I've been thinking a lot about leadership lately, in terms of both our DD relationship and things at work. Obviously, some people assume leadership roles more readily than others. Some people aspire to be leaders. Some actively resist it. Dominance is maybe leadership on steroids. It seems clear that people have different inclinations toward being leaders or followers, and also varying capacities to play those roles.
It's always an over-simplification to try to divide people or relationships up into two general types, but I do feel like there are two broad categories of DD relationships. First, those where one, and hopefully both parties, are acting in the role that fits their natural inclinations. The naturally dominant person is in charge, and more subservient party is the follower. In the second camp are those like Angela and I, where one or both parties are taking on a role that cuts against the grain of his or her base nature. Outside our DD relationship, I am by far the more aggressive, type-A, Alpha spouse. We chose the path of DD precisely because it helps us grow and mature and balance, by taking on the opposite role.
I'm glad that we did it and that it is growing deeper. But, it is undeniably hard sometimes. It's hard for someone whose core nature involves a need to rebel to submit to someone's authority. Likewise, it is hard (maybe harder) for someone who is not entirely comfortable leading to project authority, make decisions, and to punish when necessary. A fellow DD blogger and one of the few out there blogging from a female perspective, Rhiannon at learningandlivingaflr.blogspot.com, is very into coming up with concrete steps for nudging each party toward growing as leader and follower, respectively. Such as my wife assigning more chores and ordering me to do things around the house. It is one aspect of our growing FLR relationship that I really, really do not gravitate to. In fact, I hate it at the time it is happening. But, it serves a constructive role for exactly that reason. It is part of the humbling process. Part of pushing me down in the pecking order and moving her up. It also helps her get into the habit of being more directive and more commanding, so that doing so feels more natural.
Are there similar concrete steps that you have taken to encourage yourself or your partner in this process of learning to lead or to submit? Things that have helped you to more fully accept or carry out your chosen role or that have helped your partner fulfill their role or get more comfortable with it? Please share, because there are lots of us who want to strengthen our DD and FLR relationships but may not have thought of good ways to turn goals into habits.
Have a great week.