For years, Elle didn't want to talk about our Taken in Hand relationship, but for the past few months, she's opened up and is now willing to talk freely.
One of the things we've talked about is the subject of talking itself. I'd asked her several times why she didn't want to discuss consent or her needs or desires. She usually gave me a vague answer about not wanting it to be mechanical or not wanting it to be a game.
The truth of the matter was that Elle didn't really know why she didn't want to talk about it—she just didn't. And for the past few months she hasn't really known why she now is willing to talk.
I figured it out—at least, I figured out a major chunk of it.
For her, and perhaps for other women whose careers involve leadership, explaining is a part of leading.
Elle is a teacher. She spends most of her work day instructing high-school students—telling them what to do, teaching them, controlling their disruptive behavior—in other words, being in charge.
When she explains something, she goes into teacher mode. It is very difficult for her to let go when she's in that mode. In order for her to talk to me about my being in charge of her, she had to be comfortable that I wouldn't do whatever she told me to do. She needed reassurance that I would listen to her, but make my own decisions about what to do.
Once I started overriding her, she developed a comfort level that she could tell me what she wanted without being in charge. In fact, somewhere along the way, I discovered that I needed to deliberately say “no” to her from time to time so that she could feel a sense of power from me.
With that sense of comfort, she began to open up and started talking—in detail—about what she wanted. Still, she usually starts off by saying something like, “Can I make a suggestion?” or “Can we talk about XXX?” or “This is just a suggestion, but...” And she is usually in a physically submissive position when she does it.
So, why didn't she tell me this years ago? Why didn't she just say, “If I explain what I want, could you please just take it as a suggestion and make up your own mind about what to do?”
The simple answer is that she didn't know. She didn't understand the relationship in her own mind between explaining and leading. It was too deeply ingrained in her psyche after twenty-plus years of teaching.
Once this notion clicked in my own mind, I tested the waters.
During one of her “I'm not telling you what to do, but...” moments, I said to her, “You know, I'm not one of your students. If you get bossy with me, you're the one whose going to get bent over a desk and paddled with a ruler.”
Since then, she's been even more willing to talk about what she wants. Of course, this isn't the single cause of her reluctance to talk about being Taken in Hand. There's more to it than that. But it helped me—us—to understand her reluctance to express herself.
Anyway, for husbands whose wives don't want to talk about their desire to be led, consider her life outside the home. If she's a manager, a company president, a military officer, a cop, or has any role where people follow her instructions—maybe she's too accustomed to being obeyed.
Remind her that you're in charge. You don't take orders, but you do listen to suggestions.
Have you seen the following articles?
Softly taken in hand
A year of new management
Obedience—a curious and perverse pleasure
When the heart finally comes home
Having consent to take her whenever you want assumes that you will act wisely
Don't tell anyone I'm here!
Equality isn't all it's cracked up to be
He who dares, wins
The Virgin and the Gipsy, by D. H. Lawrence