In retrospect, I've learned that my wife's desire to be taken in hand was driven by something she saw in my business relationships.
That something was my use of power. She was seeing me use emotional strength, in various forms, to get people to do things that I needed them to do. She was seeing me be a leader.
Yet, she was rarely—if ever—on the receiving end of that experience. That's not too surprising, since one's relationship with one's wife is very different from that with an employee, customer, supplier or other business associate.
On a day to day basis, a business owner, or company president, needs to get people to do things that they don't want to do. Employees and other suppliers want to get paid more for doing less. Customers want to pay less and get more for their money. Everyone wants to do things at a time of their own choosing.
The primary job of a leader is to compromise and negotiate all of those desires and focus them on the goal of the business. Sometimes compromise can be achieved though creativity (the famous win/win situation) but the problems that end up on a leader's desk are more often the ones that can't be resolved that way.
If they could have been resolved easily, they wouldn't have ended up on my desk.
Elle often saw me, or heard me, tell people to do things, or force them to make choices they didn't want to make, or apply pressure, or imply what would happen if they didn't do something.
Of course, there are a lot of other things that I do in my business, but Elle didn't find most of those other things erotic. She did find it erotic to see me compel people to action. It made her heart flutter to see me use power on other people.
She wanted that part of me, and I almost never gave it to her.
Of course I didn't. My wife isn't an employee. I'm not paying her to be my wife. She isn't a supplier or customer with whom I'm trying to negotiate a contract. I didn't see it as my right to direct her to do things, nor did I feel it was fair to pressure her to accept things she didn't want to accept.
In our marriage, my wife was my true partner, my true equal, and not someone on whom I would use power. If I asked her to do something that she didn't want to do, I might influence her, compromise with her, entice her or even seduce her.
However, compelling her to do things was, to me, not only morally wrong, it was offensive. Why would the love of my life expect or even want me to use power or emotional force or strength on her?
The answer is in the nature of womanhood. You can find plenty of articles on this site written by women telling all about their desire to experience their husbands' strength and power. In fact, reading those articles over the past few years helped me to discover and understand that desire in my wife.
Still, that explains only her desire for my strength. It doesn't answer the moral questions: What right do I have to use that power on her? If I use my power on her, am I not taking advantage of her? Even if it satisfies her desire, do I have the right to do it?
No, it isn't necessary to trot out scripture or any other moral authority that says a husband has primacy over his wife. There is a much simpler answer—one that does not require women to submit to their husbands.
The simpler answer—and, to me, the more satisfying answer—is in my wife's right or entitlement to all of me. My leadership, my ability to use power and my strength are all part of me, and it all belongs to her.
We vowed, among other things, to share all that is to come. We promised to give our whole selves to each other, and if my wife sees something in me that she likes, she is entitled to have it.
She once asked, “Why won't you do that to me? Why won't you argue with me? Why won't you get angry with me?” At other times it's been, “Why won't you make me do things?” or the more central question, “Why can't I have that part of you?”
In my mind, the only reason anyone would put up with that part of me was because they were getting paid to, or because they wanted something from me and were willing to struggle with me to get it. It never occurred to me that someone might actually want that side of me just for the pleasure of it.
But once I understood her desire to feel my strength, and to have it used on her, I could not deny it to her.
It is part of me, I am her husband, and she is entitled to all of her husband.