Being Taken In Hand doesn't mean being silent

I don't see how it can possibly be of benefit to a relationship of a woman remaining silent in the face of decisions of her husband's that she thinks are wrong. The point about letting someone else make decisions is surely that you believe he is capable of making the right ones, of knowing what's best in a particular situation. If he's made a wrong decision, how can you relax in that situation?

Somebody on a yahoo group told me that she didn't think I was submissive at all, and I think perhaps she was right. I honestly cannot imagine ever attaining a degree of submissiveness where if my husband decided something and I really thought it was wrong I would just let it go. That would certainly not make me feel peaceful, it would just agitate me.

I do not think I would find it relaxing to obey if I wasn't happy to. “There are limits!” as my husband has said to me on more than one occasion. He would be as disturbed as I would if I let him make a decision that I really thought was wrong, and didn't tell him. “Why the hell didn't you tell me?” would, I think, be his response.

What I have found is that my husband can make me feel comfortable with submitting to him, by showing that he cares what I think. He expects me to tell him if I'm not happy with something. Rather than being punished for speaking my mind, I've several times been punished for not speaking my mind. “You're supposed to tell me things!” he points out. He would not appreciate it at all if I took the view that it will be his responsibility to sort out any problems caused by his decisions so I don't need to bother mentioning when I think he's making a mistake. Remaining silent would be rather callous and inconsiderate, I think. And when he makes a decision about an issue on which he knows we differ, I've found he will often make a compromise decision that I am happy to accept before I've even opened my mouth.

If I felt that I couldn't tell him when I wasn't happy about something, it would just make me sullen and resentful, whereas instead I feel relaxed about saying what I think. In relationships in which there is an element of control, it is surely all the more important for the person in control to listen to the concerns, opinions and fears of the other.

One of the best things about being in a Taken In Hand relationship, as far as I am concerned, is that it has made it possible for us to be more open and honest with each other, instead of letting resentments build up and explode into rows. If being Taken In Hand meant that I had to do what he wanted all the time without any regard to my own feelings, I don't think it would be a happy situation.

Rather than turning me into a silent, obedient automaton, being Taken In Hand has made me more communicative—I talk to my husband more than I used to, and tell him things that I never would have in the past. Silent withdrawal used to be something I did frequently—I was a champion at bottling things up—but now I never do that. If being Taken In Hand were about silent submission, it would have increased the tension between us, whereas instead it has diffused it. Being taken in hand doesn't mean being silenced!

Louise C

Taken In Hand Tour start | next


Being taken in hand should not mean being silent or silenced

A shrewish woman who has completely destroyed her husband's self-esteem and emasculated him by constantly correcting and humiliating him for the last 30 years might do well to be a bit more silent on occasion, as suggested by Laura Doyle. The point of that would be for the woman to stop controlling and correcting her husband, to give him a chance to take the reins.

But in a Taken In Hand relationship, the man is in control, and as I said in the teaser on the front page, a man in control would be wise to ensure that his woman feels “heard”. In my opinion, accepting a man's authority should not mean ceasing to have a voice in the relationship. If only one mind were doing the necessary thinking and problem-solving, the other would be superfluous.

I think it is important to remember that we are all fallible human beings, and as such, we all make mistakes, including men, and we all have human fears and wishes that can't just be discounted. The man might well make all the decisions; the woman might well be expected to try to obey even; but I think it would be expecting too much of any human woman to require her to keep her fears, concerns, and wishes to herself. I should have thought that the more control there is, the more important it is for the man to encourage the woman to tell him her opinions, wishes, objections, and fears. This kind of relationship should mean more communication, not less, I think.

Off topic side note: Louise, I had to chuckle when I read this:

Somebody on a yahoo group told me that she didn't think I was submissive at all, and I think perhaps she was right.

This is exactly the thought a number of other Taken In Hand women have had. I think your post nicely illustrates why some of us occasionally wonder if “submissive” is a good label to put on ourselves. From one POV, wanting a man's control implies that we are, but there are so many things the word can mean that do not fit.

Being submissive

I wonder about the meaning of the word too. I do not know how else to describe the feeling I get when, for instance, my husband brings me out of a bad mood with just a word or a look, I find it difficult to think of any other way to describe the way I respond to him in that situation other than 'submissive'. Likewise the way I feel about doing things I don't particularly care for but that I know will give him pleasure, like cleaning things or wearing the silly underwear that he likes, doing those things makes me feel very strongly submissive.

But there is a lot of stuff I wouldn't do, and perhaps that means I'm not submissive. I wouldn't obey him if he asked me to do something that I really hated the idea of doing. I feel that everyone, no matte how submissive, must have limits. Someone wrote in an article about how she would let her husband tell her what she could eat, for instance, but I feel that there are probably certain things that she wouldn't eat. And even Polly Peachum would, I feel, probably have said 'no' had her Master told her to put her cat in the microwave and fry it.

Learning to behave properly in a relationship is a good idea

Louise, I think you are a good example of someone who is submissive, is turned on by your husband's show of authority, but most definitely has her own mind and has limits.

This doesn't exclude you from being submissive except according to the oneupmanship "more submissive than thou" game some people play.

Everyone, but everyone, has limits. That goes for the men also. The reason some are able to claim they have no limits is that they have found themselves a relationship with a dominant man who has the SAME limits.

So if he is equally turned off by whipping you till you bleed as you are at the thought of experiencing that, you might think there are no limits. The same goes for other more edgy areas of S & M...or for being told what to eat for dinner and what clothes to wear.

When someone suggests something that is beyond the woman's limits, that is where the woman, with every right to do so, says No.

Well, actually, one partner's mind might not be necessary in a very one-sided relationship..just her warm and available body might be enough. But clearly that isn't what most women aspire to being. And if they care about the relationship and where it is going they will speak up if the husband is making a huge mistake.

As for shrews, just like any other bully, male or female, learning to behave properly in a relationship is a good idea.



I agree 100% with the comments made in this article. As a strong man, I do *not* want a submissive slave who does everything I say! I want a woman who is my partner, who has her own opinions, and is not afraid to voice them (appropriately). I view it as something like the bridge of a ship—up until the captain makes a decision, then debate is fine. A good captain will listen to arguments from his officers before making a decision, but once a decision has been made, his officers would be expected to obey.....

That is how I see a relationship, in a way—I am the captain, and I make the final decision, but I have an obligation to listen to the views of my partner before making that decision.

Does that mean I want a "submissive" woman? To tell the truth, I am not sure of what the label means—all I know is that I want a consensual relationship, where I am in charge, and a woman who want the same as I do...

Nice article!


Slight quibble

I slightly disagree, Paul. I think it might well be necessary to continue talking after a decision has been made sometimes... You might have made a final decision, but that doesn't mean you have to silence your woman's concerns. Perhaps by talking about it with her, you could help her feel OK about the decision made, for example, by calming her human fears or addressing her human worries.

Hmmm - good point

Fair point about reassuring my partner, and I accept that.

However, I was trying to emphasise that making a decision without her input is domineering, and not dominant, something I would always try to avoid. Also, I do believe that I have the right to make a final decision in our relationship, a decision that might be unpopular with my partner ("this year we visit MY parents for Christmas!", etc). I can, should and would reassure her about the reasons why, but at the end of the day, the decision remains mine.


submission and rulership

the boss mentions:

>I think it might well be necessary to continue talking >after a decision has been made sometimes... You might have >made a final decision, but that doesn't mean you have to >silence your woman's concerns.

Ah, yes. The old 'final say' argument. My own Annie gets herself in a bit of trouble sometimes mentioning this fine say is not always a final decision that cannot be revisited. Our relationship is certainly not like I'm the captain of a ship with a crew of one. I mean, why not go back and discuss things if a decision, even a jointly agreed decision, is not working well for one or the other? It doesn't sound reasonable not to do this....why do we want to live up to the standards of some construct invented by someone else?

As far as the discussion of submission goes, I hate the word, to be honest. I always have. Just exactly what behaviors or what set of actions are you trying to describe with this label? I mean, come on sports fans, as near as I can tell it is THE WOMAN who virtually insists originally to change the pattern of relating in a relationship from one of sullen withdrawal by both to a Taken in hand dynamic. It is the WOMAN who establishes boundaries, limits and so forth. I don't want to burst anyone's bubble but this Taken In Hand is not about male rulership. It's just not. The woman controls way too much and she does so since before anything started.

I'll tell you what it is about though. It's about PARTICIPATION. Mutual participation. Decisions are not handed down by some all knowing male sho by virtue of his claimed rulership knows better than the woman and will automatically act in her best interest. Oh, sure, he may make final decisions, he may intervene when the woman needs him to take her in hand, but this is all by consent, all by design of, again, the WOMAN.

The woman is controlling the thing in the end, she just needs us men to participate actively with our sexual control from time to time. If we're not doing things right, she's going to let us know. The woman wants connection with us and she will fight for that connection as ferociously as meow meow.

But don't kid yourself about submission being some tame, subservient thing. It is consent for sexual control and that is all. There is no value, no limits, no way to quantify it. It just is. It is simply a way to gain participation through sexual and erotic connection.

My opinion on the subject...Frank Nelson

How final is final say?

I have always understood this term to mean that the decision has been made for now. I have never thought that it did not mean that it could be revisited if the partners are not happy with it after. A decision on eating the final piece of cake is final I suppose. Once it is eaten there is no going back to get that piece again. But most longer-term decisions can be revisited and modified, changed and tweaked. By saying I give my husband final say, it only means that I have agreed to respect his decision if he says he has made one. If something is going wrong after the decisions is made it is not wrong for me to point out what I see happening. He has a tremendous amount of respect for me and my judgement. Often he will defer to what I see. In the end though I see it as a tool for him to have control when he feels he needs it. This allows him to make put our relationship first, no matter who is "right". For so many things in life there really is no right or wrong answer. You rarely ever know once you make a decision if the path you chose was the right one or not. You can never know what was down the path not taken.

I think you are bang on when you say it is about participation. That was my experience. My husband never fully participated in our relationship until after he took me in hand. If it made either of us participate less I doubt it would be right for us.

Not all of us who are submissive to our husbands are meek mice. There is no way to quantify submission. There is no better way, only what is better for me or better for you. And the control of the husband only goes as far and as long as the consent in the relationship is there. There is always a way out. Good post thanks for sharing it.

Take care,

Agree with Frank Nelson

I read Frank Nelson's comment with relief. I've been reading through this beautiful site—I've read hundreds of pages and made two anonymous comments—and have been getting the very clear impression that Taken In Hand is basically a forum for women trying to clarify how they would like men to communicate with them. Or PARTICIPATE with them, to use Frank's excellent word.

As a man, I hope to be a good student.


Frank Nelson sounds like he i

Frank Nelson sounds like he is barking up the bitter tree. I can see where he is coming from though, and it is funny. At the end of the day Frank, it is not your "butt" on the line or a different way, you aren't the one changing with possible consequences.

Loving dominance vs domineering

Surely though, the whole point is that the lovingly dominant man won't ask anything harmful of his loved one? Whilst insisting she eat something she doesn't like can hardly be classed harmful, neither is it particularly loving. To my mind that's entering the realms of being domineering, dicatorial and at worst a downright bully. That certainly is not how I interpret loving dominance. Insisting on harmful/distasteful outcomes is simply not within the remit of what encompasses loving dominance. If however he prevents her from doing something he KNOWS will result in harm to her, that's a totally different matter ...and that's where the difference lies I think.

The whole eating thing

Whilst insisting she eat something she doesn't like can hardly be classed harmful, neither is it particularly loving. To my mind that's entering the realms of being domineering, dicatorial and at worst a downright bully.

I believe it was I who made the comment that my man could tell me what to eat for lunch or what to make for dinner. Yes, he could and I leave that option open to him because (as I said elsewhere in the article) I know that he does not take control of things just to be in control.

Technically, one could say that he could tell me to eat brussel sprouts or a big pile of salt or a spider, but I know this man and I know he doesn't do things just to show that he can make me do them (except in bed and that is a whole different ball of wax, LOL).

All I meant was that if he wants to walk in the kitchen and say (which he has), I am having a craving for ABC, please make that for dinner tonight." Then I will make it and I will not bitch and moan about how he is making unreasonable demands on me or how he just thinks I am here to serve his every whim or whatever. If I can't for some reason, then I tell him and we figure it out.

If however he prevents her from doing something he KNOWS will result in harm to her, that's a totally different matter ...and that's where the difference lies I think.

This is more along the lines of what I was talking about when I was saying that he could tell me what to eat. The big one that I could really see happening is one of us getting tired of my mood swings caused by my food addictions and deciding that I need to stop drinking coffee or whatever.

Then we would discuss how to best do that. Yes, in that case we might be sitting in a restaurant and he might tell me not to order dessert or not to get the coffee or whatever. He might call me in the middle of the day and ask me what I ate for lunch. If I was having trouble, he might tell me what I can and can not eat or what not to buy.

I do not know what he would actually do, these are just some of the things that I can think of might be in the realm of possibility. The point is, that he could decide whatever path he chooses, though of course I would have input; it is my body and he has very little first hand knowledge of recovering from an addiction. But it would be in his ultimate control and I would follow his judgement and we would work within the framework he institutes. If it wasn't working we would modify it.

His control and decision making power always hinges on his working toward my and our relationship's best interest. I trust him to do that and that is why I give him my trust, because he earned it.


re: loving dominance v domineering

It sooo depends upon your perspective and your personal history. The readers here are so varied. The woman who has experienced a twenty year committed but occasionally difficult marriage—who then finds Taken In Hand with her husband and goes on to heightened happiness with this same man who has always been her trusted soulmate, ... has a far different understanding of phrases used herein and all over this site, than the woman who has escaped a twenty year marriage controlled by the whims of a self absorbed bully.

I have to continually get myself on the same page as you all when I hear phrases like “telling her what to eat because he knows what is best for her... or what will do her harm.” The life of the bullied woman is peppered with those phrases—designed to deflect the truth --that arbitrary blind obedience is the goal for obscure unrelated reasons.

We such women arrived at this site and use it for relearning. I am learning that the leadership I seek is out there and not always diguising a bully. The limits to my submission will be different than for the next woman. I am learning from the gentlemen on this site what a healthy man requires from the object of his love is no more than what she is able and willing to to give.

For many of us, this is a new and novel concept. My marriage looked normal and even envious. But much of what defined my reality were concepts that started with the phrase “I am not allowed...” I am learning that that is not an element of Taken In Hand, and a true Taken In Hand husband would likely want to redefine things if his wife felt that way.

I see selfless love from him as a replacement for the former demanding selfish neediness of the past.
I see her selfless love as a replacement for her former blind devotion of the past.

I seem to keep saying this. Wow.


re: loving dominance v domineering

This is such a good topic for me. I am a submissive woman. I have spent a life time seeking a dominant man who would take me in hand. However; what I continually did was picked domineering men, which were self absorbed bullies. At 48 I turned to the BDSM community because there did seem to be a faction of men that were dominant but understood the difference between "dominant and domineering". I feel fortunate that I have found a man who has agreed to help me find my limits and push them, while discovering the difference between my wants and my needs.

I will interject this note of caution...within the BDSM community there are many men claiming to be dominant who are in fact domineering egotists.

With that being said. When trying to determine my needs, my wants, or what my limits are. Sir always gives me a voice. He generally starts with an article, a scenario, or gives me a topic for an essay. We talk about what I have read or how I feel. (He rarely asks anymore what I think about it. As my thinking processes makes him crazy, but that is for another thread.)

The point is he does not act immediately on or make any decision concerning any of the information I give him about how I think I feel about something. Early in our relationship I wondered why he even asked at all, but as time has gone by. We will be interacting and I will find myself in a position of where I want him to take more control. The next thing I know he is taking the control in such a way that I submit to where I thought my limit was. (Referring to soft limits) He then takes it just a little further and I find that my needs have been met and my limit has expanded.

I find it fascinating the way he collects information, puts it together and then brings it back to me in such as way that I respond receptively. I believe what this process is teaching me is what my hard limits are, what my wants and needs are, and how to effectively communicate them.

So I do not believe silence is golden. I think communicating is essential to any relationship. How and when man uses the information he is given is his choice. If it is always disregarded or minimized and the woman never sees or feels that she is heard, then for me I would have to really look at the core of the relationship.

"A few good men...."

I can relate wholly with you on this Fortunata. I was in a similar type of marriage and also came to this site to relearn behavior and for some reassurance that there are really “good” dominant men out there. Thank you for sharing this side of our coin. I am sure many of the single women that find this wonderful blog are looking for the same things we were.


Silence is not golden.

I can't imagine being silent, nor can I imagine my loving hubby wanting me to be. He is always asking me what I think about this or that.

He has made many decisions over the years, and I have given my opinion, fears, concerns, or even information he did not have. There have been a few--very few--times when I felt strongly about something and was upset. He really listened then, because I am not prone to temper fits or controlling behavior.

There have been mistakes made, or things neither of us anticipated, but that is life. The mistakes weren't made out of selfishness or lack of care for me or our family.

Enabling Trust

I enjoyed this article and the resulting comments very much and the syncronicity with my current life issues surprised me.

My husband and I just went through a series of decisions that resulted in financial changes in our life. All positive and necessary but one of them raised my fear flags. I voiced my opinion on the subject and I could just see him cringing because he was certian I would take a stand and refuse to move from that position. Until the last year or so, I would have. This time, after I had my say, I dropped it and haven't brought it back up. He did listen to me and I appreciated it. I had decided this morning that I would tell him how much I appreciated him listening to my opinion on the subject, but that I trusted him to make the right decision.

After reading this segment I realized that the reason I can relax into my trust of him is because he took the time to listen to what I had to say, in spite of his worries that I would become obstinate about my position.

Thanks everyone!

Re: Enabling Trust

I think you`re totally right about having to trust your husband about certain decisions. We always talk over major decisions too and he always listens to my concerns. If I`m really worried about something he thinks it over and then decides what to do. But even if the outcome is not exactly what I wanted it to be ,I feel comfortable about it because he took the time to listen to my opinion.

How could anyone...

I read through all the comments, and I agreed with most of it... There is only one thing I wanted to come back to...

One of the writers wrote:
"Well, actually, one partner's mind might not be necessary in a very one-sided relationship..just her warm and available body might be enough."

How can that be a relationship, and who could anyone want a relationship like that if if were? Love, Respect, Cherish... There has to be an actual person in order for you to have that... If all you have is a "warm and available body" you are probably better off masturbating.

Maybe I am just being narrow minded, but I don't understand it... How could anyone want that?

About the word "submissive"

While I believe myself to be submissive at heart, I prefer not to use that word with others. The reason? In my opinion, the word seems to have been co-opted by the BDSM community to mean a certain set of very specific attitudes and behaviors, not all of which describe my own submissive nature. One of the reasons that I could never embrace BDSM—having spent several months reading and conversing with others about it—was that there just seemed to be so many rules, so many unspoken—and sometimes spoken—assumptions about what "being submissive" meant.

So I do believe that I have a submissive heart, but within a loving relationship, that submissiveness will likely play out in rather difficult to describe, and certainly impossible to contain, ways.