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.