Tag Archives: self improvement

11. Basic Structure of the Contract

Our contract had these sections:
1. Purpose.
2. Definitions.
3. Term and Renegotiation.
4. Duties and Obligations.
5. Rewards.
6. Maintenance Sessions.
7. Journal Requirements.

Purpose
We started the agreement with a preamble that clearly stated what we both were looking to get out of this.   Basically stated our intent to create a caring, consensual, fair structure of rules and responsibilities that would positively impact our life and relationship by reinforcing our commitments to one another, thereby deepening our intimacy, respect, and love.

Definitions
We took time to define a few terms so that it was clear those terms would have the same meaning and impact to both of us.

Term and Renegotiation
This addressed how long the contract was good for and how we would renegotiate the contract at a specified time.

Duties and Obligations
This is where we state the behaviors I was agreeing to.  We then created rules around the 3D’s:  Dishonesty, Disrespect, and Danger, but reworded them in the positive of Honesty, Respect, and Safety.

We wanted to keep the rules simple. We knew we couldn’t be referring back to the contract every time something happened to see if I broke a rule or what the punishment should be.  But we also needed to be on the same page regarding what actions had consequences and what those consequences would be.  I believe we found a balance but we probably ended up with a little longer contract than we intended.  What we found was that as we “lived” the contract, it became easier to identify actions and consequences without having to refer to the contract.  Also, regardless how short or long the contract is, it should not be used as an arbiter.  My husband is the only arbiter.  He is the judge and the jury.  The contract only helps provide him guidance on the appropriate sentence but he is still free to deliver any punishment he deems necessary and I must accept it.  You’ll see that we did provide some checks and balances through the Maintenance Sessions that would give me an opportunity to seek clarification if I felt a prior punishment exceeded the contractual terms.

So here is how we tackled each of the Duties and Obligations:

  • Honesty.   This one was interesting for us, as I feel I have always been honest with my husband.  I don’t know that I ever lied to him.  So I felt this was sort of a give-away.   He was ready to just accept the rule as being I could not lie and leave it at that, but this did not feel challenging to me and I felt I needed to be challenged if I were to be the person I wanted to be.  He agreed on this definition:  Dishonesty included not only telling a lie, but also withholding the truth or embellishing the truth.  It was my duty to keep him informed of anything that should be important to him, but also not bother him with petty details.  This included self-reporting of Transgressions.  Turns out that Honesty would become the first transgression I committed, but that is for sharing at another time
  • Obedience.  This one was tough for us, because it is the broadest.  Is it simply, “not listening to Mike?” While we knew that was an element of it, it seemed incomplete. What ultimately helped us define this one is when Mike suggested it was about my obedience to achieving the goals I set out for myself.  From there, the terms became crystal clear and would address any actions that moved me away from my goals.
  • Safety.    This one was pretty simple for us.  It included my activities that may pose a danger for me or others.   Things like speeding, texting while driving, leaving trip hazards on the floor.  Funny, but of all the duties and obligations, I thought this one would be the toughest for me to accept a punishment.  Really? I would be spanked for leaving my shoes in the middle of the floor?  So be it.

Rewards.
We ended up calling the punishments “Rewards” and the act of receiving the punishments was the “Reward Ceremony.”  Also, my infractions would be called “Transgressions.”  We established a procedure for receiving a reward and agreed upon the overall framework of tying certain transgressions to certain rewards.   Again, it was important to state that ultimately Mike had full discretion in giving a reward.  We would go back to the contract when a reward was needed as it may not always be timely or possible, but the contract would serve as a reference and we would use our Maintenance Sessions to help ensure consistency.

Maintenance Sessions.
I explained our approach to Maintenance Sessions in the prior post, so won’t repeat it here.  Suffice to say I set up a fairly detailed process that took us some time to learn as I used this as one of the “controls” in the contract.  As I explained in a prior post, it allowed for the opportunity for me to clarify certain things that occurred during the week.

Journal Requirements.
I am required to journal daily and I have to hand write the journal. We agreed on the things I would write about and that I would share the journal with Mike.  Journaling is great for self-reflection and hand-writing it causes you to write more in the moment, no editing.

So that’s it. The only thing left to show you is our contract. That’s coming next.

NEXT – 12. The Contract

9. So…like a spanking?

So…Mike has asked me what type of punishments I was talking about.  I purposely didn’t want to talk specifics.  I didn’t want the focus to be on punishments. I wanted the focus to be on my duties and obligations and the outcome.  But I knew the punishment had to be addressed.  It is the most salacious, intriguing and shocking thing of DD.  I had to come up with something to say that would satisfy him for now, but wouldn’t get us into the details.

Again I went into the mode of focusing on the outcome, not the specifics. While still avoiding the “S” word, my answer was, “Well, we should both agree on what a good punishment is. Of course, it has to be something unpleasant in order to be a deterrent as well as a reminder to do better.   It could be physical punishments at times as well as non-physical consequences depending on what we agree upon.”

With that, he said the word for the first time…”So, like a spanking?”    When he said that I felt a great release, similar to what I felt when I surrendered to the idea of being spanked.  There it was, out in the open.   The thing that I was still uncertain about but felt was necessary. The thing that I was most worried about both in his acceptance of giving spankings and my willingness to receive them.

Having heard the words and seeing Mike remaining calm and feeling confident in the progress of our conversation, I confidently responded, “Yes, spankings should be part of it.”  He then asked, “Well, what else besides spankings.”

I explained that the intent is not to humiliate me, it is to keep me focused and to get me to perform as a person, a mother, and a wife the way that I want to perform, not the way he necessarily wants me to perform.  In fact, what he wants must match what I want for myself.  It isn’t him punishing me for failing to do what he thinks is right, it is only for failing to do what I committed to doing.  So while it cannot humiliate, there should be an element of discomfort so that I will be motivated to avoid that discomfort in the future.  So, with that, I told him I think spankings are definitely in order, and at other times it could mean a time out….going to our bedroom to be alone or stand in a corner.

I told him we didn’t have to figure all of that out right now, and I know this was lot to process.  I shared that I have been reading about this type of lifestyle and we should read some stuff together.  From there I suggested we both understand the pros and cons and get an idea on how we will incorporate this in our lives.  Note that I said “will incorporate…”  Remember, I am in charge and I am used to getting what I want.  I also wanted him to know I was very serious and I didn’t want to use any words that sounded like I was unsure.  It was only then that I shared the term with him and explained it is often called “Domestic Discipline.”

I was relieved the conversation did not linger on the details of punishment.  Instead he moved on and asked why I thought this would be good for me and he apologized for not doing anything to address my stress levels (remember, I told you Mike is a great guy). He said he will gladly do whatever I felt would help me but he asked me why I thought this was the best way.

I shared some of those things I already shared in this blog about my thought process and more.  I told him I very much wanted to surrender myself to him because I loved and trusted him, and I felt it would allow me to be the person I want to be for myself, for my kids, and for him.  I felt anything short of this type of surrender would not work.

He asked many of the same questions I already asked myself.  I had to reassure him I was completely willing to be punished by him and I expect it to be unpleasant, but that is the point, and that is what I want.  He said he was on-board with figuring this out with me.
It was clear that Mike truly cared about my feelings and wasn’t going to jump into anything this drastic without understanding that it is something I very much wanted to do.

I was eager to show him the Duties and Obligations I had written for myself.  We then went online together and read through a bunch of stuff I had bookmarked for us.  After talking through many different issues over about three or four days, we got to a basic agreement on what our approach was going to be.  It was important that we commit, in writing, to how our DD lifestyle was going to work.  Now it was time to write a contract.

NEXT – 10. My Approach to our DD Contract!

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.