Do I have to be a control freak to take my wife in hand?

I think I've finally figured out (or admitted to myself) what I really have doubts about when it comes to a Taken In Hand relationship. This probably should have been written before my post, but what are you gonna do?

Anyway, when I think about a Taken In Hand relationship with my wife objectively, I can see where this type of relationship could really be of benefit to our marriage. I can honestly say the whole family would benefit from stronger leadership from me. After thinking this through (and I don't know how many times I've done that in the last few months) I always come away feeling inspired and motivated because I know it is the right path for our family.

But then there are times when the bubble has burst (which might be most of the time) and I start having doubts, and the most common question or doubt that comes to mind is: What's in it for me?

Taking a firm hand with my wife sounds like a lot of work and, honestly, sometimes just keeping my own shit together is hard enough. Keeping my wife in hand too just sounds like a real drag.

Unless...I were a control freak! Which I am not! And I don't get the feeling that most of the men here are control freaks. Or am I wrong?

I mean, if I were a control freak, I imagine I would thrive on running other peoples' lives, but that has no appeal to me. In fact, I've been sitting here, married all these years, just waiting for something to happen and for cooperation and industry to "break out" and people to just start doing the things that need to be done. (Ha, ha, ha, ha....let's all pause for a long, cathartic fit of semi-hysterical laughter!)

There have certainly been many times over the years when I have stepped up and been the head of the household and made necessary decisions and "done my job" but, sadly, there have been far too many times—and this is probably something that has been increasing in the last 5 or 6 years—when I've been...weak. Argh! And believe me, people do not just step up and do what needs to be done! I think this is true in families, workplaces, churches and just about any other group that exists (except perhaps in the Type A Personality Society if it exists.)

OK, so I've gotten over the idea of an egalitarian lifestyle. I know without a doubt that it isn't even a possiblity for my marriage. I have more self-discipline than the rest of my family (not that I'm perfect) and I know my wife needs me to lead, but herding the family like a neurotic German Shepherd (we have one, I wonder if he could be trained, hmmm....) just doesn't appeal to me. I am not a control freak!

So, do I have to be a control freak to take charge in my marriage?

And if I do actively take charge, what's in it for me, seeing as how I'm not a control freak? Is there some other sort of satisfaction that I will experience from all this friggin' work? (Perhaps having a happier, better balanced family life?)

Sometimes I look at all the damned responsibility that sits on my shoulders (real, imagined, existing and potential) and I get discouraged. Why should I take charge if I'm not a control freak?

Hmmmm, after taking charge of my wife and becoming a strong head of the household, perhaps the solution is to effectively delegate? Geez, just thinking about the amount of control I will need to make that work is intimidating. It seems a daunting task.

Ok, enough rambling.

So, the bottom line is:
1. Do I have to be a control freak to take my wife in hand?
2. What's in it for me? It looks like a huge amount of work with no benefits! (Well, a better love life for sure, but I'm not sure that's enough in the long run.)

Robin F. (with a penis)

Taken In Hand Tour start | next


My 2 cents

Hello Robin, I'll try to give you some advice for whatever it's worth.

First, no, you do not have to be a control freak in a Taken In Hand relationship. You may be misunderstanding that. I could not for a moment live with a control freak. A control freak for me is someone who micro-manages and constantly checks up on his partner just to see if he/she is doing their work right. (A bit off-topic, but I had a boss like that once. It didn't last long and almost turned me into an axe murderer).
Being a control freak a) screams insecurity and b) it diminishes the other person, because the implied reason behind the controlling action is that the controlled person is too stupid to do their job right and needs constant supervision.
I think a good leader lays down some ground rules which he makes sure have to be observed. You are not supposed to run other people's lives. There is indeed nothing more tiring, because any grown-up should be able to do that himself/herself.

Second, I am not sure if a Taken In Hand relationship is really for you. You say:
"Taking a firm hand with my wife sounds like a lot of work and, honestly, sometimes just keeping my own shit together is hard enough. Keeping my wife in hand too just sounds like a real drag."

You say you are inspired and motivated by this website, but if you consider leading a drag, a male-led relationship may not be the right thing for you. Which is perfectly fine. Not everybody can be or wants to be a leader. Your wife sounds like someone who occasionally needs to be told what to do and step up to her responsibilities. So, lay down some rules, e.g. certain things around the house have to be done by a a certain time and see to it that they are really done. If you're not at home, don't call every ten minutes to see how things are going (control freak), but by the end of the day check if she has done what you told her to do.

As to your question what's in it for you, well, some people think leading is sexy. They thrive on telling other people what to do. If this is not for you, so be it. It's your life. There are Taken In Hand relationships with a lot of control, and some with very little. Maybe that's the path you should take. Lay down the ground rules, but don't think the success of your relationship rests on your shoulders alone. Your wife has to step up to her responsibilities.

Jessica Rabbit

Control freaks are icky

My husband is easygoing with me anyway which is fortunate because I need a lot of freedom and not a lot of scheduling. Most of his rules are more like common sense but he enforces them. He thinks it's important for us that I obey him.

I don't know why leading your wife would be a drag. But if she thought you felt it was a drag, probably she wouldn't want you to do it.


Hi, Robin. I am a husband who

Hi, Robin. I am a husband who is (always working on) taking his wife in hand, has a few children and runs a business. I have a personality similar to yours in that I don't want to be bothered with the details of something unless I actually need to do it—and even then, I'm looking for a way to not have to attend to it next time. I'm not "alpha" or a superhero.

You are right that delegation is the right way to manage your family, but you are going about it the wrong way. I suggest you read Steven Covey's essay, "Green and Clean," to learn about a model of delegation that will fit your personality.

Green and Clean

Obviously I don't speak to my wife as I speak to my children. You'll best know how to approach this in your marriage. And, there is no getting around the hard work you'll have to do during the acceleration phase. It doesn't have to be like that all the time, though.

Regarding getting yourself together first—you will never accomplish it so long as you think you have to be competent before you can have responsibility because exercising due responsibility is a requirement of competency. Just practice at it; work hard to get to where, through muscle memory and family habits, the default is to continue.

hard work

If you find the prospect of being in charge hard work, then I would think that probably a Taken In Hand relationship is not for you.

My husband has always been quite bossy about some things, and I think he has found our marriage less hard since I began making more effort with the things he cares about, and paying more attention to what he wants. He seems to quite like being able to tell me what to do and have me do it.

He doesn't chivy me all the time, mostly he leaves me to get on with what I have to do, and gets on with what he has to do. But he doesn't mind chivying me when it becomes necessary.

But if you find the idea of this sort of thing unappealing, then probably it isn't your thing.


Different Degrees

I think how much work it is on a day to day basis really depends on the degree of control you and your wife need. There are many different degrees just in the relationships on this website.

There are Taken In Hand relationships ranging from where the man micro-manages, to relationships where the man steps in and makes a final decision only occasionally. And every kind of relationship in between.

I disagree with the other posters just a little. I think if this site appeals to you, then a Taken In Hand relationship is probably for you. It sounds (reads) to me like you have an idea of how it should be and THAT idea is what seems like too much work.

But there isn't "one true way" or a set of rules for Taken in Hand. Your relationship doesn't have to fit any type of mold. Have as much, or as little, control over your wife as you guys need to make your relationship work. You make the rules for what works for you guys. Good luck!

What's the problem?

Mate, you sure about the penis? Only kidding. What's the problem? What's a drag about taking charge? It means you get your own way. What's a drag about that?

What do you find interesting about a Taken In Hand relationship if it seems like a chore to you to wear the pants?

No idea why you think it sounds like hard work. There's a lot you can do to make changes that won't be hard work. Read The Married Man Sex Life Primer 2011, by Athol Kay for some ideas.


To questions:

1. No.
2. Darlin', a better love life is *always* enough in the long run!

"It looks like a huge amount of work for no benefits"

Robin F. (with a penis),
Sounds to me like you pretty much answered your own question.

If I were you, I'd probably look into other ways of maintaining order in your household. I am not the most organized person in the world, so I understand what you are saying. I couldn't lead to save my own skin. If my husband couldn't do it, we'd be a shipwreck. I'm not coming down on myself, it's just the truth—I have other talents which serve us and our community very well, but organization just isn't one of them.


Replies re not being a control freak

Regarding The Introduction
To this post: I am VERY motivated by the sexual side of Taken In Hand.

Since starting on this path, our love life has been better than ever before and my wife has remarked half a dozen times about how good our marriage has been lately.

In fact, after writing the above, I think I may have answered my own question from the original post!

....Eh!.....What are you gonna do?

Jessica Rabbit

I don't find leading particularly sexy, however it is my job in our family. I know that and I'm very good at it, regardless of how I appear in my pathetic, whinging post.

I think you are spot on about the rules. That is probably where I need to expend the most effort.


The missus doesn't think I think it's a drag, because we haven't really talked about Taken In Hand.


Hopefully the weather will be nice this weekend, because I know a nice, secluded spot that's at the end of a very nice hike. And I have a Tuffo Outdoor Blanket and a bottle of flavored vodka all ready to go. :)


That's a nice essay, thanks for the link.

And I agree with you about the acceleration phase. It's an inertia thing, right? Extra effort, push through it, I can do that!


I find Taken In Hand VERY appealing, but I think Window put it succinctly when he used the phrase acceleration phase.

I know this will be a lot of work to put in place and I've never been afraid of hard work.

On the other hand, as the saying goes, "Hard never killed anyone, but why take chances?"


Thank you for your words of wisdom and perspective!

Taken In Hand IS for us and I will make it work, because I have to for the good of my family!


Quite,sure, mate. It was most definitely a penis last night when I dallied with the missus and I predict it will be in the morning when we have another go.

As for "getting my own way" that's not really in line with the Taken In Hand concept, is it?

A dominant leader puts others, his wife, family, tribe, whatever first. I experienced that just the other day. It's OK though, I missed an opportunity, but I'll make up for it when the time is right.

Sign me-

Definitely Robin F. (with a penis)

Not a control freak

Even a president or king has people who advise them even though what they say may be law. They advise, and the leader takes this advice into consideration.

Also, it is not too much work down the road! It will be easier as it goes on, as you both will work together to make each other productive and happy.

Sasha- Thank you for the

Sasha- Thank you for the encouraging words. They do ring true and I will keep working hard in pursuit of a better life.


Robin F. (WaP)

hard work

You keep on saying it is going to be hard work, which makes me feel that it is probably not for you. For me, the idea of introducing Taken In Hand into our marriage was to make less work for us, not more. I think my husband finds it less stresful, rather than more, to have me more compliant, and more attentive to his needs, and more willing to accept his judgement on the things he cares about.

If this doesn't seem to you to be appealing, if you just see it as work, then what is the point?


God created man and rested.

God created women & no one's rested since.

Hi, Louise-

The goal is certainly appealing.

I expect that with progress there will be less stress, more happiness and a better life for the wife, myself and The Fam!

But of course progress generally means work, which is fine. As I said above, I'm not afraid of work.

The purpose of my original post was to discover the perspective of other Taken In Hander's for, while I am not afraid of work, I am always looking to learn from the experience of others. (I hate reinventing the wheel!)


Robin F. (with a penis)

Unaddressed problems

In this post, Nyle suggested that Tekn In Hand seems burdensome for the husband.

It is a mistake to think that correcting someone is a burden and that only a control freak would think it important. Quite the opposite. Once something is corrected, a problem is solved. One solved problem leads to further solved problems.

One's life gets easier, not harder, when work is placed into taming those in one's charge. In the case of one's wife: Yes, the benefit is more to her (and should be more to her). And yes, a good husband will put his wife and their reklationship first, or he would be a tyrant.

Leadership brings success and success brings easier leadership. For the best leaders, a simple nod will do.

Problems in life, left unaddressed by someone in control, exponentially grow to entail even that which seemed previously OK. But the solution of one problem also creates the exponentially growing solutions to other problems. Sometimes a bit of controlled violence is needed. Sometimes a loving reminder is all that is needed.

Thank you, Caleb- Those are

Thank you, Caleb-

Those are truly words of wisdom and you inspire me to work....even harder!

I do believe things will get easier as we go.

Thank you for the encouragement.


Robin F. (uu=======>)

Confidence & Benevolence

A confident man leads and makes most of the important decisions after asking her for her advice and counsel. He asks for her opinion but not her permission. He maintains boundaries for himself and for her. He encourages her to feel what she feels and do what she wants within those boundaries. Then a woman experiences freedom while feeling treasured and protected.

A woman’s greatest need is to feel secure so when a woman acts nasty it is usually because she is feeling insecure (and therefore she tries to assert control, which only makes her feel more insecure).

What good is a man if he cannot benevolently lead and relieve her of the burden of being the primary decisions maker?

She may initially resist letting go of her control, so a man needs to confidently maintain his composure and always 'keep the frame.' He must not give in or appease her to placate her. If necessary, he must be like an oak tree which will outlast her tornado.