I want us to have a Taken In Hand relationship. How can I persuade my wife?

I want us to have a Taken In Hand relationship. How can I persuade my wife?

This question suggests that you may be under a misapprehension about the nature of the Taken In Hand relationship. It suggests that you want to seek permission to take charge, or that you want to get your wife to commit to changing in some way. Doing either of those things would be a mistake, and not make your relationship more Taken In Hand.

Don't ask permission

In a Taken In Hand relationship, you take charge. You take charge in a way that is consistent with putting your wife and the relationship first.

If you were intending to take charge in a purely self-serving way, it might make sense to seek your wife's permission, but in a Taken In Hand relationship you will be putting your wife and your relationship first as you take charge, so there is no need to ask her permission.

If there is something specific you think she will find unpleasant, do consider very carefully whether the change you intend to make in that respect is indeed putting her and your relationship first, because it shouldn't be unpleasant for your wife, it should be fun, fascinating and erotic.

Don't ask permission. That would put you in the very weak position of being like a young boy asking his mother's permission. Given that you have Taken In Hand inclinations and your wife was attracted to you, she may well have Taken In Hand inclinations herself too. If she does, being asked permission will cause her to feel revolted: she doesn't want to feel like your mother, any more than you want to feel like her son. That is the opposite of erotic. So don't turn her off and put her off by asking her permission.

Being in charge does not mean never consulting her, but there is a huge difference between consulting her and asking her permission. The way the husband in a Taken In Hand relationship consults his wife is more like the way a company director might consult a low-level employee—kindly, respectfully, but not in any way deferentially or suggesting that the decision is the employee's to make. He is not asking permission, he is merely consulting her.

Do not try to get your wife to agree to a Taken In Hand relationship

If you have the desire to try to persuade your wife to agree to a Taken In Hand relationship, could it be that what you have in mind is going to be unpleasant for your wife? If you were going to be taking charge in a way that was self-serving rather than putting your wife and your relationship first, you having a desire to get your wife to agree to your proposed changes would make more sense, but that would not be a Taken In Hand relationship.


Perhaps you think that seeking your wife's permission or getting her to ‘agree’ is necessary to avoid making this change non-consensually. If so, you have a slight misconception about the nature of consent. Consent is absolutely vital in a Taken In Hand relationship, so vital, in fact, that your wife needs to be genuinely, wholeheartedly consenting on an on-going basis. Getting her to agree to a Taken In Hand relationship by asking her permission on one occasion is not good enough. It also rather assumes that your wife won't enjoy the change, and that you will be holding her to her ‘agreement’ later whether she likes it or not. That is entirely the wrong approach. Moreover that has very little to do with psychologically genuine consent.

Psychologically genuine consent is not about having signed on the dotted line and being held to that ‘agreement’ like a legal contract binds the parties. A person can make a proper legal contract and be properly legally bound by it and yet later wish he had not made the contract and wish that he were not bound by it. In such a case there may well have been proper consent for legal purposes, but later, when the person is wishing he had not made that contract, he is not wholeheartedly consenting psychologically. He may not want to break the contract, because he does not think that would be the right thing to do, but yet, if he could wave a magic wand and never have signed the contract in the first place, he would choose to do that.

The consent required for a Taken In Hand relationship is not like proper legal consent, which does not necessarily involve genuine, wholehearted consent psychologically. It requires the higher standard of consent of psychologically genuine, wholehearted consent.

When spouses try to get explicit ‘consent’, that is often nothing to do with psychologically-genuine consent. It is often more about pinning the other spouse (in this case wife) down to a particular change so that you can then later on point out that she ‘consented’ so now she needs to shut up and go along with it, as though legal-style consent were enough. But we are trying to create a vibrantly happy marriage here, not trying to extract grudging legal compliance, so we need to do much much better than seek ‘consent’ and then hold her to it later.

But how can your taking charge be consensual if you don't talk to your wife about it explicitly?

You are married. You know your wife very well indeed. Unless you are completely insensitive (in which case Taken In Hand is not for you) you will be able to see when your wife is not delighted with a given change, and you can make adjustments accordingly.

Ask yourself whether your wife would wave a magic wand to remove your changes if she could. Her state of mind should not be like that of a battered wife who refuses to leave her husband because she still loves him despite everything. That is not genuine consent. Many individuals stay in terrible situations, but that is no evidence of genuine consent.

An easy way to tell the difference is this: the battered woman would choose to wave a magic wand that would magically cause her husband not to batter her any more. That is clear evidence that she is not genuinely consenting to the battering. Your wife should be in a very different state of mind, such that she would absolutely not want to wave a magic wand to cause you to stop being in charge.

So how do you ensure consent without having a big discussion about it? You take charge while putting your wife and your relationship first, and you look out for unintended consequences including any lack of genuine consent on your wife's part, and tweak your changes so that your wife is then genuinely consenting.

Your relationship is a system

Think of your relationship as a system. One change anywhere in that system changes the entire system. Changing your relationship does not take two, it takes just one: you. When you take charge (putting her and your relationship first), that change will change your wife's responses to you, and before long you will have significantly changed your relationship.

This process is an evolutionary one, an iterative one: you make a small change; that difference in how you interact with your wife changes her responses and behaviour; that gives you more knowledge, that you use to decide how to proceed further (example: you notice that a change you have made has had an unexpected negative effect, or a different effect from the one you thought it would have, and this tells you that you need to make a slightly different change, or an additional change); you make another small change accordingly; that has an effect on your wife; again; now you have more knowledge and can use that to make a further iterative change.

Instead of asking her permission to take charge, or trying to get her to agree to a change, simply make changes yourself: start taking charge.

Do not try to get your wife to commit to change

Being in the position of asking your wife to commit to changing for you puts you in a weak position, and is thus counterproductive if you want to wear the trousers in your relationship. A husband who is in charge changes the relationship as he sees fit (putting his wife and the relationship first) without begging his wife to change. He uses his own power to change the relationship, which changes his wife too.

If you are thinking in terms of getting your wife to commit to changing, how is that going to feel good to her? How will putting that burden on her make her want your requested changes? Will that seem fun, exciting and interesting to her, or will it seem like one big burden you are trying to dump on her?

If you have the urge to get your wife to commit to making a change, it is probably not a Taken In Hand relationship you want. For example, if you want her to commit to being submissive—to serving and obeying you—you want a D/s relationship, not a Taken In Hand one. If your wife is not a D/s inclined person, that is going to be a very tough sell, because of the unpleasant burden it puts on her.

Taken In Hand is a much easier sell because you taking charge does not require your wife to commit to anything. To move your relationship in a Taken In Hand direction, all you need to do is to start taking charge. And when you start thereby changing your relationship, your wife will change too, without you having to get her to agree to anything.

Help her see what's in it for her

Whatever kind of relationship you want, to sell your idea to her you need to help her see what's in it for her. Keep that in mind at all times, and you will be more likely to succeed.

[If you are a wife wanting to persuade your husband, it would be a bad mistake to show him this article, as the purpose of this article is to help husbands wanting to persuade their wives, not the other way around. For more appropriate advice for your own situation, see this article, this article,
this article, this article and this article.]

See also:
How do I broach the subject of Taken In Hand?
Advice for men wanting their marriage to become Taken In Hand

The Taken In Hand Site Owner and Creator

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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: I want us to have a Taken In Hand relationship. How can I persuade my wife?]



I absolutely need the freedom to openly and seriously resist my husband while knowing he'll do what he thinks best. He lets me express myself—my whole self—but decides for us. Sometimes I don't know yet what I'll like until he acts, and sometimes I'll dislike a change at first and then like it. He is very good at understanding me, though.



An excellent post!

Just do it.

After reading everything I could find on this site. I decided to take leadership in our relationship. Never once mentioned "Taken In Hand". But certainly set some boundaries. Below is the result after 10 weeks.

Hi Darlin'

I love you to pieces! I love your latest email, and I am amazed at how differently I feel about the idea of being "possessed" by you in all ways....that in the old days! I love being your woman, and I love your taking charge and being my man. I want you to love, want and need me alone....completely, as I do you. Nothing half way. No questions about it. No feeling not appreciated or wanted or loved! I appreciate you so much....and all that you do and all that you are (even your annoying habits aren't important anymore, as I hope mine aren't as awful for you). We share so much better, and I feel so much closer to you than anyone else. I love that. Thank you, my darling...I love how we are transforming, and what we are becoming!

Your woman,

Not buying it.

This seems to come from a POV that thinks all women will react positively to a husband unilaterally taking her in hand, and that just isn't the case. The bigger a change in the dynamics of the relationship that would be, the more likely it would quickly become a source of conflict. Also, what really is good for the wife, what the husband thinks is good for the wife, and what the wife thinks is good for herself can be 3 different things, and many couples lack communication skills good enough to navigate such waters.

I can picture a well meaning husband deciding on his own that his marriage is now a taken in hand marriage, and assertively taking the relationship down a path that she doesn't want, and that contrary to his thinking is not good for her. She misinterprets the sudden change and reacts in a hostile manner that he sees as something he must ignore for her own good. The end result could easily be a loss of trust and respect and love for the husband.

The parameters of the marriage relationship should be clear to both, and if a change to those parameters it to be made, at the very least both need to understand what the new parameters are and requires communicating about it.

The Challenge

Words make up only 6% of communication. Being assertive does not mean being abusive. Taken in hand is really leadership. Leadership brings a lot more responsibility, accountability. Scared yet? You ought to be. But, are you willing to pay the price? Be careful what you ask for you might just get it.

Now, if you truly want to be HOH, begin by working on yourself. What are your strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and goals. How can you improve yourself, as a provider, a leader, a lover, a friend, a protector, a father, etc? (By the way this is not a competition and will not happen over night.)

Make your spouse and your relationship number 1. Being head of household means commitment and awareness. Test the waters. Take your time and be encouraging. Let your spouse know you want to take on more responsibility and become more of a leader in your relationship. Also let your spouse know and show what is in it for them! How do they benefit? Ex. More free time, the ability to relax more, greater appreciation, romance, quality time together etc.

If 6 month to a year goes by and it turns out your spouse wants nothing to do with a Taken In Hand relationship at least, you have become a person, with greater options. 8 months ago, I began the process. Never mentioned taken in hand. Use the words leadership and responsibility and know she loves to let me know she is mine completely body, heart, mind and soul. Guess what? I am hers completely too, I just get to do most of the leading, take most of the responsibility and take Calm Assertive action! It's worth the effort.