Si vis pacem, para bellum (which means: if you want peace, prepare for war) is good advice for any man aspiring to take his woman in hand. Not because she is unwilling—for if she is, then he should not do it—but because this Roman maxim expresses an insight about human psychology that he might need in this Taken In Hand adventure.
What does si vis pacem, para bellum mean in this context? It doen't mean get ready to do battle, or you'll have a fight on your hands, like in many conventional relationships. It is nothing to do with anything unpleasant, like fighting and bad feeling. It is about fun and adventure and excitement. It means that a man needs to be able to handle his wife. It means that in the event of any resistance he would be willing and able to act decisively, firmly and thoroughly. Rather than going into his cave, or having a tantrum, he would take action. He would take her in hand and set her straight.
Note that I say would. The counterfactual form was deliberate. Si vis pacem, para bellum means that by being prepared to be firm, to take her in hand, to take action, he makes it much less likely that he will encounter resistance or rebellion in the first place.
In an intimate relationship, what many a Taken In Hand women wants is to feel certain that whatever happens, her husband is not in any danger of being overpowered by her. She doesn't want to have to tip-toe around all the time lest she inadvertently crush him. She wants to be able to be fully herself instead of having to tone herself down all the time, and she wants to know without any doubt that her husband can handle her, even the full her in all her power. She needs to know this, otherwise she cannot relax, and never feels peaceful.
Being able to handle her implies being prepared to take action in the event that the woman gets out of hand. Whining and complaining will not cut it. Nor will rage or spiteful comments calling into question her femininity, her womanhood, or (if she regards herself as submissive) her submissiveness. Such responses seem weak and passive. She needs to feel that her man is active and strong—stronger than she.
The action necessary depends on the individual woman, the individual man, and how they interact with each other. For some, the physical manifestation of the man's power is important; for others, it is the psychological aspect that is more important.
But the idea that the woman will necessarily be constantly fighting and resisting her husband's control for ever even though she wants a Taken In Hand relationship with him is, as I have argued before, untenable. The knowledge that her husband can and will take firm and thorough action to enforce his will releases the Taken In Hand woman from the need to resist. She can relax. She feels safe. She is no longer consumed with the fear that she might overpower him. She doesn't need to keep fighting for ever and ever until death do them part. The tamed shrew is at peace—but only when she has been tamed. Recall Kate's monologue in The Taming of the Shrew.
Some men have a commanding presence without even trying. Like my favourite teacher at school, some never actually have to take any action, because they naturally command obedience. But in most cases, the woman might need some kind of evidence that he is strong enough not to let her walk all over him. Words are not always enough. Actions speak louder than words. Weak words begging and nagging the woman to be more submissive or obedient are unlikely ever to be enough.
The man who calmly takes his woman's resistance in his stride and takes firm and decisive action is the kind of man who can provoke in even the strongest, most alpha woman worshipful adoration and a wholehearted desire to submit. He is the man who truly knows peace. Si vis pacem, para bellum.