My husband has always been very bossy. In the past, however, he could get very aggressive when he tried to lay down the law about something. Sometimes he would get really angry and I could get quite frightened of him. Me being the way I am though, being frightened didn't make me want to do what he wanted, it just drove me into a state of sullen defiance. If I did do what he wanted it didn't make me feel good, I just felt I was doing it because I wanted to avoid being shouted at, which made me feel resentment towards him and made me despise myself.
Occasionally he would get it right, and be assertive with me in a way I found pleasurable. One thing he often used to tell me off about was reading in the car, which always makes me sick, “Don't read in the car,” he would say to me if he saw me pick up a book, and he said it in a quiet, firm tone of voice that invariably made me put down the book immediately, and to feel pleasure, rather than resentment at being told what to do.
What discovering this site did for me was to grasp at the idea that it was possible to respond pleasurably to authority rather than negatively. Mostly I read stuff on here by women who were not obeying their husbands because of religious reasons or anything but because they liked it, and I was rather disconcerted to realise that I too would like it if my husband was the way the men they wrote about were. But I didn't really think he could be.
However, when I discussed with him the fact that it upset me terribly when he lost his temper with me, and suggested that if he kept it and spoke to me in a different kind of way about the things that bothered him, he seemed to grasp the sense of what I was saying with only minimal input on my part.
Housework (my lack of interest in it) has always been the main area of contention, but now I make a lot more effort with it than I used to, and he is pleased that I try harder. If he points out to me something that needs doing, or something that I haven't done that I should have or something, I just try to do what he wants without argument. He doesn't shout at me, he just uses that quiet firm tone which I find produces a calming effect on me.
One of the most surprising things is that I find he can override my fits of temper. If he's told me off about something and I get sulky or petulant (as I quite frequently do) or if I'm bad-tempered for another reason, PMT or something, he can just make me feel better again at will.
The first time I ever threw a temper tantrum with him after we started this I flounced upstairs to the bedroom, and he followed me up there. Instead of shouting at me or trying to be conciliatory, neither or which approach would work, he just told me that he wasn't standing for this behaviour and that we were going out to the workshop now (that's where he always used to spank me at our old house). “I don't want to; I'm not in the mood,” I said sulkily. “I'm afraid you don't get any choice in the matter,“ he said calmly. “We're going out there now.”
I looked at him in astonishment as I realised that he was perfectly right, I really didn't get any choice in the matter. All my defiance and sulkiness ebbed away instantly, and I got up and went out with him quite meekly, I no longer felt the slightest desire to resist him. He just brushed my sullenness aside as if it was of no importance, and it just wasn't there any more.
And he's continued to do this ever since. If I get in a bad mood, instead of letting my bad mood get to him and cause him to get in one too, he just looks at me with that stern but slightly amused expression and says something like “You're not having one of your moments, are you?” or “Don't get hormonal with me” (if it's that time of the month) or something similar. His refusal to take my moods seriously, or to let them affect him, means that I can't take them seriously either, and invariably find myself responding to him with a smile rather than a scowl, the temper just melts away. He doesn't even need to say anything, sometimes just a look will do it
I have found also that knowing that my husband will keep his temper, and that he really is interested in my feelings about things, has enabled me to talk to him more freely about things, so that I can discuss anything with him, which before I would have been inhibited about doing. I always tended to keep things to myself, but now if he knows something's bothering me (and he always does know) he says, “What's wrong? Tell me.” and I just do. That firm but kindly tone disarms me every time. In turn, I try to really pay attention to what he wants, which I didn't always bother much with in the past, he used to get very frustrated because he felt I wasn't listening to him, whereas now I do try to pay attention to the things that are important to him.
He is a naturally assertive man and I think he does really enjoy being in charge, I don't feel it's something he's doing just to please me. I think that is important.