A happy end to marital deadlock

A happy end to marital deadlock

Men who love women who want to be taken in hand, may nonetheless fear committing to the way of relating that their women want. They may think it is not normal for a man in the modern age to control his wife, at least not normal in the statistical sense. Most couples don't live in a Taken in Hand relationship. And what would friends and relatives say if they knew? And how does Taken In Hand help the man to feel positive about his relationship? If he likes the idea, he may well feel guilty about it.

What does the woman say, to coax her man into giving it a try? Should she tell him that it is good for him because he gets to be in charge of most things, which really means that his job is to do most things, or at least organize most activities that support the household? Does she tell him his feelings will no longer be particularly relevant, because his job will be to nurture hers? Why would most men want that?

The answer is that they wouldn’t. Most men should not be in a Taken in Hand relationship, and therefore most women should not offer it to them. Indeed, I would caution women to not seek a Taken in Hand relationship with a man, unless she knows that he enjoys control and he also already believes, on some level, that he should be willing to profoundly sacrifice for his family and has demonstrated his sincere desire to do so. And a man is not an appropriate taken-in-hand kind of guy unless altruism and thoughtful concern for his wife's feelings are already a part of his character.

Now perhaps these traits of his have been thwarted at home. Perhaps because their marriage has been “equal” and his taken-in-hand-inclined wife has thus felt endlessly frustrated and unsatisfied, the marriage has not been as happy as it might have been. Perhaps his wife has, in attempts to communicate with him, soured their relationship by criticizing and arguing. When the irrelevant but necessary mundane details of life have sapped the energy and time the two individuals used to have for each other, it is easy for both to lose the empathy and passion that started it all. It is the vague doubt, the unfulfilled need for love, the insecurity about a lifetime with someone who now seems strange, that drives the (often unconscious) search for reconnection. At least argument requires the presence of another human being, temporarily, so perhaps this is why it occurs so frequently.

But argument is a temporary salve. And it is sheer torture for a man to live with a critical, argumentative, unhappy wife. To a man, unhappiness on the part of his wife can seem like criticism of him and his ability to make his wife happy. He needs her to be happy. An unhappy, angry, critical wife may be arguing to try to deal with feelings of frustration, disappointment, loneliness, and even feelings of rejection and abandonment and the terror of being alone in the world. She may feel desperate for connection and find her husband distant and unconnected. She may have put too much of herself into the relationship and be expecting more or different than her husband is able to give.

“Where is he, emotionally? And if I define myself through him yet I cannot feel him, then where am I?”

To the husband on the receiving end of all this, it can seem as though his wife is trying to destroy him. He may wonder if his wife thinks that perhaps if he bleeds too, they will at least share their suffering together. At a loss to know how to deal with this, the husband either jumps into the maelstrom and is sucked inside, or distances himself even more. Round 2.

The wife doesn't understand why her efforts to connect with her husband fail so dismally, and the husband doesn't understand why the wife seems so upset and angry with him.

And then the wife finds Taken in Hand. It is such a relief. And indeed it can in many cases solve this kind of problem. Connection at last! A man who helps her feel secure and always loved. A man who is present for her, virtually always, seems ideal.

But why would her man want to try this new relationship style? Why should he be willing to devout his career, all of his organizational talents, his intelligence and care, and sometimes even his very life to protect his family? Why should he be willing to sacrifice his own feelings and wellbeing to protect and cherish the feelings of his wife?

Why? Because she is finally offering to him something that she has withheld for years that he wants. The ability to be himself. Sounds like a cliché, but it is exactly the right formulation. Let me explain. Regardless of who is ultimately at fault for the emotional distance that has been created between them—and blaming and faultfinding is rarely constructive—her haranguing and his emotional distancing in response cause great pain and suffering. And Taken In Hand offers a direct, immediate, and forceful solution. It requires of the man an understanding of a complex problem, but it is one that he can solve.

A take-charge man loves to solve problems. But if his wife doesn't let him do so, he will leave the marriage, whether he physically walks out or not. In particular, if a modern relationship does not value his take-charge propensities, then he will take charge elsewhere, for example at work, and psychologically check out of the relationship at home. His ignoring of his wife, and her arguing with him, are two complementary dysfunctions paralyzing many a modern relationship. Many alpha males have (emotionally) left their modern marriages.

But when a woman says to her man that even if she fights, he has the right (indeed obligation) to stop the fight, right then, the invitation encourages his innate engagement. She appeals to his problem-solving alpha nature. In giving him control, she is giving him the power to stop her haranguing, and she is giving him a way to make both of them happy. In giving him the right to take her in hand, she is permitting him to be himself at home as well as work, and he revels in the power, even if it entails self-sacrifice.

What type of engagement can she expect? This obviously varies from couple to couple. But a woman offering to a man a Taken in Hand relationship is offering to trust that his decision is the correct one (even when it isn’t) even if just for the purposes of ending a corrosive argument. And she is saying to him,

“Even if I fight you, you have permission to do what is safe and necessary to control me to make things right. More important than the content of our argument is the engagement you have with me. Exercise your rights to spank me, discipline me, caress me, or rape me. But whatever you do, be with me.

A woman asking a man to take her in hand is offering much, for she is bravely baring the actual content of her feelings—her need to be loved and cared for by a force greater than herself. She is putting her husband in control, and putting an end to the deadlock that may have all but destroyed their marriage. Her expiation involves subjecting herself to his judgment, but also to his compassion and love. Her feelings of rejection are ended as much with the force of a spanking or a commanding look as with a kiss, her subjection a new denouement, as she collapses in love in his arms.

Alpha Husband

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Comments

One possible problem

Taken In Hand can work in some such cases, I agree, but in marriages in which the man is emotionally distant because he can't stand his wife's arguments, anger or misery, Taken In Hand is not likely to help much. If the wife simply expects her husband to take her in hand, and fails to make that an appealing or even possible proposition, I very much doubt that Taken In Hand would help. Notice that when Louise wanted her husband to take her in hand, she made the effort to give him more of what pleases him, she didn't just demand more from him.

General

You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear... and I know a lot of men have no interest in taking women in hand and some would quite like to be taken in hand so I agree with your comment that this isn't something you can easily force on someone.

The best way it works (and we don't live in an ideal world) is to find someone who doesn't find that a burden, who has to control, who isn't feeling it's an effort. It is just being himself. When someone really just wants a quiet life and no nagging (what man doesn't) that is very different from enjoying, probably erotically too, control.

Marital deadlock

Thank you for writing such a lovely piece from the male perspective. My husband loves being the leader in our family and has grown so much as a person since I stopped fighting him for equality in our marriage. Nevertheless, we sometimes feel uneasy that we are going against social norms by having a male-led household. Your article reminded me that we shouldn't feel guilty and that it doesn't matter whether we are going against 'social norms', because this is working for us. My husband taking me in hand has moved our marriage forward and moved us both forward as individuals.

I gave my husband the gifts of respect and obedience. In return he is so much more engaged and present in our relationship and I am so much happier! Arguments used to get out of hand and become spiteful. Now, thanks to the new calm in my husband, if he sees that things are spiralling out of control, he stops me. That look that he gives me or the slight embarrassment of being spanked stops me in my tracks and makes me control myself, so we can have a calm debate. I'm so grateful that, with my husband firmly in charge we no longer ever reach the point of deadlock in our marriage.

Jane M.

Guys that can't take criticism

I liked your article for the most part and agree theres alot of women that never shut up but theres alot of guys out there that can't take criticism- I dont think thats taking charge I think thats being a control freek. IMO Taken In Hand won't work unless Husbad and wife can sit down and talk thru any issues they have.

True

It always takes two to tango. In charge or not.

Very good article. ;D

Kaiser

It's about the HOT SEX

"How does Taken In Hand help the man to feel positive about his relationship?... Why would most men want that?"

Because it's SEXY. Because it allows him to dominate his woman in a loving and romantic way, which turns them both on and heats their love life up to a toasty sizzle.

"The answer is that they wouldn’t. Most men should not be in a Taken in Hand relationship, and therefore most women should not offer it to them."

Well, if you see it as an altruistic act of self-sacrifice on the man's part then, yeah—very few men are going to be attracted to that. Imagine that. No healthy person wants to be a sacrificial victim. Altruism has always seemed to me to be a very misguided ethic. I much prefer compassionate and enlightened self-interest.

But, of course, I do not share your vision of Taken In Hand as a huge and burdensome sacrifice on the man's part. I see it as a chance for him to have fun flexing his manhood muscles and enjoy the thrill of dominating the woman he loves. That way it's a win-win situation for both of them. I also disagree with your idea that it's not right for most men. Because I believe most men are innately inclined towards sexual dominance and that innate desire is all that's really required as motivation to start down this path.

It's not all that's needed to do it successfully, though. In order to be a loving and masterful dominant man he needs to be willing to cultivate the virtues of manhood within himself. I suppose you could try to cast that as some sort of altruistic "sacrifice" too, but that is something else I would strongly disagree with. The reason to cultivate a virtuous character is because that is the only way to be a truly happy person. So that too is ultimately motivated by enlightened self-interest.

"Why would her man want to try this new relationship style? ...Why? Because she is finally offering to him something that she has withheld for years that he wants....A take-charge man loves to solve problems. But if his wife doesn't let him do so, he will leave the marriage, whether he physically walks out or not."

Wait, let me get this straight: you think the reason a man would want to take on a dominant role in his marriage is so that he has the chance to "SOLVE PROBLEMS"?? Well, heck, he doesn't need to become dominant to do that. I could just hand him a calculus textbook and he could get right down to work solving gnarly math problems day and night, to his heart's content. And just in case he isn't solving them fast enough, I could stand over him with a whip and whack him once in a while to goad him on. Then it would truly be an act of altruistic self-sacrifice on his part. But he would presumably be one happy camper, because he would be getting the chance to do what all men most passionately desire to do with their women they love: namely, to solve all of their PROBLEMS for them.

Or, we could go with my vision of all this instead of yours. I don't need a man to "solve problems" for me, thanks. I have a very high problem-solving capability myself. The reason I want a Taken In Hand relationship is because it's a huge erotic turn-on for me to be bossed, pushed around and sexually dominated by a strong, powerful man. And I assume the reason he wants a Taken In Hand relationship is because he gets a hot sexual thrill out of pushing me around and dominating me. And it deepens the romantic bonds of love between us because few things can liven up a marriage like deep sexual passion. I happen to think that my vision is both a lot simpler and much more appealing than your vision. But to each their own, I guess.

I did find your end paragraphs beautiful and touching, though:

"She is saying to him, “Even if I fight you, you have permission to do what is safe and necessary to control me to make things right. More important than the content of our argument is the engagement you have with me. Exercise your rights to spank me, discipline me, caress me, or rape me. But whatever you do, be with me.”

A woman asking a man to take her in hand is offering much, for she is bravely baring the actual content of her feelings—her need to be loved and cared for by a force greater than herself... Her expiation involves subjecting herself to his judgment, but also to his compassion and love."

Yes. I especially like the part about his right to rape her, as she is "loved and cared for by a force greater than herself." That sounds very passionate and romantic to me. Do you think maybe the rape and ravishment and romance thing might possibly hold more appeal for the average man than the chance for him to solve all of his wife's problems?

Every once in a while I read something here at Taken In Hand that makes me wonder if any of us are really talking about the same thing at all. This was one of those things. I say yes to love, caring, vulnerability and all that. But a big NO to this idea of the altruistic self-sacrifice and problem-solving of the long-suffering dominant husband. In my book, if he does not actually ENJOY loving and dominating his woman—if he is not getting a huge erotic thrill and romantic zing out of that—then he is not really a dominant man at all. Any man who would find it a burdensome bother and a "sacrifice" to dominate his woman is not one that I could be attracted to at all. I'll have no sacrificial victims in my bed, thank you very much.

Why take her in hand?

It is seldom that two people see things in precisely the same way so I feel it important to second, from the male side, what she has expressed. To my notion, she has exactly captured the psychology of a loving, aggressive male. It deepens my intuition that healthy male/female needs and psychology are exquisitely attuned and complementary.

The passionate fire of irresistable personal commitment

As a further note, I do not wish to imply that the considerations of the initial post are indifferent or irrelevant. But I will say that the initial post has the drag of duty and obligation to it and the utter empty dreariness of trying to live through others, instead of the passionate fire of irresistable personal commitment.

Hot sex

I agree with Dee Marie. I don't agree that most men are necessarily like that. I expect it would be too hard to work out the percentages because we'd find it hard to define dominance. A lot of lazy men love a woman to do everything they say (who wouldn't?) but they don't seem to have the inherent dominance gene I need, they don't get the erotic charge from the control. So yes they'd love to lie back and get constant massages nad have someone run their errands but they don't feel a need or even desire to be giving instructions. If it's a burden then they certainly aren't right for me. It should be as easy as breathing as because they want/have to take decisions, just like I don't find it hard to be submissive. It's just there. I don't put it on or act it. It's not hard on the whole.

On the percentages, hard to tell. Go to some countries in Africa, much of the Middle East, India, Pakistan, Thailand, lots of latino states (i.e most of the planet) and it certainly seems that most men are pretty happy women are submissive to them. They aren't exactly queuing up to change the law to allow women to drive in Saudi (... important issue in lots of Western marriages as to who drive actually, another topic..) But I'm not so sure that proves say 60% of men are dominant. A lot of those may like their women in charge, bossing them around, dominant. Many men probably want a fairly equal partnership. I never noticed my ex husband very keen to take any decisions. He liked me to so he could blame me when the decision was wrong. Nice.

Yes: Solve Problems

I agree with the statement that men like Taken In Hand because it allows them to solve problems. Of course the problem with the highest priority is SEX, as DeeMarie implies. Most men need sex in order so be satisfied (I guess few would disagree with that). And they also need sex to be on their conditions, not as a service to be bargained for on a regular basis.

But I think it is also a fact that most men yearn for the power to solve the problems in their relationship in general. Men generally loathe listening to endless problem descriptions and being forbidden to solve the problems, and then being accused of being irresponsible because they walk away from the tirade. Taken In Hand in many cases gives them the power to solve the problem and thereby gives them the opportunity to engage with their wives again on a basis that is more than satisfactory to them. So I think Taken In Hand to a large extent consists of the wives empowering their husbands to solve both of their problems.

Many wives regularly accuse their husbands of irresponsibility in the relationship, this is perhaps a plea from the wife for the husband to take more power, but in todays world the power must be explicitly granted by the wife at some point. The wife may be waiting for the husband to become more responsible, but in the husband's mind it is a logical impossibility to be responsible for things that he doesn't have power over. Neither is he willing to grab the power against his wife's wishes. The power must be granted. Some husbands will accept it and never drop it and steadfastly utilize it for making their wife (and themselves) as happy as possible.