Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Part of the Puzzle: Respect.


I felt...grumpy. I couldn't sleep well the night before, so was up way earlier than normal, and we had a long road trip. I felt so tired I felt like I could fall asleep standing up. Jason was upstairs with me, and I expected he'd join me in bed. But he said he was going downstairs. I wanted to stomp my foot. I was hoping for a little time together after this incredibly long day. Yes, I really wanted to stomp my foot. I asked him if he'd stay with me a bit so we could have just a few minutes together. He agreed, but he didn't miss the irritation in my voice. He lowered his voice, gave me the narrow-eyed, stern look, and said, “You have exactly three seconds to pull it together.” 

I took a  deep breath, exhaled, and brought myself to him meek and respectful. 

It doesn't matter if I'm tired. It doesn't matter if I'm hormonal. It doesn't matter if I miss him, or I'm hungry, or I'm sleepy. I'm never allowed to be disrespectful. He expects me to address him appropriately. He expects honesty, but a meek response. He doesn't tolerate me raising my voice or contradicting him. He expects immediate and pleasant obedience. He even expects my body language to be respectful and obedient.

Yes, he's strict with me. He can tell when something he says or does grates on me. Although I mostly love that he's strict, sometimes it's simply hard to take. I'm only human, after all, and sometimes I get defensive, or angry, or hurt, and it's hard to control my reaction when I feel that way. He watches my reaction carefully, and if I don't respond the right way, I may get a raised eyebrow, or a frown and curt shake of the head. At times, he's ever-so-quietly pulled my head to his and whispered in my ear, “Is that the correct response, young lady?” or “Yes, what?” or “One more toe out of line and you'll find yourself over my lap.” And there were a few times there were no warnings, I simply found myself over his lap for being disrespectful.

It wasn't always this way. Oh, no. Before we started this, there were flashes of temper. As I've mentioned before, I vividly remember whipping a dish across the kitchen when we were newlyweds.

Lord help me if I ever did that today. 

Even several months into TTWD, I remember flipping out in ways that today, wouldn't have me sitting pretty for a week. But it takes time, and practice, to learn respect. It takes communication. It takes understanding and compassion from the Dom, and both need to find ways to communicate in a way that builds one another up. And it takes an incredible amount of work on the part of the Submissive. 

This is why I laugh when I hear critics say things like, “The Hoh does all the work.” That couldn't be further from the truth. If a dynamic is built around the Dom “doing all the work” and the Submissive simply being spanked into submission, there is no room for growth or change. Dynamics like that are simply not sustainable, as they only (at best) change outward actions, not the heart. But that's another post for another day. 

For me and Jason, a dynamic based on respect was absolutely crucial. Foundational, even. It took us a while to accept this part of our dynamic. For a time, he refused to discipline me for disrespect. Safety rules he had no qualms about. I used to speed, and text in the car (at red lights...but still!), and he hated that I did. So pulling me over his lap for a sound spanking to make sure I had an added incentive not to touch my phone while driving came fairly easily for Jason. It had very clear and almost instant positive results. I liked that he took the time to discipline me. He saw how I grew to make better choices. Win-win. 

But the respect piece of the puzzle...that's the one that took the longest time to click into place for us. 

It was always an expectation in our dynamic that I obey him. He disliked when I disrespected or disobeyed him. And because I love him, I tried, even before we incorporated discipline into our marriage, to respect and obey him. It was easy when I wasn't tired, or grumpy, or hormonal, or hurt. You get the idea. 

As for Jason's part, he expected me to be obedient and respectful, but he didn't like the idea of spanking me for disrespect. It seemed wrong to him. He felt as an adult, I had the responsibility of taking ownership for my own actions, and it wasn't right for him to spank me for being rude. Essentially, he was okay with punishing me for doing something dangerous, because he felt it was in my best interest to make safe choices. And if paddling me for speeding kept me coming home safe to him, then yeah, he was all over that. 

But he felt spanking me for disrespect was a selfish move on his part. When an Hoh is given permission to discipline, one of the dangers is that an Hoh will abuse his authority. Jason was repulsed by the idea of abusing his authority. He didn't want to become domineering. He hated the idea of stripping me of my own self-worth. And he feared that requiring my respect had the danger of doing all of those things. 

This frustrated me. There was a great deal of trial and error. I made myself apologize for losing my temper even when it wasn't one of our rules. I would say things like, “I'm sorry I said that to you. That wasn't right for me to say that,” or “That was disrespectful of me, and I apologize.” I would come to him and tell him, “This isn't just about me obeying you. I know you don't like me speaking to you that way. But when you expect me to obey you, I feel safer and happier. It feels nice to know you won't let us fight. I love when you help me control my temper. And it's hot when you keep me in line.” 

And then he began to see, that it wasn't selfish of him to require my respect. He didn't do it because he was full of himself, or domineering. He did it because we both value peace in our relationship. And so, the requirement to be respectful was incorporated into our dynamic. As we grew – him in his leadership and understanding of what I need, and me in my submission and self-control, he upped the ante. Little by little. And now, as part of our daily routine, he asks me every day what he expects of me, and I tell him, (as one of several things we go over), “Be respectful and obedient at all times.” 

Every couple has a different dynamic. But for us, the respect piece of the puzzle is a cornerstone of TTWD. It's one of the reasons a d/s dynamic can bring about peace in a relationship. 

But he knows I need regular reminders of who he is and what my place is. So I simply tell him, “I feel a bit off,” or “I feel a bit out of place.” It's often because of outside things that are stressful, or simply because we haven't had the time together we crave. But I'm required to tell him when I feel this way, because my communicating those feelings to him and him keeping me in my place is one way we keep things at an even keel.

How do you feel about respect, readers? Is it something you address in your own dynamic? Please stay tuned, as later this week I'll be posting the second post in the “Defense of Domestic Discipline” series.

16 comments:

  1. Respect is definitely something that has been a rule since we started TTWD in August. It's actually tougher for me than I would have expected. I wasn't even aware of the lack of respect I had for Tony. I crave his dominance now more than ever. Safety is obviously a rule in our relationship but as he says I don't really need it. I'm overly safe for the most part. We have noticed the respect has grown for our entire family. Even our 3 kids whom are all pretty much teenagers are starting to be more respectful to each other. It's probably the best thing that's come out of all of this for us and we truly feel blessed!

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    1. Hi, Cherished! (It made me smile to see your comment. Nice to "see" you here!)

      I agree that being respectful is tougher than expected. It seems so hot, having him be stern with you lol. But then..when it actually plays out, and you factor your own feelings in...well, this is when reality is harder than fantasy! I'm glad you and your famly are seeing such fantastic benefits of the overall shift in your marriage! Love that.

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  2. Hi Jgirl,
    This is my first comment, but not the first time to read your blog. I find a lot of your post very helpful. Respect is as important to me as my safety, because I set the example for my children and also establish the right kind of environment for what DD should be. Without respect how can there be true obedience and trust towards him from my heart. My husband especially do not take any kind of "back chatting" in front of our children.
    Blessings to you,
    Joli

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    1. Welcome, Joli. I'm glad you stopped by, and I appreciate that you've taken the time to comment!

      You make an excellent point that you set the example for your whole house, and that obedience to your husband is tied in with how you respect him. I agree that without respect, you cannot have true obedience to him. Great comment, thank you.

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  3. I pay lip service to respecting my hubby, but I don't follow through the way I would like. I am trying to be mindful of the way I treat him and be more respectful. I will be glad when he decides to "help" me in this area.:-)
    Hugs,
    Adrienne

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    1. Hi, Adrienne, little by little, you will get there!

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  4. ZBG,
    Another excellent post. I agree that respect is a cornerstone for ttwd. Gabe is much more respectful of me than I am of him and he often has to remind me of that!
    I can relate to liking your husband to be strict. I don't understand it, but when Gabe lets me slide on things, I feel unsettled and long for his dominance.
    Megan

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    1. Thanks Megan. Yes, respect is a cornerstone for sure. I know what you mean about longing for that dominance (and wrote a bit about that in my most recent post In Defense of Domestic Discipline). THanks for stopping by!

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  5. Hi JG its been along time since I commented on your blog. This really got my attention as TJ had just asked me this morning if I was going to be nice! That was because we had been busy over the last few days and I have been snappy and grumpy. I asked him had he noticed my attempts to be respectful and obedient over the last few years? He said he thought I seemed to have found a romantic type of submission and it seemed to have come about because of "that book". He meant you know which one? Well I said no it's something I have been reading for years! But there was no more conversation. I would value your input

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    1. Hi, Jane!

      I think I would take a very simple approach and simply tell him how I feel. I don't know if you need to have a lengthy conversation, just something like "I love you and trust you, so I feel you deserve my respect." Then when you don't respect him, apologize and do your very best to treat him the way he deserves. I know you would prefer he spank you, but try to view his little verbal correction as a step in that direction. When he asked if you were going to be nice, apologize and thank him for reminding you to behave. This is where you lay the foundation.

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  6. Hi JGirl ~ I try hard to respect my hubby but I know I fall short at times...and way short on other occasions. I have been trying to apologize for when I know I've been respectful. I think that helps, if not him then it helps me. I don't have any rules or any consequences right now as we are in a strange ttwd limbo. But I am still trying to work on my submission and respect so that he can see it.

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    1. Hi, Maggie, It is difficult to continue to submit when there is no expectation. But if your heart is leaning towards being submissive, do continue to cultivate that submission by showing respect in the little ways. It's when we teach ourselves to submit in little ways that we are able to foster a change of heart.

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  7. This is a big challenge for me as well. I admire and respect DH so much, but when I'm aggravated or feeling hurt I can be quite snarky and disrespectful. Right now, the rule is no berating him in a nasty way when we are arguing, but I wish he would be willing to be stricter and stop me the first time I get sarcastic! He is such a sweetheart that he is having trouble with really embracing the idea that I want him to stop putting up with my nonsense! LOL. But the guilt I feel later is far worse than any punishment he could give me, mainly my because he IS such a sweet guy.

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    1. It is a difficult concept, that we really dislike our own 'Tudes lol! Hard to communicate that...Jason used to say, "if you don't like how you behave when you do that, then don't do it." If only it were that simple lol! One thing I did when we first began was to always thank Jason for any correction -- verbal or otherwise -- that helped me learn to respect him more.

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  8. It's hard to be respectful at times, life just throws all these other factors in, but then I remember how it used to be between us, the things the kids would hear, and I take a big breath.
    I don't always like going to sleep without DH, but our schedules are a bit different, and I need more sleep than he does, so he often comes to bed hours after I do.

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    1. That's a good point, remembering how things used to be. Jason has always expected me to obey him, but back when we began, I was still quite hot-tempered and he wouldn't discipline me, so the only incentive I had was my desire to submit, and the knowledge that he deserved to be treated better lol! You're right, though, sometimes it's easier making the right choice when you think of how things have changed.

      I hear you on going to sleep at different times -- Jason often comes to bed hours later than I do, and I've learned to accept it. I think in this particular instance, it had been such a long day that I really just wanted some down time with him, but it doesn't always work out the way I plan!

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