Saturday, February 28, 2015

Emotional Submission & Punishment

Well I made it through the work week without losing it... almost. Yesterday morning I got into a bit of a crisis, and I was really freaking out. Bruce called to make sure I was okay, and in the height of my emotion I was nasty and hurtful. That tongue of mine... easily my worst quality. By the end of the conversation I apologized, and I could tell he was reluctantly considering how he should handle my behavior. Recently he admitted that he struggles to discern punishments, and on top of that we had a dinner date planned, so I knew he wouldn't really react that evening. But coming straight home and lecturing, punishing, etc., really made the most logical sense; that way he could express his disappointment, and by submitting to his punishment I could show him that I was truly sorry.

But deciding that I know best isn't really submission, is it? The old me would have spent the day trying to figure out how to best clarify why my idea made sense. Instead (thanks to a moment of Grace) I was suddenly aware of the unfairness of that scenario. On top of being awful to him, I had put him in a position to have to worry about how to react to my bad behavior. My insistence on how to handle things would only exaggerate his discomfort... not to mention that doing so would be the antithesis of submissive!

So I prepared myself to quietly accept whatever he chose to do in response, even if that meant no response at all. After the workday I went home, turned up my iPod, and got in the shower. "Demons" came on (Imagine Dragons) and I was struck by humanity's desperation for redemption. Every significant song, movie, or book has redemption as either a main or underlying theme. We know we are broken, and we crave the peace of being restored from our brokenness. How beautiful that our creator recognizes this need and fills it completely! While redemption, grace, and submission all floated around in my head I sobbed into the running water... the kind of broken sob that gives you clarity, even if only temporarily.

Bruce came home and told me that he understood why I was upset. He said we still needed to "deal with it later" but he wasn't mad. And he really wasn't; we had a wonderful night together, free from resentment and guilt. This morning he let me know that we will be "dealing with" my behavior tonight in the form of a very hard spanking. A general 'rule' of domestic discipline is to handle any punishment as quickly as possible, so as to prevent the wife from feeling on edge while anticipating what's coming. I agree, but in this case I am really at peace with the delay. He is not angry or resentful, so I don't feel edgy or upset. I know that my behavior needs corrected, and I know I am going to be really uncomfortable by the end of the night, but only in a physical sense. Perhaps as we acclimate to this lifestyle we will find a more effective way to handle things, but for a new and inexperienced couple I think we are doing just fine. Soon tonight will be yesterday and it will all be over with anyway!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Settling into Our 'Roles'

Man, I am feeling blue today! I have been off of work for about a week due to weather, and it is so hard to voluntarily drag myself back into the stressful whirl-wind that is my job. I tell myself that I will still come home in the evenings and enjoy my husband, but as much as I try it is never entirely true... there is always some part of my mind that is stuck at work. I often marvel at how difficult it is just to live and do the right thing!

Yesterday I texted Bruce at work and told him he was getting a back-rub before bed No Matter What! He is such a sucker for back-rubs, I really should be giving them more often. I did all of the laundry, straightened up the entire house, and had dinner ready to go when he walked in the door. I wish I had the energy to do that every day! I really do feel called to my line of work, but in a perfect world my work load would be reasonable enough that I could give my husband (and God willing, eventually our children) an appropriate amount of love and attention. As I set the table, I told him I had purchased some cute underwear with a left-over gift card from Christmas. I told him I wasn't sure if they would look cute on, but they were definitely cute in the picture. Before I knew what was happening he grabbed my waist, bent me over the table, and gave me several breathtakingly hard smacks over my pants. When I caught my breath I asked him what on earth that was for, and he said "You need to stop talking like that. I don't want to hear you putting yourself down anymore." What a man! I really feel like I must have the best husband in the whole world :)

After dinner we sat down on the couch and in less than 20 minutes he was asleep sitting up (although we don't work in the same field, I'm not the only one with an exhausting service job). I was able to wake him up, and suggested he get in bed so I could give him his massage. When we went into the bedroom, he decided to initiate sex... this is so exciting because since we have started living this way I have wanted to be intimate all the time. Like usually two times a day. In fact, about two weeks ago I admitted to him that I try to stifle the urge as often as possible, and to my surprise he told me to bring him the paddle. I brought it out to him and he really gave it to me right there on the couch. He wouldn't stop until I promised I would tell him whenever I wanted it; he said that if he could have it whenever, then I should be able to as well (right when we got married I told him I would always be intimate whenever he wanted, no matter what... after all, if I'm not in the mood it takes about a minute and a half of 'playing along' until I genuinely want it too). Since that night I have been trying to be honest, but it really is embarrassing and feels unfeminine to want it so often. Anyway, I was psyched to be on the receiving end for a change!

As I gave him his back-rub I asked him if he had thought any more about his 'Important Qualities of a Christian Wife' list. He admitted he hadn't given it a lot of thought, but had thought about it some. I asked him what being submissive looked like to him, and after a pause he said "I think one big thing is that you always honestly consider what I say. I don't want you to just do everything I suggest, but I want you to really think about it." I am so glad he is (hopefully eventually) making a list, as I would never have listed that as one of the main proponents of being submissive. That's another beautiful thing about this lifestyle... I want to be submissive in the way that he wants; since God brought us together then inevitably what we need from each other will not only benefit the one receiving, but will benefit the one giving as well. In fact, reflecting on the perfection of God's plan I feel a little less blue already :)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Useful 'Reminders'...?

When I first looked into all of this, I read responses from women who admitted that they were guilty of ‘testing’ their husbands to see how far they could push the line. That’s the exact opposite reason for doing this in the first place! It made me nervous though, because I knew I would be guilty of the same thing; sadly that sounds just like me. Several of these women cited ‘reminder spankings’ as helpful in keeping them on track. Weird right? Logically I knew this was strange, but intuitively I felt like a reminder from time to time might help me forget about pushing, and focus on being respectful. I know, I know, I really do hear how bizarre that sounds...

That’s basically how Bruce heard it when I asked him if I could get a reminder from time to time. I think his exact words were “I don’t understand what you mean by reminder.” I tried explaining it as a way to help me remember what kind of a relationship I am asking for: one where he is the authority, and I submit to that authority… “You know I’ve been stubborn and awful for so long it’s just going to be a habit for me. These ‘reminders’ would help me to break the habit.” …[silence, and a blank stare]… I gave up and just asked him to consider it.

He said he would think about it. A few days later I brought it up again, and to my surprise he agreed without any convincing. He said he understood that I wasn’t really sure what it felt like to be honestly submissive. That’s exactly what I had meant! He even went on to say that he felt hesitant about being dominant, and that this might help. After asking me (repeatedly) if I was sure I wanted to do this, he said we would at least give it a try. I asked him how often, and he said with a faint smile “You don’t get to control everything.” Fair enough. I would wait until he was ready.

So last night we made dinner and ate together. I was admittedly a bit irritable, although I’m not sure why. I knew to keep my mouth shut, but my heart wasn’t in it if you know what I mean. After dinner was cleaned up he told me to go into the bedroom and take my pants off. I waited in the bedroom and eventually he came in and got the paddle. He put one knee on the bed, sat back, and gestured to his leg. So not across his lap like before… where we being playful? When he started ‘warming me up’ with his hand, I knew we weren’t playing. After a long hard warm-up he gave me a long, very hard spanking with the paddle. I tried in vain to hold still, and even reached my hand back once to stop him. He gently but firmly held my wrist down and continued. He wasn’t angry, but he wasn’t sympathetic either. When (much to my relief) he finished, he pulled me up on the bed and we had incredible sex. Afterward we held each other and I whispered “That was really, really awful. But thanks.” He involuntarily chuckled at the ridiculousness of my statement and said “Baby you are really intense. So I am trying to counter that,” and he kissed me on the head.

If I was already confused by ‘reminder spankings,’ now I was totally lost. Not only was this incredibly painful, but I had had no control whatsoever; it was a little bit scary, and incredibly freeing (?) all at once. Lying there next to him I felt more than ever like he was the boss. I felt the kind of respect for him that made me want to demonstrate that respect. We’ll have to be careful not to let this get out of control… nothing wrong with a little spice in the bedroom, but I want to be sure it is always about our dynamic as a couple, and not about some extra thing we are doing. Good thing he is the one making the decisions and setting the pace; he has way more self-restraint than I do.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Meeting with a Pastor (!)

To my surprise my husband agreed to make a list (qualities of a Christian wife that are important to him)! But he said he would do it when he gets around to it and no sooner, so there's no real guarantee that he will actually get it done at all. Still, that's more than I was expecting.

I tend to obsess over things a bit; last night at the Ash Wednesday service I started feeling nervous about what we are doing. I came home and mulled over every verse I could find on husbands and wives (again), and even though I still feel that this is right for us, I was fearful that it was still somehow wrong. I found myself thinking that maybe we should forget the whole thing just in case, then I stopped myself; this is kind of one of the things that suck about Christians- we are afraid to do anything out of the box, so we are... boring. I returned to my thoughts of meeting with a pastor face to face.

I've been wanting to do this for a long time... about a month and a half actually. I keep praying about it, but I prayed even harder last night. This morning I woke up and called my church office; I told the secretary I was a member, but wanted to talk to a pastor outside of our church over something really personal; surely people requested that from time to time? She said of course, and referred me to two other Lutheran (LCMS) Pastors in the area. I called one and left a voicemail, and when I called the second one I was surprised to hear him answer. I vaguely explained why I wanted to talk to a pastor outside of my church, and he said "sure, I'm open all day, so come on over."

I stammered out an affirmative response, hung up, and then I started panicking. What was I thinking?? How can I open up about this to anyone? I gathered up the verses I had been studying, and nervously talked to myself out loud throughout the whole drive there. I arrived at the church, and to my disappointment I found the pastor to be similar to my own age; I was really hoping for someone in their forties or fifties, or even better, older than that.

I sat down, awkwardly explained what we are doing and why, and even went into my sexual connection with corporal punishment. At first he had some clarifying concerns; husband and wife should always communicate, he shouldn't dictate what I'm doing, etc. I explained that he and I agree together on what is an offense that deserves a consequence, and that though corporal punishment may seem demeaning to some, he would not be using any consequences that either of us find to be demeaning. After some more discussion and clarification, he said "I think this is fine." I practically fell out of my chair I was so relieved. He reiterated that Christian marriage should be about love, honor, and respect, but as long as we were keeping that at the heart of everything, we should be okay.

He also mentioned that it's okay to have desires outside of the norm, provided we stay within the bounds of scripture and maintain the above. He even commented that my coming in seemed to be God-led, as he has been discussing related issues with his confirmation classes and other members of the church. I've only briefly outlined our conversation, but we did go over everything that was a concern to me, and I feel so at peace with this. We will need to be careful, prayerful, and communicate the whole way, but I don't feel a need to obsess anymore. And now I can just enjoy my husband and his newfound dominance. Best feeling ever :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Three Random Things

I am off work today, so I've had some time to stop and reflect. Three main ideas are swimming around in my head, so I will spill all of them!

1) I am loving how we no longer argue like we used to. Two nights ago he tried to talk to me about something, but I interrupted him to disagree with what he had said. Before this would have escalated into a shouting match, leaving both of us angry and hurt. Instead, he came over and gently put his arm around me and made a 'hold on' gesture with his hand. I paused in what I was saying and he said "It is not time for you to talk right now, it is time for you to listen." I was irritated, but closed my mouth. He finished talking and I still wanted to argue, but after the urge passed I realized he was so right to quiet me. There was absolutely no reason to take the conversation in the direction I had wanted to take it... my disagreement was not central to what he was telling me in the first place. I can't help smirking when I think of how I would have reacted to this before. Before I would have seen it as arrogant and rude, but now that I have consciously asked him to lead it felt loving and calm. Funny how physically requesting something I have always mentally wanted makes such a difference.

2) I got punished for the first time last night. I snapped completely unnecessarily about something unimportant, and he reacted with genuine hurt. It was so unnecessary and biting that I am embarrassed just thinking about it. I apologized and we continued our movie, but I felt like dirt. He didn't deserve that! What was I thinking? How did that come out of my mouth without me catching it? When the movie was over he told me to go into the bedroom and I immediately knew why. We bought a small paddle a week or so ago and he brought it out and spanked me pretty heavily with it. I have never been spanked with anything other than his hand, and it hurt a lot more than I expected! In fact, it still hurts right now. The strange thing is that I felt so light when it was over. I apologized, he said it was okay, and we hugged. The guilt was gone! And the best part was that he didn't want to have some alone time away from me, or feel angry at me at all. Also it was a huge turn on that he wasn't afraid to be dominant. I hope it was a turn on to him that I was willing to be submissive...

3) Since Lent starts tomorrow and I am already buckling down in a ton of different areas, I think I might ask him if he could make a list of what he feels is important in a submissive Christian wife. Not really related to Lent at all, but I could work on that while I am working on everything else! I'm fairly certain he won't agree to make a list though; he will probably see it as too intense and over-planned. Best case scenario is that he will agree to make one whenever he gets around to it, which will probably not be for a long time. It's worth a shot though! I'll keep my fingers crossed just in case :)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Being "Surrendered"

My husband and I have essentially chosen to practice Domestic Discipline in our marriage. If you don't know, Domestic Discipline is the consensual choice between spouses to grant the husband *nurturing* authority over his wife. In being the head of the household, the husband can back his authority by removal of privileges, spanking, or other means agreed upon by both partners. It is significant to note that this dynamic is nearly always initiated by the wife; they recognize that one or both roles are skewed, and feel that this kind of accountability may help correct that. (Although this lifestyle did originate as a Christian idea, there are now of course many existing variations; I am merely describing the most common form of this lifestyle.) Anyway, as the head of the house my husband has the final say. He and I are obviously of equal value and significance, but he is the authority, and I submit to that authority.

In adjusting to this lifestyle, we have found one personal caveat; when he was enforcing consequences in response to my making poor choices, I lost some of the self-motivation and self-discipline that comes with doing the right thing. For me, avoiding a punishment became a sort of motivation for making wiser choices, thus minimizing my connection and response to God and his word. As a Christian this connection is central to my existence, so this was a serious problem for us. I am not saying everyone in a Domestic Discipline relationship has this problem, I just mean for me and my personality it didn't work. In realizing this, my husband and I decided to eliminate that aspect of the lifestyle. Now if I do something unwise, it's on me; he may be disappointed, but he leaves me and my conscience to wrestle with what I've done and how to be better. He does, however, still 'back his authority' in situations where my attitude comes off as disrespectful or overbearing. More significantly, as I am diagnosed Obsessive Compulsive, this check has done wonders for my mental looping and other behaviors that are, to a degree, outside of my control.

Domestic Discipline was actually commonly practiced in most marriages up until about 50 years ago. Today it is still accepted in most cultures, but the United States is not one of them. If you google Domestic Discipline you will find a lot of seething comments about how participating men must be abusive, and participating women must have no self-respect. That is far from true, but there is no way to convey that to people unwilling to consider this with an open mind. In reality, this lifestyle encourages a sharpened sense of trust and leadership; nearly all DD marriages are pleasantly surprised to find that they are happier and more fulfilled... from both sides. Undeniably, some aspects of the lifestyle have the potential to become a slippery slope, but if we continually take care to seek (and listen to) the Holy Spirit, I believe this will only continue to enhance and strengthen our marriage.

I certainly do not believe the Bible mandates this type of a marriage, but I do believe that God made men and women in a way that compliments this lifestyle. I have an innate desire to submit, and in the same way my husband desires to lead... and that is beautiful! Society (particularly American society) squelches these built-in desires, confusing both sexes and stifling their corresponding 'needs' in the process. With this new dynamic I can honestly say that we are closer as a couple and more contented as individuals than ever before. Nonetheless, I am afraid I will never be able to share this with friends and family free of judgment. While I do trust the discernment of those close to me, society really does a number on our perceptions! And so I use this blog to outwardly process my thoughts and experiences as my husband and I continue down this unique and exciting path. Feel free to follow me as I go, and if you do choose to judge please do so wordlessly :)

How It All Started

I've always worried about how my strong personality would translate should I find a spouse. Well thankfully I did find one, and he is practically perfect; incredibly kind, smart, strong, and self-confident. My favorite part about him is his desire to lead a Godly life, and with that, his humility. He is always willing to take a second look at himself, and comfortably admits when he is wrong. Unfortunately his humility didn't mesh well with my stubborn drive. I found myself arguing, complaining, and even smothering his personality to an extent. We were pretty happy overall, but it felt like we were constantly playing tug-of-war. The breaking point was when I met his colleagues at a get together; they jokingly referred to me as 'boss,' and I was horrified. He should be the boss! Here I had always hoped to be a submissive wife, and I had managed to be the exact opposite. There had to be a change. I started praying harder about being submissive, but I knew I needed to do something as well.

So I did what any intelligent person does when they want to do some deep soul searching; I started wandering aimlessly around the internet. I finally searched 'how to be a more submissive Christian wife,' and found myself staring at a website entitled Christian Domestic Discipline. A lot of what I read made so much sense to me, although that particular site felt a bit like they were trying to over-justify themselves. Soon I was reading site after site about Domestic Discipline... I couldn't believe how deeply this idea resonated with me.

Any 'normal' person coming across an unconventional (at least currently unconventional) idea like this would have to ask themselves if this was a perversion of some kind. I read and re-read the scriptures on wives respecting and husbands honoring, and searched for any other verses that may indicate that living like this was in any way inappropriate and found nothing. I know certain things were left unsaid based on the societal norms of the time but what things? and what societal norms? I was so overwhelmed. In the end I spent a lot of time praying and self-evaluating. Why did I want this so badly? In what ways could this lifestyle take a wrong turn? How would my husband feel? After about three weeks I decided to approach him about practicing Domestic Discipline.

Boy did it take a lot of discussion. Society insists that any man who treats his wife that way must be a tyrant, or even a wife beater, regardless of the context! I showed him countless testimonials of Christian couples, and even a few articles written by Christian religious leaders suggesting that this lifestyle was fine. He prayed about it alone, we prayed about it together, and finally he agreed to give it a try. Not that everything went smoothly at first, but there was an immediate change; suddenly we weren't shouting at each other any more... we were both more relaxed... we felt more attracted to each other... I was finally becoming more self-aware, and he was finally pushing himself to be worthy of leadership. An answer to prayer? It sure seemed to be. There have been some snags along the way, and we've even found that some aspects of Domestic Discipline simply don't work for us at all. But all in all I am really thankful to have found this dynamic, and to be incorporating it into my marriage.