Today's topic is, in my opinion, is one of the most important in building one's dynamic, and also one of the easiest.
The first topic, embracing humility, is a simple concept, but quite difficult in the implementation as it entails being humble, accepting criticism, and letting go of control. Many of us find being in control empowering and safe, and even though we may theoretically wish not to be in control – we may fantasize about relinquishing control and obeying another in authority – the actual practice of letting go of control is very difficult. The second topic, bedroom submission, also pushes comfort zones and can be difficult because it puts us in a place of vulnerability. We fear rejection, and again, what's comfortable to us feels safe.
If you take on this week's challenge, however, you truly have nothing to lose. It is, I think, one of the simplest ways to enhance your dynamic, and one that can be easily overlooked or discounted.
Last year, I posted a guest post on why DD makes a man feel ten feet tall. This post was very well received, re-posted many times, and the feedback I got was incredible. It resonated. Yes, we said, that's one of the most beautiful things about this dynamic! One fear we submissives often have is that the pleasure is one-sided. I know I struggled with that. I did fear for a while that I was the only one who really wanted this. Was I the only one attracted to this lifestyle choice? It was only after we embraced the application of DD in our relationship that we both began to see how mutually beneficial the arrangement was. And yes, one of the benefits for him is how much he felt trusted, appreciated, and respected, as a result of my obedience to him.
One of the reasons so many of us desire this dynamic is because it makes us feel special. We feel we are of paramount importance. We love the attention. Certainly, there are other benefits, such as the accountability, intimacy, and erotic attraction, but feeling cherished and desired is at the heart of a committed DD or DS dynamic.
What do our men feel, though?
In the past years, as I've communicated with others regarding relationships, I've learned a few things. I'm not just talking about DD or DS dynamics, either, but with friends and family and people I know who are married or dating. And there's one thing that's become clear to me time and time again. Women and men are different creatures. We relate differently, think differently, and behave differently. There are no hard and fast rules, of course, but there's an incredible amount of wisdom in the old “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus,” truth that needs to be taken into account as we pursue depth in our relationships.
We women so often make the mistake of assuming that men will, or at least should, behave the way we do. Men also often assume that women will behave the way men do.
Simply put, we don't.
In our efforts to avoid labeling, categorizing, and judging one another, we've done away with a recognition that men and women are different creatures. I think that's a mistake. If two people speak different languages, it only follows that occasionally communication will become difficult. If we learn to speak one another's languages, we can truly understand one another at a deeper level.
What does this all have to do with my topic today?
Building him up has to do with speaking his language, the language of the male species. ;)
Inasmuch as we women want to be cherished, men want to be trusted. Where we want to be valued, they want to be appreciated. This is nothing I've invented. It's not a ground-breaking discovery. It's simply something I've come to see as truth through a variety of sources I've read, and the many many interactions I've been blessed to have with other couples.
If men want to be trusted and appreciated, it therefore follows that it is in our best interest to do what we can to make them feel trusted and appreciated.
So let's get down to the nitty gritty, then, shall we?
How does one go about making our significant other feel trusted and appreciated? This is where we build him up, and where I will pose this week's challenge.
The challenge is to build him up in what you say.
Do you thank him for working hard? When he comes home after working all day, or comes in for a cold drink after mowing the lawn, or when he takes the children to the park so you can get caught up on housework? It's so easy to get so busy with what we're doing that we forget the simplest of courtesies. A simple “thank you.”
If we are seeking to let go of control, it's vitally important we don't offer one of the “backhanded compliment thank you's.” What are those? “Thank you for putting the baby to bed, but can you please do it earlier next time?” “Thank you for sweeping the floor, but you missed the right corner.” And let's be frank on the DD level. “Thank you for holding me accountable, but I didn't like how you lectured me.”
Ouch. You're better off not thanking him at all, if it's going to be stated in a passive-aggressive way. I've been there. I've done that. I still fight it, sometimes, the desire to somehow snatch back control in subtle ways.
Try to give thanks with no strings attached.
If you are in the process of building your dynamic, it's very important to remember to thank him when he does step up to the plate, as you want him to. It's challenging uttering those embarrassing words, “Thank you for disciplining me,” but I promise, it's worth the effort. Become transparent. Embrace the vulnerability. Say the words.
Of the five love languages, the one I'm really not very good at is the “words of affirmation.” It's not very high in my own list of love languages (in fact, last I checked, it was at the bottom), so it's one I need to make a conscious effort with, not just with Jason, but with my children and friends as well. I grew up in a home where praise was sparing, and sadly it makes me uncomfortable to praise others. I also was taught that we should avoid being proud, and it's important not to get a big head. Although that's true, it doesn't mean there's never a time and place for praise.
We often forget how important it is to praise our husbands. If you're someone who's forgotten this, I challenge you to do it. It sometimes feels foreign to us. Still, you may find it's very much worth the effort.
The other day Jason went to work dressed to the nines – crisp white shirt, black slacks – he looked amazing. I made sure to tell him. He looked hot! Made my heart go pitter-patter. Why not tell him?
Do you love the new beard your husband is sporting? The tan he's gotten over the summer? The way he looks lying in bed in his white t-shirt when you join him in bed at night? I've told Jason that one of my very very favorite smells is the smell of his clean white t-shirt he's wearing when I'm curled up on his chest. It's so true. Swoon! Tell him. He needs to hear these things.
Physical praise isn't the only way to praise him, though. Do you love how he makes your baby belly laugh when he pretends her spoon is an airplane? Does it make you proud how he sits down after a long day of work and does homework with your children? Does he take time from what little free time he has to help his mother buy groceries, or get her car fixed?
We are so busy, it's easy to fall into the temptation of focusing on our own needs and tasks at hand. Try to see beyond those. Try to see what he's doing, too. And when you do, praise him for it. Don't just limit your praise to face-to-face, either. Send a text or email. Leave him a note. Have fun with it.
Speak highly of him to others.
Many have asked me how it is that Jason and I have arrived where we are. It's taken time, and we're still learning, but one thing I've shared that has helped me is this little blog of mine.
How has blogging helped? Jason is truly an amazing Dominant. He meets my needs in spades, time and time and time again, and I make no bones about it on this blog. He reads this blog. He knows how much I love him. In reading my blog, he knows how much I appreciate the fact that he doms me so well. This way of communicating with one another has truly enhanced our dynamic, because speaking highly of Jason builds him up. Building him up is crucial as he grows into his role as Dominant.
Many of us avoid building our husbands up, because we don't want to sound like we're bragging. Try to get past that, because the effort you make in speaking highly of him goes a long way. And the more you speak highly of him, the less tempted you are to speak negatively (which has the exact opposite effect at building him up and therefore a negative effect on your dynamic). It's okay to speak frankly with friends, but do try to be careful with how you choose.
So now, for this week's challenge.
Thank him. At least once a day, thank him for something he's done.
Praise him. At least once a day, praise him for something he's done. Remember, even the simplest praise goes a long way.
Speak highly of him to others. When the opportunity arises, speak highly of him. When you talk with your mom, your pastor, or your best friend, is there a chance you can share with them how hard he's worked, an accomplishment he's achieved, or how proud you are of him?
Again, these are very simple ways you can build him up. Focus on the power of the spoken word. The more you build him up, the easier it becomes for him to lead.
Join me next week as I post the fourth and final installment in this series. And thank you for all the positive feedback!