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 :)

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