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 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.
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| 2. The danger of being overpowered |
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 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.
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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.
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But the idea that the woman will necessarily be constantly fighting and resisting her husband's control for ever even though she wants a 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 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 favorite 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.
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| 5. Si vis pacem, para bellum.|
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.
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I'm new to this site. I feel extremely at home here. I have especially enjoyed this article. For me, the "action necessary" is somewhat physical. And for me, the physical, always produces a feeling of sexual arousal.
That seems to be the case for my husband (obviously, physically I can tell) but he denies that it does anything gratifying for him sexually at all. Although I did bring it to his attention the last time, and he said he didn't even realize it. How is that possible?
He is extremely controlling, which I love, but he seems to be embarrassed to overtly demonstrate it unless I push him, and hence, I find myself pushing him more and more often. He is not unwilling to physically discipline me, but what happens is that he ends up saying later, "I knew you wanted it, that's why I did it." And what I want is for him to be able to enjoy it and not make it sound like I was ultimately in control. HELP, please!!! Any advice would be welcome.
My husband is much older than I am, (36 years older). He has no problem with the idea of a man being in charge, but he claims to get no satisfaction from this type of relationship. What do I do?
I love him, and I love serving him. But he's often passive-aggressive in his demands and what I need is for him to be overt with his control. He has it, he just doesn't demonstrate it in a way that is as fulfilling as it could be...
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| 7. The submissive woman's mindset|
"But the idea that the woman will necessarily be constantly fighting and resisting her husband's control for ever even though she wants a 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 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."
Brilliant description of the submissive woman's mindset. This is exactly right, in my personal experience and observations of other submissives.
I'll just add one thing: dominant men often run into problems when, perhaps through inexperience, they try applying this to a woman who they think is submissive but who really isn't, not in her core anyway. You need to know your woman, and if you're not dealing with a submissive mindset, this approach isn't going to work or work for long. For the ones who are submissive, however, the sense of peace she gets when she realizes she can't overpower him no matter what she does is the keystone to her being happy and content.
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I mean it really did not work to try to talk to him about it. He came home from work, I'd tidied up a bit, not as much as I could have I suppose, but I'd had a busy day also. I sat at his feet and rubbed them (something I used to do often in the early days of our relationship)and I tried to explain to him who I am and that I want to feel safe and secure and how much I trust him. And basically he told me everything I said was crap and that I'm truly sick and that if I had any clue who I really am, if it were the truth that I am naturally submissive then I would "just do" the things that I know are important to him without needing him to overtly be in control. With that he retreated into his emotional cave where he will be for at least 72 hours. I'm miserable. I feel ashamed, embarrassed and completely abandoned. Now what do I do?
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