Is taking his wife in hand self-sacrificing for the man?

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Is taking his wife in hand self-sacrificing for the man?

It is sometimes argued that Taken In Hand requires arduous self-sacrifice on the part of the husband. Some imagine long-suffering men sacrificing their wishes and bearing a heavy burden of responsibility. The way some women talk about what they want from their husbands, I can understand this idea. But the bottom line is that if it feels like a burden to the man—if he feels the need to grit his teeth and sacrifice nobly to take his wife in hand—then unless he has a touch of the masochist about him and on some level enjoys this suffering of his, I do not think such a man should be taking his wife in hand.

This is not to say that the man must be one of those alpha-male-from-birth types: plenty of men grow into a Taken In Hand relationship once they become aware that their wife wants that. But if the man is having to be a martyr, Taken In Hand is not for him.

In a Taken In Hand relationship, neither husband nor wife experiences the Taken In Hand aspect of their relationship as a burden or as requiring unpleasant self-sacrifice. Self-sacrifice that feels bad jeopardises and destroys relationships.

See also:
The joy of the master-queen dynamic
What the man gets out of it
Self-realization—the catapult
A happy end to marital deadlock
Why men start and why they stop
Taken In Hand—the view of a psychiatrist
The resistant woman
Blush and Gary, by Gary
Can you be in charge without turning into her mother?
On being the servant-leader in my relationship

FAQ index

Take the Taken In Hand tour



I agree it should not be a burden on the man. Ideally it should make his life easier, not harder. For instance, my husband finds his life easier now because he feels I take more notice of what he says, and he feel less frustrated. And if he is annoyed with me about something, he can give me a good walloping, instead of losing his temper with me and having a row that could lead to hours or even days of sullen withdrawl on my part. And it's good for his blood pressure as well, which is generally lower after he's spanked me. I would be appalled if he thought of it as a burden, but he doesn't, it has made things easier on both of us rather than harder.


If you are made for it is a blessing

I completely agree with you. I consider myself a dominant man, and although I haven't had a relationship of this kind yet I have to admit that the thought of having the responsibility of her life and her wellbeing on my shoulders is something that I find absolutely wonderful. I thrive on responsibility and for me the burden of having to be in charge of every aspect of her life is something absolutely delicious. I love the idea of being completely in control and completely in charge and I know that for a girl that is right for me she will absolutely adore to be liberated from the pressures of having to make decisions and having responsibilities, since now all that lies upon me. It's a blessing for both of us.

A Blessing

My husband, who, after years of feeling ineffective at making positive changes in our relationship, considers this change a blessing. He is so thankful and appreciative of the intimacy and mutual consideration that have come with the changes in the way we relate, and I am too. We are both happier.

In his professional life, too, he has gained a new sense of effectiveness and confidence.

The Servant-Leader

I disagree with this. My idea of a taken in hand relationship is the traditional Christian one with the husband as the servant-leader, and self sacrifice is deeply part of this, just as Christ sacrificed. A husband is supposed to be to his wife what Christ is for the church--in a word, headship, in another word, heroism. However, I believe in the end this is actually what fulfills a man deep down, so even as he sacrifices he gains what he more deeply seeks...

Square pegs in round holes

Leaving the religious issue aside (I think God made some men submissive, some women submissive, some people gay and others dominant and many none of those...) I like dominant men who don't find this a burden at all, who can't be any other way because if someone is doing it to please you that soon wears off. It should be easy. What I always look for and ask about is whether they actually have a deep seated desire to control her. If they don't want to then they'd just be pleasing me which is not what I'm after at all. Fitting square pegs into round holes never works very well.

Peter Pan Liked Things Easy Too

If one is looking for a heroic man he will be a man who likes a challenge and accomplishment, something that needs his sacrifice and heals from it (like the rescued princess in our mythic consciousness), not just something "easy" but something that actually needs him. I for one am looking far more for a heroic man than for a self gratifying Peter Pan who longs for things to be easy, with that sort of man you really have a boy on your hands that will not grow up. And the hallmark of a Peter Pan is just this sort of easy/self gratifying seeking. When a man grows up this is supposed to shift...

Peter Pan

But Peter Pan was, in the end, ready to sacrifice himself, when he stands on the rock with the sea coming in saying "To die will be an awfully big adventure" he has his moment of heroism. Like most people, Peter Pan was a complex mixture.


Not if it's done right!

If it was such a huge burden, why would so many men pursue a Taken in Hand relationship?

I could never begin to speak for all men, but for me, a good Taken in Hand relationship is absolutely NOT a burden. Quite the opposite—it makes my life easier. I do believe, however, that it takes a certain kind of man, just as it takes a certain kind of woman too. But if it works, then it works very well!

To burden or not to burden?

In our relationship, my husband has always been 'burdened', so to speak, with leadership responsibilities. He has supported our family financially for almost all of our 10 years of marriage. We have naturally and gradually shifted into a taken in hand relationship. Does he feel burdened? I'm sure at times he does. I lead and provide for our children. Do I feel burdened? Most of the time, no, but sometimes I do. I think it goes hand in hand with any leadership position. If it feels like a burden all or most of the time then I don't think it would be wise to persue a taken in hand relationship. But it's okay to feel burdened now & then. This tests our strength & character.

If one feels burdened by his responsibilities, there is always an option to delegate to help relieve some of the burden.


rewarding self-sacrifice

I often ask my husband if he feels burdened or overwhelmed by making more of the decisions, solely looking after the finances these days, etc. I've also been more open emotionally lately and sometimes worry that that could wear him down. But he always reassures me that I've had my share of being burdened (he's dealt with an at times extremely serious, but now under control, chronic health condition) and that it's more than his turn to take care of me and for me not to worry about him, that he's stronger than I think.

There's obviously kindness and consideration in that he's not only interested in his own needs but those of mine. It would obviously be easier only to worry about himself. But then, that's the difference between being single and married in my eyes. Because he loves me so much, whatever 'sacrifice' is involved in caring for and leading me seems to give him great pleasure and peace.