In the true spirit of taking a woman in hand, I realize that I am responsible for all that happens in our marriage. My authority to direct my wife’s behavior flows from a realization that "our failings are inherently my fault." She's following my lead, after all. I need to know where we're going, and how to get there!
In turn, she honors my wishes and shows me a depth of affection and respect that is priceless. It's a good adage that authority and responsibility go hand in hand. I only accumulate authority as much as I'm willing to bear the consequences. In our case, we started out slowly, then picked up speed. I'm astonished at our growth, since setting our natural instincts free.
I'm seeing behavior—from two, boring, middle-aged adults—which I never expected. We're calmly re-aligning our marriage to better reflect Taken in Hand principles. With more than 20 years together, it’s a natural change for us. We're clarifying our roles and expectations of each other—and we’re having a lot of fun in the process. I mean a lot.
We haven’t made any radical changes, nor have we discussed it exhaustively. I don’t like to overanalyze, and she wouldn’t be impressed with a lot of relationship theory. We both prefer actions over words. So, I’ve experimented where necessary, expanding what works, and dumping what doesn’t. I keep a very close eye on her and judge the effect. It’s a gradual shift for us, but the results are stunning.
In practical terms, my wife is a mirror of my attitude and behavior. If I'm happy, she feeds on that and responds, beautifully. If I'm playful or I surprise her somehow, she gets really wound up—in more ways than I can describe. I’ve been surprised at her reactions to some very small (at least, in my mind) changes. Now, when I press into new areas of her life, I’m on guard, looking for the results, whether good or bad.
She magnifies everything that I feel and express toward her—at least ten times over. For instance, whenever I make a small gesture that eases her burden, she gushes with appreciation. I try to choose wisely, since her views are based on perception. She honestly doesn’t want me to work and sacrifice, in a lofty, altruistic fashion. She just wants her life to be a little easier. That’s all it takes, and the payoff is huge.
Others have mentioned that a positive feedback loop develops. I agree. It can be a little intimidating, because it’s so powerful. After seeing the results, I started doing things purely for the fun of gauging her response. I’ll muscle into her daily life, take a sticky problem away from her—like some lingering family matter, and then I make a decision that settles it for good. At that point, she stares up at me with big eyes and an adoring grin. She’s smitten! I love that look—and admittedly, I’m addicted to it. I’m a stone cold junkie. By the way, she comes up with imaginative ways to thank me for being her everyday hero.
It’s not a joke and it’s not rocket science. It’s day-to-day life. If you want to step up, take the reins, and make your marriage stronger, then study her. If she’s your woman, she’ll show you what you need to know. She’ll also show you things that you never expected.