Monday, March 30, 2015

Trust....

Since Bruce and I discussed the importance of my own self-motivation in regards to behavior and general life choices, I've wavered once or twice over being afraid that we are not "doing this" anymore. Bruce assures me that we still are (his exact words were "don't worry, you will still be getting spanked whenever I feel you need to be.") and I know he is right, but I still feel unclear as to how things will always play out. I do agree that I need to choose the right behavior simply because it's right, but to be honest it just seemed more exciting the other way.

Probably because of all of my concerns and questions, last night I received maintenance at a different intensity than usual. We do "maintenance" once or twice a week; for us it effectively serves the function of role reinforcement (he is the authority, I submit to his authority). But often when I sass or joke inappropriately, Bruce will comment that it is 'going on my tab.' He is always very vague about this, but I do notice that the maintenance is harsher if I am moody or out of sorts in the days leading up to receiving it. This time however, he was clear that it would absolutely be harsher than usual, and not necessarily in connection with my attitude. Needless to say, I was anxious to get it over with, so I asked him last night if we could please do maintenance sometime before bed. He said maybe but probably not, as he was not in the right mood for maintenance, which is fair.

Half-way through the evening he must have changed his mind because he suddenly stopped and told me to go into the bedroom. I complied with a fair amount of mental resistance, as I had assumed I was in the clear for the evening. I undressed and he pulled me across his lap; when I felt that the warm-up was more painful than usual I heard myself (for the first time ever) asking if we could please do it later. In response to my request he wordlessly set his hand on my bottom until I got still again. I tried counting the first few strikes with the paddle, but in the end I couldn't seem to keep it straight. When I felt I couldn't take anymore I begged him to stop, but with no response I finally resigned myself emotionally; as before, I somehow found the inner strength to just be still. In my experience, the feeling of being just past my limit is extremely unsettling; it hurts, but more significantly it feels as though I have no control over my own body. And yet afterward when he holds me, I am always newly aware that he has been carefully and constantly monitoring how I've been doing the entire time. I have asked him to be authoritative and firm even on a physical level; of course he wouldn't take that lightly.

To be honest I still don't entirely understand this whole dynamic, or even to what degree we will regularly use it, but I do know this: when the above transpires I physically demonstrate that I trust him, and he physically demonstrates that he is worthy of my trust... and that is beautiful. Of course we demonstrate this to each other in non-physical ways as well; in fact, those ways are almost inarguably more important. But this physical demonstration of our emotional intentions is so raw and sensual that it can't help but bring us closer. As we ended the night last night I held him so tightly, and just felt incredibly safe. His authority is so firm and so loving, and I am slowly learning to trust and submit to that authority. It would be ridiculous to suggest that spanking is necessary to achieve this dynamic in our marriage. But when I give him the power to say when, why, and how much physically, I have to surrender myself on a very literal level. And as it turns out, both of us are finding this exercise in surrendering to be beautiful and... sweet :)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Major Revelation

Let me articulate that the revelation that I have come to simply applies to my own personality and my personal marriage; it may not be applicable to any other marriage, and I am not suggesting that it is or should be. Those choosing to live this way are beautifully aware that each couple is different, and there is little to no judgment in sharing what works for them; I mean to reciprocate those same sentiments. If this feels offensive to any reader, it is not my intent and I sincerely apologize. I would simply defeat the value and purpose of blogging if I suppress my sincere and honest thoughts.

Last night Bruce and I had our first serious argument about domestic discipline. By his own admission he is bad with words, but after fumbling around trying to articulate what he was upset about, he finally blurted "To change yourself you need to rely less on this and more on God!" Wow. Something struck me to the core in that moment. He is right; I am relying on this dynamic to change my behavior. In fact if I am really honest with myself I have to admit that my prayers about my marriage have been less deep and have had fewer requests for His guidance since we've started this... I've still wanted to be a good Christian wife, but I have been looking in more than one place for the strength and guidance to do so. God is clear that He and He alone is enough for me in absolutely all things, so I have been entirely wrong to seek elsewhere.

I don't think this means that the Domestic Discipline lifestyle is completely wrong. I reflect back to my meeting with the Pastor... the only moment that he was hesitant was when I said we wanted to specifically use spanking as a punishment, and now I believe I understand his hesitation. It is only the formal punishment involved in this lifestyle that I am finding to be detrimental to us, and here's why: when he enforces a punishment, I do not have to want to change. He makes me go through certain actions and in response to those actions I eventually soften my heart, and then I want to change. But I should want to change because the Holy Spirit is in my heart and I am relying on the Holy Spirit for guidance in changing myself. Thus, punishments that are mandatory have only been effective in changing my behavior, not in changing my true desire to be a submissive woman of Christ. If he strongly suggests that I go into the other room and calm down/pray before continuing the conversation, he is still exerting his authority... but to be truly submissive, I have to make my own choice to take his suggestion. In order for me to own it, his suggestion of what I should do (take a moment, pray, etc.) has to be optional. I'm not talking about a few swats here and there for speaking out of line, it's just that serious behavioral choices need to be on me.

With maintenance, it is not personal change that I seek. I desire maintenance because I want to feel his authority, and I want to demonstrate that I will submit to him and trust him even when I feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. As far as I can tell, demonstrating authority and submission is a totally natural and healthy expression of Christian marriage. I need to be reminded of his authority, and I think my character (and our connection) benefits from the humbling act of laying across his lap.

Another beautiful part of domestic discipline is the disappearance of passive aggressive behavior toward one another. When we are arguing and he has run out of patience and things to say, he spanks me. I submit to the spanking because I love him, I respect him, and I don't want him to be angry. When we take this consensual "break" from discussing, we are not abandoning each other. We are still expressing the desire to be intimate, his intention to lead, and my intention to submit, but we have a minute to think. Perhaps in a perfect world he and I would never get frustrated enough to need a break, but unfortunately this is not a perfect world. While we first and foremost need to pray before continuing the discussion, I don't think this expression of authority/submission alters our motivations for being more considerate in our discussion. We come back calmer because he has re-expressed authority and I have expressed submission, but our concerns and ideas about what needs to be communicated remain unchanged (although a momentary break often gives me the clarity of closing my mouth for a while!). Only prayer can change the effectiveness of our communication.

Along similar lines, my anxiety (OCD) is a physiological imbalance that is outside of my control to a certain degree. I can pray for strength to control my behavior and soften my looping, but I am literally incapable of stopping a loop entirely. Bruce's (repeated) spankings to make me physically stop looping were beautiful because no amount of will power can possibly make that happen; it has to be a physical reset. Therapists suggest turning on the radio at an extremely high volume, or other such physical and emotional distractions. In my experience, few things are more emotionally distracting than being spanked!

Thank God that my husband is more naturally in tune with the Holy Spirit than I am. This afternoon I asked him (after a brief prayer) if we could make this one change within domestic discipline ...my owning my behavior rather than a mandatory punishment... and see how it goes. To my relief he agreed that this is the one context that didn't ring true to him either, so we are really on the same page with this. We may be totally wrong about absolutely everything, but trying to discern what God wants for our marriage is a long and winding journey, especially in this screwed up society. All I can do is try...

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Obsessing...

So I am diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; I have more obsessions than compulsions, so I come across as a normal person to those around me. Underneath though, I have what-if/ worst-case scenario thoughts to the point of obsessing... With this comes the bizarre concept of "looping;" people with OCD feel they are having a healthy and productive conversation, but others can see that they are continually looping back to the same concern, no matter what is discussed. Although I only do this in very personal conversations (thus only affecting those closest to me), it is extremely disorienting; I trust my loved ones when they identify my looping, but I can never actually identify it myself. Even afterward when I have stopped talking out of respect for the other person, it feels as though I had to stop a normal, productive conversation.

I do take medication, but even still it takes a toll on our marriage; in fact when we first discussed Domestic Discipline, giving Bruce the absolute authority to stop a loop no-questions-asked sounded very appealing to both of us. So last night I found myself looping to the point of causing an argument... since we've started domestic discipline Bruce has usually been able to stop these situations early on with a stern "we're not talking about this anymore," but not this time. Nonetheless, unlike a few months ago, he now had the means to prevent this from ruining our evening.

I remember him telling me to go into the bedroom, but I was so intent on my thought that I sort of didn't think to respond to his direction. As I continued to explain he yelled "now!" loud enough that I actually jumped. When I processed what was actually going on I felt two things; frustration at looping (again) without realizing it, and nervousness over what was about to happen. Because of this, I went into the bedroom and sort of just stood there... when he came in he simply removed my jeans and underwear for me. He led me over to the bed, and I started crying; by the time he pulled me over his lap I was sobbing. While he gave me a warm up, he told me that I have to start trusting him when he says that we need to stop discussing something. When he started using the paddle I cried even harder; the pain of each stroke felt as if it were a physical manifestation of the destruction my looping causes in our marriage.

Sometimes he chooses to spank me especially hard; when he does that each strike gives me the momentary feeling of not being able to take anymore, and I wiggle around like crazy. I forced my knees and forearms to stay put this time, but still my hips wiggled. I was still crying, but he calmly continued, occasionally reiterating the importance of trusting him. And then after a while something happened: I suddenly found the strength to release all struggling. It hurt more than ever, but I somehow truly let go and just laid still... I even laid my head down on the comforter. Submitting completely, even if only on a physical level, felt incredibly peaceful. Bruce definitely noticed my change, and in response put the paddle down and pulled me up onto the bed. We made love and I held him tight and cried. I was still mentally unsettled and unclear, but emotionally I felt at peace. We returned to the living room to continue our evening. When I tried to mentally process I vaguely began looping again, albeit on a much smaller scale. Right away he said "I think you'd better go get the paddle." When I brought it back out he had me lay over his lap on the couch... again he pulled my pants and underwear down and paddled me hard; wow did it hurt the second time around! It wasn't as hard as the first time, but he simply doesn't do "light" spankings. When he finished he pulled me up, made me look at him, and said "baby, you've just got to turn it off for tonight, okay?" As I felt pretty certain I couldn't take another spanking, I had no choice but to comply.

If it seems unfair that I was spanked for a physiological imbalance in my brain, let me clarify; I went to bed feeling more at peace over my OCD than I can ever remember feeling. I am always fearful in the back of my mind that this thing within me will threaten the evening or even worse, the relationship. At least for now, that fear is gone. The mental battle against my disorder will always be present, but I no longer feel like a slave to the destruction it can potentially cause between us. I will continue to control it as well as I can, and in the few times where that's not enough to stop it, Bruce will be there to protect me. In fact, he will take the damn thing out! This is something that I can fully release from my mind, and to release even one obsession is more peaceful and beautiful than I can explain.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Verbal Reinforcement, etc.

Last week I finally admitted to Bruce that I am desperate to hear him verbally reinforce while I am being spanked. To hear him say why I am in trouble, what he expects in the future, or simply that he is the boss makes me feel like it is more purposeful. We are not just messing around; this is a part of a lifestyle choice that we have adopted for a reason, and we follow through with these actions to reinforce that he is the authority in the relationship.

Soon after, I admitted to Bruce that I still do makeup in the car, and asked if we should make that a punishable offense for future occurrences. I expected a vague non-committal response, but to my surprise he said that it was indeed a punishable offense and that "It will be retroactive if I say so." Wow, okay then. That night he came home and we 'addressed' the issue in the bedroom. After I undressed he reiterated that doing makeup while driving is not only dangerous but selfish. He did give me a warm up (whew!), and half-way through the spanking he paused to ask me why I was being spanked, and what I would do differently in the future. He finished, repeated his expectation one more time, and we hugged. To my surprise, I cried; not an intense sobbing cry, but real tears over how badly I felt and how much I wanted to please him. He seemed surprised by this, but I told him that I was glad for the tears, as they provided a type of release for me.

I want to be clear that this is a separate issue from being reckless while driving. Once I was actually a bit reckless while applying makeup, and I immediately felt the need to repent and ask for God's forgiveness; I chose to stop doing makeup to the point of recklessness because it was disrespectful to Him and his creation, period. However I don't see the harm in carefully applying a touch here and there while keeping my eyes on the road. But that's not the point; the point is that Bruce sees a problem with it, so that behavior needs to stop out of respect for him. I was honestly a little surprised at my own conviction to correct this so completely, but I have completely stopped. I felt really struck by his willingness to hold me accountable for that. From what I understand, the men in these types of relationships generally appreciate the lifestyle overall, but hate having to punish; I know that Bruce is the same in this regard. He did something he didn't want to do in order to drive home the point that my behavior needed to stop, and I want to respect that completely. I can still hear how weird this sounds from the outside of all of this, but nonetheless there it is.

And now I'm off to get ready for a date with that sexy man of mine. I have to say, I've always found his appearance and character to be sexy, but lately I have noticed that his character just keeps getting sexier and sexier ;)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

But I Disagree...

I've been wondering when and how this would happen; I had my first "unfair" spanking last night. Bruce blurted out a complaint about a habit of mine, and it felt unreasonably hurtful and sudden. I said so, and eventually he apologized for the way he had spoken. But a half hour later he made another irritable comment, which led me to question why he was mad at me. Again he apologized for sounding irritable, but insisted he wasn't upset with me. He said he did feel he was on a shorter fuse than usual, but that it had nothing to do with me or us.

I tried to be respectful in disagreeing, but I was sure there was an underlying problem. Again he insisted. I wouldn't drop it, and he finally said "enough," after which I disdainfully shut my mouth. A few moments later I mocked something he said, as I felt it was another indication of his frustration toward me. I didn't feel we had addressed the issue at all! He sternly ordered me into the bedroom, and I reacted with silent disbelief. He repeated the order, so I got up and went. In the bedroom he made me remove my skirt and panties and bend over the bed. In a controlled voice he said "You need to learn to let things go. If I tell you nothing is wrong, then there really isn't anything wrong!" Without any warm up at all, he laid into me hard with the paddle. I felt I was being unfairly punished, but I merely gripped the bed and tried to hold still. Often I cry out toward the end of a spanking as it becomes more painful; I know that's the point, but nonetheless it is hard to stay silent. This time I was surprised to find that my crying out was mixed with real tears. I felt guilty for ignoring his requests to drop it, confused, and hurt all at the same time.

Back in the living room he was affectionate, but when I pleadingly stared at him for further discussion he simply said "no. no more tonight." I did realize that any more discussing would lead to an argument, but surely he was being unfair?? I told myself it didn't matter; this is what I asked for, and if I still felt the need to discuss tomorrow then we could talk about it then. We finished the night peacefully; I even disregarded my frustration and snuggled close to him on the couch.

Here's the lesson in all of this: when I played it back over in my head this morning, I realized there really hadn't been anything left to discuss. Nothing had happened that hadn't been properly addressed, even though I didn't see it that way in the moment. Pre-submission, the night would have ended in yelling and tears... for absolutely no reason! It took a lot to submit to being spanked when I didn't agree, but I realize that I cannot second-guess him and let him lead at the same time. Inevitably I will one day get spanked for something that is truly unfair, and when that happens I will respectfully confront him when we both cool down... and I know he will reevaluate and make it right. He is a good man, and I trust him. Last night I conveyed my trust by complying; hopefully I will always have the presence of mind to do the same in the future.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

First Real "Punishment"

Because I struggle so hard to control my tongue, I asked Bruce to be really hard on me whenever I mouth off. He agreed, and on Friday I was as mouthy as my pre-submission self on my worst day :( I knew I had it coming, and he informed me that we would 'deal with it' the next possible night, which was yesterday. While the nature of a punishment is unpleasant, it's so important to us to distinguish between being punished and being demeaned... a punishment may make you feel small temporarily, but anything that makes you feel like a lesser person entirely can't be healthy. I am sure this distinction is different for different people, but Bruce and I only feel comfortable with what seems to be the basics in this, at least for now.

So apparently it was time to learn what a real punishment spanking felt like. Not only was the warm-up longer and harder than a reminder, but when he began with the paddle it was so hard that I couldn't catch my breath :( I so badly wanted to hold still and just take it, but I squirmed worse than ever. It seemed to go on forever; my backside kept feeling warmer and warmer until it burned like it was on fire. He had to have known by my body language that I was really struggling, but he unhesitatingly continued. When it was finally over he held me. We exchanged words of affection and he reminded me that I am capable of controlling my emotions better than I had, which is true. We made love, and I did feel an emotional release after it was all over... My submitting to the punishment felt like a physical expression of how sorry I was, and I was thankful for the opportunity to convey that to him. And since I did, after all, request that he correct me on this, his spanking felt like he had put his foot down about it being wrong, but when it was over it was all forgiven. I know... I can hear how ridiculous this might sound to someone who's never been there, but this is truly how it felt to me.

No more than fifteen minutes later I unthinkingly talked myself down (another 'controlling my tongue' offense), and his face suddenly changed to a look of exasperation and disappointment. I immediately wanted to take it back; how do I never realize what I'm saying until after it comes out of my mouth!? He said "damn it, you're really going to do that after all we just went through?" and I felt terrible. When I realized he was getting the paddle again I cringed. He only spanked me a few more times, but it hurt so badly on top of the previous spanking that I practically dropped to my knees. He helped me up and explained that regardless of how much it hurt he wouldn't be cutting me a break. Strange as it sounds, the consistency of his reaction made me feel somehow content.

When we were lying in bed this morning I thanked him for helping me try to control my tongue. He smiled and said "well baby, if this doesn't help you get it under control I'd have to say you are a lost cause." How true! And you know what? I really am thinking about it now! I am still quite uncomfortable, and all of the little impromptu swats I get for sarcasm or sass are presently just too much to for me to take... so I am being really careful about what I say. Ha! Ridiculous that it took such extreme measures, but now it's time for me to own it and correct it myself long-term. I feel extremely lucky to have a husband who is willing to provide me with some extra motivation :)