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Are you a power couple? Do you even know what that question means?
Hollywood carefully crafted it’s definition featuring their poster couple, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, until they broke up. Currently, Tom Brady (football) and Gisele Bünchen (fashion) rank high among power couples.
If you want to toss politics in the mix, a power couple whose ambition was to share presidential fame, Bill and Hilary Clinton fit the bill. Hilary lost in 2016 to Donald Trump. His daughter Ivanka and husband Jared Kushner are considered a power couple in business, and more recently politics.
So, before you attempt to answer the question, let’s see how dictionaries define a power couple.
First, the Oxford Dictionary:
A couple consisting of two people who are each influential or successful in their own right.
Second, the Urban Dictionary:
A relationship between two people who are equally as cool as each other.
Do either of these definitions fit your imagery of a power couple?
In my practice, I work with couples who fit the definitions above. They are movers and shakers in their respective professions. And yes, they are equally cool as each other! But does this make them a power couple at home where it really counts?
Power dynamics in couple relationships is a fascinating study. I educate couples on the flow of power, including the importance of regulating it in marriage. Healthy couples respect the flow of power in their relationship.
Here are my 5 habits of a power couple. As you read, ask yourself, “Do we possess this habit in our relationship?”
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Habit #1: Power couples respect each other’s right to speak and be understood
You have a voice. So does your mate. Do you make the effort to really listen to each other? Power couples do. They will slow down important conversations to give equal opportunity to speak and be heard. Listening to understand regulates the flow of power. They are not quick to add, “yeah but…”
. Instead, a curiosity question may follow–“What do you need me to understand right now?”
The interaction slows to a pace that promotes self-expression, an act of mutual respect.
Habit #2: Power couples give each other space to grow
Personal growth is a lifelong process. You need to establish space in your relationship to foster this. Power couples balance independence with interdependence. They support each other’s interest in personal pursuits: exercise, hobbies, friendships, and educational interests, to name a few. Yet, they also work diligently to meet the needs of the relationship. Again, it is a balance they strive to maintain, so they talk about it regularly.
Habit #3: Power couples influence each other carefully
“You complete me”
was Jerry Maguire’s declaration to his estranged wife Dorothy. She brought something to their marriage he did not possess on his own. Power couples get this. They acknowledge the unique qualities, intelligence, and experience each other brings to the relationship. Furthermore, they allow this power to flow as a form of influence that improves the quality of life together.
Think about it. Each of you brings something unique to your relationship. Once Marian and I understood this, we opened up to what each other brings to our marriage. I admire her intuition. She values my reasoning capabilities.
Habit #4: Power couples regulate the temperature of their relationship
Relationships have an internal thermostat that regulates temperature. Power couples adjust the temperature according to the immediate need. If they are in a passionate mood they may heat things up. When an argument builds, they will cool it down. In general, power couples keep the temperature comfortable for both.
Regulating temperature requires cooperation by both individuals. Power couples understand and use good communication skills to accomplish this. Over time, Marian and I have developed “code language” to help us regulate temperature in an argument. We send messages to each other about spending time together or cues for sex. Trust me, we are not perfect in execution, but it does make a huge difference.
Habit #5: Power couples integrate divine power
By and large, couples who have a shared spirituality exhibit the most dynamic power. I see this repeatedly in my professional work. Personally, I find this habit to be the most unifying element in our marriage. When we engage in spiritual dialog or worship together in church, Marian and I feel an impenetrable bond. It’s as if we tap into a power that surpasses our human limitations.
I find couples who integrate spiritual values experience a unique dimension of power. They are exposed to concepts of unconditional love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness. As these virtues are woven into the fabric of the relationship, couples experience a power that can endure just about anything they encounter. Furthermore, their shared spirituality provides a barrier from some of the common threats endangering marriages. It doesn’t make them immune, but it does help them to develop healthy habits.
Now it’s your turn
So there you have it: 5 habits of a power couple. Does this in some way define your marriage? Is anything missing from the list of 5? How do you fare in giving your mate freedom to express her/his power? I’d like to hear your comments or ideas in the section below or on one of my social media sites.