"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
Hello all. Welcome back to The Forum - Disciplined Husbands & Disciplinary Wives. Our weekly gathering of men and women participating or positively interested in Domestic Discipline or Female Led Relationships.
I hope you had a good week, and I am fairly certain that if you live in the USA, you had an interesting one. I almost didn't post today. Not because I am, like many of my friends, laying on the floor curled in the fetal position, incoherently mumbling some variation of "WTF? WTF? WTF? WTF?" More because the events of this week seem so . . . consequential . . . it is hard to think about anything else. At least it is for me. But, as I sat here struggling with the options of (a) not posting at all; (b) posting but ignoring the one thing that is really on my mind; or (c) finding someway to connect this week's developments with the subject of this blog, it occurred to me that this blog is, in fact, all about . . . consequences. Taking responsibility. Getting what you deserve. Being held accountable for the choices you make. Those are themes that resonate a lot with me on this surprisingly sunny Saturday.
In my "real life," politics is a passion, and it is hard to set aside that aspect of myself when writing this blog, particularly this week. But, I will still try to resist temptation. In my "real life," however, I made the conscious decision to go in the opposite direction, speaking up and saying what I believe more directly (though most who know me would say that has never been a huge problem for me) and worrying less about being polite. I have several friends and relatives, mainly older ones, who have no qualms about sharing those opinions on politics, religion and cultural values with me and the world via emails and Facebook posts, and some the stuff they put out there is fairly offensive, or just downright stupid. I used to just delete the emails and ignore the posts, but I've been doing less of that this week. If they want someone who "tells it like it is," they will be getting more of that from me going forward, and I will make every effort to be an equal opportunity agitator, since there are plenty of stupid, willfully ignorant things coming out of the mouths of people on both ends of the spectrum. But, as Garrison Keillor put it so well this week, "Resentment is no excuse for bald-faced stupidity." So, when someone I know says something that offends my own values or that displays a willful ignorance of actual facts or history, I am going to call their ass on it. A friend of mine observed this week that one of the biggest drivers of this incredibly divided political culture is the rise of media outlets that pander to the extremes. Conservatives have Fox. Liberals have CNBC. It's good that we have competing media platforms, but the danger in it is that these openly partisan outlets become "echo chambers" in which people sharing the same views just chatter back and forth, driving each other to more and more extreme positions, and those positions are never really challenged. So, I intend to do some challenging, and I hope you all will do the same.
Now, to start steering this toward something resembling an actual topic, there is one non-partisan message that came through load and clear to me during this election: when trying to influence someone or get them to act, how you say something seems to have far more practical impact than what you actually say. While it kind of pains me to say it, tone is more important than substance. In each of the last four or five election cycles, one party nominated someone who spoke with passion and conviction, while the other side nominated someone with a more measured tone and who postured themselves as the "safer" choice. And in each cycle that "safer" choice either lost or the bomb-thrower they ran against in the primary did far better than anyone predicted possible. It is a lesson in the power of tone, make whatever point you want to make with strength and authority. People follow passion and strength.
Which, finally, brings me to what I chose as today's topic, though it actually comes from something Anna suggested. There was a little debate going on in the comments last week about "asking for what you want" versus just accepting where your HoH wife takes things. I am in the former camp. I think that "topping from below" is very often misapplied in the context of Domestic Discipline relationships, and failing to communicate openly about what you want and need is probably the single biggest impediment to these relationships succeeding or even getting off the ground. Looking at the poll I left up for a year regarding readers' "DD status," almost a third said they want a DD relationship but aren't in one. I wonder how many of those aren't in one because they can't bring themselves to ask for it, because of embarrassment or fear of rejection or because they themselves see their desires as "weird."
So, Anna's suggested topic was along the lines of, how honest have you been in communicating to your spouse what you want out of your DD or FLR relationship and what you would like it to be? This one really applies to those on both ends of the paddle. Men, to what extent have you told your wife why you want DD? Have you told her openly and honestly what you think it does or would do for you, her or the marriage? Have you been open about what emotional need it serves? Have you given her specific examples of the sternness or strictness with which you would like to be led or held accountable? For the Disciplinary Wives, have you told your husband honestly how much power you are or are not comfortable wielding? Have you been honest with him--and even with yourself--about the extent to which you like, or don't like, delivering discipline and being in charge? Have you been clear about the things that piss you off and what you want him to change? If you want to take things to a different level, have you communicated that to him?
I'm also curious as to what form such communications have taken. Long talks? Emails? Journals? Or, perhaps something more creative? I'll share again a little more than I usually do. I've said before that a year or so ago my wife decided to impose a rule that I have to keep a journal and give it to her regularly. It is supposed to contain a self-report of my behavior issues, but also what I want and feel. Which is sometimes tough for a guy. I do find that it works best when I am most open and leave myself the most vulnerable. But, it also sometimes feels like I am just repeating over and over what I want or need and also trying to reassure her and positively reinforce when she takes more control. Which is all well and good but, like this blog, it sometimes seems more than a little repetitive. Recently, I got kind of bored with the whole process, and I decided to try something new. After the exchanges with Aunt Kay, I was thinking about the Fiction Stories section on the Disciplinary Wives Club website. There was one in particular, entitled Even More, that always really resonated with me. The arc of the story began with a husband earning a spanking and being told in a call from his wife to expect one when he got home from work, then his thoughts wandered to how he originally asked to try DD, how his first disciplinary spanking played out, and then an account of what happened when he did get home that night. Thinking about that story and others that have encapsulated some of my own DD history and desires, it occurred to me that my wife is a pretty visual person and, when she reads it tends to be fiction. (I am the opposite. I devour history and biographies and business tomes. It occurred to me that in my journal entries, I was talking to her in the language and tone that works for me -- fact based and analytical -- when maybe what she needed was something more visual and story-like.
So, I spent an afternoon writing a story that was sort of based on how we started but was built on a fictional scenario in which the main character (clearly me, though I wrote it in the third-person using assumed names) has screwed up on several things and gets a call from his wife telling him he will be spanked that night, and then he reminisces on how he came to be in that position, his dread and anticipation, and the event itself. I tried to use the dialogue to illustrate how stern and strict my ideal HoH would be in conveying her anger and disappointment, her expectations, what was going to happen as a consequence, etc. And, I used my character's inner dialog to explain the emotions that a disciplined husband really goes through and the motivations underlying it.
I have to say, that exercise in creative writing did turn out to be far, far more effective than any journal entry I have given her this year. I noticed an almost immediate change in her tone and her comfort level with being very stern and assertive. So, for us it worked, probably because it gave her a concrete image of how stern and strict I am comfortable with her going, and it happens to comport with where she really does want to take things.
So, what has worked for you in communicating your needs and desires? Other ideas on how to tell your spouse what you want and need?
Have a good week.