Last Saturday was definitely a night to remember on the submissive front. Bruce had decided he was going out to see a movie with his friends, and I couldn’t deny the disappointment and frustration I felt. While I adore my baby girl, this extended maternity leave is turning out to be a blessing and a curse; I’m not overwhelmed with work, but my whole life seems to revolve around nursing, diaper changes, and settling down for naps. This is his fourth night out with the guys since she’s been born, which really isn’t unreasonable, so I knew I needed to find a way to avoid resentment. When he didn’t seem particularly empathetic, I figured I had better look elsewhere for motivation to remain submissive. Ephesians 5 says “Wives, respect your husbands.” What a profoundly simple directive. Contrary to societal wisdom, it doesn’t add “…if they are being fair.” The husband’s very respectability, or lack thereof, is completely irrelevant to the command. Completely! But when a lack of fairness feels hard to swallow, this is where Christianity truly rises above any other religion: we don’t deserve Heaven but we receive it anyway; since undeserved eternal life is the ultimate antithesis of fairness, the idea that we should withhold anything from anyone else becomes completely ridiculous. In other words, in receiving the highest grace the least we can do is extend a fraction of that grace to others. After contemplating this fully I resolved to stay submissive. Not just outwardly but sincerely, internally submissive. And besides, since Bruce happens to be a really incredible husband overall, how hard would achieving internal submission really be?
Hmm. All of the prayer and mental energy I spent trying to get into a submissive mindset actually did get me to a decent place emotionally. And I was managing fairly well until the time he said he would return had passed… by two hours. I just felt so hurt and sad; couldn’t he see how under-appreciated this made me feel? I wanted to vent, but gracefully all of the people closest to me were unavailable, so I resigned myself to returning to the only thing I should have been doing in the first place- praying. By the time he arrived home I felt capable of remaining soft and respectful, even though I felt as hurt as ever. He came to me, and although I couldn’t help but cry I quietly and respecfully explained why I felt so injured: it felt as if he didn’t appreciate all I do every day for our daughter and how exhausting it is, like I was being taken for granted. He listened attentively, then acknowledged my hurt and offered a truly sincere apology. Finally he hugged me and I hugged back. When I pulled away I was delighted to see that he was notably appreciative of my acceptance and calm.
Imagine my surprise when he directed me into the bedroom anyway! He even praised me for handling myself so well while I undressed and got into position. He continued saying that nonetheless my thinking needed addressed in a number of areas- he gave me a long, hard warmup as he elaborated further. I stayed very still, honoring my resolution to remain submissive, but emotionally I felt unclear and frankly quite tired. The warmup lasted longer than usual, and I was plenty uncomfortable before he even started using the paddle. Once he finally did, he continued his long and thorough lecture, each phrase punctuated by several hard strikes with the paddle …it’s imperative that I trust that he deeply values all that I do… I can go to him with concerns, but in the meantime I must rest in the truth that we are very much on the same side… Periodically he would ask me yes or no questions to confirm my understanding, rendering mental distraction impossible. Having no choice but to focus on all of these things, I felt the emotional fog begin to lift. As the clarity and calm of his reassurances settled in, I felt better equipped to take the increasing physical discomfort. By this point my backside truly felt like it was on fire, and before long I was certain I had reached my pain tolerance limit. Bruce knew it too, as evidenced by his pausing and rubbing the small of my back reassuringly with his other hand. I caught my breath as he reiterated that he was proud of me, but explained that these were important points that needed to be driven home thoroughly. I braced myself again, and my paddling resumed just as hard as before… furthermore he wanted to ensure that I process this situation thoroughly enough to set it aside and enjoy the remainder of the night with him… now the pain was absolutely unbearable, yet still it was clear that the spanking was far from over. Faced with this reality, I had no alternative but to give in. A rush of helplessness and surrender enveloped me, and I began to cry. The more he spanked, the harder I cried. He was right; above all else he loves me. We’re in this together. And having already apologized to me, my only move was to let it go. All of my disappointment and hurt and vulnerability came pouring out. I sobbed into the comforter, emotionally completely clear and physically completely surrendered. For the first time since as long as I can remember, I had begun the spanking completely in the right frame of mind. I had readily welcomed my loss of control and his authority over me, and as a result my emotions and apprehensions had been released more fully than ever before. Despite the agonizing discomfort I felt profoundly fulfilled both physically and emotionally. It was an incredible feeling that I had never experienced so intensely.
When it was finally over he left me in position, and I could hear him opening his belt. I held my breath until it was unmistakable that he was initiating intimacy. He pressed into me, and instantly that incredible feeling I had just experienced resurged with doubled intensity. I am to always ask permission before having a sexual release, although I am nearly always permitted to do so, and this time I had to ask almost immediately. In fact, before long I found myself asking again. This time however, perhaps because he was aware of my uniquely deepened submission, I was denied. The very act of his asserting authority over this part of me made it infinitely more difficult to hold back, and with each passing moment it felt more and more challenging. It really took all I had, but I desperately managed to obey. When he finally granted me permission my release met his, and the resulting feeling completely permeated my physical and emotional self; to say it was indescribable is an understatement. I collapsed completely onto the bed, and as he wrapped his arms around me I felt very deeply and distinctly unburdened. Resting in the warmth of his arms and this profound emotional clarity, I remembered my prayer for earlier that day: to find the strength to truly achieve internal submission, regardless of whether it would be noticed or rewarded. How like the Father to reinforce the value of these efforts by graciously rewarding me the first time I fully utilized the strength to do so. I had spent the day working to truly follow the simple yet arduous command of Ephesians 5, and here I was that same evening basking in the most incredible afterglow. It was almost as if He were saying “See what happens when you choose grace over your own needs? See how perfect my design is when you simply follow my commands?” I do comprehend that the essence of true submission is anticipating and even accepting that there will be no reward. Nonetheless, I so appreciated the significance of receiving one this particular time. How such emphatic punctuation reinforces the total rightness of following such commands! And as rewards go, I absolutely cannot imagine one more intense or unforgettable :)