I spent some time this weekend with a friend suffering through unsustainable marital problems. As you know, the pain that this causes generally-happy people is devastating. And while the problems are usually the result of superficial factors specific to the relationship, underneath the layers it always boils down to love or power.
When someone is not feeling understood, connected, or appreciated, they do not feel loved. Alternately, when someone is trying to assert dominance, control, or otherwise change their partner, they want power. In most cases, love and power are lacking or oppressive simultaneously.
This isn't necessarily a dealbreaker if both partners are aware of that dynamic. When you can recognize it for what it is, you can begin to address specific concerns and work on improving or healing.
It will absolutely destroy a relationship, however, if one or both partners does not understand the basic premise of what they want.
That is why the first question required when trying to move forward must be: Why?
Why do I want this?
Why do I think or believe this way?
You should come to the conclusion that everything you think is the result of conditioning or a circumstantial absorption of ideas.
It is very important to understand this--perhaps now more than ever. In an age when information bombards us in the form of manipulative soundbytes and reminders that we are less than, it's prudent to be aware of the cognitive biases and heuristics at work in basic human interactions.
The husband making demands upon his wife according to relationship rules in the bible discounts all of the growth and progress in gender equality that has been made since it was written.
The girlfriend pressuring the man to get married because she's already 29 falls victim to the societal conditioning that would find fault in her not achieving this asinine metric.
We are seen as market segments by the folks disseminating the information. What good will it do them for you to know that Republicans and Democrats are both American, or that people of all races and sexual orientations are still people?
Be aware of where your strong opinions come from, and what you are ultimately seeking. It is the best way to protect yourself from ideas that don't serve you so that you may keep growing.