How do we get started?

We want to change our relationship from an ordinary conventional marriage to a Taken In Hand one. How do we get started?

Start slowly. If you take things too fast, you can run into trouble. So start slowly. How you start really depends on who you are as individuals. What will work for one couple will not work for another. Expect there to be problems and missteps and backward steps along the way. Keep your sense of humour, and avoid endless analysis: sometimes what is called for is more action and less analysis.

The husband could start by taking charge in small ways, especially in ways that clearly help his wife.

If there is anything your wife does or doesn't do that you find concerning, and that is not something so close to your wife's heart that it might hurt or harm her to change, you could choose that issue on which to take a stand, but do be very careful not to try to change something central to your wife's being, or something that is a touchy subject with your wife. For example, I would avoid like the plague trying to get your wife to lose weight (a very sensitive subject for many) and I would never try to get your wife to give up a hobby she loves. But if your wife keeps moving your newspaper, or if she contradicts you in public in a way that makes you feel humiliated, those might be more appropriate issues on which to take a stand.

When you take a stand, remember that this is not an unpleasant fight, and your wife is not your enemy. Remember that what you are aiming for is for this to be fun and sexy for your wife, not unpleasant.

On an on-going basis try to increase the amount of appreciation you express for your wife, so that she is able to interpret your stands positively. Remain calm, kind and loving. Do not sulk, get angry, or deny your wife attention or affection. Those are sure ways of going from a quite nice conventional relationship to a really unpleasant, unhappy conventional relationship. In a Taken In Hand relationship, the man's control is for the delight of both husband and wife. He puts his wife and their relationship first. Keep that in mind at all times. Be the best person you can be, and the best husband you can be.

As you experiment with taking control, notice the effect of your actions, and make modifications if things start going awry.

If you are the wife in the above couple, I strongly advise you on no account to criticise your husband's attempts to take charge. Try to view everything positively, even when it doesn't immediately strike you as positive. Remember that this process of your husband taking charge is not easy, and he will make mistakes, but he is doing this for you, to please you, not just for himself, so give him the benefit of the doubt and strive not to shame him.

Also, resist the temptation to talk endlessly about Taken In Hand and your path to a Taken In Hand relationship. This can make a man feel that his every move is being watched and judged, and judged insufficient at that. That won't help. If there is anything very important you need him to change, try to wait three days before you say anything, because sometimes, things that seem important now won't seem to matter at all in three days' time. When you do say something, take great care to express your wish in a way that makes your husband feel good rather than bad. Otherwise he may be unable to hear your wish.

See also:
How can I persuade him to take charge in our relationship?
He isn't interested or capable of taking you in hand?
Effect positive change by acting as if...
I want us to have a Taken In Hand relationship. How can I persuade my wife?
Advice for men wanting their marriage to become Taken In Hand
The crooked path to where we are.

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