How can I persuade him to take charge in our relationship?

How can I persuade him to take control in our relationship?

One way to persuade him might be to show him articles from this site, especially ones by men, and articles that talk about what's in it for the man.

Don't push him. Don't keep going on and on about Taken In Hand. Don't force him to talk about it endlessly. Give him the information, and then wait for him to think about it and initiate any changes. Avoid haranguing him! Give it time! If he likes reading things, give him a list of the articles you most like on the site, and something you yourself have written that paints a word picture of what life would be like between you in a Taken In Hand relationship. If he does not like reading things, do not bombard him with articles to read.

Convey the information in a way that will suit him. Be concise, and also be clear, logical, precise, concrete and specific. If you say too much, he will tune you out or feel too overwhelmed to read everything. If you are vague, he will misunderstand what you are asking for.

If you are having trouble putting into words what you want, try writing it down. If you end up writing a lot, and it is not concise, clear, logical, precise, concrete and specific, rewrite it until it is. Write a single paragraph, or a very short list.

Show him what is in it for him, but whatever you do, don't attempt to blackmail him into taking you in hand by implicitly threatening to behave badly or be upset if he does not hop to it and meet your demands. Does that sound like something that would appeal to a man who might want to be in control?

Don't behave badly to try to provoke him. Apart from being morally objectionable, that is likely to put him off the idea completely, and might even cause him to leave you. Why should he want to be with someone who treats him so badly? Think about what a bad taste that is likely to leave in his mouth.

Instead of focusing on yourself and your own needs, and becoming more demanding, try thinking more about your husband and his wishes, and do whatever you can to please him. He is much more likely then to want to please you in turn.

Don't be demanding and self-centred. This is not something to which you are entitled, and nor are you offering him a gift: recognise that actually you are asking him to give you a gift, and approach him accordingly. And be sure to express your appreciation if he shows the slightest sign of moving in the direction you are asking him to move. If you complain that it is not enough, or criticise his efforts to take you in hand, that will just cause him to forget the idea and go back to how things were.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that if you start trying to make a really huge effort to honour his wishes and requests, he will never firmly take charge. On the contrary, he is much more likely to step up to the plate if you show good will and don't try to provoke him into taking you in hand. Once he feels confident that it is not going to be an endless and exhausting battle for control, he is much more likely to forcefully take charge and take you in hand if needed. Try taking a step towards him instead of making his life more difficult, and see what happens.

If he does not seem to have grasped what you are asking for, you may not have been clear, concrete and specific enough when introducing the idea. Try to convey the missing information again, but be very careful not to harangue him.

Expect your wishes and preferences and your idea of Taken In Hand to change over time. What you think you want now may not be quite what you will want a year from now. The details will change. Your Taken In Hand relationship will evolve.

For example, those new to Taken In Hand sometimes make the mistake of focusing on discipline and punishment as opposed to the idea of a Taken In Hand relationship. In other words, what they have is a DD (domestic discipline) relationship, not a Taken In Hand one. Then, when the husband is posted overseas on active military duty, or husband or wife is incapacitated or ill in such a way that physical discipline and punishment is impossible, that is a problem. Whereas those who focus on the idea of the Taken In Hand relationship and are thus focusing on the husband wearing the trousers in the relationship don't have that problem (of feeling that the DD relationship has been lost) because the husband's control can be expressed in many different ways. Whilst you yourself may not have to deal with a long-distance situation, paralysis or other very serious illness, there will be other issues. So if you are a person who is currently focusing on discipline and punishment rather than a Taken In Hand relationship, you may well, over time, move away from your DD focus.

The man wearing the trousers is a deeper psychological reality that does not require you both to be present, fit, healthy and physically up to discipline, but that psychological reality often takes time to develop. It evolves along the way. Your understanding of Taken In Hand will change as you go along. So will his. You should both be aware of this. Have fun experimenting. Be willing to backtrack and make changes.

Don't expect more than a human being can deliver. Never ever compare your husband to other men, even in your own mind. Start focusing on the things you love about him, rather than focusing on what you think is lacking. Be happy and appreciative of any progress there is, even the smallest thing. Think like a glass half full person rather than a glass half empty person, and instead of complaining that there is only a mouthful of water in the glass, be delighted in that mouthful and let him know how much you enjoyed it!

Don't expect miracles, and don't expect anything to happen overnight. Think in terms of years rather than days. Think in terms of trial and error, experiments, exploring possibilities, and taking several steps backward on a regular basis on your journey.

Read the following articles:
The crooked path to where we are
He isn't interested or capable of taking you in hand?
Effect positive change by acting as if...

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[This is an answer to a frequently-asked question: this page is part of the FAQ. Please try to ensure that your post is answering the question or discussing the above post. The question is: How can I persuade him to take charge in our relationship?]


Persuade him to take control in our relationship

Hi there

I am the head of my household, and this is my advice. You must act like he is head of the household. First, ask his opinion and permission on even the most minor matter. Always act on his direction. It is very important that you lower the tone and volume of your voice when seeking his blessing for a request. You must talk like "Please may I ..." in a soft tone.

Stay at his side at all times. As an extra mark of respect stay on his right hand side at all times. At all times be quiet, feminine and submissive in your behavior.

It is not a matter of persuading him to take you in hand it is a matter of you behaving as if you have been taken in hand. Harmony will suddenly appear in your relationship.

All Knowing Man

Behave like this?

This might work for some people, but some men might just think you'd gone nuts. My husband for one. if I'd started asking his permission to do everything it would have driven him mad. He doesn't want to micromanage me. He is pleased if I ask his permission to do something I think he might not approve of, like buying the children something he might not want them to have, but in general he prefers me to just manage my own affairs.

As for staying at his side all the time, i could imagine nothign that would madden him more, or me. He has to spend a lot of his time working, and if I was at his side permanently while he was doing that, it would really irritate him. In any case, he's in the USA this week, and it would be highly inconvenient for both of us if I was at his side at the moment. And when he is home he likes to spend long hours in his workshop doing metalwork, and he certainly would find it trying in the extreme if I was at his side while he was doing that. And it would bore me out of my brain.

Behaving in the way you suggest would be liable to give both of us a nervous breakdown, and I imagine that a lot of men would, like my husband, find it extremely aggravating. I would be very cautious about adopting this sort of behaviour. You might like a woman to behave in this bizarre fashion, but some men might be really freaked out by it.


Behave like this?

The main point, which seems to have been missed, is that if you act in a submissive manner he will be empowered to take control. Men do not take control because they believe that they will face resistance.

I don't mean for you to bug him, however you can lower the tone of your voice and simply be submissive in your day to day manner.

Try it, you will be surprised.

All Knowing Man

Taking control

Well, it depends on the man I suppose. It's the 'Surrendered Wife' thing again. If you act submissive he will start acting dominant. In my husband's case, he never had any trouble acting dominant, what he did have trouble with was exercising sufficent self-control to make me want to respond to his dominance. This is something we had to discuss. If I'd just started doing everything he wanted without having discussed it with him first, he would presumably have thought that the shouting and anger was working, and kept on doing it. He didn't need empowering, so much as developing an understanding of how to be in control.

In any case, for me it is essential that I be able to behave naturally, rather than putting on an act. If the only way I could get my husband to be dominant was by being a totally passive yes-woman, and abandoning any personality of my own, it would not work. He tends to want more imput from me, rather than less, he wants me to talk about what I want and how I feel about things, rather than keeping things to myself as I always used to.

As for lowering the tone of my voice, well, I'm not much of a talker anyway, and when I do talk to him it's not generally in a very loud voice, except in moments of stress. When these moments of stress do occur, he's very good at calming me down again, but if I felt that he couldn't cope with me getting worked up or upset from time to time, and if the only way he could manage to be dominant was by being presented by an entirely passive and submissive manner on my part, then it wouldn't work, because there's no way I could keep that up 24 hours a day.

To me, a dominant man is a man who can cope with a bit of friction and a bit of resistance. A man who demands total passivity from a woman is not, to my mind, a really dominant man at all.


Standing to his right?

"Stay at his side at all times. As an extra mark of respect stay on his right hand side at all times. At all times be quiet, feminine and submissive in your behavior."

Ok, what's with the whole standing at his right side all of the time? I'm with Louise. My husband would find this completely annoying! If I would've taken that approach in introducing Taken in Hand to him, he'd have run in the opposite direction. I may be wrong, but I don't think most Taken in Hand men want their women to follow them around like puppies!

I do believe that an effective way of moving into a Taken in Hand releationship is to "act as if" you already are in one. However, I don't think that standing at his "right" side or being quiet all of the time is the right approach if that isn't something that is normally done.

I think a better approach to "acting as if" is to do the little "extra" things to help him out or encourage his dominate side to surface. As Mia said, things like dressing to please him, making his favorite dinner & offering sex more often are great ways to encourage this.

Be careful not to change who you are in order to persuade him to take control. After all, that's the beauty of a Taken in Hand relationship. It's not about role playing & being something you're not. It's about letting your feminine self emerge & evolve. Being feminine is not, in my book, about keeping quiet all of the time & always standing at my husband's right side!



What if, this is something i desire to achieve, but actually need the help getting there myself?

I can try..... and I do try..... I fail.....

You see, I can pinpoint to you the moment, early on, in our lives together, that I discovered, despite his own inside needs, that I have no boundaries. He leaves me limitless.....

I do not wish to take advantage of that.... Most of the time in fact, I do not take advantage of that. I am not perfect, I have taken advantage of that.

So.... To achieve what you describe, to encourage him to get to the point where he has the courage to take charge .... I need his help!

Your advice is good, but it is not always the answer.

Voice of Experience,

His azure

in support of azure's comment

My husband and I agreed long ago that he would be in charge and the head of the household etc. And most of the time that's fine.

The problems we have arise when I don't do what he wants, and he doesn't exercise his power.

I feel kinda resentful that he's not exerting control.

It is getting harder and harder for me to act as if i respect him. It is getting harder and harder for me. I'm behaving badly, and he's mostly just getting sulky, and then I respect him even less.

As women go, I am very easy to deal with, but I don't know how much longer I'll be able to continue if he doesn't act like the man of the house. At some point, I'll probably end up taking charge.

But that's not what either of us wants. Now more than ever I want him to be in charge. But if he can't do it, for whatever reason, somebody has to be behind the wheel of the relationship, and I know that I am competent enough to be the one.

Giving him control

I agree with the idea, if not necessarily or always the specifics, of the 'all-knowing man's' comments. A man, who would otherwise be quite willing to assume a dominant role, may restrain himself because he believes that it will be unwelcome. It goes back to this expectation of a perfectly equal and 'fair' relationship. When I first stumbled across this concept of the male-led relationship, it struck home with me so hard that I shook. I sent my husband an email (he was out of town at the time) explaining what I had found and begging him to consider it. As it turns out, he was more than willing, but had feared that too much dominance from him would "crush my spirit." (His words. How sweet is that? He was willing to hold himself back because he thought that being all of himself would make me unhappy.) I was ecstatic, although it took a long time of reassurance from me that yes, this was what I wanted, and several times of pointing out specific areas of control that I was willing to surrender to him for us to get as far as we have.

To get back to my original point in commenting, there were behavioral changes that started at once when we began. I started saying, "Yes, please," where once I would have simply said "yes." I began asking permission for things, but not to the point of the ridiculous or annoying as was suggested earlier. It took a long time for me (although why, I don't know), but I began using "May I" for requests instead of "Can I" or "Would you mind if I." I suppose it's more formal, far less offhand. I remove his boots when he comes home from work; I offer, prepare, and serve snacks when I know he will want them. I keep the house cleaner. Most of these things could be done without annoyance, but for most they would surely be noticeable.

On the other hand, if it won't scare him off I recommend a conversation on the topic. I can understand dreading that talk—I wasn't scared he'd be frightened, but I was terrified that he just wouldn't be interested in it—in something I had only just discovered, but that I wanted to my very core.

If you are afraid that there needs to be a transition into it, try these three simple steps. 1)Dress with more care for the way he would like you to look, 2)Make a special effort to provide something he wants but you haven't wanted to bother with before (for me, that means stuff like cleaning the house and having sit-down dinners), and 3)Offer sex more often. It wouldn't hurt to let him know that you will give it to him (with gusto) whenever he likes. I guarantee that he'll notice something is up.

The principle matters

I think the point made by “All Knowing Man” (December 2006) is useful, important and in danger of being lost. The basic issues are (a) there is more than one way to get a message across. Conversation and verbosity are not the only tools of communication (even if I, personally, I am inclined to use both more than some people feel comfortable with) and (b) men are influenced by how their women behave.

“All Knowing Man” suggested some behaviours that he thought would be effective. The underlying principle is that one can use one's own behaviour in all manner of ways to bring about changes in somebody else's attitude, mood and behaviour, and to communicate a message. Those specific behaviours he described will work in a very large percentage of households. The fact they might not work for everybody all of the time is scarcely worth mentioning until somebody tries, fails and needs to choose a different form of expression that will work for them ... if we all spent our time thinking of the reasons why something might not work none of us would do or achieve anything.

Let's consider something less controversial; a smile.

A smile is universally understood as a sign of friendship, happiness and peace is it not? And a smile is always effective as a means of making somebody else feel at ease? Well, yes these things are perfectly true actually ... ummm ... but then again no. If you keep a rigid smile on your face at all times, I'll probably begin to feel a bit nervous. If you are smiling while I tell you about the latest disaster in my life I might feel that you are being rude and disrespectful. If I was paranoid or psychotic then I might feel nervous and upset whenever you smile at me, for any reason at all. Why should you be so bloody happy when my world is disintegrating between my ears? Stop trying to control me with your evil psychological smile techniques ... I shan't let myself be influenced!

Do these exceptions prove that a smile is ineffective for communicating friendship and happiness and peace, and for making somebody else feel at ease? Should we all stop smiling in case we upset somebody? No, no and no. Since the smile is obviously not such a clear cut form of communication as we'd like it to be should we all cease to care whether we smile more or less or not at all? No! Should we draw up a detailed protocol for the use of a smile, to ensure that only the correct form of smile is used and that the smile is only deployed under appropriate circumstances and when there is zero risk of misinterpretation or the harming of a child, and when there is consensus regarding the most suitable size, shape and duration of the smile after a period of consultation among all persons who might be exposed to the smile or otherwise affected by it? Yes, of course we should, this is extremely important and I would hope that some socialist committee is drawing up guidelines at this very moment, in order that we might all have an equal share of joy [See footnote 1].

The simple truth of the matter is that we can all make an effort to smile more and, generally speaking, more smiling is going to improve our relationships with other people. The simple truth is that a smile is effective in promoting happiness and peacefulness of attitude most of the time, for most people because we are designed to respond positively to a smile and (in general) we all know how and when to use a smile, even if a lot of us need to be reminded. (Kindly consider this to be your reminder for today)

Now back to those behaviours suggested by “All Knowing Man”: A softer tone of voice, asking permission on every matter, becoming quieter and behaving as if you are already taken in hand. Will they work? Yes, most of the time for most people. But unlike smiling these things don't come quite so naturally and people are more apt to do these things clumsily, to omit to do them, or to do them unnecessarily.

Did “All Knowing Man” mean that you should ask permission concerning literally 'everything'. No of course not and only a fool would think so. For starters you'd have to ask permission to speak or breathe and a fine little pickle that would be. “All knowing man” was trying to convey a very important idea using a small number of words (something I could learn from) and therefore he used a certain amount of hyperbole, relying on the intelligence of the readers to interpret the message constructively for their own situation.

So let's try looking at the same hypotheses from a different viewpoint:

Do men (in general) respond positively when a woman speaks more softly? Yes, they do.

Do men (in general) experience an increase in stress and agitation when exposed to loud or shrill female voices? Yes, they do.

Do men (in general) respond positively when consulted by their women about minor things? Yes, they do, because men (in general) want to feel involved and appreciated and that they have some sort of control and that their lives are not driven by the whims of another person.

Is being on the right hand side more effective than being on the left hand side and does it really matter if you are close or distant? The distance is certainly very important. Does anybody (in general) really think that standing twenty feet away has the same effect as standing close enough to be lightly touching? Probably not. However, do some women need to be reminded that where they locate themselves relative to their man has a moment-by-moment effect on the relationship? Probably yes. How many women bellow some message to their man when he is in another room, like a site foreman yelling at the underlings? How many women have ever stopped to wonder what the impact of that form of communication is on their relationship and whether standing close and speaking softly might be more helpful, more constructive, less irritating, more attractive? If a man wanted to be bellowed at he'd have dates with a walrus; they can be taught to do tricks as well. As for the left and right, I confess I'm not sure how important the right is relative to the left, but I am sure that in any given situation the two sides are not equal. Actually, if you let them, some men will gently put you on the side they prefer to have you and while it might vary from situation to situation there is likely going to be a preference at any given moment. The principle is to be sensitive to the effect that relative position has.

A woman is not equal with a man and ought not to be equal. If a woman is merely equal to her man what use is she to anyone? A man does not need an equal, he needs a complement ... that which makes a thing complete or whole and brings it to fulfilment. To be a complement is a noble goal, interesting, fulfilling for everyone and also difficult. “All knowing man” gave, I believe, some good suggestions as to how a woman can take small steps towards becoming a complement for her man. [See footnote 2] Some people will find the principle and apply it and some will dwell on the inappropriateness of the examples.

“All Knowing Man” was concise in his explanation but the principle to be recognised and that women (in general) often seem to fail to appreciate, is that men (in general) are strongly influenced by the conduct of their woman. A woman who acts with consideration, deference, gentleness and intimacy will (in most cases) bring about a change in her man's emotional state, making him feel more at ease, more peaceful and thus more able to think and act positively regarding their relationship. Men (in general) are designed to respond positively to such conduct; they can't not respond. If they are alive and human they will respond, and if they are alive but not quite human they will become closer to being fully human. If they are merely alive the outcome is, I confess, a tad harder to predict. To criticise the specific suggestions on the grounds that it isn't quite one's personal taste or that one knows somebody for whom it didn't work is rather like criticising the principle of a good night's sleep on the spurious grounds that some people work night shifts, or that one has an early train to catch on the morrow.

Interpret the principle for your own situation and act accordingly.

[Footnote 1] For, those readers not acquainted with the colloquial use of the English language in England, and for anybody else who experienced a tremor of nervousness when they read this section, I would like you to understand that I was emphasising a point by stressing the extreme opposite using an overused and unimaginative technique that was supposed to be irony but which might have failed to rise above mere sarcasm. Despite being in a belligerent mood I'm sincerely sorry for any distress this might have caused.

[Footnote 2] Note, 'a complement' not 'a compliment'; e not i. Mind you men (in general) would probably appreciate both.


I agree with many of LifeOfCuriosity's points. However there is one I'm struggling with.

"A woman is not equal with a man and ought not to be equal. If a woman is merely equal to her man what use is she to anyone? A man does not need an equal, he needs a complement ... that which makes a thing complete or whole and brings it to fulfilment."

I believe that both men AND women need a complement. I am my husbands complement & he is mine. Without 'him', what good am 'I' (and vice versa)?

Our roles in our relationship may not be 'equal', but they are equally important & completely reliant on the other. In this manner, I view my husband & I as equals.

It's sort of like a team sport. He is the captain of our team. Does he have more responsibilities? Yes. Is he the one who leads? Yes. But what good is HE without his team? Likewise, what good is his team without him? They BOTH need their complement to reach their potential.


Most households?

Well, if the behaviour described by All Knowing Man would work in the majority of households, then all I can say is that the majority of households must be very strange places.

Would a majority of men really be gratified by women who stayed by their sides all the time? Would they really like to be constantly asked permission to do even the most trivial of things, would they really not find this irritating? I find that astonishing. If you say it is the case that a majority of men would like this behaviour, then I assume you know what you are talking about, obviously you have a wider knowledge of men than I do, but I would assume any normal man would be irritated by this kind of thing.

My own personal experience is that men are generally noisier than women, and shouting from another room tends to be a male habit rather than a female one (it's something my husband does all the time). However, the majority of men are obviously very different from the ones I know. You learn something new every day on Taken In Hand.


Difference in culture, maybe?

I find many women to be more vocal & noisy than men. I grew up in a household where both parents shouted. Maybe it's our culture here in the US, but there certainly are many demanding, noisy women, that's for sure!

As for the "All knowing Man's" view on standing to his right. I didn't take it to mean literally 'all of the time.' I just don't think that it's something that most men would like. It's one thing if that's what your head of the household wants from you, but to offer it as a suggestion for someone who is trying to persuade their husband to take them in hand is another. If I would've tried this approach, my husband would have thought I was crazy!


Beside My Husband is My Sidewalk?

All Knowing Man has a blog about his relationship with his wife that would provide some illumination on his advice. I'm sorry I don't have the link. I'm burping my baby while typing with one hand, so it's too difficult to look it up.

I seem to recall from his blog that he controls almost every aspect of his wife's life with rules that would drive both my husband and myself bonkers. What really shone through everything though was how much he loves her and how happy they are together. Clearly this works for them, but you can't "copy-and-paste" this into another relationship and expect it to work.

I think when it comes to relationship specifics, each couple will have different preferences. The key is to find out what will make your husband feel more respected and loved. Doing those things to show your respect will, in all likelihood, encourage him to be more dominant.

In my own case, when Mr. KISS and I were first married, I tended to walk much faster than he did. That really annoyed him. I learned to slow to a more relaxed pace when we were together in public. I'm not sure why AKM specified that the wife should stay on the husband's right side. I tend to walk on my husband's left side as that seems to be more comfortable for us.

Mr. KISS was already the dominant partner in our marriage, but I think paying attention to this type of thing did help him express his dominance and me express my delight in his control.