I've recently been told that a former DD wife has been blogging denouncing the DD dynamic (OneSoLoved.com). Normally, I don't pay much attention to the opposing view, as I feel that others are entitled to their opinions, and I don't see any benefit in frustrating myself reading condemnation of a lifestyle I so heartily embrace.
It was suggested to me, in the interest of attempting a different type of format on the blog, that a good starting point would be perhaps to refute some of the claims she made.
Jason gave me the go-ahead. To my surprise, I found she'd addressed an old post of mine I'd written for the ADDS blog a few years ago. I read her comments with interest. She's an intelligent writer, and has some important things to say. I don't disagree with all of what she has to say. However, she writes in absolutes, and it was her absolute condemnation of DD that caused me to want to respond.
She paints her assumptions with a very large brush – too large a brush. And this is where I take issue. Here is one comment that pretty much encapsulates her major premises:
“The purpose of this blog is ... to oppose “Domestic Discipline”, a lifestyle where the husband and wife relationship is perverted into a parental dynamic, the wife is disciplined for misbehavior and especially in ways only appropriate to children.”
Her opinions specifically refer to the Bible and Christianity. As a Christian myself, I feel somewhat qualified to respond to the accusations she makes, and will do so; however, my attempt is to defend DD to a broader audience as well.
Now, before I begin, there are a few things I'd like to say.
First of all, when I talk about a healthy Domestic Discipline relationship, I'm specifically referring to a relationship that is consensual. We all know the tagline, right, folks? Safe. Sane. Consensual. Secondly, it would be foolish to assume that every single Domestic Discipline dynamic works. If marriages fail, then it only follows that a DD-arrangement may fail as well. Domestic Discipline does not work for everyone.
I am not advocating Domestic Discipline for all. I am simply writing in support of those who consensually choose a DD dynamic.
There are several topics I hope to bring to the table for discussion. I'll offer my own experience and opinion, ask any of you to share yours as well, and invite OSL to join in the discussion.
Here are the topics raised in her blog that I would like to discuss, in a series, perhaps “dialectic” format, from my “pro-DD” perspective:
- An explanation as to why the accusation that DD is parental and therefore disordered is unfounded (post one, below).
- A rebuttal to her disagreement on a post I wrote about leadership in marriage, and why I take the position that DD doesn't have to be a “self-perpetuating cycle.”
- A counterargument as to why Christians should be free to practice DD, and how a DD dynamic can enhance, rather than inhibit, one's faith, and how DD has the potential to foster true sacrificial love. Here I also wish to explore the concepts of masochism, sadism, and a healthy respect for one another.
So please join me as we take these topics to the table. Today, I will post the first post in the series: “In Defense of Domestic Discipline part one: Chidish or Childlike? Why DD is not Paternal.”
The first post in this series is a rebuttal to the post found here, “What's so wrong about domestic discipline?”
The main premise of OSL's post is that Domestic Discipline fosters immaturity – both spiritually and socially – because a disciplined wife is treated like a child. She “behaves” because she fears punishment, and her husband functions as a parental figure, which is disordered.
She says, “I had been justifying my wish to stay a child by looking at the verse where Jesus tells us that we must receive the Kingdom like little children or we will never enter it. I thought this meant I was allowed to be kept child-like despite my chronological age.”
She then goes on to explain all the many Biblical verses that refer to avoiding childish behavior, and growing up. Her conclusion, then, is that DD fosters childish behavior, and doesn't allow the disciplined wife to mature.
I disagree. In fact, my experience has been the opposite.
I'd like to approach my own premise by tackling two main points.
First, I disagree with the assertion that there is something wrong in acting childlike. I agree we are to avoid childish behavior, but I think a strong case can be made that childlike behavior is something to strive for. Second, the consensual agreement of discipline within a DD dynamic is not parental because of the foundational, underlying premise.
First, a look at childish versus childlike. What is childish behavior? I'd consider childish behavior negative actions that stem from immaturity and selfishness. Selfish behavior includes things such as pouting, having a fit, holding a grudge, or similar attention-seeking behavior. Other childish behaviors include a refusal to maintain self control – things like spending an entire paycheck without paying the bills, staying up all night online and failing to get up for work the next day, or losing one's temper and lashing out. Childish behavior is acting irresponsibly. That said, who among us hasn't succumbed to childish behavior? I agree that one of the most important aspects of growth and maturity means that we denounce childish behavior and strive to act maturely.
But the main problem I see with OSL's argument is that she equates childISH behavior with childLIKE behavior, and the two are radically different. I propose it is good, healthy, and admirable to aim for childLIKE behavior.
What is childlike? I'd consider childlike behavior positive actions that stem from innocence and purity. Lacking pretension. Delighting in small things. Childlike behavior means we take people at their word, assume the best in all situations, avoid cynicism, and extend trust. Childlike behavior means we act lovingly toward one other, by showing affection, enthusiasm, and joy. We laugh freely. We enjoy life to the fullest. We play.
Why would we avoid being childlike? Childlike behavior is free from societal expectations and norms. Childlike behavior embraces the freedom of allowing oneself to be vulnerable – to love and be loved.
I love when I sit by Jason and he brushes my hair. I adore when I lay down next to him in bed and he reads to me. These are not abnormal or deviant desires. Recently, I wasn't feeling well. Jason took care of the house and kids so I could rest, brought me some water, helped me dress, and tucked me into bed. Is that wrong, or disordered? No. There is something beautiful in allowing oneself to be loved and cherished.
So the premise that we are to avoid being like children is one that needs to be looked at under far more scrutiny than the simple, “Grow up.”
OneSoLoved maintains that Domestic Discipline encourages childish behavior. I don't completely reject this claim. Domestic Discipline can foster childish behavior if either of the two partners acts childishly in the practice of Domestic Discipline.
Let's say, for example, that the Hoh, or partner granted authority in the relationship, is motivated to discipline for selfish reasons (recalling that selfish behavior is childish). OSL recently interviewed a former DD wife whose experience falls under this category. Her husband was motivated by his own selfish desires to control her, and he abused the authority given to him. My heart went out to her. She is sadly not alone. It is not unheard of that one granted authority abuses that authority – a casual glance through history alone teaches us this. My prayer is that this woman finds the means to heal from the abuse she suffered.
But we cannot conclude that all Domestic Discipline is therefore wrong because of one person's choice to abuse his authority.
Another way Domestic Discipline can encourage childish behavior is when the disciplined partner refuses to take the necessary steps to change. This is a childish approach. Children hold fast to their selfish ways. Adults who desire growth and maturity do not.
It is only human to occasionally engage in childish behavior. However, if a dynamic continually feeds either party's childish behavior, then there is no room for growth.
But again, we cannot conclude that all Domestic Discipline is therefore childish because some who practice it maintain childish behavior.
Now, while we're on this topic, I'd like to address the stipulation that Domestic Discipline fosters a “perverted parental dynamic.”
The two-fold reason Jason and I embrace Domestic Discipline as a facet of our Dominant/Submissive dynamic is because a) it's deeply erotic, and b) it's an effective method of conflict resolution.
Eroticism. Conflict Resolution.
Actions based on eroticism and conflict resolution are for lovers.
The conclusion that one should not partake in discipline because “it is for children” is based on faulty logic.
For example, Jason is demonstrative in his affection with our little brood. He kisses them, and hugs them. He holds their hands. He tucks them into bed at night. Does it then follow that kissing and hugging me is wrong because it is a fatherly thing to do? Does it then follow that I shouldn't hold Jason's hand because it's fatherly of him? Is it wrong for him to kiss me before I go to bed and pull the blanket up over me? Of course not. It makes me feel loved, and protected, and cared for.
And so it is with my consenting to his discipline, and giving him the authority in our relationship. The reason his disciplining me is not paternal is because of the very foundation of our dynamic.
I do not view Jason as a father figure. I view his discipline and authority over me the way I'd view instruction from a personal trainer – he's a coach, not a jailer. He is my lover. He is my friend. He disciplines me because I consent to it. And therein lies the extremely important distinction between Domestic Discipline and Parental Discipline.
To me, any paternal association with discipline would detract from both the eroticism in our dynamic, and my strength as a woman who's consented to grant him authority over me.
These are the foundational principles within consensual Domestic Discipline that make it suitable for adults only.
In the post linked here, OneSoLoved addresses headship in marriage, submission to God, and maturity in Christ. These are issues I will address in a separate post, for those who are interested.
I've invited OneSoLoved to read my comments here. In closing, I'd like to address her directly, then open up the issues at hand for discussion.
I'm sorry you were hurt, OneSoLoved. I'm glad you've found solace in your faith.
I'm glad you've found a dynamic in your marriage that works for you. I understand that DD didn't work for you. It will not work for everyone.
However, the fact it didn't work for you does not mean it doesn't work for anyone.
My intent in writing the series of posts I've written is not to hurt you further.
My intent is to explain why I disagree with your categorical condemnation of Domestic Discipline.
You see, those who live this alternative lifestyle sometimes struggle. We're widely misunderstood. We are often alone. And at times, we struggle because we wonder if it's right to feel the way we do, to desire what we want.
Jason and I have made our peace with these doubts and questions. We hold firmly to the belief that our roles in our marriage make our relationship thrive. We have never been happier, and more wholly fulfilled. We could never go back to the way things were.
But others haven't made their peace. And your posts have caused unnecessary hurt.
We all have our personal opinions as to how healthy couples behave. I'm sure there are plenty of blogs out there with similar views on Domestic Discipline. But please, do us the courtesy of not equating your experience with our experience. Yes, I understand that your argument is that DD caused spiritual stunting for you, and fed into past abuse and hurt. And you've concluded with Biblical support that DD is contrary to Scripture. Please keep in mind our own life experiences influence our reading of Scripture. From my perspective, DD has brought about healing, and has helped foster spiritual growth, not stunt it. Individuals are free to make their own choices, with their partners, and before God.
Now I'd like to open the discussion up for you, readers. Do you agree, or disagree, and if so, why? As always, dissent is welcome, but I ask that dissenting opinions be voiced with respect and kindness.
One favor I will ask you, readers. If you do venture over to OSL's site, please be kind. My intent here is not to cause debate, but dialogue. Let's be kind to one another in our discussions.
One So Loved has responded to my post HERE. I've written my own response to her, which I posted in the comments section to her blog. I'll post my response here as well, to those who may be interested.
Hi, One So Loved.
Thanks for taking the time to respond, and for being gracious to me in your responses. I'm going to give a concise response, as I think that you and I have mostly said what we need to say. I enjoy a good discussion, and look forward to exploring these concepts further with you.
First, you say “ One thing Jason’s Girl does not do in her entire response is address the very idea behind the post she is trying to refute, which is the Biblical concept of the necessity to grow into maturity.”
I did mention in my initial post here that my intent was to discuss the concept of Biblical maturity in a separate post. My first post here was only focusing on why being childlike is not wrong, and why the consensual acceptance of Domestic Discipline is not paternal. That said, I'll respond to your claims here.
OSL: “Jason’s Girl, I would say this: the qualities you describe in association with childlikeness: innocence, purity, humility and gentleness as we relate to others, are actually attributes of godly maturity, wholeness, and full realization of one’s potential as we grow to be more like Jesus...These traits may be seen in children in some measure, but I would not say that they find their ultimate expression in childhood but rather as the child grows into maturity and into their potential, they should express these traits more deeply, more truly, and more honestly.”
Yes, I quite agree, and this is why when we denounce childISH behavior, and move to act more maturely, we embrace the qualities of innocence, purity, humility, etc. As we denounce sin and draw closer to God, ultimately we are free to embrace to fruits of the Holy Spirit. You have no argument from me there.
OSL: “So I would argue that we not associate maturity with any one particular age group, but rather as the Bible understands it: As the fullness of potential, wholeness, and Christlikeness.”
OSL: “Hugging, kissing, and holding hands are in no way specific to childhood. They are specific to love, something appropriate for everyone of any age.
Yet is the discipline characteristic of the Domestic Discipline lifestyle (spanking) appropriate to everyone of any age? Not at all, and to see why, we return to the Biblical definition of maturity: wholeness. Why do parents spank their children? Because they lack wholeness. They lack the ability to learn through reason at certain early stages of their development.”
Okay, you lost me there and this is the first place where I'll suggest we agree to disagree. You jumped from the argument that children lack wholeness (or, we could say, maturity in Christ), to equating the need for children to be disciplined because they lack reason.
I cannot agree to make that jump with you.
Historically speaking, corporal punishment is not just for those who are incapable of reason. Corporal punishment is a physical deterrent to aid behavior modification. Just because you may choose to only spank a child who may yet lack reason, certainly doesn't mean that corporal punishment is only reserved for such times. I repeat, corporal punishment is a physical deterrent to aid behavior modification.
Many states in America still allow corporal punishment far beyond the age of reason. Countries across the world still allow corporal punishment as a punitive measure...and it's only used after someone's beyond the age of reason! I'm not using these examples to show that I agree with the use of corporal punishment in those instances, but to prove that you can't expect me to agree with your premise based on nothing more than your opinion (that spanking is reserved to those who lack reason and maturity).
All punishment is meant to be a deterrent. Do you then propose that because you, as a mature Christian, have reached the age of reason, that you are exempt from a speeding ticket when you speed? Clearly not. You likely agree with the government's ability to use punitive measures, even force if necessary because you accept those punitive measures as acceptable forms of behavioral modification.
“... as she becomes able to learn from verbal instruction and as her heart softens as she develops emotionally and trust and respect grow between us, it will become increasingly inappropriate for me to discipline her with spanking because it would be disrespectful to her very maturity and it would treat her as less than she is.
And it is for this reason that an adult woman must not ask her husband to discipline her like she is one of her children. It is inappropriate and disrespectful of her wholeness, of the potential that she actually has as an adult woman with a fully developed mind.“
No. I disagree. YOU feel it's inappropriate for YOU, because you see spanking as a humiliating form of correction, and it does not motivate YOU to make healthier, more mature decisions.
It does me.
It would be humiliating to ME to be disciplined by anyone other than my husband, because he alone is the one I've granted authority to. He alone is the one I submit to. He alone is the one I give permission to guide me spiritually, to lead me emotionally, and provide for me needs as a full-grown, mature woman. So to him, I give the authority to discipline me. Yes, I am a mature woman of sound reason. I can choose to behave better. Still, the humbling experience of receiving correction from him motivates me to behave, and is thus perfectly reasonable behavior modification for ME.
Would it be for everyone? Certainly not.
You see, OSL, you also allow your husband to correct your behavior. We don't disagree there. You grant him the authority as your husband to help you grow spiritually by allowing him to curb your behavior when you cross the line. It's acceptable to you that he can tell you he will not continue discussion with you unless you apologize for treating him rudely. That's a form of correction you are okay with.
To you, that form of correction respects you as a woman. It helps you grow in maturity with Christ, because he urges you to make virtuous decisions.
To ME, I feel a spanking at the hands of my one true love, in privacy, lovingly administered, helps ME grow. It's an effective behavior deterrent for ME (and for many others who consensually agree to DD). I do not feel disrespected. I do not feel humiliated.
As to Paul's admonition to the Colossians, we must look at the context in which he's speaking. It is pretty clear to me, even after reading the Biblical commentary you are sharing here, that Paul is simply saying that adherence to physical rules apart from Christ will not bring about purity. He's referring to strict adherence to physical rules. The NIV says “These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”
You cannot then conclude that ALL forms of physical mortification are of no use! How, then, do you explain the many Biblical passages that urge us to fast? In fact, Paul himself, in Corinthians, speaks of physical mortification positively. "I chastise my body and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps when I have preached to others I myself should be castaway" (1 Cor 9:27).
So I disagree with your interpretation of this Scripture passage. Doesn't Hebrews remind us that God, as our loving Father, chastises us? “The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son." (Hebrews 12:6). Several translations of the Bible actually say “scourge” instead of “chasten.” If you believe that reference is only to those who are before the age of reason, again, we'll have to agree to disagree.
OSL: “Growth into true, Christ-like wholeness cannot come from “erotic, consensual” disciplinary spankings. It only comes through holding fast to Jesus and receiving from Him.”
I disagree. Accepting discipline from the hands of the man who loves me , who's very purpose is to help me grow in virtue, absolutely helps me grow closer to God.