One summer while I was a student at Brigham Young University, my roommate, my neighbor, and I hung around with a very statuesque young sophomore and her roommates.
Once, while we were riding up into the canyon together to go moose spotting (Great excuse for a hike!) this young lady mentioned something she said her mother had told her.
Power is the basis of human relationships.
I didn't like the idea. I'm always a little slow on the uptake, and that was no exception, so I think I just said, hmm. But it conflicted with a number of things that I believe.
I've thought about that idea on and off a bit, and I have decided that many people really believe that. In fact, I think that many people confuse certain kinds of interpersonal power struggles for love.
Power is an important element of relationships, I'll grant that. Self-control is a kind of power, without which relationships can quickly become destructive.
Moreover, if there is an imbalance of power, where one person is always at a disadvantage to the other, the relationship tends not to be very satisfying to either. The one who believes him/herself in control may get a false sense of satisfaction, but there also remains an emptiness, a lack of fulfillment.
If you think you're powerless, it's hard to maintain good relationships. And if you think you must always be in charge, it's equally hard.
Service is a much better principle for relationships than power.
And, of course, love is the proper foundation of relationships. Even God, rather than force us to believe and behave, loves us enough to give us a redeemer in His Son, Jesus Christ.
(Which kind of begs a question -- what is love?)