There are two ways of relating to others. The traditional way is what Riane Eisler (in her book, The Chalice and the Blade) has called the dominator model, in which there is unequal ranking—like the male over the female, parents over children, older over younger children. The more effective way is the partnership model in which some people are not superior and others inferior.
In the partnership model all members are free of domination and exploitation. In partnership families the long-standing tradition of painful punishment of children would be gone. In family partnerships, conflicts would be resolved democratically and without violence, without winners or losers.
The arts or skills needed in partnership families, as identified by Eisler, are very similar to those taught in Parent Effectiveness Training:
- Open, caring and connected forms of communication
- Empathic, collaborative and equalitarian links between individuals
- Democratic and synergistic relations
- Power with other rather than power over them
- Conflict Resolution Workshop that is both creative and productive
- The respectful dealing with differences
Partnerships in marriages strengthen, nourish and enrich marital relationships, while domination destroys, diminishes and deforms them. Also, dominator relationships are hierarchical and authoritarian, and they foster both verbal and behavioral violence.
In partnership relationships, people are achievement-oriented and stay motivated, while also being loving, supporting and nourishing of others. And, particularly, they use nonviolent ways of resolving their conflicts.
“A living partnership is composed of two people—each of whom owns, respects and develops his or her own selfhood.” (Dr. Carl Rogers)
The famous educator, John Dewey, explained democracy as more than a form of government. It is a mode of living together as “associates” with mutual communication.