My husband and I face the world as a team

I met my husband in college. I was dating his roommate, who was my type of guy, I thought—small, fine boned, dark haired, skinny, serious. My husband-to-be was an enormous 6'5, 365lb, blond football playing man’s man, loud, rowdy—not my type at all! He had a motorbike. I was into sensitive, artistic kind of guys, who would be able to appreciate my quiet and rather shy nature. (No one would ever call me a ball of fire.) But he was a great friend, full of integrity and kindness, hardworking, funny. Later the “sensitive” roommate dumped me—for a feisty red haired older woman!—and who was right there with the comfort? And soon I noticed how nice those blue, blue eyes were, and those shoulders, and it was revealed that he was crazy about me, and it then it was all romance and delightful sex. My family loved him; we got married.

That seems like a very long time ago!

Our marriage was very traditional. We were involved in a Bible literalist church that taught that the husband should be head of the household, wife should be subject. That was pretty much what we saw in our parent’s marriages. We never thought to question it, we embraced it, and we thrived. By nature I was submissive, always had been. I have more gumption now, but inside I still feel like that shy girl with the desire to please and make people happy, a desire to give of myself. By nature, hubby was a natural leader. He was president of all kinds of clubs, and even now, he’s like that. We just happened to fall into a marriage philosophy that suited our natures, and I am thankful for that.

We have gone through lots of upheavals in life, where my husband would steer the boat through the calmest waters he could find, and I would paddle along for all I was worth.

Hubby was in a near fatal motorcycle accident, he has had long term serious back problems from this. He was in the hospital a month; the financial repercussions lasted for years. It also caused fertility issues, because he was on a catheter for so long he was scarred and had constant infections for a long time. Honeymoon over. Then his father died, quite unexpectedly, and his mother fell apart. We dealt with it. I got pregnant, finally, then bam! I got pregnant again, with twins. Three daughters under two years of age, more bills, ugly nursing bras, piles of diapers, joy and exhaustion.

I suspect that if he had tried to punish me for being grumpy or having a messy house during those years I would have blithely strangled him with a dirty cloth diaper, submissive nature or not. But we were a team, wrangling babies and bill collectors. My behavior was never the issue—I was not “bad” or reckless, or disrespectful, or undisciplined. Neither was he! We were each other's soft place in a hard world. We were often exhausted. One minute we would be snapping at each other, the next we would be giving each other back rubs. Life hadn’t really turned out to be quite what we had envisioned, but whose does?

A few years later we adopted the son of a teenaged relative, a delicate, needy infant. Our church was in a state of change, we were counseled not to take this imperfect child... That was the tip of an ugly iceberg for us. We took the baby; he had many developmental delays. He is now a bright healthy 14 year old, obsessed with motor vehicles (and far less moody than our daughters were at that age!) Hubby made the final decision on the adoption, and for awhile I was not sure if we would get that baby or not: he thought about it for days.

And bam! Another beautiful daughter, a surprise. During that time we left the church, which had changed into a legalistic group. Another big decision that hubby made, but I certainly voiced my concerns and unhappiness. We moved to a small town, another head of the household decision. Then all our parents got sick and died of one thing or another. More upheaval. Also inheritances. Many big decisions were made, and I wouldn’t really know which direction he would decide to lead us in, even though we would talk and talk about things, weighing them. I knew he thought long and hard about things. Sometimes a decision would be like walking into the mist....

Over the years then, he has made many decisions that directly affect my life (and work load), but since he is willing to paddle just as hard or even harder, I have never felt resentful or used. It is us against the world, in many instances. Or us paddling a canoe full of whining kids, into some fog.

Consequences, yes we’ve had those, but usually if one of us screws something up, we both end up paying, because our lives are so meshed together. It is hard to see your spouse paying for your foolish decision or thoughtless act, and we’ve both been there, but not often. He is the stricter parent, and this is an area of constant discussion. I do understand teenaged girls a little more than he does. I get to make all decorating decisions, because if it is brown, he likes it. I also set the standards for the tidiness of the house because he still has issues with the laundry hamper. I don’t nag, I know what my hair salon bill looks like, after all, and he puts up with that. Give and take.

If he was uncaring, or selfish, or ignored my needs, would this work? I don’t see how, because of the trust involved. If I were negligent or selfish, it also wouldn’t work. The current is just too fast; you need two strong oars rowing together to avoid the rocks. I don’t really see how any marriage can work if one partner is really troubled or selfish, if one does all the giving, another all the taking.

Would I have that sense of togetherness, we’re in this mess together, honey, if I saw myself as a problem to him, or he saw me that way, a problem in need of correction? I don’t think so. In fact, I think I’d be pretty devastated if he thought I was a problem in our marriage and needed to be punished—that seems so drastic to me. I was his dream girl, later the wife whom he loves, respects, trusts, relies on, and I see myself that way. It would be hard to change my thinking to see myself as a problem to him. That seems so foreign to me. I’m happy with my role, my part of the We Team, and our problems are not so much between the two of us, but what we face together.


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Beautiful, Bramble!

Your relationship sounds so much like my grandparents' relationship, Bramble! I love the gentleness, the mutual respect, the kindness, the way you cherish each other. I really think this is how relationships should be. Thanks so much for the beautiful and inspiring article, and please write more!

A beautiful marriage

I agree that this sounds exactly how a marriage should be.

I identify with certain areas in particular, my husband is the stricter parent, for instance, though these days we have fewer clashes over the children than we used to, he is more willing to make compromise decisions about them because I am more willing to listen to him.

Other things are quite different from my own experience, I've never personally known any couple, of any generation, where the wife was expected to obey the husband, certainly not in my own parents' case, my father would have been horrifed at the very idea. And my husband has always been tidier than I am, much tidier.

In our case, the 'punishment' thing is something he does because he knows I want him to, it's not a serious belief that I can somehow be reformed by being spanked, it's just more exciting for me if I feel there is a 'real' reason why he is doing it. Neither of us is perfect, and neither expects the other to be perfect, it just makes our relationship more fun.

What a terrific thing to have four daughters after your husband thought he might he infertile! I wish we still had a girl in the house, sharing a house with four males I sometimes feel swamped by masculinity!

Spanking is largely irrelevent to our Taken In Hand relationship

The way it work for me is that after knowing my husband for 23 years, I know pretty well the things that seriously bother him. Things like letting the house get into a mess, letting the children run wild etc. These are the things that I try seriously hard not to let happen nowadays. My husband has never spanked me for letting the house get messy because I try seriously hard not to let that happen since I know it annoys him very much. I try very hard not to do things that I know really annoy him, because I appreciate very much that he tries very hard not to lose his temper with me like he used to do fairly frequently in the past. Both of us try much harder now not to upset the other. We must be getting something right, because we haven't had a row for eight months now, ever since we started the Taken In Hand thing in fact.

The things he spanks me for are mostly things that are going to occur because of my nature, as I have remarked elsewhere on here, I am a bad-tempered bitch, and quite frequently have fits of sulkiness, bad temper etc. Those are going to occur no matter what, sometimes they're hormonal, sometimes they are just the result of sheer bloody-mindedness. I also get spanked for shopping without permission, my husband imposed the shopping ban as a result of my own worries about my spending too much, but I know this is something he doesn't really care about, it's not something that is going to seriously annoy him the way the messy house would.

I have only once ever been spanked for something my husband was seriously annoyed about, and although it was exciting in a way, it was also very disturbing, because I knew he was really angry, and therefore it did not have the relaxing and sensual effect on me that it usually does, it was very strange. "Is this it?" I said to myself "the Holy Grail of the DD experience, the non-erotic punishment spanking?" No, I still felt turned on afterwards, but it was all rather more dramatic than usual and therefore, for me at any rate, something to be avoided. Being Taken In Hand is, as far as I am concerned, about avoiding dramatic emotional experiences, of which I have had a basinful.

I honestly don't think it would be a good thing if my husband felt he had to beat me in order to get me to pay attention to the things he really cares about. For me, being Taken In Hand is about paying attention to him because I genuinely care about him and want to make him happy, and also I do feel more respect for him now that he controls his temper, and can also, to my surprise and pleasure, control mine.

That one experience of coming near the edge of a non-erotic spanking convinced me that it is something I really don't want. I don't want to feel I'm being beaten into submitting to him, I like it best when I feel that he is restoring the submissive feeling simply by his strength of will, not by thrashing me.

He has never actually continued to spank me when I really didn't want him to. There have been times when I have slithered off his knee (he never tries to keep me there by force) and he says "get back there" and I find myself responding to the authority in his voice to make me do this. But I said to him once "If I said to you 'No, I can't do it, I can't take any more' would you try to force me?" "No," he said decisively "Because that would be crossing the line from mutual consent into abuse" It was something of a relief to me that he seemed to feel exactly the way I did about it, without us ever having discussed it.

I have come to the conclusion that the spanking is largely irrelevent to our Taken In Hand relationship, it hasn't got anything to do with why I feel more respect for him, why I pay more attention to his wishes, why we communicate better, why I feel ready for sex whenever he does, and why we haven't had a row for eight months. It is something I enjoy, it is something I need, but it has nothing to do with the change in our relationship.



It seems like your husband leads, but in a way that helps you to feel (usually) safer in the emotional space that you are in.

But when he had to make an important decision that you did not agree with, regardless of the outcome, did you honestly feel safer in carrying out his decision because you implicitly trusted your husband's judgement over your own; did you feel safer because the two of you acted "together" on the decision, even though you really thought his decision was wrong; or did you feel less safe because you thought he made an incorrect decision?

I think I know the answer to my question, but just curious.


Teamwork rocks!

Hi Bramble!

Thanks for letting us all learn by hearing about your relationship! You and your husband have been through so many difficult experiences, yet you are both always able to maintain a strong and loving bond with one another. That is something so special!

Sounds Like a Winning Team!

Bramble, it sounds like you have a great marriage and a wonderful life partner.

Basically I feel the same way about my marriage. There are imperfections. I can't tell you he's made the decisions because they were made so equally between us that I don't even know "who" made them.

Other than the one bad year we have never been a problem to each other, all the challenges have been from without and we have faced them together. And we weathered the bad year, too.

We've been through two cancers (his and mine) and two parents' deaths (the other two were deceased when we met). But anyhow I know just what you mean, we have been here for each other and he doesn't see me as the problem or in need of correction. And I do not think I could live in a situation where I was viewed in that light.


Wrong decisions

Well, the worst decision my hubby ever made, I wasn't even involved in( I was at home cleaning house, actually,)--it concerned an extreme motorcycle jump( that he had done before) that nearly killed him, when we were young. And it was a doozy. He nearly died 3 times on the operating table, broke his back, was in the hospital for a month...out of work for 3 months--and he was the major wage earner. 60k in medical bills(inadequate insurance, too.)

Having been through that, few other decisions have seemed that crucial to me. Alot of the hardest decisions, neither one of us could know the future, so he did the best he could, after lots of talk.

I've been willing to go along with decisions that I didn't think were best, to not be a hinderance or negative voice. Mostly I figured that if he thought it was a good idea, then it probably was a good idea, maybe I wasn't seeing something he saw. He's never been much of a gambler, prefers to be able to study something before getting into it, and has never put big things at risk,(not since that accident, anyway,)like the mortgage, or made decisions that would add more to my workload and not to his(selfish decisions). In fact, he is pretty protective of the amount of work etc that I do, and tends to watch out for my energy level etc(I have a health condition that causes energy levels to fluctuate.)'Wrong' decisions haven't really been that bad, or were correctable.

We have figured out, over the years, that my instincts involving the kids, their friends, friends's parents etc, are usually better than his and so many decisions involving the kids are pretty much mine, but again, we talk about those things.