It may seem to many people that requiring my wife to be obedient, to follow my directives, is not only anachronistic, but considering modern social “norms” of equality between the sexes, is simply wrong. Yet, in my observation of modern relationships, too many couples I know or have observed are locked in a continual struggle for power. This struggle too often leaves the couple disconnected, unhappy, and disenchanted with the modern relationship. It is not my purpose to suggest that we all return to the social norms of an earlier age, but I do believe in the quest for equality between the sexes we have lost something special.

Right from the beginning of our relationship my wife wanted me to wear the pants in the family. As a matter of fact, those were the exact words she used. She is a highly intelligent, confident woman, who could survive quite well without me, but she really wanted me to be in charge. She was not interested in a relationship based on so called equality. We have a traditional marriage in which she expects to be obedient. To her, obedience is not only a matter of respect for me and our relationship, it gives her a greater sense of security knowing I am deeply involved in her and it also adds an erotic charge to our daily life. Yes, obedience is sexy. It is romantic. It creates passion! For her, knowing her man is in charge partly hearkens back to the kind of atmosphere between couples that was so often evident in some of the old movies she used to watch. You know the ones with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn or Clark Gable and Carol Lombard, or even John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. I know this may seem hopelessly romantic, but don't we all want our relationships to be romantic and passionate?

It is the expectation of obedience that creates between us a real connection. I am not the kind of husband who gives many orders. My wife is a capable woman who does not need me to micro-manage her life. In fact, I believe when the head of a household attempts to micro-manage his wife's life it says more about his insecurities than it does about his power in the relationship. We most often consult on important matters. But our consultations are charged with the knowledge that I am the head of the household. I am more than willing to accede to her desires in many cases. I depend on her expertise and advice. But once I make a decision that this is the way it's going to be, she almost always agreeably submits. By being obedient, my wife opens herself to intimacy, trusting that I will do what is necessary for her and us.

She does not really submit to me out of fear or because I am the head of the household and she had better do as I say or else. That is not the primary motivating factor for her obedience. It is true that the threat of a spanking always exists if she disobeys. And the certainty of consequences (a bare bottom spanking) may motivate her, but her decision to obey is really a matter of respect and trust. Her submission to me stems from her knowing me so well and loving me so much, that she wants to submit. She trusts me not to abuse the authority she has given me. It also fulfills the desire she has to be submissive to her husband. Being a Christian, she accepts her role as a submissive wife, but her submission would not be as pure or as meaningful if it were something that was forced or came purely from obligation and/or duty.

Some people make the mistake of assuming that if a woman is obedient she loses her autonomy. It may be true that she loses some freedom of action, but doesn't any relationship require the same? Neither am I free to do as I wish. A relationship requires a sense of mutual obligation. However, if I require my wife to behave or act in a certain way, she does so because she wants to and because I have proved my commitment to her. By agreeing to obey me, she surrenders to the discipline of our marriage. For her it is not so much a sacrifice, as it is a way to connect to me in a deep and meaningful way.

Just because I require my wife to obey me does not mean our relationship is a one way street. If my wife asked me to do something, I would do it. I want to please her and make her feel cherished. But just as a captain steers a ship, so I have her consent to direct our relationship. She may say to me, “hey, let's check that out over there”. And because I love her I would steer the ship in that direction. But I still would control the rudder.

It is difficult for me to understand how a taken in hand relationship could work if it were based on equality. It would lose much of its power to move my wife if there wasn't an expectation of obedience. What does it mean for the man to be the head of the household if the woman gets to pick and choose whether she submits to the man's decisions? My wife would be the first to tell you that that would weaken my authority and denature the dynamic we have together. My wife has accepted me as the head of the household (as undisputed “captain” of the ship!). We have an understanding of “dominant” and “submissive” as equitable and complementary and not “superior” and “inferior” and an acceptance of the “captain's” right to sanction behavior that is harmful to the relationship or to her. This does not mean a mindless obedience either. If I were to demand that she do something that was unethical or against her conscience, it would be her duty to a higher power or set of principles to do what she knows is right. However, if I was the kind of head of the household to demand such a thing I would not be worthy of her trust in the first place.

Here is an example of how her obedience has played out in our relationship. Several months ago I told my wife that she needed to go to the doctor to have her shoulder checked out. For a year she has had trouble with her shoulder, but never did anything to alleviate the problem. Some nights while we were lying in bed she would be in tears from the pain. Claiming she was too busy, she didn't act on my advice, so finally I gave her a direct order to get her shoulder looked at. I gave her two weeks to make the appointment. The two weeks went by and she still hadn't made the appointment. She had disobeyed me. This ended up with her being turned over my knee for a paddling. There was nothing erotic about this spanking; it was a serious disciplinary session. The very next day she made the appointment. This is an example of the kind of control I exhibit in our relationship. We have established a relationship dynamic in which she knows that when I do give her an order she had better obey. She knows that the consequences of disobedience will most likely be a very sound spanking.

Every Taken In Hand relationship must depend on a certain amount of obedience. The very act of telling my wife she is to be spanked is an example of her obedience. When I tell my wife to take down her pants and get over my knee for a spanking or tell her to stand in the corner she may voice some complaint or plead for leniency, but she will dutifully do as I say. She is thereby making herself not only physically vulnerable, but emotionally vulnerable too. This is an important moment not just for her, but for me as well. By obeying me during a disciplinary session, she is creating and nurturing a dynamic that carries through into other parts of our relationship. Isn't this what we all find so powerful about a Taken In Hand relationship? It is this exchange of dominance and submission that makes this such a powerful dynamic.

For those who have their panties tied up in a knot at my audacity (conceit), please understand: this is truly consensual. Also understand that I do not give many orders. But I know that on the occasions when I do direct her to do or not do something she will (usually) obey. What particularly interests me about this is the effect such a trust between us creates—how that ripples into other parts of our life together. This obedience develops between us a tide of feeling that is truly powerful. If nothing else, my wife's decision to obey me creates between us a deep and abiding passion. Does this same passion exist in a relationship where both are equal? Hmmmm.... I wonder.

The fact that my wife obeys me does not mean that she does not hold me accountable too. She does. She will admonish me when I have thoughtlessly hurt her feelings or have done something that she believes is inappropriate. I want her to tell me when she thinks I am screwing up. I do not find this is incompatible or contradictory with the fact that she obeys me. It may seem contradictory, but in practice it is not. She can tell me things because she knows I care about her and value her opinion. She knows I will take her feelings into account. Yet, even though she expresses these things to me, she (usually) does it in a way that is respectful of my authority as the head of our family. It does not undermine my dominance or her submissive nature. I can tell this just by the look in her eyes. Because I feel confident in my role within our family, I am able to humbly (usually) accept her advice and yes, even her expression of disappointment in one of my decisions or actions. In fact I would argue the man who cannot admit to his wife that he has done something wrong cannot be trusted and is not worthy of being the head of the household.

IMHO a taken in hand marriage depends on the obedience of the wife to her husband. Without obedience, the dynamic that makes taken in hand so powerful would be undermined and weakened. Obviously this a delicate matter, especially when in the early stages of a taken in hand relationship. In order to obey or submit, the wife must be able to trust her husband as the head their home. So, of course I would counsel that any couple starting out keeps their dynamic simple or limited to a few small areas that both can agree on. But over time as the woman gains more trust in her man as the head of the household she can comfortably give herself to him wholeheartedly. With this trust comes her submission to his authority which allows the Taken In Hand relationship to truly blossom.


Taken In Hand tour start | next


Great piece

Stephen wrote:

I believe when the head of a household attempts to micro-manage his wife's life it says more about his insecurities than it does about his power in the relationship.

Absolutely, I couldn't agree more. I pity women who have submitted to head of the household's who aren't trying to lead but instead choose to abuse the gift of submission their wife has given them merely to bolster their own self-esteem.

And for the record, I see no conceit in this piece but rather the kind of self-confidence and security that is no doubt a by-product of the relationship you and your wife have.


There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.--Edith Wharton

"Conceit" is also an extended

"Conceit" is also an extended metaphor that spans the length of an essay or work of literature. But I agree, there is no conceit--that was just a metaphor.


Great article, and I like Daisy's comment too, but I want to let you know that not all micromanagement is equal. This is such an individual thing. I personally enjoy being micromanaged in some ways, and would not have my husband stop. I like being told to get an early night. I like being told not to wear revealing clothes when I go out without him. I like the fact that he wants to know I am keeping my appointments with my doctors. I also like the fact that he stops me drinking too much coffee, to help ensure I get enough sleep. It depends on the person and what she herself wants, right? The most important thing is, is this consensual or not? Some gals like micromanagement; some don't. Some like it in some ways but not others; others hate it. I'd hate lists of rules but I don't mind a little micromanagement now and again. The main thing is consent, right?


Hi Kerry,

I understand your concern about my choice of the word micro-management. My point was not so much to suggest that a couple could not design their own rules of behavior. Some of the rules you mention I enforce with my wife as well. It is up to each couple to determine what level of involvement they want from the head of the household in the daily life of his wife/SO. It is important for the couple to discover what level of dominance and submission meets their needs. My concern or worry is that some head of the household's may take his power too far. The question must be asked, does he have the best interest of his wife/So at heart? Or is he mostly controlling her to serve his own needs. This is a delicate matter. I have seen too many men become control freaks whose controlling behavior I consider to be abusive. The question to ask yourself is does your practice of DD make you feel cherished and cared for? Only you can know for sure. If it has been negotiated and you have given him your consent then so be it. If his level of involvement as a head of the household works for you then I say.....enjoy!

Wonderfully said Stephen

Bravo Stephen. You have spoke of a very harmonious and beautiful sounding marriage which reminds me quite well of my own. Finding that equilarium and knowing you have that perfect balance with each other is to me heaven on earth. God Bless :)


Evolving obedience

In his beautiful article, Stephen wrote:

In order to obey or submit, the woman must be able to trust this man as her head of the household. So, of course I would counsel that any couple starting out keeps their dynamic simple or limited to a few small areas that both can agree on. But over time as the woman gains more trust in her man as the head of the household she can comfortably give herself to him wholeheartedly.

Do you have any thoughts about how to do this? Where to start? How? And about how to proceed? And do you think that it should be the woman who controls the rate at which the sphere of submission widens?

Stephen's reply

Hi the boss,

There must be an open and honest discussion between you and your husband/SO about what kind of DD relationship you both want/need.
There is no one right way. The two of you must determine what level of dominance and submission makes you both feel comfortable. Communication and negotiation is the key to getting off to a good start. Start out by designing a few rules. Give him the authority (consent) to enforce those rules. I suggest you start with a few simple ones. Since I don't know you it is difficult for me to know what you and your SO consider important. We have been at this for more than 5 years, so our list of rules have changed and evolved over that time. Some have remained, others have long been discarded as unworkable or unimportant. Don't be afraid to tell him when something is not working. By making a suggestion that one of the rules is not working does not mean you are usurping his authority. Again, communication is a key. Starting out it may be a good idea to set up a weekly meeting to discuss how things are going. Whenever my wife has a concern about the nature of our DD relationship I make time to discuss it with her. She sits on my lap and we talk face to face. Overall, I can place my concerns for her in three broad categories which would cause me to discipline her..... disobedience, disrespect, and dishonesty. Within these three areas we have discussed the specifics. Here are some examples.

Perhaps the most important, is respectful communication. I have discovered through painful experience how destructive arguing can be. It leads to a downward spiral that must be nipped in the bud. This means no destructive arguing, no hurtful words, no pouting or withdrawal. I am very strict about enforcing this kind of misbehavior. This does not mean she is not given an opportunity to share her opinion. I welcome her comments or concerns. She just needs to do it in a way that does not cause a disconnection in our relationship. I have never spanked her for being in a bad mood, however she is not allowed to take her bad mood out on me or someone else. I have never spanked her for having an honest disagreement with me.

Another concern is for her personal safety. Some examples are no speeding, must wear a seatbelt, must call me if she is going to be out later than she anticipated. I don't mean late by a just a few minutes. This mostly applies to late night outings or long trips, not a trip to the grocery store. This concern can cover a host of things which means I want her to use her common sense. As I mentioned in my article on obedience I want her to take care of her health.

Her most recent trip over my knee was caused by her pentience for over committing herself. She is a very generous person. She has a great heart. But this sometimes leads her to over schedule herself. By doing this she becomes exhausted, cranky, and sometimes neglects her responsibilities at home. She also tends to volunteer my services. Now I don't mind if she comes home and asks me if I would help her or another person on a community or church project, but I want to asked first. She has done this a number of times and has been spanked for doing so. This time she over scheduled herself at work, agreeing to work another person's shift. This meant that she was going to work 10 days straight. This has happened before and I have told her not to do it. It is just too much for her and our family. So I took her over my knee and paddled her bottom.

The point here is to discover between the two of you what is important, what works. To answer your last question I think it needs to be a mutual decision making process. There may be some things that are so important to him he will not be willing to compromise. For example, if she gets a speeding ticket she will be spanked. I will not compromise on issues of her personl safety. But on other matters they me be less important to me and then yes if she wants to change it, we discard it.

None of these things should be decided w/o your consent. So starting out, pick a few things that are important to the both of you. Schedule a meeting once a week to discuss how it is going. We have never used a safe word. I think it undermines the necessary trust needed in a DD relationship. But for some couples, especially if you are trying to discover your limits or if he is learning how to spank, it may be a good idea for a while.

I hope this helps somewhat. Please disregard anything here I have said that doesn't feel right. I am not an expert. I am still learning too. Read from a number of different sources here and elsewhere. 1DD is a site with some good discussion, but there are many other sites that discuss DD dynamics. I am sorry for the rambling disorganized nature of my reply here, but I wrote it in a hurry. Please feel free to contact me at highway61m@aol.com if you have any more questions or concerns.


An amazing article, I am printing it out for my head of the household to read. Thank you!

Stephen's Article on Obedience

Thank You so much for posting this article. It is fantastic. This is pretty new to my Husband and I and this article describes esactly how I want our relationship to be.
Again, Thank You

Horror movies

My partner is head of the household. We do talk over and about many many things, but certain rules she will not budge on. One of those rules is horror movies. She knows that if I see a horror movie I am up all night. The rule is absolutely no horror movies at all, all movies have to have her approval, and when I am going to a movie with friends she must know the title of movie, rating etc.

movie censorship

I must say I can't imagine letting my husband tell me what movies I could or couldn't go to, I think control freakery can be taken too far Is this what taken in hand means, you can't do ANYTHING without consulting your partner first. Do you have to ask permission to breathe? I think this would very quickly get on my nerves.


'Censorship' hurts when it is enforced against one's will and the man in charge feels he is in the right. I wish my only problem from my man was movie censorship in all respect! It is my man's 'censorship' in every aspect of my life that hurts the most so I wish I had your problem!

What Taken in Hand is and isn't


Taken in Hand is based on the "old fashioned"* idea that the husband is the head of the household. It's not for everyone, and from all the accounts I've read here, no two people implement it in exactly the same way. It's not a prescribed set of rules you must follow, more like some guidelines that you adjust to suit your circumstances. It's also something that both people in the relationship must agree to (and that's something to bear in mind when reading other people's accounts—that both partners have agreed to their way of managing their relationship). If you both don't agree, it's not going to work. In that way, it's no different from any other style of relationship.

And once you decide to try a Taken In Hand-type relationship, if it doesn't work, well, no-one's going to force you to continue. The best relationships are those that suit the needs of both people involved, and those needs may change.

*old fashioned as in something that has fallen from fashion, not as in something that is dated and therefore bad or faulty in some way.


"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" Hamlet, somewhere.

As a "old" frenchman

As a "old" frenchman (70 years old), I agree with your point of view. It has been the case all along for my two marriages, and in various ways.

I must not quite get it. If

I must not quite get it. If I defied an order to see doctor I would feel more cherished, loved, cared for etc. if he simply asked a few questions about my schedule, made the appt. for me, cleared his schedule, and came along for moral support than if he spanked me. But then if I was not seeing a doctor when i was in pain it would imply an underlying fear. The cost (esp. in underinsured at the time) the pain, the likely diagnosis and prognosis (ie preferring denial to the grim reality) or something. Spanking would not help much with any of those problems. Concerned discussion and support woud be much more use.

Aye aye Captain!

You sound a pleasure of a head of a household in a consensual, traditional, romantic but guiding sense. These dynamics work well in business. A good boss earns respect from showing you how but implementing the ground rules. He demands a good service and loyalty. He rewards those who achieve both and put out to get it. OK, so a boss doesn't spank his employees (perhaps in erotic fiction, maybe?!) but this can be symbolic of a good working dynamic.

And marriage or a strong, common law relationship, fluorishes like a business if you cut the equality overkill. Homo sapiens evolved because natural leaders were sought for guidance, protection and leadership in the face of danger or uncertainty. Surely we are just following a natural selection in the most intimate sense of the word.

I don't feel you are being conceited. In fact, we all are way too heavy on ourselves on the modesty front. If you have a strength, you use it to your best advantage. Yours, Stephen, is steering the ship of life with your amiable and loving First Mate in tow. And you have the respect to listen and learn from her input. Only a fool would ignore the opinions, suggestions and reservations of a loved one.

You'll certainly make an Admiral soon!!

Pink Cheeks

Good Article


Nice article. I am relatively new to this site and have enjoyed reading many of the posts. The reason I chose to respond to this one is because I am currently divorced from a man whom I thought was the love of my life. He had many great qualities, but being head of the household was not one of them.

Now, 20 years later, I know deep in my heart that this is what was missing from our relationship. Although I don't know that I ever thought about being disciplined as referred to on this site, I often got tired of him not 'stepping up to the plate' and making decisions. While he may have thought he was pleasing me by letting me do what I wanted, what he was really doing was putting all the responsibility for our lives on me. It was overwhelming! I was (and still am) a professional woman, with an increasingly demanding career and the mother of 3 children. He insisted I worked and I was (as most women are) the primary care giver of our children and cared for our home. I was exhausted. I wanted to have a life where he took on at least the financial burden of our family's life—not that I wouldn't contribute—but he was not working towards building his career so that I could one day not have to work so hard outside our home.

It seems to me that the men on this site pride themselves with being able to take care of their families and understand that with their wife's submission comes great responsibility. I wish my ex could have seen the light—but then, perhaps we were simply too young. I know I couldn't effectively verbalize what I needed then and since I felt all the responsibility was on my shoulders, I am sure I was no joy to live with.

Well, that was my lesson learned so after 20 years of raising children, I have started to date again and I certainly hope that I find a man who understand this philosophy and wants to put it into practice

Taking charge

Like you I never knew how to express my desire for my husband to step up. I know I asked him several times to do it. I took it as a personal disrespect. Maybe he was just unable to do so. Our marriage ended after 23 yrs. I shall always love him for who I thought he was but it did not work. He would not take charge.

I continue to read and reread. I am also rethinking some issues, understanding others and getting closer to my final decision. I found the article on obedience enlightening and do not find it as frightening as I did a week ago. Thanks everyone for such great reading and different points of view.


Respect first, then obedience

For me, the cornerstone of a Taken In Hand relationship is respect. Respect is the fuel that drives the engine of this kind of relationship; without it, I will not willingly do what a man tells me, not without a lot of resistance and a need for the man to do an awful lot of persuading, something that infuriates most men, in my experience. The more resistance I put up, the greater the likelihood that I do not trust him. The problem is that I don't trust him because I don't respect him.

Conversely, if I respect him, and trust him, he can ask me (or tell me) to do almost anything. However, even this ability has its limits, since no one knows you better than you know yourself, no matter how much they might have observed you, no matter how much time you've spent with them. My limits stem from being unwilling to go against my inner guidance, which has built-in warning alarms that tell me when I will get hurt.

A man's micromanagement of me is another issue altogether. I have found that micromanagement works for me, but most men I know find it tedious, which is too bad--they're too laid-back for the kind of relationship I like best. Micromanagement gives me the sense of containment that I need, but again, it doesn't work if I don't have respect for the man. Most men who have micromanaged me have also had their own issues with trust, though. It's been my experience that they usually micromanage because they like to have complete control, which isn't a problem unless the desire to micromanage is hiding their own insecurities and fears--although some insecurity and jealousy is understandable.

No man I've ever known intimately is so self-assured that he doesn't have those issues to some extent. The question is, does he behave in a way that allows me to continue to respect him, or does he throw a highly emotional fit if I step out of line? Micromanagement is a fine art; the man should impart his belief that you can do the thing he wants you to do, without having to resort to yelling or manipulative tricks.

does a relationship on equality have what your does ?

well may be not but they arent always bad. i live in one and am blessed with someone who would smile give me a kiss and call for the appointment himself .... i aint saying you did wrong just that our type of relation work too..have great time together