The incomparable bard, Billy Shakespeare, penned phenomenal wisdom in his classic play, “The Taming of the Shrew” (TTotS).  Katherine, or “Kate” for short, was a beautiful harpy…violent, snarky, boisterous, and willful.  She bullied everyone she was around.   Despite all this, a mercenary soldier married her and tamed her using nonviolent techniques.  Her husband brought her to his estate where he had servants and control.  When Kate misbehaved, her husband claimed that the food the servants brought was tasteless and suitable only for swine and he threw it on the floor and Kate went to bed hungry.  The husband evaluated some beautiful, expensive clothes the servants had brought for Kate and he ripped them to shreds for being too plain and unsuitable for her.  Kate gasped and cried and the husband ignored Kates emotional outbursts.

When Kate attacked her husband, he laughed and teased her for her rough playfulness.  When Kate sulked, her husband approved of her commitment to meditation and reflection.  The husband withdrew his attention from Kate when she misbehaved, locking her in her room for her “protection”.  He gave Kate attention when she behaved well.  In everything, the husband was positive, affectionate, and never angry.  He was always in full control of his emotions.  When Kate seemed to be moving to a submissive posture, the husband tested whether Kate was really being compliant or merely hustling him.  The husband made nonsensical statements and watched whether Kate dutifully affirmed his nonsense.  Did she really trust him, or did she trust her own reason more?  The husband wanted to know this.

In the end, Kate was tested by other women who were being disobedient to their husbands and she prevailed over them, chiding them for their disobedience to their husbands.

So how can we tame our own shrews today?  Let’s look at the principles from TTotS.

  1. Self-control…adult men ought to be in control of their emotions and not let their women trigger them to anger.  This requires being aware of your triggers and not letting yourself get ambushed.  Men must know the emotional state of their women and know when an ambush is likely.
  2. Discourage bad behavior by withdrawing attention and give attention when your woman behaves well.  You must stay positive and affectionate even when you reduce attention.
  3. During the initial phase of taming a shrew, you must isolate your woman from other people who might give her what you are withholding from her.  Maybe a honeymoon trip to an island with a “vacation planner” who will help you with your plan.
  4. Test your woman’s submission.  How far will she follow you when she doesn’t know your plan?  How much does she trust you?
  5. Watch how your woman behaves around other women who are not submissive.  Does she go with the flow, which will lead to a breakdown of obedience, or does she stand up to other women?