Taken In Hand for the fatally flawed

Many articles on Taken In Hand, while full of what is no doubt very good advice, seem to presuppose a high degree of virtue in both the man and the woman in such a relationship. They describe the roles of husband and wife in terms that make both man and woman sound positively saintly.

But what if you are not that virtuous? What if the woman is, like me, bone idle, self-absorbed and prone to sulking? What if the man is (like my husband for instance) vile-tempered and prone to fly off the handle at the slightest thing, and capable of occasional bouts of total irrationality?

I think, so long as both of you have sufficient interest in maintaining a happy relationship, and so long as you can get back on course after periods of upset, falls from grace etc, you can maintain a Taken In Hand relationship even if you do not have a high degree of moral virtue, or the unselfishness and noble characters of The Waltons.

Men in the kind of idealised relationships sometimes pictured on here, I feel, never lose their temper or shout at their wives. Wives never neglect the housework because they're on the computer (again). Nor do they sulk when told off by their husbands. My husband and i are not like this.

Nevertheless, for some reason, Taken In Hand seems to work for us. it gets us back on course after a row. It means that hurt feelings, upsets, etc, do not drag on for hours or days like they used to. It means we like each other better, communicate better, are closer than we used to be.

We are never going to be the idealised virtuous Taken In Hand couple, but we hang in there. so if, like me, you happen not to be the model virtuous wife, and your husband happens not to be the idealised perfect leader, take heart. Taken In Hand can still work for you. So long as you both want it to.


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Utilitarian Universality

The universality of *Taken in Hand* is a truism that bears repeating. At a time when life expectancy was short, partner selection was—by today's standards—relatively limited, and survival of the group depended on social stability, *Taken in Hand* derived from the normal interaction of men and women.

The belief that a shrew should be spanked is so ingrained into the human fabric that the mythos appears across generations around the globe.

The utilitarian value of *Taken in Hand* is enhanced because it does not require an *expert*—often someone randomly benefiting from the inequitable distribution of knowledge in a technical society—to use it. Implementation is reasonably straightforward. Desirable outcomes are tangible and immediately forthcoming.

More importantly, *Taken in Hand* greatly diminishes typical *BAD* elements in failed marriage—the slippery slope of Bickering, Adultery, and Divorce.

Sometimes I wish our relation

Sometimes I wish our relationship WAS a bit more tempestuous, Louise, so that I could feel Mr P's strength and force-of-will a bit more frequently. He is, however, very easy going.....not a saint by any means, but genuinely relaxed and in terms of housework, domestic chores etc, pretty undemanding. As I am the tidier of the two and (sadly) a bit obsessional about keeping on top of things at home, we rarely seem to have any conflict about that sort of thing.

I occasionally envy those who, like you, have opportunity to experience your husband's disapproval and the delicious thrill of correction (well, I know it doesn't feel like that at the time but I think you know what I mean) but it seems pointless doing things deliberately to provoke him.

The only area which brings us into conflict on a fairly regular basis is when I binge-eat as I am trying to lose weight. For some reason which I find unfathomable, Mr P seems to think I am sexy and gorgeous as I am even though I KNOW my forty-something body looks grim in clothes and even grimmer without them. But he knows I am happier when I am not overweight, not to mention a bit more lively in the bedroom, so he has taken it upon himself to watch my eating habits and my weight with a frightening level of interest. When I confess to stuffing myself with crisps, chocolate, ice cream and biscuits (I can't bring myself to lie to him), I know what the consequences will be. But even though the consequences provide that welcome reminder of his strength and control, I just can't see the point in breaking my diet for that reason alone.

Is it possible to be TOO virtuous? I don't know. I'm certainly not complaining about his mellow temperament, but in terms of Taken In Hand, Louise, I think what you and your husband have got going sounds pretty good!

Long Leash

It is possible to control a woman too much. The true advantage of Taken in Hand is that women do not have to be kept on a *short leash*.

As with many other things in life, husbands need to know when to make a stand and when to let things slide. Sometimes, this can be difficult to learn.

Reality rather than saintliness

I haven't seen too many instances of saintly virtue mentioned on this forum... more likely to see real people going through real issues, trying to find a workable solution to how to live with one another in a way that both find appealing. Taken In Hand (with or without physical 'punishment') is the answer to a lot of problems couples have interacting with one another. It appeals to me not because of any perceived need for personal virtuousness, but because it reminds me that I need to pay more attention to details and truly listen to my partner's wishes. If this is a 'virtue' then I'm assuming the pearly gates will open to me when I 'ascend,' but in the meantime, I suspect I will just keep slogging away, trying to figure out how to get along better with a significant other next time around.

The reason why some, especial

The reason why some, especially men, might seem to have ideal relationships is that they are not willing to share either their or their wife's flaws on a public forum. Moreover, the owner of this site actively discourages the sharing of gory personal details. I just assume that readers on this forum understand that we are all human and must have personal failings. Must these failues be described in gory detail?

Like my father, I am reticent to share even with friends personal matters. I am bewildered and disgusted by television programs like Jerry Springer, Dr Phil, and Housewives of New Jersey (which by the way are enormously popular) where people are willing to flaunt the most intimate details of their marriages.

The truth is I do have an excellent wife, who demonstrates her love for me daily. But you can assume that she is not perfect. (btw nor am I)

Gory details

Well, as a person who is very far from perfect, and who frequently finds everyday life a bit of a drag, I sometimes feel hopelessly inadequate when reading about these torrid relationships where people spend all their time engaged in passionate sex, or dancing round the supermarket or whatever.

I wrote this piece in order to suggest that even if you have a rather mundane relationship, like we do, it is still possible to get something out of Taken In Hand. You don't have to go dancing round the supermarket in order for Taken In Hand to work for you. I hoped that perhaps other people who feel inadequate when reading about the sort of lives most of the people who write on here lead might derive some consolation from this (but maybe there aren't any, I don't know, perhaps it's just me).

I have mentioned on more than one occasion that my husband has a foul temper, and that I am very lazy and inclined to be sullen. If you consider these to be 'gory details' then frankly I think you are a bit over-fastidious.

At any rate, writing the above piece made ME feel better, even if it didn't do anything for anyone else!


Understanding and Commitment Are More Important Than Perfection

Some women simply come with more baggage than others. A wife at twenty has less history than a bride at forty!

I was fortunate in that my future wife and I connected when she was still in her teens. The result was that, even though I was only a few years older, I wound up giving her at least one spanking that, she later admitted, her father might have eventually otherwise given her.

Although non-sexual in intent and consequence, putting my future wife across my lap and disciplining her formed the beginnings of a permanent bonding. In reflection, she discovered that being spanked by the man she wanted to marry had a very different feel than being spanked by her father.

Decades ago, a grandmother—I had known since her children were in their teens and preteens—admitted, even before her impending marriage to her second husband, that he had spanked her. It was her first since childhood.

Although the spanking hurt much more than she expected—not to mention thoroughly embarrassing at her age—she never denied deserving it. As with my future wife a over a decade earlier, other members of her family had known for some time that somebody needed to put her over their lap! So, it really came as no surprise when someone who cared finally did so.

Despite superficial differences in experience, there is a commonality in the human experience. Men are not from Mars. Nor are women from Venus. Sooner or later a woman wonders how a man whom she loves would spank her if he got up the nerve. At the same time, the man in inclined to wonder how she would react if he did.

Yet, despite some diversity, most husbands take their wives in hand much the same way and their wives are equally predictable in the effect in has on them. As my wife observed decades ago, women are disinclined to resist because they expect men to *take charge* and straighten them out.

Men are more likely to fail in marriage when they fail to understand how women think. Instead of asking, "Why can't a woman be more like a man?" sometimes a man needs to think more like a woman. By the same token, as one insightful young woman from Asia recently told me, "Women need to think more like me to understand them." In the end, compatibility is more important than perfection.

Once a man and a woman understand—even appreciate—their differences, then, they stand a better chance of making a marriage work over time. Otherwise, they may have well been born on different planets.

Marriage is not always easy, but it is workable if two people are committed to the common purpose. Perfection is not necessary. Understanding and commitment are indispensable.

I totally relate

Thank you, Louise. Sometimes I sulk, spend too much time on the computer, argue with my husband, or criticize too much. Sometimes he gets mad and says ridiculous, nasty things. As long as we are both willing to apologize, we are fine afterwards. Thank you for pointing out that even flawed people can have beautiful Taken In Hand relationships!


Tahnks, I'm glad you liked what I wrote! I do think it is nice that people can manage to have good relationships even with imperfections.


Taken In Hand has really helped us

Thank you for this wonderful encouraging article! The relationship between me and my boyfriend has not always been easy, but now we've officially started our Taken In Hand journey, we've been happier than ever, and so far Taken In Hand also helps us a great deal with our rows and conflicts!

Wha? I'm not better behaved than my Golden Retriever?

ROFLOL This reminded me a joke I've heard. "Raise your hand if you lie. Now all of you with your hands down....raise your hand for lying."

I love your in the face honesty Louise. I loved your description of yourself as "bone idle" it cracked me up. I'll have to add that to my descriptions of myself in my journal!

The worst me....is a pretty crappy person on occasion. I would even go as far as to say I'm a little crappy every day. Luckily, my husband is aware he married a human, so he accepts it. This is not to say he rolls over and takes it. It just means me, and our marriage will never stop bieng a work in progress.

I love that you pointed out this pulls you back on track. For me the emotional ride of figuring out what works for "us" is ever changing and "still" surprising at times. My husband almost gave up the first time he tried to spank me for attitude and I submitted happily right up till the first couple cracks. Expletives not normally used in our house flew out of my mouth and I "wanted" to punch him in the head. He was totally confused by my fighting, and I was confused at the vehement anger I felt toward him at that moment.

Luckily for us, we worked through that hurdle. We have a lot of years of a different dynamic to muddle through. In my opinion this has saved our marriage, or at least our sanity. Even though we're both just human.