I agree that two people keeping score, logging transgressions to weaponize later, and manipulating each other to grasp for power is unhealthy and unsustainable.
And that does sound like most couples I know. And the really interesting part is that all of those couples would define their relationships as “50/50”.
I think its an interesting idea to consider that “equality” may not be the answer to ending power struggles — that it might actually be the cause of them.
In fact, I think that the pressure to maintain the illusion of equality, driven by the moral judgment associated with any other type of power dynamic, is pretty damn destructive.
We have strengths and weaknesses as humans. Some people have more expertise than others. Some have more experience. Some have better judgment.
Imagine a workplace where every employee has the same title, salary, responsibilities, and decision-making authority.
It would be a shit-show, Lord of the Flies, self-interested power struggle of epic proportions. (Congress, anyone?) It doesn’t make sense.
IMHO, the way to avoid the toxic power struggle is to have two people committed to a moral power dynamic that works for them, which capitalizes on their respective strengths and competencies and meets both of their needs.
It’s a hell of an undertaking to design that kind of individualized relationship architecture from the ground up — but when it works, it works really, really well.