Hoping for a happy marriage?

One of the most important ingredients for a happy Taken In Hand marriage is exclusivity. I want my husband to be the only man in my life, and I the only woman in his...from a sexual and/or romantic perspective. A husband may have a mother, and female friends, but his wife must be the only woman he is intimate with, both sexually and socially.

Similarly, a wife may have lots of friends, but she must not gossip about her husband to others or be sexual with others.

They need to focus exclusively on each other, exploring each other more deeply and broadly over the years, instead of watering down their interest in each other by turning their attention to others or sharing private information with others. A marriage needs to be a private intimate space that is just between the two of them. This creates, nurtures and preserves the sexual passion in a marriage and is absolutely paramount for a happy marriage.

When a man passionately loves a woman, he loves only that one woman. She is the reason he gets out of bed in the morning and goes to work...and he is the reason she does the same, whether she is a housewife or works outside the home. She is the light of his life, and he the same for her. They may have other friends and interests but they stick together and treat their marriage as a precious sacred bond. They cleave unto each other and forsake all others.

In a happy marriage, husband and wife are on the same page in every decision that is made. He listens to her, hears her thoughts and takes them to heart. In a Taken In Hand marriage, the husband makes the ultimate decision, but he takes his wife's needs and desires into consideration in the decision-making process. A Taken In Hand husband puts his wife and their marriage first, always, so his wife's input is very important to him.

Sexually speaking, compatibility is important. A Taken In Hand marriage is a passionate one, not a sexless or merely companionate one. So it is very important, if you are seeking a Taken In Hand relationship, that you talk about sexual issues and be very sure before you become sexually intimate with each other, that there is not a terrible incompatibility in your sexual desires. Do not wait until you already feel bonded to each other to discover that your potential spouse has a hankering for a particular kind of sexual act that you find abhorrent. Honesty is paramount here. Similarly, waiting several years into marriage to say, “you know, you ask me to do this, but it makes me intensely uncomfortable,” is far too late for such revelations. Talk about these things before you even kiss. Do not assume that your desires are compatible. Talk about it. This is important for both of you. Sexual compatibility is vital for a happy marriage.

Values compatibility is also vital for a happy marriage. If you cannot even agree on the ground rules of a potential marriage, or your values are incompatible, a marriage would be unhappy and unstable. Happily married couples feel deeply aligned in terms of values. Find out about a potential partner's values before you allow yourself to become bonded to the person.

Very key to happy marriages—and I know this because I see them all around me even though mine did not last—is pure, loyal, abiding LOVE. Love your partner, like your partner, and show them, through words and actions, that they are the reason you get up each day. Be true to them, give them every reason to trust you and zero reasons to fear or disrespect you. Love, like trust and respect, is earned.

Jenny Girl

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love and communication

Love, the kind that forgives, overlooks, helps and goes the extra step, is so important. It is the love that knows he/she might have bad days and not be at their best. But that's OK.
Also, communication is so important. My husband and I talk and talk and talk, and at the beginning, I thought it might ruin things and keep them from being exciting and mysterious. The opposite is true. When I open up and tell him how things are for me, or what I need, he gets a chance to respond.
And then it goes back to love again. We give each other what we can, based on what we learned by communicating, because of love.
The key, though, is to find someone purehearted enough to do this. It must be someone who feels, deep in their soul, that "I want this!" That kind of person will put the marriage first and not pull out when things get bumpy.
It is important that neither side be selfish. If you try to apply love and communication with a selfish partner, it will just be like pouring water into an endless hole. It has to come, willingly and freely, from both sides.

Young Adults Should Read This Before Marriage

Every college-aged and young adult should read this piece before contemplating marriage. Many marriages could be saved (or could have been saved) if people had this information ahead of time. Also some poor marriage choices could be (or could have been) avoided if these things are taken to heart. Excellent piece Jenny Girl!

From the Heart

I appreciate the kudos...I spoke from the heart. I only hope that those who read what I wrote will really consider what I said and the effect it might have on them. I hope that no one ever has to endure the pain I felt when my marriage fell apart...something that could have been avoided had I had the presence of mind to discuss very important things that I wanted and needed in a relationship before I married someone completely unsuitable.

~~Jenny Girl

Thank You

I just wanted to say that your understanding of marriage is so beautiful and clear. So many basic things people don't understand like intimacy and exclusivity, the need to feel safe and valued in a marriage. Often those desires are made to sound like something negative, as nothing is sacred anymore, least of all marriage.

It's almost like you've written a detailed description of why my marriage fell apart. You've spoken on something I've known in my heart for a long time, someone who doesn't only want me, doesn't really want me.


‘Marriage as a precious sacred, bond’—it would be wonderful if the vows that couples take on their wedding day could withstand the traumas of living on this Earth for more people.

The principle of exclusivity is compelling. It is the ideal state. I like the way that Jenny Girl differentiates between overt exclusivity and intimate exclusivity. There is a presumption of overt exclusivity with marriage, but I wonder how many couples regard confiding their angst and insecurities about certain things to a confidente as a betrayal. Particularly if they are new to marriage.

As Jenny Girl points out, there can be no conflict in the values they hold dear. However, it might be a bit idealistic to think that couples can be on the same page on every decision that is made. Given that the husband makes the final decision, it is essential that he listens carefully to his wife’s point of view, and, if it differs from his, that he is careful to explain his position. If she is unable to reconcile her position, she must accept and trust that her husband has made the right decision. She has given him the responsibility of being in control and he knows that he shoulders the consequences of decisions that he makes. In as much as they are on the same page with regard to responsibility, consequences and trust, all is well. And if he makes a mistake, she loves him regardless.

Jenny Girl is spot on when she says that ‘sexual passion is paramount in a marriage’. As to discussing the nuances of intimate sexual practices before even the first kiss, well, no, not for me. The closest I got to mention the very word ‘sex’ was to tell my dates that ‘I don’t do casual sex’. Blunt, but they got the message. When the desire to get married is predicated on love, abandoning (or postponing) a specific sexual practice becomes insignificant in the greater scheme of things. . I think that just as marriages grow in every other area, sexual behaviors are honed until they meet the needs of the couple.

Marriages, in which both parties are able to totally understand every nuance of the others thoughts, needs and deeds, are those that have grown over a long period of time. As another who has posted on this site wrote—‘marriages made in heaven are usually the result of a lot of work on Earth’.


More on Advice to Youth

For at least four decades, youth have been learning a great deal about sex and almost nothing about love. As a result, divorcing couple report having textbook-perfect sex while understanding almost nothing about each other—or even the opposite sex for that matter!

In addition, the demise of traditional marriage has set post-modern youth adrift. Many are self-absorbed. Consequently, the relationships into which they enter are frequently more take than they are give.

Within a string or me-first generations, men and women see each other as competition in the workplace. Little games of one-upmanship that may allow one to survive in the hostile environment of the competitive workplace do little to promote domestic tranquility on the home front. They also contribute mightily to messy divorces.

While a rise in the age of first marriages has had its benefits—such as allowing young women to acquire higher education which was once the domain of men— the enlarged gap between first sexual experience and first marriage has done little to promote the monogamy required for marital permanence.

Moreover, unresolved childhood insecurities—such as absent or distant fathers, or preoccupied mothers—have served to exacerbate the normal difficulties expected in the early days of any marriage. Many times, young couples bail out of their marriages without adequately analyzing the situation and seeing workable remedies. In fact, we live in a society in which marital failure is both expected and, often, rewarded.

All of the above serves to explain the current resurgence in *Taken in Hand* marriages as couples seek to find some corner in their otherwise hectic lives in which there is a modicum of stability—if not sanity.


Jenny, this is such a great post. I couldn't agree more. This is what my husband and I do too. I'm so lucky having such a great husband who shares these values. My husband says what makes our marriage so good is that we're both 100% present in the marriage. He says many spouses have one foot out the door from the get go or one eye out for something better. We chose not to go that route. For me it's only him and for him it's only me.