Military discipline or the softer approach of a southern gentleman?

My wife and I very recently discovered this site and also our desire to begin anew the relationship as Taken in Hand. I have always longed for this and on the discovery of this site my wife of 15 years admitted to me this is a deep desire for her as well.

We have read many of the pages with apt interest and our journey, though just beginning has raised several questions for me as a strong man who was raised as a "Southern Gentleman" but with a deep rooted background as a former United States Marine.

I do find conflict with the power I admit into the relationship. As the southern man I find it easy to take charge and lead my wife through the day but sometimes I have to reel in the former Marine Sergeant when he appears because he can be a bit scary for her.

Is allowing the Marine Sergeant I once was to enter more often a good thing for a new relationship so as to establish my male dominance and intimidate her into hand, or should the southern gentleman step forward first and establish the cool control and allow the Marine Sergeant to rear his head only occasionally, when really needed? She may start fearing punishments such as push ups, mountain climbers and jumping jacks till she drops of exhaustion.

I do not like the idea of the intimidation factor of the former Marine but I also know the southern gentleman may seem a bit like Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind and not seem strong or firm enough.

I realize that a Taken in Hand relationship isn't about discipline, pain and suffering for the woman. It's her need to be led and controlled by the man who has the final say in the relationship yet allowing her the freedom to grow and always putting her and the relationship first. Being too strict will raise resentment and feel unloving, and being too weak will cause her to test him to make sure he's the right man for the task. So I am faced with the decision of allowing the Sergeant to intimidate her or the gentleman to use a soft hand to lead her in the direction we want to go.

Which way to turn is the question for the day: should I attempt the Marine to start off and allow the gentleman to follow up after the proper amount of discipline is instilled? Any suggestions would be welcomed as well as criticism(s).

Richard Boyd

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It really depends on your individual wife, I think. Your statement that “Being too strict will raise resentment and feel unloving, and being too weak will cause her to test him to make sure he's the right man for the task.” seems to me very wise. You need both, not one to the exclusion of the other, unless your wife is already very much in hand, in which case she may well be unpleasantly frightened by the military discipline and it might make her feel unloved.

Does your wife seem wildly excited by your super-tough marine side (as may well be the case given that she married you not someone else)? Does she seem to thrive rather than feel sad when that side predominates? And does she seem grumpy or annoying (doing more testing) when you are softer? If so, then perhaps a bit more military discipline and a bit less southern gentleman is called for.

If, on the other hand, you can see that she is feeling sad or unloved under the new regime, that is a definite sign that you need to pull back on the military discipline and add some softness. A wife needs to know that she is loved. She also needs to feel safe. Military discipline will undoubtedly be too much for many wives, but some women absolutely love it. You are in the best position to judge what is best in your marriage. This is probably something to be thinking about on an on-going basis. You will probably want to make adjustments all the time, depending on how things are going, how your wife is feeling, how in or out of hand she is at a given time, etc. Flexibility is a good thing.

I like the idea of the discipline of the marines, because it is hardcore discipline but it is not against fellow marines, it is for them, to help them all survive when people are trying to kill them. It is not incompatible with deep respect and regard for those commanded. See also The Boss's The carrot or the stick?

The husband in a Taken In Hand relationship loves his wife and puts her and their relationship first. This is the key to creating a marriage in which the man is in control in a good, healthy and sustainable way. Control that is against her instead of for her—demeaning, degrading, humiliating control that wounds her— is harmful, psychologically unhealthy, and unsustainable in the long run.

A Familiar Chord...

This string has prompted me to post my first comment as it has struck a familiar chord within me, one that has made me re-examine a past relationship and be even more thankful for my wonderful marriage.

Probably like many who have sought a Taken In Hand relationship, I began by looking in the wrong places, fetish sites where some of the qualities I needed were often hidden amongst the more bizarre fetishes and sexual behaviours that I somehow became coerced into believing I also desired.

I met a man who had some very good qualities; he was generous and affable and fun to be with but he became extremely strict, particularly in the bedroom. Initially, this was incredibly arousing, causing my heart to thump alarmingly and his critical bark and domineering manner sent shivers down my spine. It became a routine for one aspect of my behaviour to be selected for correction which culminated in physical punishment and then, immediately afterwards, very rough sex.

For the first few months I seriously craved this attention and treatment, believing that the military style he adopted was exactly what I needed but, as time passed, my self-esteem was severely dented; my only wish is to please a man and so, despite dressing for him, changing my hair-style, cooking and cleaning for many hours, there would ALWAYS be a fault, no matter how small, that would require punishment. Looking back, I now realise that never once did the punishment cause me tears but I did cry regularly when alone. Eventually I tended to equate his attention and sex with failure as I was always roughly used after being spanked for some misdemeanour.

Needless to say, we eventually drifted apart and I was left wondering how I could have misunderstood my own feelings and needs to be Taken In Hand. Fortunately, I met the most wonderful man in the world (strangely on the same website!) who did not believe in the routine use of spanking to enforce his rules. I guess one could say that he was the English equivalent of the 'Southern Gentleman'—always courteous, opening doors, hugging me for no reason other than the physical need for closeness and generally treating me like a lady. I am always aware that he is 'in charge' without the barking commands and reprimands and he praises me for my attentiveness every day without fail. On the couple of occasions where I have seriously stepped out-of-line (both times due to my overspending!), he has taken my hands gently, told me how much he loves me and then scolded me, telling me how my behaviour is not acceptable and needs to change. Both times I have dissolved into tears and ended in his loving arms. Not a hand was raised.

And so, I have experienced both types of approach and, speaking purely from my own personal experience and preferences, I would never swap my perfect Southern (English) Gentleman for the more military type of discipline. Of course, I realise that this might not be everyone's taste or choice.

Rhett Butler or R. Lee Ermey... Hmmm.

Let's all take a seat under my dogwood, and may I offer your wife and you some sweet tea?

Almost every man in my family has/is served/serving our country and many of them have been, and are currently, officers. Southern Gentlemen, in other words.

I hope you don't mind my 2 cents, here? But if you've been a Sergeant in the Corps, and been with this Lady of yours for 15 years, then maybe you already understand how much pressure is needed and where? You already know that R. Lee Ermey doesn't have a place in your marriage, especially if your lady is already open to a Taken In Hand approach.

There's an article, Taken In Hand works best when it is organic, which I tend to agree with. Let it come naturally to you both.

As for Rhett... well, I think somewhere between R. Lee and Rhett you'll find what you and your Lady need to make it work! ; )



I suppose you'll have to be your whole self if you want to engage her whole self. My husband is Midwestern, and gentleman isn't the first word that comes to mind, but I am very fond of those times when he's softer than I expect—when he excuses me somehow by describing me as tired or hungry or having had a big day. Reprieves like that make me feel too precious for harshness, and I like that exultant feeling. But I think probably those moments please me more because in general there's a lot of determination on his part to make them exceptional.


Military Discipline Or Simple Military Code Of Honor

Ahh, yes, Code Of Honor. I recall a seeming dispute in which a British Veteran was challenged, NOT because of his Code Of Honor, but rather his aquisition of such. The dispute was resolved in favor of his ACCEPTANCE and ASSIMILATION into his private life of the aforementioned Code Of Honor.

The disputer questioned the source of his aquisition. The Source should NEVER have been in question. The point is, regardless of the reason the British Veteran accepted this Code Of Honor, *HE* *accepted* it. AND HE *HONORED* IT!!!! He carried this Code into his personal family life and never looked back on any negative consequence.

I won't delve much into the Code other than to say that a Superior Officer does what he can to show RESPECT toward his subordinates.

So, the question becomes "How can a Husband respect his wife any less than an Officer can respect his subordinates?"

For me, the question becomes invisible. The wife IS subordinate to the husband, AND I suggest in the SAME manner that a subordinate deserves from his Commanding Officer.

This is how the question disappears. The Husband becomes the "Commanding Officer". The wife becomes the "Subordinate".

The "Commanding Officer" requests a hearing. The "Subordinate" is subpeonied to the hearing.

OK, this is working to be a huge diatribe, and I don't want that. What matters is that there exists a dispute, which can easily be resolved.

The original dispute was resolved during mutual internal reflections and apologies due to misunderstandings.

The resolution to this argument would simply be a resignation of all rights to any represented claim. Weighing all against all, I, and any clients I represent, RESIGN all claims to anything noteworthy, AND I find fault with any claim against me AND my clientelle. We are hereby absolved of any offense and grant any offense against us as absolvable as long as our offenses are similarly neglected.

Mick McCleod

What do you feel like?

A Taken In Hand relationship is not all about the woman and her needs. I quite like the idea that in a Taken In Hand relationship the man gets something out of it as well, and is able to express himself in a way that is good for him too. I like it when my husband is strict with me, I find it invigorating, and I think he quite enjoys being able to lay down the law about stuff and having me listen to him. If you feel a bit marineish I think why not let it show, if you like.

I'm not a huge fan of Rhett Butler myself, I think he was a bit of a wet lettuce, so I think allowing the marine to show a bit is good, so long as you're not yelling at her.


Nothing Wrong with a Military Southern Gentleman

Who says Southern Gentlemen are not in charge? Politeness is beautiful. A girl wants that. Holding doors for a lady? Of course.

Ordering food for her in the restaurant, even when the bar maid looks directly at her? It's de rigueur. Thoughtless to do otherwise. She gets the umbrella in the rain, the coat in the cold, and the praise in mixed company. And why not? She is graceful and beautiful to behold.

But do not mistake a gentleman for a wimp. Why are the above pleasantries a sign of weakness? It is an honor to have been a Marine Sergeant and to be a Southern Gentleman. One has to be strong to be kind and considerate.

You claim there should be some fundamental difference between a Southern gentleman and a Marine? The only difference is how they they express their honor and to whom.

A Marine will defend what is his to defend and protect: His men, his country, his code of conduct, and his president. You know that. A Southern Gentleman will defend and protect the safety and security of his family, his neighborhood, and the just causes of leaders and subordinates. He will defend his faith and of course his wife. You know that, too.

A Marine Sergeant is not afraid to forcefully teach the importance of self-discipline to his men, when it is necessary. Sometimes the wife of a Southern Gentleman also requires a firm reminder of what his expectations of her are. In either case it can be painful to those who need to learn.

A Southern gentleman dares to lead his wife with vigor and stamina because it is honorable, just as a Marine leads his men. And both know that life gets better (and easier) because of the effort.