I have, in my over 40 years of counseling, identified four types of marital relationships. They are:

The Master-Slave relationship: You do as I say without questioning.

The Teacher-Student Relationship: I Know it all and you must always learn from me and listen. You cannot teach me.

The Roller Coaster Relationship: Characterized by Mood Swings into pain or pleasure.

Friendship Relationship: Let’s share common ideas. Hear me and let me hear you. Let’s build consensus.


The Master-Slave Relationship

In this type of relationship, the master considers the slave as having been privileged to enter a relationship with him. The idea of superiority on the part of the master, usually the man, derives either from the payment of the bride price or merely from the idea that the spouse is fortunate among her peers, some of whom may remain unmarried, to be married to  him.

He is a king, ruler and lord and master whose whims and caprices must the respected and obeyed. When he treats you with scorn, shame and humiliation, you must accept them with grace. He does no wrong and should you observe an error on his part, you are responsible for its correction. He is free to punch you with his words and use you as his punching bag to boost his ego. If he is the sole provider of the domestic resources, then you must succumb to his every demand else there would be sanctions; you may be denied access to food, clothing and always be threatened with divorce, or separation. He goes in and out as he pleases but you have no such rights. You must meet his sexual demands whenever he requests for it. You are a workhorse.

The Teacher-Student Relationship

In this type of relationship, the teacher, who is usually the male, knows it all from archeology to zoology. Yours is to listen to him and learn and do what he says. If what he teaches is wrong, you must accept that you applied it wrong because he is always right. You will receive occasional verbal and physical abuses if you disobey or come out with a proposal or suggestion.

In both the Master-Student Relationship and the Teacher-Student Relationship, the Master-Teacher has succeeded in reducing what he has into a mere animal in the house. He or she is losing out big time from the contributions of his or her partner. You are losing on the wisdom that life may teach you of stimulate in you through your partner.

Your future is bleak. The music and food in your house is poisoned because you are living with a person who is vibrating with fear, hate and a certain candidate for depression. Should you suffer from any misfortune in the future, it will be real suffering for you because your partner has not known what love is to use for your care. He or she would give you the pain and bitterness you sowed in him or her. In the end you are the loser.


The Friendship Relationship

In this relationship, you do not need to understand one another because you realize that each of you is too complex to be understood. You accept whatever gift each of you brings to the table of the relationship and dialogue the best ways to make them usable to both of you. You are free to speak out your mind, without fear of being scolded. You are in the relationship to do what friendship is for: “To help one another become better.” The drive always is, “What may I do to make his or her life better?” You are initiate actions that would improve or provide fulfillment Spiritual, Social, Psychological, Physical and Financial quests of your partner.

The Roller Coaster Relationship

This type of relationship swings between the Master-Slave Relationship and the Teacher-Student Relationships on the one side and the Friendship Relationship on the other. Depending on which side you mostly live in, you may have some real love or alienation.