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 :)