When my wife and I first got married our relationship went through a rocky patch in which she seemed inordinately emotional to me, and to her I seemed explosively--and frighteningly--angry. She says I would blow up at the slightest problem, and from my perspective she was always upset and crying. It was a difficult time for us.
But my wife kept assuring me that she wanted a Taken In Hand relationship. She kept assuring me that she wanted me to be in control of her. She kept denying that she wanted to be the one in control--and crying whenever I accused her of that.
I could not understand how a woman who was so sure she wanted a Taken In Hand relationship could be so untrusting, so insecure, so bossy, and she in turn could not understand how a man who wanted to be in control could be so angry.
My wife's fantasy Taken In Hand relationship was with a man like the one depicted in the article, Do you have a commanding presence? I could understand my wife wanting that, but that was not me. I tend to react. It doesn't take much to get me mad.
Or it didn't.
My wife remarked last week that I have changed. She asked me what has caused the change that I had not noticed had happened. But she is right. I have changed. These days I am less quick to anger, more calm, more assertive and more content. More calm.
I have my wife to thank for this. She was gentle with me when I blew up all those times early in our marriage. She accepted the unacceptable. She stayed when others would have fled, and with good reason. She and I would not say that I was an abusive husband, but I imagine many woman would. God has so blessed me with this wife. How did I get to be so lucky?
What my wife's constance and quiet reassurance has done for me is to keep me focused on the Taken In Hand marriage we both want. In being gentle with me even when I have not deserved it, my wife has given me the space to grow as a man and as her leader and husband.
At first I felt very angry and frustrated that my wife did not obey when I wanted her to. It did not immediately occur to me that I needed to change how I spoke to my wife, but time and experience and no doubt many hints from my wife taught me that what my wife best responded to was calm assurance and firm but calm control. My wife taught me that my anger did not produce the desired results. It made her afraid instead, and when a woman is afraid, she can't hear you, because she needs to protect herself from you. When a woman is feeling the need to protect herself from you, she can't obey you.
Make a woman feel SAFE and LOVED and there's nothing she won't do for you--nothing.
Our Taken In Hand relationship has taught me more and more how to be calmly assertive, because that is what really works with my wife.
But the unexpected benefit of this is a promotion at work. I am convinced that the reason I got a promotion was because I was and am more calmly assertive: where in the past I would have lost my cool I am keeping my cool, and that has been noticed.
I am finding many different parts of my life have improved since pursuing my Taken In Hand relationship with my wife. I think you're right to stress the marriage aspect of Taken In Hand--these positive changes in me have been since my wife and I got married, not before we were married. When you get married you sink or swim, you have to make it work, whereas if you are not married you don't need to address as many issues. Marriage is a commitment.