I was born into a strict, but affectionate family with my father as the head of the household. When I was 8, my parents split up and my mother eventually remarried another take-charge man, who also took control of things the way my father did.
So I suppose I had this dynamic was already in me when it was time for me to find a mate for myself. The guys I dated admired my inner strength and my quiet straightforwardness, but shied away when I told them I wanted a man to be in control of himself and me as well as the relationship. They loved that I was a straight shooter and that I didn't play head-games, but it seemed that they didn't know what to do with me. I missed one very telling clue at this time: My girlfriends could not understand me. I wasn't independent enough, they said. I was single-handedly setting women back 200 years; what was WRONG with me?
But eventually, I found a man who was willing to take me in hand. It felt right to me and we married. The only problem was that even though it felt right, we thought it was wrong and we tried to live as a “new” couple for 8 years. For 8 very long years we lived and loved against our inclinations, with disastrous results.
I always had a tendency to become withdrawn and cold as opposed to angry, and he went in the opposite direction; he became angry and vengeful, even forced himself on me—not out of love, but out fury, despair and fear of losing that love. It was as if trying to live like everyone else just twisted his Taken In Hand inclinations and then magnified them to the point of violence.
Looking back, I think the only thing that saved us was that we understood that we were not being true to ourselves and each other, and so we were really in the same boat, and being in the same boat, it was up to us to patch the holes and bilge out the seawater, because both he and I knew that was not the kind of man he was.
We didn't have a clue as to how we should go about doing that. Until, that is, I met and became best friends with a woman who could only be classified as a feminazi-man-hater. You'd think that that would have been a death-knell to our marriage, but it ended up having the opposite effect. I more or less ignored her advice about marriage, but when she started criticizing my man, I stopped ignoring her and started listening to her. Really listening.
It was at that time that I consciously realized that what we were doing was wrong for us. I went home one day, knelt at my man's feet, put my head in his lap and wrapped my arms around his waist and told him that I'd been wrong, that we had been wrong in living and loving each other against our natural inclinations. I begged him not only to take charge, but to do so with the confidence that he so obviously possesses. I told him that I wanted him to be in charge from this point on and that I forgave him for all his anger and the physical manifestations of it. I apologized for my occasional outbursts and constant remoteness and said that I was ready to put our marriage, as an entity, first. And if that meant him imposing his will, then would he please impose his will on me because that was what we both needed!
He stroked my head so tenderly as I stated all that, then after a while, he heaved a deep sigh and asked me if I was sure about this. I told him I was, if he was.
It didn't happen overnight, but it's the way we were both raised and it came so naturally back to us that we wondered why we had tried so hard for so long to be something other than what we are. After all the struggle and grief, we had to rebuild, but we rebuilt on an already strong foundation. The results: It's been over 9 years since then and—I know it's cliché, but I'm going to say it anyway—we have never been happier and more in love.
He hasn't raised a hand to me in anger in all that time—not once. It's as if following our hearts provides him with an outlet for a more productive expression of his masculinity, which—in my husband, at least—has always been more intense than most other men. For him in a relationship with me and my Taken In Hand inclinations, to repress that only resulted in fury and angst.