I'm going to spill the beans and let you know what is going on in the mind of many men. I'm not supposed to do this, but hopefully this will be anonymous enough that I won't pay a personal price for letting the cat out of the bag.
A lot of times we feel like we are competing against somebody or something. Against other guys, against co-workers, against our kids, against our friends, even against the expectations others have for us (as well as our own expectations). Sometimes we don't even known what we are competing against and just feel we are in contest against life.
We do not want to show weakness or let others know let others know where the chinks in our armour are. That makes it easier for others to come out on top instead of us. Our self esteem and even our identity are directly tied to our perception of how well we compete. Rejection and failure make us feel like losers which is nearly unbearable so we avoid them.
This is why men respond so well to praise and affirmation. This is why men can find it hard to let a woman into his heart where he is defenceless against her. This is why he might avoid commitment to things he is not absolutely sure are within his ability. Competition can be good, but it can be unhealthy at times too, especially in the arena of relationships.
This feeling of competition is also why it is so powerful in a man's life when the woman he lives totally surrenders herself to him, it is the greatest victory ever, the only victory that really counts in the end. With that victory, he can let go of the need to compete when it isn't constructive, secure in the love of his love. He can risk more, love more, open up to you more without the fear of winding up feeling like a loser.
So, a big part of him wants to take his woman in hand, but at the same time, if he were treated that way it would make him feel like a loser, so he can't fathom his wife wanting to be treated like that. He loves her and so he is caught between these conflicting emotions, wanting it for his sake, not wanting it for her sake. You have to convince him that you want it, only because he is looking at the way he would feel if the roles were reversed, not because he is a wimp of some kind.