Taken In Hand has been truly a revelation for me and my husband in many ways. But one benefit I’m noticing now is how having this kind of relationship helps when I’m stressed and sleep-deprived.
We’re moving house, and it’s my job to pack everything and do all the things you have to do when moving house, and I need to get all that done while doing all the other things I do every day (working, kids, ailing parents who need a lot of help, my own health problems). I’ve got a lot on my plate right now, and I’m not sleeping enough and I’m exhausted.
My husband works extremely hard for us and he too has multiple burdens and stressors.
Last weekend I was so tired and overwhelmed that I was hardly able to do anything. Definitely an example of how trying to do too much leads to less getting done. I was feeling so stressed and sleep-deprived that I was unable to think. I told my husband he shouldn’t give me any complex orders as I’m down to the intelligence level of my husband’s dog (not the brightest animal on the planet, it has to be said—but not to my husband—he loves that dog!).
My husband saw that my functionality had indeed been reduced in my overwhelmed state, and he naturally fell into removing some of my burdens. He didn’t do that by taking over what I was trying to do—that wouldn’t have helped in this case at all. He did it by talking to me the way he talks to his dog!
He loves that dog and is very indulgent with her! He started petting my head, speaking to me how he speaks to his dog, and whenever I completed one of my tasks he said “Good girl” in a very encouraging voice, just like he says it to the dog when (for once) she manages to obey his orders.
If you’re a woman, you may be reading this and spluttering in outrage at the idea of being treated like a dog—and if you’re a husband, I wouldn’t recommend this idea as a general rule, but at the time, I really was feeling that my stress and lack of sleep had reduced my mental capacity to that of my husband’s dimwitted dog, so my husband’s playful but also very gentle and loving teasing made me giggle in acknowledgement. It also made me relax and stop fighting my diminished capacity. It was strangely soothing! Of course I know that my husband deeply respects my intellect, and we’ve been together a long time, so I did not feel at all insulted, just amused by how he handled the situation.
Then, in accepting my state instead of fighting it, I started asking my husband if I should do one task or another, and leaving it to him to decide what I should do next. That was surprisingly relaxing, and my husband was surprisingly good at knowing what needed to be done next. My asking my husband what I should do next led to my husband starting to tell me what to do in a much more micromanaging way than usual, and despite my exhaustion, I started to find it all very erotic, which woke me up and cheered me up and helped my productivity no end!
Normally, being treated like the dog and bossy micromanagement would not work for us. It would feel ridiculous and annoying and I’d tell my husband where to stick it (and no doubt if that ever were to happen I’d be made to regret those words later!). But last weekend it was the best thing my husband could have done for me. It made me feel so relaxed and cared for that it actually increased my ability to get everything done.
A large part of my incapacity had been the mental stress of thinking about the millions of tasks I had to do. What my husband did effectively released me from my dysfunctional worrying and turned what had started as a hellish day into a day in which I completed many more tasks than I had anticipated completing.
My husband’s brilliant handling of me that day started as a gentle joke to make me smile, then soothed and relaxed me, and finally, it aroused me and made me want my husband physically despite all the stressors and lack of sleep.
For me, the fact that my husband is fully in charge in our marriage and becomes more bossy when the situation naturally calls for it but doesn’t playact bossiness artificially, is tremendously erotic. In our general day-to-day lives you might not notice my husband’s control unless you were looking for it—I am not an irresponsible person and indeed my husband would be the first to stress that I am super-competent, so most of the time I don’t need to be micromanaged—but my husband’s control is there all the time, and he tells me what to do or not do whenever he considers it necessary, even if it means treating me like a dog.