8. NOW I am ready to get hubby aboard

How do I even bring up this subject?  What will he think?  What if he refused?  What’s my plan B?

At this point about two weeks have gone by and I had become completely invested in seeing this through.  I already wrote down my initial list of Duties and Obligations to myself.  I was convinced my version of DD was the right thing for us to try.  How do I bring it up in a way that he understands it isn’t because he has been inadequate in any way?   I also recognized that level of selfishness in this. It was really all about me and what I wanted.  Sure I needed his buy in, but I really needed his buy in.  It became very important to me that we try this and remember, I am used to getting my way.  But I also realized that if it works it can’t be forced on Mike.  He has to really feel and understand it from my perspective.  It was hard enough to convince myself, how would I convince him?

It was unfair for me to think that he had the easy part thus should be easy to convince. The reality is, he isn’t dominant by nature, and I effectively conditioned him to defer to me.  So I needed a strategy to help him conclude it was right for him and for us, and not that it was all about me.  I did that the way I often tackled problems – focus on the outcome. 

Getting Mike to agree and accept that the outcome is what we both want…for each other and for our family.  Then work backwards from that outcome to come up with what DD would mean for us….and I wouldn’t use the term DD.  I didn’t want to give any preconceived definition of what I was talking about and as it turns out, he hadn’t heard the term before.  What I would be suggesting is a change in lifestyle that was our own, without label.  It just so happened to conform to many DD principles.  Okay, I was convinced I had the approach that would work in theory, but how do I start the conversation?  

I don’t recall exactly how I started it, but it was something like this. “Mike, I want us to make some changes in how things work around the house.” 

I shared with him that I have been concerned about my turning into a slob and leaving him my own big messes to clean up.  I was concerned about my forgetfulness, my clumsiness, my short temper with him and the kids, etc.  My inability to give everyone the time I wanted to give them because I just couldn’t stop myself from trying to solve everyone’s problems and meet everyone’s needs.   I told him I needed his help.  With his help we can have less stress, more together time, an overall better managed household from cleanliness to finances and we could become closer as a couple.

I asked a couple of questions that I knew the answer had to be “yes”, such as “Have you noticed those things of me?”    That’s kind of a Jedi-mind trick I learned.  Get the person saying “yes.”  It creates momentum that makes it hard for them to say no later, and it helps build confidence in yourself to keep asking increasingly tougher questions.   Then came the golden “what would it mean to you…” question that I love to ask everyone.  I asked him, “What would it mean to you if we could accomplish those things together?”  He responded with all the personal gratification he would get from having those things and seeing me happy, etc.  So, at that point, I knew he was going to be open to considering any suggestion I had that could potentially give him that satisfaction.

At this point Mike’s on board that some things need to change about me and that he is all ears on how he can help me with that.  I then said something like, “I believe the best way to accomplish these changes would be for me to give up certain responsibilities.  Not that I would be doing less, in fact, I want to do more, but, I feel that I haven’t been able to be responsible to myself for the things I want to do, and that is where I need your help. I want to take the responsibility for myself and give it to you as a gift, with love.”  I remember that phrase as I had practiced it over and over in my head.

Mike was puzzled and I stated it again, and then a third time, all with the same puzzled reaction from Mike. I then had this panic like, “oh god, he doesn’t understand, quick Jennifer, think of more to say.  How could I have thought that this was all I was going to have to say.  Say something, say something!”   There was quite the awkward pause.   In hindsight, I am glad I didn’t rehearse beyond the initial phrase as now it was time to speak directly from the heart with the raw and true emotions that can only come from speaking what I was feeling at that very moment.  These weren’t my exact words, as I am sure it was more babble and less eloquent, but I recall it sounded something like this:

“Mike, I haven’t been myself, and need your help in being the person I want to be. The person I want to be for myself, for you, and for the kids.  I believe the best way I can get to being that person is with you taking responsibility for my actions.  Where I agree to do certain things and behave a certain way, and you hold me responsible.  For some reason I just can’t be that person on my own anymore but I know I can be that person if I know I have clearly committed to being that person and that you will be there to hold me accountable.”

I think adding in the terms “responsibility” and “accountability” really helped him to begin realizing what I was suggesting.   Now, instead of puzzlement, I got a response that went to the heart of the matter.

Responsible for what actions and accountable in what ways?”   Wow, he said it.  There it was.  That is the question that everyone considering DD has to address.  And the answers are as varied as there are people – there is no right or wrong answer – only the one that works for your relationship.  Here was the very question whose answer would determine our path forward.

My answer went something like this.   “I haven’t thought all of this through and will need your help in doing that, but right now when I think of you being responsible for my actions it means that you could help inforce the behaviors I want from myself.  You can remind me of my promises that I made regarding what I will do and how I will behave.  For instance, you wouldn’t be responsible for doing all the cleaning, but would be responsible for reminding me to get certain chores completed.  Those reminders will help me.  That is what I mean by being responsible for me. Does that make sense?”

He said he thought he understood, but okay, so he would take on some responsibility in helping me, but what did I mean about accountability?  Yikes, there it is.  The punishment conversation.  While I had reconciled this in my mind, I was still very uncomfortable talking about this with him and I didn’t want to be the first to say spanking or punishment or anything like that.

My answer was that it meant he would hold me accountable beyond just the reminder.   I told him if all he could do is constantly remind me, he would just be a nag and neither of us want that.  Instead, we would agree on certain consequences if I failed to do something.  I remember asking him if that made sense.   His answer was spot on.   “Do you mean a consequence like a punishment?”

I can still see his face the moment he said those words. It was the “moment of truth” in this discussion.  It would now be about Domestic Discipline no matter if we called it that or not.   The word “punishment” had been spoken for the first time.

My mind raced. I started thinking about way too many details dealing with punishment and visualizing the actual act of spanking.  I didn’t know what to say so after another long awkward pause I uttered fairly softly, “Yeah, a consequence like a punishment.”

Mike’s reaction was a half-smile, like his imagination was at work, but I could tell he wasn’t sure what I was saying.  His half-laughing response was, “Are you serious?  What type of punishments are you talking about?”   I was nervous to say specific things, and in hindsight, am glad I did not.  I feel my answer put us on the path towards success, as this punishment thing could have gone horribly wrong if we went in with misconceptions about what it was.  So, how would I explain the type of punishments I was talking about?

NEXT – 9 The “S” word… gulp… Spanking.

 

7. Accepting Punishment

The thoughts of my husband spanking me at best seemed silly, and at worst uncomfortable, demeaning, and humiliating.   I am not a child – and I don’t even believe in spanking children.  Even just thinking about the submissive nature of positioning my body to be spanked.  That didn’t “sit” well with me (ha – some spanking humor).  Oh yeah, and then there is the pain part.

Yep.  I was pretty convinced that I would never get comfortable with the thought of physical punishment.  But my mind kept working at it because as I shared in my prior post, I was convinced there was something DD could do to help my life in a profound and meaningful way.

I tried a Pro and Con list but it didn’t really work.  The only positive is that I have always liked a little pain with sex – light spanking when in a doggy position or very hard nipple twisting (I would often tell Mike to twist/pull harder!).  But that was sex, not punishment.  And then there were the non-physical forms of punishment.  The withholding of privileges or corner time.  I kept thinking maybe I could come up with something that has the rules but other consequences.  But what consequences?

Anything I thought of short of what DD calls for seemed shallow, and I wanted to be fully committed and wanted my husband to fully commit. I realized that because the thought of punishments was so abhorrent to me, that perhaps that is the point.  I should have a punishments consistent with providing an incentive to uphold my commitments to myself.  Since nothing else seemed like an appropriate way to be held accountable, I started warming up to the idea of being spanked.

I went back to the fact that I realized my life was not in good order.  In good order according to my wishes and desires – not anyone elses.  I was not living up to my own standards and I was not happy and it was mostly of my own doing.

The thought of giving my husband many of the controls continued to intrigue me.  I felt it would reduce my burdens, and give me structure to accomplish the things I want to accomplish as a person, a wife, and a mother. To really commit to my duties and obligations, I needed a strong consequence when I failed.

Ultimately, I never fully reconciled it in my mind to the point I was “for” it.   I simply decided to put aside my issues with the punishment and take a chance with DD.   A tremendous release came over me once I resigned myself to the idea of punishment. I knew I was ready for DD.  Now, how do I get my husband on board?

NEXT – 8.NOW I am ready to get hubby aboard.

6. Submission and Accountability

I realized that I was tired of not being the person I wanted to be – of basically frequently letting myself down.  But still, how can I allow myself to be punished by my husband?

I realized that these punishments could be about accountability – accountability to myself.  If I were to be accountable to myself, then shouldn’t I accept certain consequences if I failed to meet my own duties and obligations?  These duties and obligations represent the things that are of utmost importance in my life, defining the person I want to be. They are, without doubt, worthy of my accountability.

Without some type of consequence other than my own personal disappointment, I could never be truly accountable.  I knew that absent new consequences I would fall back into dismissing responsibility for things that went wrong.  I would be back to, “oh well, I still did the right thing, even though it had the wrong outcome.”

So what would this new consequences be?   I thought hard about options other than spanking.   Time-outs, writing lines, standing in a corner, alone time, etc. – but those only involved me having to do something.  I needed consequences that my husband was involved in delivering.  I knew for me that ultimately it was my accountability to him and having him holding me accountable were both absolutely necessary for me to be successful. That was the turning point in realizing DD was going to be for me.

In order to be accountable to myself, I had to agree to spankings.  Once I reconciled this in my mind, a sense of release came over me.  It was quite a feeling.  It was at that moment that I realized what “submission” meant to me.   While still not fully sure what I was in for I began to relish the thought of my husband and I being committed to the things that were most important to me and yes, relish the thought of my submission to him.

That realization did not happen immediately and the few sentences I wrote here do not tell how I reconciled this in my mind.  Next I will share with you my thought process that allowed me to ultimately accept punishment as a consequence.

NEXT – 7. Accepting Punishment

4. The Plan: Expectations & Commitments

The Plan: Expectations and Commitments   – (renamed) Duties and Obligations

I immediately had this two part plan developed in my head in what seemed like an instant.

Part One.
Establish a clear set of expectations for myself that I would in turn commit to with my husband – a set of personal expectations and commitments to myself. I renamed these Duties and Obligations.  I wanted a term that was more powerful and spoke of a stronger commitment on my part, as these things were and are a part of my soul.

Expectations would help me define the person I want to be for myself – my DD was going to be different.  I was empowered, I called the shots.   I will not consider myself as being submissive and my husband as dominate, no more than a professional sports player would be considered submissive to his coach.  This was about me, baby!  It was about the person I want to be for myself first, which embodied who I wanted to be for my husband and my children.

I started writing a list of expectations and commitments right away as I was excited about actually articulating what my expectations of myself would be.  I recommend everyone do this (and share them with their spouse, DD or not).   Remember, these aren’t duties and obligations my husband has imposed on me.  They are all 100% self-imposed.  This is very different than most DD lifestyles, but remember, the lifestyle is for you to define.  There is no rule book and you won’t be kicked out of any DD club for doing it wrong.  While most DD lifestyles are defined by more extreme submissive and dominant roles, so what?  That wasn’t going to define mine.

Part Two.
I needed my husband to help me meet my duties and obligations.  How?  Would it actually be through discipline like spanking?  How could I allow it and would he even do it?   For some reason this idea just spoke to my soul.  It excited me and for some reason I just knew it was the right thing for me and could bring about a significant and immediate change in my life.   I was set on pursuing some form of DD.  I just needed to figure out how to get input from my husband that kept our DD focused on my goals.  OMG!  I now had to share this crazy idea with my husband.  How will I do that?

NEXT – 5. Before Getting the Hubby Aboard!

3. The Search

I didn’t go looking for Domestic Discipline.  I was online looking up info on self-help as I often do and I stumbled across some DD information.  I heard of submissive/dominant relationships, but not DD.  My first reaction was quick – “No way!”

I am not submissive.  I was repulsed.  “How could any woman be involved in this misogynistic crap?”  DD meant that my husband would make the rules, boss me around, be overbearing, dominant, and demeaning and would spank me?  WTF!

My curiosity kicked in to see what could motivate someone to live this way, so I started reading, and reading, and reading.  The more I read, the more this “thing” began to take shape in my mind.  I discovered that yes, DD can be those things that I just described, but what if it could mean something different?  What if DD were simply a system for allowing me to meet expectations I set for myself, with some help from my husband?Ultimately this “thing” taking shape in my mind was my own version of DD.

Please note I said “my version” of DD.  I noticed many DD stories are different, although it seems like a lot are also trying to follow some pre-set rules about it, but that is mostly those that try to make it about religion.   Many DD relationships seemed ridiculous to me (and still do, but I know I shouldn’t get all judgey given my own DD lifestyle).  I saw a common theme in DD that resonated with me, and all I needed to do was shape that theme more precisely to my liking.  I probably knew within about thirty minutes of reading that I was on to something and I stayed up reading more.  By the end of that night I had a revelation – a moment of clarity that forever changed my life for the better.  I developed a two part plan to once again love life, every moment, every day.

Next – 4. The Plan.

2. The Backstory: Love life…every moment, every day.

I believe sharing the details of my story can enable you to find a path toward greater fulfillment and satisfaction in life, so you too can “love life, every moment, every day.” 

This “creed’ was instilled in me by my mother.  I’d like to say this came about because my mother was a strong, independent woman, but that would be a lie.  She grew up in a very misogynistic environment and my dad did not provide respite from the misogyny she knew as a girl.  Perhaps that is why it was so important to her that I would love life, every moment, every day.

She never told me exactly what the term meant.  She knew I needed to discover that for myself.  What it came to mean was that if there was an aspect about my life that I did not love, I, and I alone, was responsible for changing it.  No man, no drug, no other person.  Just me.   Thus, I, Jennifer, grew up a very self-empowered woman.

Yes, my name is Jennifer, Jenny to most, although my family calls me Sadie.  I can thank a cousin for that nickname.  That story isn’t important to my journey, but I mention it just in case I refer to myself as Sadie later on.  I often think of myself as Sadie in the context of recalling stories from my youth.

Anyway, back to my story.  Yes, I grew up very self-empowered and “with it.”  That self-empowerment led to me being the informal psychologist, coach, mentor, and confidant to many family and friends.  I was the one that “had it all together.”

Mike and I got married when I was 21, he was 22.  I admit I was the more dominant one and in aspects of our relationship I still feel I am, but as you’ll learn, that no longer applies in many ways.  I had it “all together” and “knew” how things should be so Mike pretty much learned to defer to me.  I know I frustrated him at times.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want his input, but, I was stuck on the fact the loving life meant things had to happen a certain way.  How can I honor my “creed” if I suppressed my hopes and desires?  Okay, so, I became selfish, but justified it because if I can’t be happy, then I can’t make others happy.  Basic psychology, right?

Then came kids.  I was a high school counselor (see, credentials to “prove” I could solve problems) but quickly put my career aside to be a stay at home mom (SAHM) after a short stint back at work after the birth of our first.  It was always my desire to focus on my kids without worrying about a regular job – that was loving life.  Mike accepted me as a SAHM although he would have preferred I return to work.  Being a SAHM was always my plan and I also justified it because my husband made an income that “I” felt we could live on and maintain the lifestyle that “I” wanted for my family.

So, three kids later (all sons).   The eldest is just wrapping up post-grad work and lives on his own.  My middle is out of the house and half-way through college.  My youngest is still at home and has special needs and will never be independent.  With all three kids I threw myself into maintaining my mantra, “Love life…every moment, every day.”

It worked well for many years, but then in the last few years morphed into a terrible thing.  I kept placing greater and greater demands on myself.  Maybe it was because of the needs of our youngest, but I became increasingly focused on controlling everything.  This meant trying to solve everything for everyone – not just my problems, my husbands, or kids, but my siblings, in-laws, nieces, nephews, and friends.  It grew to mean I must not only meet my needs, but meet everyone else’s, and even anticipate them and meet them before they even knew they had them.  Add in the extreme demands of a special needs child, and I was overloaded.

The overload showed.  I would “trick” myself to convince myself of my happiness, but those tricks were wearing off.  I was argumentative with my husband, I became moody and a slob.  My husband said I was like a storm leaving a mess in my wake wherever I went in the house.  Not only did I rarely clean anymore, but I was compounding the cleaning work for my husband.  Up until then I would say we split the chores adequately (I did most but he  did his share).  Household chores had never been a point of argument.  We had a system and it worked, until I started messing it up.

I became forgetful- constantly losing or misplacing things or even just forgetting what I was talking about.  I felt like too many thoughts at once were going on in my head. Maybe all that noise in my head also caused a distraction because I also became a klutz.  I dropped and cracked three cell phones in less than a year, I lost my car keys, my credit card, plus constantly losing things around the house.  I lost interest in keeping within a budget – if I wanted something, I got it on impulse.   I started staying up later and later to binge watch television, often until 2 a.m. Because of all of that, I wasn’t getting good rest.   Add to that the physically and emotionally demanding days of caring for our son (plus caring for everyone else’s needs) and 4-5 hours of sleep just won’t cut it.

Arguments with my husband increased – too many nights of silent treatment, yelling, or one of us storming off to sleep in the spare room.  Most of the arguments were of my own doing but you could not have convinced me of that at that time.  After all, I was “loving life!”   My husband was losing patience and I could feel he was becoming less and less loving, despite efforts to try and express his love.  He would tell me of the amazing job I was doing with our son and that picking up some extra household chores was a simple way to honor and respect what I was doing with our son.  (Did I tell you how wonderful Mike is?)  While I appreciated those words, I knew I was letting him down, and by letting him down, I was letting myself down.  This went on for about a year

I am someone in constant self-reflection and frankly, for a long time my self-reflection was dishonest.  My internal monologue was like this, “yep, I made the right decision, even if the outcome wasn’t what I thought it would be, so there isn’t anything I should change.”

Finally the breakthrough.  I realized I was not loving life, not for any moment, not any day, and I needed to change.   I was probably clinically depressed, but being who I am I felt I created the problem and I can fix it.  Once I had admitted to myself I had a problem, my mind kicked into overdrive on how I was going to correct it because I knew I could solve this problem.

Skipping over the details for a moment, suffice to say it all changed March 17, 2015.  Almost immediately on that date my life changed in wonderful, positive, and previously unimaginable ways.  I am truly loving life, every moment, every day.   And all without aide of anti-depressants!  My drug was Domestic Discipline (DD).

I am certain my specific path is not for you to take.  However, there are elements of my journey that I am convinced can help everyone.   My hope is that you will focus on the basic principles that are providing my love for life and don’t focus on my specific methods.

No two DD lifestyles are the same and some may say what I practice is an odd form of DD. You may not like my methods or ever do anything that remotely could be called DD.  But if you can suspend your judgement while reading my blog, perhaps, just maybe, you can come away with how you might apply some of the principles I use in a way that best suits you and your relationship.

So, how did my search to improve my life lead me to DD?
NEXT – 3. The Search.

5. Before Getting the Hubby Aboard

Before I could get Mike aboard, I had to first completely get my head around this. I was less than an hour in to being introduced to the concept of DD and while I was already convinced it held significant promise, I needed to get fully comfortable with the concept and exactly what I would be asking Mike to agree to.

I like lists, so I made myself a Pros and Cons list.   They went something like this:.

PROS:

  • Give structure to my chaotic life that was getting increasingly unsatisfying.
  • Codify what I expected of myself into a “contract” of behavior would be my way of honoring myself, honoring my husband, and honoring my family. It was not demeaning unless I allowed it, and I would not allow it.
  • Asking Mike to help me is his way of honoring me.
  • Require myself to share and discuss everything with my husband.  Mike would have to have a vested interest in the things that are important to me. No more silent resentments, no more unresolved arguments. It would require a level of communication that no other “system” I could think of would require.
  • Provide structure to resolving disputes that was quick and final. No lingering ill feelings.
  • Creating a process to resurface those disputes when everyone was calm and respectful – I can tell you that today this has been the biggest Pro of my DD!

CONS:

  • Structure meant I couldn’t just call the shots on a whim.
  • Those spankings still seemed demeaning to me.
  • I would have to share and discuss everything?  I was not used to that.
  • Sure disputes would be resolved quickly, but only because Mike would have ultimate final say.
  • Again, being submissive does not sit well with me. Punishment?  Getting spanked?  Are you kidding?

How did I reconcile these cons?

Ultimately, I had to focus on the desired outcome and work backwards. (A great tip to take any problems in life).  The outcome was to become the person I wanted to be.  That’s a tall order and would not be possible without some sacrifice. Plus, this didn’t have to be permanent.  If I didn’t like it, we would stop.  So, why not try it?

I still wasn’t sure I was ready.  I wasn’t.  But the thoughts were running in my mind and I was becoming more and more open to the possibilities.  But….how would I justify allowing my husband to punish me?  That seems to be the very definition of submissive?  How could I ever agree to be submissive?

NEXT – 6. Submission and Accountability