When the subject of husbands controlling and taking their wives in hand comes up, some men imagine that that must mean that they will be expected to play a rather exhausting part all day long. “ I just don't want to live that fantasy all day long”, said Melguy.
If by that Melguy meant that you have got to be dominant and in control all the time while in a Taken In Hand relationship, then I don't think you do. A lot of the time my husband isn't actually being dominant, he is naturally very bossy about the things that are important to him, but a lot of other things he doesn't care about at all and is mostly very laid-back about. And a lot of the time we relate to each other just like normal people, without any element of Taken In Hand being involved. Neither of us really is being dominant or submissive when we're going round Sainsbury's doing the shopping for instance. Listening to our conversations about “What would you like for dinner?” “I don't know—what would you like?” nobody would get the impression that either one of us was dominant. But if I get in a sulky or petulant mood, then he'll become dominant instantly, even in Sainsbury's. It just comes naturally to him to become assertive when I “get above [my]self” as he puts it, or when it's something he really cares about.
Most of the time my husband is just “getting on with life doing the 101 things that need to be done or relaxing”, as Melguy put it. Nevertheless in a sense my husband is in control 24/7 because I am always aware of the undercurrent, and the fact that his dominance will come to the surface should the need arise. This gives life an added spice and interest. He isn't constantly telling me what to do, but he does tell me what to do when it comes to things that matter to him. If there are things that don't matter to him then he doesn't bother. You don't have to be “doing it” 24/7 in order to have a Taken In Hand relationship, but I do need to know that my husband will assert himself should the need arise. In that sense it is 24/7: though he isn't actively dominant all the time, the potential is always there.