On Submission


Lia comments:

First, submission is a GIFT and the dominant partner gets his authority from
his partner's willingness to give it. Hence, his power does NOT convey total
wisdom. That's something HE has to work on---a big responsibility. Now,
what to do when his wisdom fails.....When I've been in the situation, I've
decided that within the parameters we discussed I would accept his decision,
knowing that I couldn't expect perfection from him any more than he could of
me.

HOWEVER, I've also noticed that the wisest dominants do not "get upset" if
they are questioned, but, instead, invite dialog before making a decision. I
had a wonderful disciplinarian who asked every possible question about my
motivation, mindset, point-of-view, justification, etc. BEFORE he made
decision. Believe me, I had no doubts when he did finally do so because I
had been heard absolutely fully and everything I had to say taken deeply into
consideration. I respected him so much because he was obviously putting a
great deal of effort into understanding the situation and fully and making
the wisest, most just decision possible. Better yet, I felt secure in being
able to RELY fully on him since he worked so hard on my behalf.

I'd have trouble turning myself over to someone who made
off-the-top-of-his-head decisions and then didn't want to be
questioned....Some couples who are really good at living this lifestyle have
a rule that spankings don't occur until the issue has been fully discussed
and BOTH parties agree that it's the right thing. What I've been told is
that the spanking turns out to be more effective if they wait until she is in
the right mindset to accept it. I don't have personal experience of this
sort of arrangement, but I doubt that women in relationships like this
struggle with submission in the same way, because they are NOT giving up
their minds, but bringing their minds, heart and soul into alignment with
their deepest needs with their dominant's help.

All that said, one can give submission, but one can't give up one's
individual responsibility as a human being. Kristin mentioned that there are
areas in which she can live with her husband being wrong, but there are
others--like the kids--where she'd "fight tooth and nail." If a situation
comes up where someone else could be adversely affected by a decision you
believe is wrong---well, in the end, YOU are responsible if you go along with
something you know is harmful. You can't ultimately shuffle the burden to
someone else and say "HE made me do it." A wild example which occurs to me
involves the story we were recently asked to end. If a man wanted to deliver
a spanking within sight or sound of the kids---a mother who cared about the
effect on them would flat-out refuse. Of course, if the habit is full
discussion before a decision--as I suggested earlier--the conflict over
whether to violate one's submission would never occur.

I guess what it gets down to is the need for both to have realistic
expectations. SHE can't expect him to be always right and HE needs to
recognize the same thing. Both need to put their egos aside sometimes to
make this work: She in accepting a reasonable decision which she just
happens to disagree with, and he in admitting that power doesn't make him
always right. In the end, HE does have the final say, but what comes before
exerting it makes a big difference in how well the relationship works.


Kristin comments:

Here's my opinion on the husband/wife thing, and this
comes not just from me but from a respected pastor I
once studied under.

Now, according to the Bible, woman was created as a
"help-mate" for Adam. I like that, because if you
really THINK about it, that means that Adam needed some
"help" and God gave him a (gasp!) woman. Now, if we
were here to be playmates or doormats that would be a
completely different subject, but we're not. Also,
there's the old saying that woman was not formed from
man's head to rule over him, or his feet to be walked
on, but from his side (a rib, specifically) to walk
BESIDE him. Good point, don't you think.

Anyways, this pastor (who was overall a pretty dominant
type man) made that point that there are some things
that women are just better at dealing with. God has
given us some specific gifts, such as an ability to be
more emotionally intuitive, and those are important
gifts. His point was that a WISE man will LISTEN to his
wife.

Of course, the key as the wife is to learn how and when
to voice your opinions. However, there has to be some
time when it is absolutely SAFE for you to do that. If
you don't have that safety, then perhaps the problem is
far more fundamental than submission vs. leadership.
Perhaps it's basic communication, in which case I doubt
a spanking is the right answer. Communication is a two
way street, and I don't think you can get all that far
on that particular street hanging over somebody's knee.


Lia responds:

I think there's a danger of a very basic confusion when couples convert from
vanilla to some version of D/s--if the submisssive is the one agitating for
the change, she may be so grateful for any movement toward domination from
her partner that she hesitates to rock the boat by acknowledging real needs
and concerns. Since this sort of connection actually requires MORE
communication, not less, denial and suppression are risky strategies to
employ. Making this work is tricky and calls for the best efforts of both
parties in making it a positive change.

As Kristin's pastor points out, the submissive partner IS NOT and SHOULD NOT
be viewed as in any way inferior. If anything, my dom mentor tells me, she
is superior because of the strength she shows in submitting. He says that he
remains cognizant of the fact that HE could never surrender and accept
punishment the way she does and that he'd better make very, very sure that
he's acting wisely in her best interests. One thing he says he does in order
to make sure that her strengths are not sacrificed in the interests of
submission, is to limit the area in which he intercedes. He has the
RIGHT--per their carefully negotiated contract--to control any part of her
life, but he ONLY does so in areas they agree on. He wants her to grow and
be enhanced by their relationship, and so gives her space to exercise her own
intellect and decisionmaking powers in many ways. That way, both her
submissive and her independent sides have scope to grow and are part of what
she brings to the relationship.

Whether it takes more strength to submit than to dominate may be open to
question, since it is arguably no small task to be responsible for another,
but what is SURE, is that a submissive woman is bound to have strengths,
wisdom and insight that her partner lacks---and vice versa, of course. He
may have the burden of DECISION-MAKING, but they need to pool their abilities
and efforts in order to reach the point of making any decision at all.

I agree with Kristin that COMMUNICATION is the cornerstone of this or any
relationship, and that a spanking cannot substitute for that essential
ingredient. Whenever EITHER partner feels a lack or block in that area,
THERE IS A PROBLEM. Opening up honest discourse is the FIRST thing that
needs doing.

I would suggest that the responsibility for creating the safe space for that
to happen rests firmly with the dominant. If he makes it a REQUIREMENT that
she confess any concerns or doubts she has to him, he remains in control AND
fosters communication and understanding. She still feels secure in relying
on his leadership, and yet, can be heard and make the contribution of her own
insights.

What it takes is recognizing that really being the leader in a relationship
takes more than swinging a paddle.


Josh comments:

All relationships have at least two components. One is the GENERAL relationship and the other is the CORE relationship. I think of it as a circle within a circle. The big circle is the "general" and the smaller one is the "core". Everything that married, or in your case soon to be married, people do is within that large circle. Intimacy (spanking, sex, intimate discussions, etc,) are in the core.

I'll attempt to give a couple of examples that I hope won't confuse or bore you.

An example that belongs in the core would be a case where you are given specific instructions to carry out something that a resonable person would expect you to be able to do. You find that the task is not as simple as it was thought to have been and for some reason you decide not to do it. (Comment from Bethany: Or you plain out decided NOT to do it because you were in test mode and wanted to see what would happen.) When he announces that you are to be spanked because you disobeyed, you think that you shouldn't have been expected to be able to do that task, because it was just too hard. This belongs in the core and should be discussed AFTER you take your spanking.

An example of something that falls into the general relationship category would be what type of car to buy. If you disagree on that, spanking should never be used to settle that kind of argument. Some things can't be addressed with a spanking and if they are, justifyable resentment will always result. (Comment from Bethany: And any partner who would try to impose his will by using spanking in this circumstance is not understanding where/how/when and why domestic discipline should be used. No woman should submit to this sort of relationship. God might have given us backsides but He also gave us brains.)

Wouldn't it be great if everything was that simple?

A situation that tests us mightily, is that during the "discussion" about the car she gets overwrought and says some regrettable things (I say that, knowing that it could just as easily be him who loses it. This is just an example, after all.) So he says she's getting a spanking. She crosses her arms and looks him in the eye and says, "Buddy boy, if you think you're going to paddle my butt because I you want a sportscar and I want a four door sedan so the kids will be comfortable in the back seat, you're full of it and you're not laying a hand on me!!"

This is a place where people without cool heads can do terrible damage to the relationship. If this happened to my wife and I, I sincerely hope that I would call time out and we would have a cooling off period. When we could discuss the problem calmly we would. I would explain that I had no intention of spanking her over a car. And that since she may not have even realized, in the heat of the moment, that she had called me a dimwit, we would talk about the spanking later.

When we had settled on the car, I would bring up the fact that she had a spanking coming and we would talk about that as a separate matter. In a case like this, that is so open to misunderstanding, if she never agreed that she had done something that was a spankable offence, or she still felt that even though I had a good excuse for spanking her, what I was really doing was getting even with her because I didn't get my sportscar, I would NOT insist that she take that spanking.

I hope that I haven't confused you, but the point is that being able to express legitimate concerns and discuss problems openly is essential to keeping a relationship from dying. That must be done when neither of you have fear or anger clouding the issue.

Going back to my original example of the two circles, deciding what falls within that inner circle and what does not is vital.

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