Friday, April 10, 2015

In Defense of Domestic Discipline, part one: Childish or Childlike? Why Domestic Discipline is Not Paternal.

Dear Readers,

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. 

Consensuality. Eroticism. 

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.

UPDATE: 

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.”

Agreed.

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. 

20 comments:

  1. Hey JGirl. Thanks for the post. I had emailed her and got a response back. I agree in that she seems genuine in wanting to help others...there is no malice there but at the same time I see what you mean about her absolutes that no Christian should be in this lifestyle. We have slowed down and we both miss it. The intimacy is lacking. I don't see my husband as a father figure either, more like you say a coach and trainer and I don't act child like but may feel somewhat like that when crawling over his knee. Certainly not when it's a sexy spank :)

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    1. Hi, Zeke's Best Girl,
      I wrote a response and it seems to have been lost in cyberspace! So my apologies if this shows up twice.

      Sometimes, it's wise to take a long look at what we're doing, and why. DD won't work for every couple. For some (like OSL), it is absolutely the wrong approach -- not beneficial at all, but the opposite. But for some of us, DD is a very healthy dynamic to embrace. So i completely know what you mean about the lacking intimacy. I hope going forward you two do what works best for you, regardless of what anyone else may tell you. Your marriage is yours alone.

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  2. Hello, I stumbled across your blog a few minutes ago. I am on the fence about all of this for my husband and me so have been diligently researching the topic. I found your intelligent and well-expressed point of view fascinating. I look forward to your future posts.

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    1. Hello! Welcome to my little corner of Blog Land. Thanks for the encouragement, and I hope you come again. :)

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  3. Very well thought out and concisely expressed. We are not in a DD dynamic, but I do wish to be. My husband sees it as too paternal, so your views are very helpful in helping me to express why I don't feel that DD is paternal. We are just getting started in D/s, and so far, we have had spectacular successes and spectacular failures in the space of a month. Thank you for your insight. Wish us luck!

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    1. Hello, submissivesquire,

      Jason said I could read your blog, so I took some time reading through your posts. I see you are very much in the place of where Jason and I were at one point. I urge you to continue to respectfully and honestly communicate with one another. It's an essential part of finding out whether or not this will work. And I urge you to continue to foster a spirit of submission, because you love and honor him as your leader, regardless of how he may respond.

      I completely understand what you mean about spectacular successes and failures. The high highs and low lows! I wish you continued success. Hang in there. It can be a bumpy ride. And Good luck!

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  4. Oh my goodness, I have just been and read osl's blog. I don't think you have to say anything really, although your post is great. If any one reads the other blog they will realise that this is only one person's opinion. I wonder if previous experience has coloured her way of thinking. I am in a ttwd type relationship. It is absolutely my choice and we are so happy. Definitely no childish or paternal feelings over here, just lots of love. We have been happily married for thirty three years and life is only getting better as we travel this path. I felt sorry for the other lady, there doesn't seem to be much live and let live. I don't want to judge though but if you are not happy with this lifestyle why write and read about it just live the life you want to lead as best you can. I always read your blog , but rarely comment. Although Jason is stricter than my hubby I can see how happy you are so more power to you both,
    love Jan,xx

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    1. Hi, Jan,
      I'ts nice to "see" you when you do leave a comment, so thank you! :) I totally agree, that this is one person's opinion.

      I love that you two have grown closer together as you practice TTWD. I can completely relate!! Thirty-three years is amazing, and how encouraging that it's only getting better. Blessings to you!

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  5. I think you have addressed this topic with honesty and diplomacy.

    I suppose it is difficult for others, who have had different experiences, to take a negative view of Dd. I remember when I first came across it I was horrified.

    It is only now, looking back, that I realise what it has added to our marriage. How enriched it has become. But I think you need to have the right mindset, and to be willing to experiment to see what works for you as a couple. It is no good trying to be a carbon copy of anyone else. We all have such a different approach. Perhaps the only similarities are that most of us are able to see the benefits.

    I know from our experience that we never did have much in the way of 'punishment', just a bit of discipline here and there. This is where I would agree with you that there is a world of difference between being childish and childlike. I am most certainly not a child and would not wish to be treated as such. Therefore I acknowledge 'the lifted eyebrow' and the occasional quick swat on the behind. They are telling me I am upsetting the harmony of our household.

    Perhaps some people would think this strange. But for us it works. Sexy spankings are so much better than the other sort. LOL. However, we always discuss everything before decisions are made, and Dan has been known to be wrong, and has been known to apologise. That is how long marriages flourish.

    Dd has for us, turned more into TTWD, with our own personality stamp on it. It has nothing to do with 'paternal'. But definitely to do with erotic, keeping the sparkle going in our marriage, and having a peaceful and harmonious home.

    I certainly couldn't imagine living any other way, but would always advise 'new folk' to start gently and build up. I have seen many couples go too heavily into punishment, and suddenly they are no longer around.

    Find your own brand of Dd/TTWD and work on it. I can testify to it becoming much better with practice.

    I look forward to reading your next post. We need more posts like this expressing opinions and inviting the viewpoints of others. Thank you.

    Hugs
    Ami

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    1. Hi, Ami,
      Thanks so much for your feedback. :) I don't think your dynamic is strange at all. I completely agree that every couple needs to find their own dynamic, and make it theirs. I'ts so individual and so highly personal.

      I agree with your advice for new people to start gently. I think a gradual, natural progression, based on mutual respect and communication, is what makes a good, solid dynamic flourish.

      Thank you for your feedback!

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  6. Hey new friend :) My response can be found here: http://www.onesoloved.com/one-so-loved-responds-to-jasons-girl-of-the-taming-of-the-shrew-part-1/

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to respond. :)

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  7. Hi J Girl,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this post. I thought it was we thought out.

    We read the OSL website too and I agree with you that DD is not right for her. Speaking from my own experience, it looks like she still needs a lot of healing from her past to even comprehend ttwd. I know for a fact ttwd saved and transformed our marriage. I know that God led me to discover DD and I wouldn't want to go back to the way we used to relate to each other.

    Megan

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    1. Thank you, Megan.

      I agree that OSL is still very much in the process of healing. I agree with you that it appears her own experiences have colored the way she views TTWD, and the concept that it may not be poisonous and may actually be fulfilling for someone else are beyond her comprehension. I honestly think her efforts in writing, and reaching out to others, come from admirable motives. She reaches to save those who have experienced heart ache, and save them from the pain she's experienced herself. I can only commend her for that. But my purpose in writing is to explain that for some of us, (like you), TTWD can have an extremely positive effect.

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  8. I only had to read a bit of her post to realize she has been victimized by a therapist who is, in his own way, imposing his will on her. In fact, I use the term "therapist" in describing him only because she does.. he is in fact a proselytizer to his narrow view of what is acceptable. Real therapists do just as she said she expected him to do.. to learn to live with the person you are, not to convince you that you are somehow "wrong" and need to be fixed.

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    1. Yes, that is a very good point indeed.

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  9. When my wife first told me about d.d. I thought she was crazy, but after reading about it and doing a lot of talking with my wife we decided to try it. When we first started, I had the feeling I had to walk on egg shells around my wife to keep peace with my wife. When we first started I was getting blisters on my hands, but as time went on, the sessions got less and less. We learned to communicate more. So discipline wasn't needed as often. I've been slacking off lately, and my wife brought that to my attention, so I have to get back on the ball. Her biggest problem she has is her temper. My problem most of the time is not putting her first, so she gets frustrated with me.....Beavers.

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    1. Wow, I've honestly never heard of blisters on the hand from spanking.

      I can very much relate to the temper. Good luck getting back into the swing of things.

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  10. Well written as always, JG.

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