vacation, and maybe even whether you work or stay home and care for the kids.
In short, he’s making unilateral decisions that impact the both of you. Your voice isn’t being heard the way you want it to be.
It’s this behavior that is making you feel lesser.
You were born an autonomous human with desires of your own. To feel like a complete human you need the power to pursue your desires without having to first ask permission.
This yearning for power isn’t some power-hungry desire, but rather a desire to behave like every human deserves to behave. You don’t desire for the seesaw to swing to the point that your husband now has he feet off the ground, rather you just want equilibrium.
And guess what – you deserve it.
Here’s how to bring the lioness that is already inside you to the surface.
So often I’ll speak with women that have an opinion contrary to their husband’s. Whether big or small they both want different things.
That’s normal enough.
It becomes a problem when time after time those differences can’t be reconciled. When time after it’s his voice that wins out.
If we looked at the scoreboard right now how would it read?
If he’s up a zillion points it means you’re unable to express your truth. That what you want is being suppressed by the person you had hoped would be your biggest supporter.
What often happens is women will lose a few and then remain passive. They won’t stick up for what they want. When we stop advocating for ourselves the power dynamic shifts and our quality of life plummets. Not to mention, if you can’t advocate for yourself, how are you to be expected to advocate for anyone else?
This skewed power dynamic has been normalized.
You deserve autonomy.
Look, the essence of any good relationship is an equal diet of give and take. It’s all about balance.
Discussing one another’s viewpoints and supporting your partner is crucial. Being aligned with your own truth is vital to your happiness.
To begin advocating for yourself, be conscious and transparent about your viewpoints.
If you’re always holding back or feeling like you don’t deserve to share, that’s where the dynamic gets lopsided.
If you struggle to speak up, start with something small.
Perhaps suggest watching something different, eating something you want to eat, or suggesting something you want to do like going to the park for a walk or taking the dogs somewhere new.
There’s nothing wrong with baby steps.
It’s so difficult to be independent when he’s calling all the shots.
So often I’ll be chatting with a woman who has lost her sense of self. Her relationship has been changed to the point that she doesn’t know what she even wants anymore.
Both parties need to understand that the other is an individual with their own likes and dislikes, their own desires, and their own whims.
Part of the loss of our sense of self comes from the belief that our romantic partners should be everything to us. They should be our best friends, lovers, caretakers, nurses, child-rearing partners, tennis partners, bandmates, etc.
The role of the romantic partner has shifted through the centuries.
Back when we lived in fiercely egalitarian societies, our partners weren’t everything to us, hell we weren’t even monogamous. We had a community where every member of that community had a unique role in our lives. We had friends for certain activities and friends for others. The community helped raise the child and the role of a husband as we know it didn’t exist.
Now I’m not saying we need to behave like hunter-gatherers societies once again. But what I am saying is don’t rely on your husband for all your needs.
Invest more time in your platonic relationships. And if you don’t have many friends or family nearby, make new friends! You’re never too old to make new friends. Humans nowadays are lonelier than ever, which also means we’re more willing than ever to make new friends. Join a Meetup, FB group, a gym, co-ed sports team, or get into a hobby you once loved and surround yourself with people that lift you up.
Doing what you want to do outside of your marriage is the best way to regain your independence. Naturally, this will spill into the marriage as you stand up for yourself.
I think you need to give yourself a little credit.
You’re more able than you’ve been letting on.
If you need a reminder and pep talk, allow me to evoke Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.”
Do me a favor and read that again.
If you want to be, do, and feel more, go for it.
You do not need permission to be great. Make a decision, stand by it, and walk forward.
If you want to start a business, get a job, go to Cape Code with the kids, run a marathon, go for it. The only person holding you back is you.
This is your reality.
You’re capable of greatness. Acknowledge your brilliance as a powerful human without limits and the rest will fall into place.
Unleash that power and your husband will take notice.
He may take a moment to adjust. We all struggle with change and adapting to a new norm, but trust me, he will take notice. You can reclaim the power in your marriage.
Sometimes we all just need a little help.
I’ve helped women transform who they are and as a consequence improve their marriages. In my program, the Authentic Relationship System I take women by the hand and guide them to their goal.
With my help and the help of a community of women that understand what you’re going through you’ll benefit from the support and know-how of our community.
I’d love to learn more about you and talk more. Let’s chat via a 1-on-1 call so we can learn more about each other.
If you’d like to learn more about how the women that have come before you have changed their lives, read about how they’ve changed here.