24 December 2012

Merry Christmas

From our family to yours:
We wish you a blessed Christmas.
May your Christmas be filled with laughter.
May it overflow with kindness.
May examples of generosity be set for all who watch.
May your Christmas be marked by peace.
May you set your differences aside and listen.
May you reclaim opportunities to demonstrate your love for your spouse.
May this Christmas be a time you will want to remember.
May gratitude and selflessness saturate all that leaves your lips.
May this Christmas be your best one yet!

17 December 2012

Spanked to Match Santa's Suit

The Christmas season  is the time for giving generously. It is also a stressful time for many wives and mothers as they prepare to host family gatherings and anticipate the many hours they must spend in the kitchen. Add to that last minute shopping, crazy traffic, attending school concerts, seasonal charity work, the mountain of gifts that need wrapping, and all the other extra tasks that come with a time of celebration. The result is a truck load of stress for the lady of the house.
Husbands can play a big role in soothing the stressful countdown to Christmas. In fact, I would go as far as saying it is their responsibility to ensure a stress overload does not occur. Unchecked stress can spill over into the home and create an environment that is hostile and prone to dampen any holiday cheer.
So what is a husband to do to help his wife unwind when tensions mount?
As the husband, you simply need to play the role of Santa. Does that require the obligatory red suit, white beard, and big belly? No, although many men who have weathered a few Christmas seasons seem to already acquired the belly. What you need most is the heart of a Santa. You must want to give something good to your wife. And then you need to actually progress beyond that desire. You need to give that good gift to her.
And what might that good "something" be? Being old fashioned in my ways, I cannot help but suggest the gift of a good, old fashioned spanking, of course.
Now, you will have to make a few changes to the way you might play the role of Santa at the shopping mall or at your church Christmas party. No, your wife won't be sitting on your knee and whispering her secret desires into your ear. You will confidently put her over your knee with her bottom raised high. She may protest a little (especially if you waited too long to put your idea into action) - assure her that she is not being punished. You will let her know that you appreciate all she is doing to make your family's celebration wonderful, and that you want to help her relax after all her efforts. You will rub her back, and caress her bottom, and let her talk some of her tension away. And then you will spank the rest away.
Bare her bottom. Start slowly. Be gentle, but firm. This is not a punishment. You are helping your wife relax. Spank lightly until her skin shows some color. Spank harder, but continue to spank slowly. Take your time. Treat this the same way you would treat a sensual massage. If your wife is tolerant of harder spankings, introduce a favorite implement like a wooden spoon or a light paddle. Talk to your wife as you spank her. Express your appreciation. Remind her that you love her. Tell her how much you enjoy helping her relax. And watch her body language. The back and thigh muscles lock in tension. As the spanking encourages tension release, you should see your wife's back and thighs relax. Ask questions. Listen to her voice. Use the tension in her voice and the tightness of her muscles as an indicator of when to stop spanking. A long, relaxing spanking should leave your wife comfortably draped across your lap with her bare bottom tender and blushed a deep red. Some women release tension with tears, so don't be afraid of seeing your wife cry. Finish the spanking with gentle caressing and an unrushed cuddle.
Give your wife the gift of stress-relieving and tension-busting spankings this Christmas. Spank generously and spank often throughout the season, and you probably won't need to go spoil the fun with any unpleasant disciplinary action. Choose to fill your home with peace and harmony this Christmas. Make it a place everyone wants to be. Make the effort to match your wife's bare bottom to Santa's suit, and you will help create a Christmas experience (and perhaps a tradition) that your wife will enjoy as much as you do.

15 December 2012

10 Penny-wise Gifts for Your Wife

A diamond may be a girl's best friend, but sometimes she will want a gift that speaks louder than the price tag. Trade in the idea of flashy jewelry or an expensive spa hamper for a gift that will fit your budget, keep financial conflict out of your marriage this season, and touch your wife's heart.
Previously, following on our discussion of Christmas gifts for your spouse when your budget is tight, we shared some of our favorite inexpensive, gift ideas that a wife can use for giving a gift to her husband. This post is devoted to inexpensive and thoughtful gifts a husband can give his wife. There is no reason to skip gift-giving this year simply because your wallet is empty. Bless your wife with a gift that communicates your love and appreciation for her, without creating debt in the process.
For the wife who is on her feet all day: Use colored card reclaimed from cereal boxes or other sources to create foot massage vouchers. (Obviously, you (the husband) will be giving these wonderful foot massages, so prepare yourself to pamper your sweetheart.) Set an expiry date on each voucher so your wife will be encouraged to cash in her special treats at regular intervals.
For the wife who loves photographs: Capture a special moment on camera when your wife isn't aware that she is the focal point. If you don't have an eye for taking pictures, ask a friend or your child to snap some pictures of you and your wife when you are in public. Make sure you select a picture that is particularly flattering to your wife. Give it some old world charm by having it printed in black and white or sepia tone - your local pharmacy charges pennies for a small print. Spend an extra dollar on a frame that matches the picture (your local dollar store should have a selection of small frames).
For the wife who isn't on a diet: Purchase your wife's favorite candy bar. Carefully unwrap it without ripping the wrapper. Hand-write a love letter to your wife, fold it to match the size of the candy bar, and insert the letter (together with the candy bar) into the undamaged wrapper.  Carefully seal the wrapper, and wrap the candy bar in some pretty paper.
For the wife who likes to reminisce: Fill a small booklet with reprints or photocopies of your wife's favorite photographs. Your wedding, your honeymoon, the birth of your children, and family vacations all make good photo sources. This is about creating more than another photo album, so make sure you add your memories (positive memories only) associated with the pictures by writing comments alongside the pictures. Tell your wife what you were thinking when the photo was taken, or what the picture reminds you of.
For the wife who likes to play games: Create your own intimate card game. Start with cutting a set of flash cards from scrap cardboard. On each card, write a word that means something special to you as a couple. Create your own rules for your word-association game and include these rules when you package your cards. When designing your game rules, remember that whatever you do with your cards should be fun for both of you, and should encourage intimacy.
For the wife who enjoys being spanked: Create a set of 10 to 20 stress-relief and/or playful spanking vouchers. Use colorful card recycled from junk mail for the vouchers, or print the vouchers on your home printer. You may not always be aware when your wife needs or wants a spanking, so these vouchers will help her get what she needs when she needs it. They work well for couples where the wife struggles to ask for a spanking or the husband is not particularly observant and aware of his wife's needs. All the wife needs to do is present her husband with a spanking voucher, and he should provide her with a spanking within 24 hours.
For the wife who does most of the housework herself: Running a home is hard work - make no mistake about it. And it is even harder when you cannot afford outside help and must repeat the same household tasks day after day without a break. Give your wife the gift of a small break from routine when she needs it most. Create a handful of simple housework vouchers (at least 20 - be generous) e.g. washing supper dishes, vacuuming the lounge floor, scrubbing the bath. These vouchers will encourage a wife who is uncomfortable asking for help (especially if her husband typically comes home tired from work) to express when she feels overwhelmed. She can express what she feels by simply returning a voucher to her husband - she doesn't have to speak about how she feels if she is not ready to do that. The husband's responsibility is to jump in and complete the task  on the voucher he is given. This task will probably only take him a few minutes, but will give his wife a much-needed break from the monotony of repetitive housework.
For the wife who deserves, but avoids, the spotlight: Some wives work tirelessly to make their homes a wonderful place to be. Often, the efforts of these amazing women go unnoticed, and yet it doesn't seem to deter them. This Christmas, you can shine the spotlight on your wife and give a gift of 30 days of uninterrupted recognition. Write 30 short letters to your wife. Each letter need be only a paragraph long and should express your appreciation for one aspect of who she is, or what she does for you and your family. You can make those letters even more special by taking a trip to a local department store. Stop by the fragrance counters and ask the sales assistants if you may spray a little perfume from the tester bottles onto a sheet of paper. It may take some time to collect 30 different fragrance samples on your letter papers, so aim for 5 or 6 different fragrances that you think your wife would enjoy. Seal the letters in 30 envelopes, and write the number 1 to 30 on the envelopes. Present the set of envelopes with instructions that your wife is to open one envelope every day for a month.
For the wife who enjoys complex gifts and problem-solving challenges: Create your own treasure capsule. To do this, blend the ideas of a time capsule with a treasure chest. Cover a recycled box with pretty paper. Collect a variety of small items that you can directly link to experiences you have shared with your wife. The complete collection should fit in the box. For example, if you honeymooned at the coast, a seashell might represent this experience. If your first child is a boy, perhaps a blue baby comb might trigger a memory of his birth. Include a challenge to your wife to get her thinking about what each item represents, and the promise of a date night when you will explain what each of those items mean to you.
For the wife who is struggling with being submissive: Provide one "get out of (spanking) jail FREE" card. This card should include your sincere promise to exempt your wife from one corrective or discipline spanking that would usually result from breaking a house rule. You reserve the right to substitute some other form of punishment in the place of a spanking. Make this card valid for one year.
Husbands, feel free to add your own ideas for low- or no-cost gifts for your wife in the comment section below. Wives, if you have received an inexpensive, creative gift from your husband, please do share it with our other readers. Many folk have had a tough financial year, and could benefit from hearing that great gift-giving has little to do with the money in your wallet.

14 December 2012

10 Penny-wise Gifts for Your Husband

Christmas, the season for giving, is a great time to exercise generosity. Gift-giving is an excellent way to express our generosity, and touch lives in a positive way. Contrary to what many people believe, you don't need a lot of money to give awesome gifts. You simply need to take what you know about the gift recipient and match that with your own skills and the materials you already have in your own home. Think creatively and recycle - the gift options are practically limitless.

In a previous post, "Taking My Spouse Off the Gift List", we described how to stimulate ideas for giving inexpensive gifts. We also promised to share some of our own gift ideas, so this is the first of two posts that fulfills that promise. This post will provide the wife's perspective and hopefully give other wives who read this ideas on how to turn low-cost or no-cost items into fun gifts for their husbands. The added bonus is that these gifts also serve to enrich the marriage by encouraging communication and sensual/sexual play.

For the DIY husband: find a hard wood plank (12 to 18 inches long) and draw the outline of a paddle on it (sometimes lumber yards and wood shops throw away scrap wood, so don't be afraid to ask). If your budget allows for it, use sheets of sandpaper as gift-wrapping - the gift-wrap is a practical part of the gift and will smooth the way to a splinter-free spanked bottom.

For the husband who enjoys words and surprises: fill 52 small envelopes with notelets that begin with "I love you because...". Wrap the 52 envelopes together with instructions on when to open each envelope. This is a gift that can be stretched out over a full year, if the recipient opens one envelope a week.

For the husband who takes command of the kitchen: write your (wife's) wedding vows in the bowl of a wooden spoon using a permanent, fine-tipped marker. Your husband will know what to do with the wooden spoon if you start stirring up trouble in the home. And even if you are good, the spoon can provide many fun spankings for years to come.

For the sensual husband: Cut 11 strips from scrap (colored) card. (Use paper if you have no card.) On each of ten card strips, write down one of your husband's favorite sensual experiences and an expiry date that falls within the next year. For example, if your husband enjoys you touching his feet, one card might include "oily foot massage" and "expires on 31 January 2013". Use the eleventh card to explain how to use the coupon booklet you have created. Staple the cards together with the instructions on top.

For the husband who finds it hard to talk about his desires: Decorate the cover of an inexpensive "composition book" (the lined exercise books that school students use for note-taking) with your own art, photographs, pictures from magazines, favourite verses of poetry, or any other items that represent beautiful experiences. Use the first page of this "desire journal" to explain how to use it i.e. stress that the husband's desires can be expressed by recording his dreams, describing his fantasies, or simply illustrating those fantasies with sketches. Explain that you (the wife) would love to read his desire journal if he ever wants to share it with you. This journal is a great way to open up discussions that some people are shy to start.
For the husband with a sweet tooth: Home-baked cookies (or candies) never fail to sweeten up the hubby. Decorate a recycled chocolate box with your favorite images, poems, or inspirational quotes, and use it as a presentation box for your goodies. If you are working with your husband to encourage portion control, individually wrap each cookie or candy, and attach a little love note to each tiny package.
For the husband who likes to read: Purchase an inexpensive blank-paged, pocket-sized booklet (small enough to fit into your husband's shirt pocket). Fill the booklet with expressions of gratitude - thank your husband for the little things that often go unrecognized. Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and this little booklet will provide many years of encouragement for your husband - he can carry it with him to work or on business trips, or just open it when he needs to be reminded that his wife notices all he does for her and the family.
For the husband who is sexually adventurous: Make a home-made sensual  exploration kit. Include items like feathers, velvet cloth, satin cloth, a soft hairbrush, a comb, etc.
For the husband who enjoys gardening: Purchase a small packet of seeds (suitable for planting in your zone) - some seed packages cost less than a dollar. Include a hand-written written promise to be part of the seed planting exercise. Getting dirty together can be the start of a lot of clean-up fun.
For the husband who likes reminders: Create a WILL KNOT. All you need is a short length of rope or twine (natural fiber works best). Make a knot in the rope. Package the knotted rope in a decorated, recycled box with a note explaining what it is. The WILL KNOT is  your husband's reminder that you have chosen to be submissive to him, and are working hard at your commitment, even when things get a little off-track. The WILL KNOT is his reminder that you WILL NOT give up on your commitment.
Feel free to add your own inexpensive gifts ideas for husbands in the comments section below. Creative, home-styled gifting isn't only for the cash-strapped - it is a great way for all of us to exercise our creative natures and give the kind of gifts that make a difference.

13 December 2012

Taking My Spouse Off the Gift List

This is the season for giving (not that there is a season that doesn’t agree with giving). Few things are as enjoyable as giving, so it makes sense to join in the fun. The malls are already filled to capacity, and everyone seems to be in frantic pursuit of the perfect gifts for loved ones. But what if money is tight? Does that cut you out of the giving process, and stop you from having fun?

Parents usually make the effort to ensure their children have presents at Christmas, but when money is a problem, the spouse is one of the first to fall by the gifting wayside. It is tempting to justify taking our spouse off the gift list. After all, they are well aware that the budget simply cannot stretch any further. They will understand that a gift is unaffordable, won’t they?

There is a way to keep your partner on the gift list, even if your budget screams in rebellion. The most precious gifts I have received did not come from the mall. They weren’t bought online either. They didn’t cost an arm and a leg, or even just a finger. Some cost only pennies. Most did take an investment of time on the part of the giver. However, not all of my precious gifts demanded a lot of time of the giver - some just needed a fresh perspective and a dash of creativity.

What if you don’t feel creative, and like most of us don’t have hours to sit around and dig deep until the creative juices flow?

The good news is that you can make this happen with a few minutes of "thinking" time, and a little longer of "doing" time. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, pick up a pen and paper, and prepare for an out-of-the-box experience. Without giving it too much thought, brainstorm a list of words that describe what your spouse enjoys most. You can stop when you have ten words or phrases. For example, your list may look something like this:

My wife enjoys.... (1) reading, (2) doing puzzles, (3) telling jokes, (4) baking, (5) dancing, (6) watching old war movies, (7) sucking lollipops, (8) gardening, (9) the smell of sun-dried linen, (10) jogging.

My husband enjoys... (1) fishing, (2) sex, (3) walking the dog, (4) watching sports, (5) photography, (6) surprises, (7) wearing yellow shirts, (8) gardening, (9) swimming, (10) writing poetry.

Now make a second list by brainstorming things you can DO (not buy) to provide for your partner’s enjoyment. For example, next to “My wife enjoys (1) reading and (8) gardening,” you could put “hand write a love letter to my wife, and seal it in an envelope filled with petals from her favorite wild flowers”. Next to “My husband enjoys (8) fishing,” you could write “search online and find the tide charts for the next 52 weekends; cut and paste the charts, leaving space for recording catches, into a document and print this document in booklet format; make a colorful cover for the booklet using a local outdoor store's sales brochure”. 

With a few minutes of effort, you will discover that you can give your husband or wife a delightful gift that will cost little or nothing. In the next couple of posts, we will include some of our own gifting brainstorms, so you can see how easy it is to stretch your imagination beyond the obvious.

This year, challenge yourself to think outside the box when it comes to spousal gift-giving on a tiny budget. Don’t use the lack of money as an excuse for not giving your husband or wife a gift this Christmas. Rather, use it as the motivation for giving a thoughtful gift to your soul mate and best friend. Forget about a trip to the busy mall. Forget about shopping online for those discounted deals. Just invest a little of yourself in your gift. No-one knows your spouse better than you do. Who better to give him or her a truly creative and perfectly suited gift than you?

22 November 2012

Thankful for My Marriage: Today and Always

There is ALWAYS a reason to be grateful. Always. Without exception. Find your reason today. Don’t stop when you find one. Collect a whole basket of reasons to be thankful, and then take the time to express that thanks and appreciation. Gratitude isn’t just something we dress up in for Thanksgiving - it is an attitude that allows us to see the sunshine in every rainy day.

If your marriage is thriving...

Be grateful for your marriage, for life as it is, the happy moments, the laughs, the intimacy, the meaningful conversations, the great sex, feeling loved, the trust between you and your partner, someone to share your heart with, a soul mate, a partner you can entrust every part of yourself to, memories that leave romance novels in the dust, and the promise of a great future. Be thankful for a spouse you can give every part of yourself to with reckless abandon...

If your marriage is good, but not great...

Be grateful for your marriage, for a partner who loves you, for someone to share your life with, for a companion who stands with you, for someone who cares about you and lets you know that, for those special moments that create good memories, for the growth you have seen in your marriage, for knowing you are not alone, and for the promise of more good things to come. Be thankful for a spouse you can give yourself to, knowing they value you as you are...

If your marriage is surviving...

Be grateful for your marriage, for a spouse who is tough enough to hang in there through the hard times, for the promise that things can get better, for buried hopes that can be resurrected, for new dreams that can be created today and lived tomorrow, for someone who honors their marriage vows, for the knowledge that tomorrow gives you a fresh start, and for the promise that it is not too late to have a great marriage. Be thankful for a spouse who is still in the process of learning to value and appreciate you, and for the opportunity to demonstrate daily how much you value and appreciate them...

Happy Thanksgiving!

08 November 2012

Stardust Exposed by an Attitude of Gratitude

Thankful. Appreciative. Cognizant of how others have contributed to their lives. These are the people who typically enrich our lives. We find them encouraging and energizing, and we enjoy being around them. They seem to bring sunshine into a cloudy day. They put a smile on our faces when we have begun to feel invisible. Showing gratitude on a regular basis may not feel natural for everyone, but everyone has the capacity to grow in gratitude and have a sunny effect on those around them.

Husbands, have you thanked your wife for something she has done or said today? Wives, have you taken the time today to show appreciation to your husband for something he did for you or someone else?

Thankfulness does not get worn out with use: not in your workplace, not in your place of worship, not in social get-togethers, and definitely not in your home. But it is easier to become ungrateful at home than it is anywhere else. Over the years, our marriage partner becomes so familiar to us that we sometimes don’t notice them the way we notice colleagues, or neighbors, or strangers on the street. In the early years of marriage, we may have thanked them profusely for everything from the burnt toast they made for us to the way they chose to love us when we felt undeserving of their love. Yet, with passing years, we start to take their acts of giving for granted. We begin to expect their selfless acts of kindness, and stop thanking for them or thank only on occasion. And as we thank less often, we begin to wonder why we don’t feel appreciated ourselves.

 While a lack of gratitude serves as a slow poison for a relationship, a regular show of heartfelt gratitude can heal a relationship. But what if I am not naturally expressive like that, you may ask? If you are intelligent enough to be reading this post, you are also smart enough to learn how to show gratitude. Fortunately, it is not very difficult to learn. In essence, all it takes is for you to take your eyes off your own needs for a short time, and focus on your spouse. Even if you are going through a rough patch in your marriage, and you feel unloved and unappreciated, you can still identify small things that have enriched your life thanks to your spouse. It may be a cup of coffee they brought you, or a small gift they gave you, or the call they made when they were late for dinner, or the way they smiled at you when you least expected it. It doesn’t have to be significant, erotic, or even intimate things that should get your attention - simply make the effort to notice what your spouse is doing.

For those who like practical methods they can use to change their behavior, here’s a simple set of steps that will point you in the right direction.

1. Put a pen and a piece of paper next to your bed.

2. Before you go to sleep, challenge yourself to write down 3 things you can be grateful for in your home and marriage. Remember that these don’t have to be deeply emotional or intimate in nature. They can be as simple as “I am grateful that my wife ironed my work shirt today,” or “I am grateful that my husband works so hard at his job despite it not being fulfilling for him,” or “I am thankful that my wife brought me a new roll of toilet paper when I discovered (too late) that there wasn’t enough on the roll,” or “I appreciate my husband taking our car to be washed today.” Look for the “specks of stardust” in your marriage - every marriage has some of these tiny glimmers of hope or sparks of joy, and they happen every day so take the time to identify a few of them each day.

3. Within 24 hours (before it is time to write a new list), find a way to express gratitude for at least one of the points on your list. Express your gratitude out aloud. Send an email. Make that call during your spouse’s lunch break. Send a text message. Write it on a piece of paper and slip it into the pocket of their work clothing or put it in their lunch box. Don’t let a day pass without expressing gratitude for something small and seemingly insignificant.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 every day.

Feeling unappreciated and unloved this week? Finding it hard to communicate with your spouse? Wanting something better for your marriage? Move your focus off finding fault in what your husband or wife has done. Stop thinking about how disrespectful your wife is and how deserving of punishment she is. Wives, stop thinking about what a loser your husband seems to be. Quit hammering your spouse with your criticism. This week, try a dose of gratitude instead. Give what you need, and enrich your marriage in the process. Develop an attitude of gratitude, exercise that attitude daily, and take the way you love your partner to the next level.

03 November 2012

Promise Keeping Without Punishment or Nagging

In “Keeping Your Word”, we explored the price that husbands pay for dishonoring their word. A husband’s leadership in the marriage takes a knock each time he fails to deliver something he said he would. But is that fair? What if he is genuinely forgetful? What if he just said what he said to get his wife to stop nagging him? What if he really didn’t mean what he said, or what if he changed his mind? 

“Our word” refers to the things we say, and not necessarily things we deliberately promise. “Our word”, from the concrete, well thought-out plans we share right down to the vague intentions that slip from our lips, create expectation in the heart and mind of the listener. We all want to be listened to, particularly by our spouse, yet we also want the luxury of not being held accountable for what we say. This is where we must choose. A man or woman of his/her word is someone who assumes responsibility for what they say, even when it was said without fully counting the cost of making that statement. An honorable man or woman takes the words that they say (or write) seriously.

If a husband’s authority in the home is affected by how he backs up his own words, it makes sense for him to make the effort to keep his word, even when he wishes he had not said anything to begin with. In “Keeping Your Word”, we suggested that husbands ask their wives to help them grow in this area of integrity and leadership. But how can this be done without the husband relinquishing his authority or encouraging his wife to become bossy?

In essence, the husband, when asking for his wife’s help, must choose to trust her to not abuse the power he is placing within her grasp. The power she has access to is vast: she may claim he said things he never did and hold him to promises he never made; she may grab opportunities to nag him about his promises; she may use his commitments as an excuse to tell him what to do; she may use his failures as reason to criticize or humiliate him. If the husband does not trust his wife in this area (whether or not she is trustworthy), he is not ready to ask for her help. He will need to find other accountability partners to help him grow as a man of his word, until he is ready to trust his wife.

If the husband wants help, what can the wife do to help her husband honor his word in the home and marriage?

A very simple (albeit tedious) exercise is to convert the spoken word to written word for a few weeks. Habits are supposedly formed in approximately 21 days, so couples should not expect instant change. They should realize this exercise is time-consuming and requires some effort. Doing this exercise for a few weeks will not convert a person into someone who never makes a mistake and ALWAYS remembers to do what they said they would. Instead, it raises awareness of how much people expect of us based on things we say (sometimes without thinking). It is this awareness that can help motivate us to be careful about what we do say, and to honor whatever we have said.

1. Start with the husband agreeing to (and committing to) the process of him speaking and his wife writing. The husband also commits to doing all that he says he will. This accountability system does not work if the husband only wants the system in place when it is convenient. The wife agrees to (and commits to) giving her husband the space, for the duration of the exercise, to resolve any issues that arise from him not keeping his word. She acknowledges that she may become frustrated if her husband doesn’t make good on all his promises when she expected him to, but commits to refraining from making it right on her own.

2. Mount a small whiteboard in the kitchen, acquire a big family datebook, make use of a communal computer with a task organizer, or use sticky notes on the fridge. Choose a medium that suits your family. Make sure you choose a central place to host your “reminder space” - it needs to be where the husband and wife will walk past and notice reminders a few times a day.

3. When the husband says something that creates expectation (e.g. I will call the plumber tomorrow), the wife should write down what she hears him say. To avoid later conflict (on who said what), its a good idea for the wife to check with her husband that she heard him correctly and that her transcription of his words is indeed correct.

4. The wife should post this “appointment” in the agreed upon place so her husband can be reminded of what he said he would do. Once posted, there is no further need for the wife to remind (or nag) her husband of his commitment - it is now his responsibility to follow up on every one of his commitments posted in the reminder space, and to do so by the time he said he would have it done. If he anticipates not being able to complete a particular task, he should speak to his wife about the problem before the deadline. He needs to treat each of these seemingly insignificant commitments as serious “business” contracts with his wife.

5. While this exercise is in play, the wife has the duty to write her expectations based on what she hears. Her husband’s duty is to fulfill that expectation that he created. If the wife doesn’t bother to write down a particular “promise”, she is not entitled to expect a positive outcome. If she doesn’t check that she has heard her husband correctly he may later dispute what she wrote, and such disagreements are difficult (if not impossible) to resolve.

6. As expectations are met, the husband removes the relevant reminders from the reminder space. At the end of each day, any unmet expectations for that day need to be addressed. Set aside some time (perhaps at bed time) to discuss unresolved issues. It will take courage for the husband to admit to his wife that he did not accomplish what he set out to do - some men may feel this “failure” makes them less of a man in their wives eyes. Hiding the failure is probably a lot more damaging to trust than admitting it happened. And being man enough to address this issue is part of the growth of integrity. Admitting that you have not kept your word isn’t the end - it is the first part of the process of making it right. A husband can use the opportunity to discuss what went wrong and couple his own wisdom with that of his wife to find a way to make up for his mistake. 

This is a tough exercise, and not suitable for everyone. It demands a lot from both husband and wife. It does not take away from the husband’s authority. It does not force the wife to be bossy or to take charge. She does not get to punish or berate her husband if he makes a mistake. He remains in charge, and she serves as his accountability partner, helping him fill out his integrity core. In relationships where the husband struggles to understand his wife’s frustration and expectation of him, where he is convinced he has made no promises while his wife is sure he has, where the wife disrespects her husband and disregards what he says and he cannot understand why, this exercise can help the frustrated husband see how much expectation his words create. A man of his word commands respect - his integrity invites respect. Keeping our word (as a husband or a wife) isn’t always easy or convenient, but our integrity, and the pursuit of integrity, enriches our marriage. Isn’t our marriage worth that kind of effort?

02 November 2012

Keeping Your Word

Honoring one’s word used to be the mark of a man. An honorable man (or woman) did what they said they would do. And they did it even if it was uncomfortable or inconvenient. In fact, most honorable folk would keep their word even if it hurt them to do so. When did that change? When did a man’s word cease to be his bond?

Have men of today traded being honorable for being comfortable? If it costs us anything to keep our word, are we tempted to look the other way and conveniently “forget” our promise? A young man recently told me that he didn’t think he was obligated to keep his word unless he had coupled it with “I promise”. When did it become necessary to tag “I promise” on to make one’s word into a commitment?

Certainly we need to look after our health, finances, and other areas of our lives that may be affected by our commitments. If those commitments (perhaps made without counting the cost) threaten our well-being, are we justified in turning our backs on those commitments? Self-preservation has replaced honor and integrity for many people. Is that so bad?

There is a side to not keeping your word that people don’t talk about much. It was refreshing to find an article that actually focused on the price we all pay when we don’t keep our word.
Michael Hyatt stresses that keeping your word is at the heart of integrity. Without integrity, leadership is compromised. So what does that have to do with your old fashioned marriage?

A husband of a traditional marriage is a leader. The degree to which he honors his word determines how effective his leadership is. Hyatt hits the nail on the head when he links integrity to trust. If you want to be the kind of husband whose wife chooses to follow your lead and desires to submit to you, then you have to be the kind of husband who can be trusted. And how do you become that kind of husband?

You start by honoring your word 24/7 - not just in business or in your workplace, but especially at home in your marriage. If you said you would do something, don’t drop the ball - do it. If you find you often forget about things you said, ask for help. Put a system in place that encourages your wife to help you become an honorable leader. Place yourself in a position of accountability to her when it comes to keeping your word. When you become a man of your word, your integrity as a leader will encourage your family to follow you.


27 October 2012

Spanking Out a Wild Fire

One of our readers recently asked if there is anything he could do to prevent the conversations with his wife from always evolving into arguments. If both partners are passionate about their opinions, and determined to prove they are right, finding a solution through debating to a point of agreement might be a bigger challenge than the couple anticipated. What then? What, if anything, should be done if marital discussions about the important issues always end in arguments with no solution being found?

Let us first consider whether marital arguments are something that should be avoided. Many couples insist that they thrive on arguing: heated debate generates passion in the relationship. But is this really the best way for the couple to live? Arguments develop when one or both individuals involved lose their focus and the ability to communicate without emotion clouding their judgment. Arguments commonly include criticism that makes the listener defensive, and likely to retaliate with more criticism or hostility. As arguments progress, those involved try harder to make themselves heard. They become frustrated and angry when they see they are failing to convince the other person. As emotions escalate, those involved in the argument become less capable of communicating effectively: negative emotions cripple the ability to listen and speak.

If the couple is serious about finding solutions to their problems, then arguing is the wrong direction to take. During an argument, the conversation aims at one person’s opinion dominating, instead of blending the couple’s wisdom and finding what is best for the marriage. The criticism component of a typical argument is destructive - people say hurtful things that leave the kind of damage that taints a relationship long after the heat of the battle has past. An argument is not the most effective way for a couple to resolve issues - it may allow one or both partners to vent and relieve some tension, but there will usually be a price to pay for this emotional indulgence. If you want more than just a little tension relief from your passionate discussions, banish the arguments from your home.

But how do we stop arguing when it feels so natural for us?

In non-traditional marriages, it falls on the more emotionally mature partner to take the lead. In a traditional marriage the husband, as head of his home and leader in his marriage, bears the responsibility to pull the plug before a conversation degrades to where it is damaging to the marriage. (The wife can also help prevent an argument - after all, it takes two to tangle - but she lacks the authority her husband has at times like this.) When the husband recognizes that emotion is causing the conversation to deviate from the goal of finding a solution that is best for the marriage, he needs to call a halt to the conversation. It is essential to not assign blame at this time. The husband will achieve nothing positive by saying things like “you are too emotional to discuss this so we will continue later,” or “you are confusing the issue so I refuse to discuss this further”. As leader, he needs to help them both refocus, and that is best achieved with a neutral argument-terminator like “we will put this discussion on ice for 30 minutes”. The words the husband uses to shut down the argument will play a big role in how quickly peace returns to the home. 

Thirty minutes is usually the minimum time needed for both partners to calm down, and gather their thoughts so they can return to the discussion with clear heads. Sometimes a longer break is better, but the matter should not be left unresolved for an indefinite period. Set a time limit for the cool-off period. Take enough time to think about the ideas you want to share that will benefit the marriage - steer clear of ideas and solutions that don’t enrich the marriage. Committing your ideas to paper before returning to the discussion is a good way to keep the discussion focused on the goal. 

But what if the wife disregards her husband’s decision to draw a close to the argument? What if she forges ahead and continues to try to make her point after he has called for a cool-off period? In this case, the husband should respond as he would to any other act of disrespect from his wife. By insisting on fueling the argument after her husband has called a time-out on the discussion, she is blatantly stating that she does not respect his leadership decision, and has chosen to disobey him. If he usually punishes his wife for this kind of behavior, the husband should do so in this case. A spanking may light a fire in his argumentative wife’s bottom, but it will go a long way to putting out the wild fire of an unnecessary and destructive argument. And when the fire in the wife’s spanked rear has died down, the couple can spend some time apart gathering their thoughts before sitting down to try to solve the problem together.

20 October 2012

Expanding the 30-sec Conversation

The husband who communicates easily using his spoken words is not extinct. Such husbands are not even rare. This type of husband is, however, not as common as many wives would like. If your husband is the strong, silent type, are you stuck with a spouse who won’t talk to you? Are you condemned to a marriage of silence if your husband isn’t interested in what you have to share? Is there anything a wife can do to encourage dialogue in her marriage? 

Grantley Morris, is his article “
Improving Communication in Marriage: Understanding Your Partner’s Different Attitude to Talking” suggests that a wife can indeed influence the extent to which her husband shares his experiences, his thoughts, and his dreams through words. Morris not only explores why husbands tend to be quiet, but he also discusses ideas for how a wife can create the kind of environment that encourages her husband to talk more. We will draw on a few of these ideas as the basis for simple, practical steps that anyone can try at home:

1. Show your husband that you value what he says:

While we all know some people who love to listen to sound of their own voice, most folk feel uncomfortable talking when they believe their audience is bored or uninterested in what they have to say. Husbands who are not natural “talkers” will be even more sensitive to these verbal “turn-offs”, than those people who love to talk. Show your interest in everything your quiet husband chooses to tell you, even if he is repeating those silly childhood stories you have heard many times before. Use simple body language to show you are engaged in what is being said (e.g. nod, smile, maintain eye contact, shake your head, laugh at appropriate points in the conversation). 

2. Allow lulls in the conversation:

Instead of filling every moment with words, consciously leave spaces in the conversation. You may have much to say, but a quiet partner will need time to gather his thoughts or percolate what you have just said. If it is your turn to talk, create opportunities that will draw your husband into the conversation: leave silent space in much the same way as you would divide your sentences into paragraphs when you write - let each “paragraph” of speech be separated by thinking time; invite your husband to give his input by actually asking what he thinks about a statement you have made.

3. Don’t interrupt:

Perhaps your quiet husband has said something that irritated you, which you vehemently disagree with, or which triggered a new idea for you. You want to share how you feel about what he said, and you want to do it right now before you lose that brilliant thought. After all, if you share it, it will convince him that you are listening, right? Interrupting is tempting, especially if you feel your contribution will add to what your husband has to say. Interruptions do have a negative side: they break into the flow of what the speaker wanted to share. For someone who is already struggling to put his thoughts and feelings into words, an interruption can squash his train of thought entirely and leave him literally dumb-struck. Wait to share your thoughts. Give your husband a chance to continue his monologue until he asks your opinion or lapses into silence which opens the door for you to speak.

4. Seize opportunities to affirm:

Affirmation, especially in the context of communication, can build confidence and encourage a willingness to communicate. Let your husband know (without being patronizing) that you appreciate his willingness to try to talk. He has made the effort to step out of his comfort zone and share with you, so take some time to demonstrate that your are aligned with his dreams and goals, or that you are feeling his pain, or that you are standing by his side no matter what he is facing. If sharing with her reinforces the husband’s sense of being misunderstood or criticized by his wife, he will clam up. If he walks away from an attempt to talk feeling stupid or weird or alone, he will be unlikely to desire further conversation with his wife. His attempt to talk to his wife needs to leave him feeling as if he has a soul mate who will stand by him through the good and the bad.

5. Ask a relevant question:

If the lulls in conversation grow too long, prompt your husband to keep going by asking a relevant question. You don’t want him to feel threatened so stick to one or two questions that lead on from what he has just said - more than a couple of questions can make him feel as if he is being interrogated. You want to loosen his tongue, and not make him afraid he will say the wrong thing.

6. Do not try to get the last word:

Especially if the conversation is centered on differences which are not resolved during dialogue, it may be tempting for the wife to want to leave her opinion as the last thought on her husband’s mind. Resist that urge to get in the last word. You want your quiet husband to walk away from the conversation feeling as if he is being heard, and that his words are on YOUR mind. Push for it to go the other way, and you probably won’t get another chance to debate the same topic again.
These six, simple steps can make a big difference to how long a "non-talker" keeps talking. If you and your husband typically exchange only a few words at a time, and you long for longer, more meaningful conversations, consider changing the conversation environment. The responsibility for implementing the change falls on the "talker" in the relationship. While this is usually the wife, it could as easily be the husband who leads in conversation. These steps help to encourage a quiet wife to open up, just as effectively as they encourage the quiet husband to contribute to the conversation.

12 October 2012

Why Won’t My Husband Talk to Me?

The strong, silent type makes for a fine hero in a romantic novel, but how well does this "type" of man manage in a real marriage? A man's silence may seem sexy and mysterious during courting, but when the silence stretches into marriage it can confuse and hurt his wife. If she finds talking to be a soothing and enriching experience, it may be difficult to understand why her husband avoids it all costs. Does he do it to spite her or is he a prisoner within himself, frustrated and unable to give her what she needs?
A recent post drew some heartfelt comments about husbands that simply won’t talk to their wives. This code of silence imposed by some husbands on their confused wives causes significant pain and leaves emotional scars, so why do husbands with the physical ability to communicate verbally subject their wives to a wordless marriage? Is it only because they are unloving and selfish and want their wives to feel isolated and confused, or could there be another reason they hurt their wives with their silence?

Grantley Morris, in his article “
Improving Communication in Marriage: Understanding Your Partner’s Different Attitude to Talking” provides an extraordinary window into the world of the silent husband. Obviously, not all husbands are the silent type, just as not all wives are chatterboxes. In some relationships, the husband is the dominant talker, while the wife is more comfortable saying less. Morris acknowledges this, but focuses his article on silent men who frustrate their wives when they refuse to talk and retreat into silence without explaining why they do it.

Morris makes a bold statement that aligns well with the ideals of old fashioned marriage and the traditional marriage roles: “For a man to reveal his heart he needs to feel masculine.”
What makes a man feel masculine?

Husbands put themselves through the filter of what society and their wives expect of them, and guess what? They find themselves falling far short of expectations. The husband sees all his shortcomings, his weaknesses, caught in that filter and his confidence as a man, a husband, and the home leader, plummets. He convinces himself that he is less of a man than he needs to be. His sense of masculinity is attacked by his own sense of self-esteem. The thought of exposing all those weaknesses to the very person (his wife) who expects so much of him is intimidating. It is far easier to hide behind the veil of silence. The silence allows the husband to hold onto his dignity. As Morris puts it: “Strength and silence travel together because silence is needed to maintain the illusion of strength."

But is the silence really only the result of an insecure man who is too focused on his deficiencies and afraid to expose them? “Often a wife’s attitude and expectations have contributed to her husband feeling defeated about how hard it is for him to talk. Many a man has gained the impression that his verbal limitations are yet another thing his wife dislikes about him – or even that she is angry at him for having these limitations,” says Morris. Wives may be a big part of why men retreat into silence, if these wives do not clearly communicate (not just through words, but at all levels of communication) that they love and accept their men unconditionally. Husbands need to know, and truly believe, that their wives do not expect them to measure up to the fantasy heroes found in romantic novels, in the same way that wives need their husbands to assure them that they are beautiful and loveable despite not looking like a runway model. 

A man who is aware of his weaknesses, and fears the criticism of his wife will hesitate to expose his vulnerabilities to her. After all, from his perspective sharing with her will only provide her with ammunition to criticize him more harshly than she already does. He does not need to be reminded that he is not enough of a man for her. To protect himself from further verbal abuse and humiliation, he puts his heart (weighed down with its sense of unworthiness) behind a protective barrier.

There are indeed countless treasures that a wise wife can extract from her silent husband. It will take patience and it will take some significant skill, but most women have what it takes to develop this patience and skill. “
Improving Communication in Marriage: Understanding Your Partner’s Different Attitude to Talking” contains some gems of understanding that can help wives make sense of the behavior of their quiet husbands. In the spirit of exploration and discovery, we invite you to join us as we dig a little deeper into this article in search of ways to encourage communication in wordless marriages.

10 October 2012

Rule-breaking Hiccups

Frustration related to a marriage partner is not uncommon in marriage. It happens in good marriages and it happens in bad ones. (The difference is that the frustration is not neglected, but swiftly dealt with in a good marriage.) Frustration has a myriad of sources, some of which may seem trivial to someone outside that marriage. An emotionally frustrated spouse may feel as if he or she is not being listened to, that they are putting in effort that isn’t being recognized, that they alone are doing all the work to grow the marriage, that they are not worth the attention of their partner, or that all their effort is producing too few or no results.
Traditional marriage, like any other type of marriage, is not exempt from frustration, and both husbands and wives have to deal with it at some point. One common source of frustration for a wife in a traditional marriage, especially during the first few years of growing into the traditional marriage role, is the inconsistent handling of rule-breaking. When the husband puts a rule in place, he should communicate what the consequence will be if the rule is broken. If the wife breaks the rule, and realizes what she has done, she expects the promised consequence to follow.
What happens if the expected consequence does not follow? What happens if the husband doesn’t even seem to notice that the rule he insisted on having has been broken? Or imagine that the husband does notice (and the wife observes this), but he ignores the offense for reasons he doesn’t communicate to his wife.
The non-responsiveness of the husband typically elicits a chain of reaction from his eager-to-be-submissive wife:
1. If the husband is in the same room, the wife may actually respond physically by tensing up and catching her breath when she realizes she has crossed the line. If the realization comes a little later when she is alone, the reaction may not be so physically noticeable, but it will trigger the start of a period of anxiety. As she waits for her husband to speak about or act on the broken rule, her state of anxiety may expand to match the magnitude of the consequence she expects.
2. After an appreciable time has passed and the wife finally concludes that her husband either hasn’t noticed or doesn’t appear to care, she may initially feel relief. Facing an unpleasant consequence is stressful, and having that consequence vanish after an anxious wait can evoke a rush of soothing calm. (For wives who are expected to confess their offenses to their husbands, they may only feel relief after the confession.)
3. The relief is often short-lived. Anger and disappointment may follow quickly on the heels of relief. Faced with the unfairness of being subjected to a stressful waiting period for no apparent reason, the wife may feel that anger (or at least some measure of irritation) is justified. Disappointment may flow from making the situation too personal - in the midst of the emotion she feels, the wife may convince herself that her husband doesn’t care as much about the marriage and her as she previously thought, simply because he didn’t notice what she did wrong or care enough to say or do something, if he did notice.
4. Uncertainty or confusion about the rule and its importance in the marriage follows. The wife is understandably confused by why her husband would make a rule that he himself does not respect enough to remember or defend. It’s not that she wants to experience the consequence that was promised - she probably dreads it - but the consequence brings some closure to the event which has (by this time) taken up a substantial amount of the wife’s thought life. Without the closure, the memory of the broken rule just gets pushed aside as unfinished business. If it takes substantial effort for the wife to obey the rule, it flies in the face of logic to continue to observe the rule if the husband behaves in a way which communicates that the rule is unimportant. Her previously clear expectations of the consequences for breaking the rule are now clouded by uncertainty. The husband's response to the rule-breaking is his opportunity to exercise his authority - by responding with no words or action, the husband is sending a subtle message that he is unable or unwilling to exercise his authority.
If the husband continues to repeat this behavior (of disregarding consequences that he put in place), his wife’s frustration will grow as her confidence dwindles.  The wife’s frustration will gradually breed disrespect for the house rules and eventually for the husband’s authority. The end result? A husband who doesn’t feel respected, a wife who feels her submission has been a wasted effort, and a home and marriage in which the harmony and co-operation is eroding.

05 October 2012

Surrendering Your Bunch of Keys


The submission of the wife is her willful surrender to the authority and leadership of her husband. Can that surrender be measured on a linear scale that stretches from defiant and unyielding to totally surrendered? Or is it an all-or-nothing type of transaction - either you are or you are not submissive? Perhaps there is another way to visualize submission.
Think of a woman as a complex being comprising many different zones or “rooms”. Together these rooms within her nature make her the unique individual that she is. These rooms are furnished with experiences and the lessons learned from these experiences. Each room carries its own emotional identity: some rooms are crowded and disorganized, one or two may resemble a battle zone where the dust hasn’t settled, still others reveal patches, duct tape, and scars upon closer inspection. Keep looking and you may find still more rooms characterized by confidence and boldness - in these rooms, the woman is rarely rattled by threats or challenges and is eager to be hospitable and let others in.
At the core level, in the control room where she stands watch over all the rooms in her mansion, the woman chooses to submit herself to her husband. She wants a husband-led marriage, and the price she must pay for this powerful union is to give her mansion to her man. She is eager to share it, but still a little afraid that he won’t treasure all the rooms as she does. She has been the mistress of the mansion for a long time, and has put a lifetime of work into looking after every room. Can he really take as good care of her rooms as she does? The wife thinks long and hard about it.  Her will evaluates all the options and finally chooses the path of surrender. She loves her husband more than she treasures her mansion, and she wants to give it to him.
Excited by the prospect of sharing herself so deeply with her husband, she hastens from room to room, inserting the key in the lock that opens the door to the outside. In the rooms where confidence saturates the environment, she swings that door open without hesitation, inviting her husband in. Without thinking twice, she gives him the keys to these rooms. He can do with these, her favorite rooms, what he wills.
She hesitates a little with the rooms that need some (or a lot of) attention. She is embarrassed by the mess, and would prefer to have more time to restore some order. Her husband assures her that he doesn’t mind a little chaos, and that he will be happy to help her organize that space. She hands him one key after the next, convinced that he doesn’t think any less of her for having a few crazy rooms.
Then her husband points out one of the remaining rooms. May he go in there, too? The wife hesitates and reluctantly pushes open the door just a crack so he can see inside. It is clean and tidy, he observes as he peers past his wife. The key is tightly grasped in her hand, and she doesn’t invite him inside. “Will I be master of this room, too,” her husband asks? The wife nibbles her lip anxiously, and finally mumbles “yes, I guess so”.
Her husband pushes the door open and steps inside. His gaze sweeps around the room, and he admires the furniture and the artworks on the walls. He notices damage everywhere he looks, and that it has been neatly patched up. He sees the repair tape holding some books together, and the glue marks on the side of the cracked vase. There is wire wrapped around some broken chair legs, and neat repair stitching pulling together the shredded upholstery on the sofa. He wonders out aloud about what happened in this room, and his wife is quick to brush his query aside. When he moves to sit on the old chair in the corner, his wife guides him away. “You’re too heavy - you’ll break it,” she whispers timidly. He moves to pick up a pretty china teacup from the table, and his wife snatches the little cup from him. “Careful, honey. You might let it fall. It’s one of a kind.” She promises to leave the door open at all times, but conveniently forgets to hand the key to her husband.
Does this describe a submissive wife? Or does her hesitation to trust her husband in one area of her life exclude her from bearing the title of “submissive wife”? 
A wife that has chosen to walk the road of submission has made a wise choice. That choice, however, only gets her to the starting line. From that point forward, she is one of the elite: the courageous few who have chosen to submit to their husbands - she is a “submissive wife”. Ahead of her lies a journey many women hesitate to take. It may scare her a little, but she knows she wants to take that journey. Her heart has converted to submission, but she may not realize that it will take time for the rest of her to follow that example.
A wife doesn’t make the choice to submit and instantly get beamed across to the destination of “Perfect Submissionville”. She must walk the long, sometimes rough and thorny, road into submission, one choice at a time. Will she drag her big bunch of keys with her the whole way and hand them to her husband when she arrives in “Perfect Submissionville”?
With every step she takes along that road of submission, the wife’s desire to unload the weighty keys will grow. A patient husband who loves first and exercises his authority second will make the journey appear shorter for his wife. He will quickly collect her set of mansion keys as she willingly shares them with him. His bunch of keys will grow as she leaves the little gifts upon each milestone along the road.  
Not the patient husband type? Go ahead. Demand that bunch of keys at the start of your wife’s journey into submission, or even part way into it. What will you get? Most likely you will get a few keys. You might even get a lot of them. But will you get them all?

01 October 2012

Punishment for Silence

Effective communication between spouses is characteristic of a growing marriage. But what happens when the lines of communication get tangled or cut? Should a wife's failure to communicate with her husband be a punishable offense? And what if the husband is guilty of shutting his wife out? Since the wife in a traditional marriage does not discipline her husband, is there anything she can do to help her husband avoid the urge to distance himself?
When deciding what is or is not a punishable offense, it is important to take a careful look at why the rules and consequences are in place? For many couples, the marriage rules protect the marriage and the harmony in the home. Choices and behaviors that pose a threat to the integrity of the marriage or the peace in the home are generally off-limits. Venturing into these off-limits zones will invite punishment.
Communication is the life blood of the marriage. What if one partner cuts off that "blood" flow? Does this not threaten the health of the marriage? A husband or wife that puts up walls (consciously or subconsciously) between themself and their partner is indeed putting the marriage at risk. A little silence may seem small-scale and insignificant on the surface, but shutting your partner out of your thoughts and feelings inevitably begins the process of eroding trust. A marriage without trust is a skyscraper without a solid foundation, destined for disaster.
Is it wise to put in place a rule that governs avoidance of communication?
Communication works best when done regularly. Regular communication is, however, challenged when one partner finds themself battling with an issue that is not easy to grasp or talk about. It is not uncommon for the person experiencing this inner turmoil to withdraw deep into themselves. The solitude creates a "quite space" where it is possible to process thoughts and emotions that are initially difficult to put into words. Retreating into this "quiet space" can be a healthy way to make sense of what is causing the inner unrest. Many people use this visit to their "quiet space" to explore their feelings and seek out the words to explain what they are experiencing. Staying in this "quite space" for too long can, however, have a negative effect. Getting stuck in that "inner cave" means you leave your loved ones on the outside, confused and uncertain of what is happening to you. The self-absorption overwhelms everything else, and it becomes easy to justify neglecting your partner or your responsibilities to your family and the home. Lurking alone inside yourself for too long is dangerous for the marriage, and a rule is a good way to steer clear of dangerous situations.
A clearly stated marriage rule can function as an escape hatch, providing a way to turn your back on unhealthy self-absorption. People come in all models, and cover the communication spectrum from talker to non-talker, so there is no generic rule that applies to everyone. Each couple needs to take their own personalities and communication skills into account when setting up their rule. In its simplest form, the rule should set a limit on how long the partner can remain in their individual "quiet space" before the couple needs to start working on the issue as a team. Part of the power of a marriage is the availability of joint resources to aid the problem-solving process. Working together not only expands the personal toolbox of "fix it" gadgets so you find and apply the solution faster, it also strengthens trust and brings the couple closer together. 
What happens when this rule about keeping the communication lines open is broken?
When setting up the rule, a couple should decide on the consequence for breaking the rule. If spanking is part of the relationship, it can be employed as a consequence. A husband may offer his wife the consequence of a punishment spanking if she resists returning from her self-focused retreat and avoids engaging in the process of sharing her thoughts and concerns. This may seem insensitive and unkind, especially if the wife is dealing with deep, emotional issues. But recognizing that extended periods of self-absorption can be unhealthy for the wife and for the marriage should provide the motivation that the husband needs to create and enforce this rule. Should the time limit apply to the husband, too? His withdrawal can be just as damaging to himself and the marriage as his wife's withdrawal would be. Yet his wife does not have the authority to punish him as he can punish her for putting the marriage at risk. Should the husband then be exempt from the rule and the expectations placed on the wife?
A wife's greatest gift she has to offer her husband is her submission. This is as true when he is a selfless leader as it is when he becomes self-absorbed and selfish. The following may seem grossly unfair to the wife, but chew on it for a while before you spit it out. Consider an approach that may nudge you out of your comfort zone, especially if you do not already have similar consequences in your marriage. Consider keeping the consequence the same irrespective of which partner breaks the rule.
If the husband fails to open the channels of communication after he has had time for inner reflection, he has the responsibility to give his wife a spanking neither of them will enjoy. This would not be a punishment spanking for the wife, since she has not broken the rule. It would be an act of submission on her part - a gift to her husband in much the same spirit as he gives to her when he punishes her for the sake of the marriage - and the unpleasant consequence would fall most heavily on the shoulders of the husband. His punishment would not be in receiving a spanking - it would be in giving it when his wife is innocent of the offense.
By giving the spanking, the husband's leadership and authority, and all the responsibility that goes with serving his family as the leader, is placed under the spotlight. In carrying out his duty to spank his wife knowing she does not deserve the spanking, he is reminded that he is still the leader, even if he doesn't have it all figured out yet. He is refocused on the value of his marriage, as he witnesses how his wife treasures their marriage enough to accept an undeserved spanking to protect it. His failure to observe his own rule results in his wife bearing his physical punishment. Having someone else pay the price for our errors is a humbling experience. This spanking would serve as a reminder that the consequences for the mistakes of a leader are seldom his own to bear - his followers, those who trust him to protect them, often pay the price on his behalf.

29 September 2012

Submissive Wives Cannot Think for Themselves

In an earlier post, "10 Reasons to Fear the Title of Submissive Wife", we considered ten possible reasons why many modern day wives distance themselves from public association with "submission in the home". At the top of the list was:
"You will not be allowed to think for yourself. You will never make any decisions in your marriage, and your ideas will always be disregarded."
Is this statement always true, sometimes true, or never true? Is a wife justified in thinking that if she submits to her husband, he will take over the job of thinking for her?

It is true that in a traditional marriage, the husband has the authority to make the final decision on anything pertaining to the home or marriage. But it is a stormy and shallow traditional marriage in which the husband disregards his wife's opinion. As a leader, he has the responsibility to serve those he leads. By listening to his wife's ideas, he learns how to serve her better. Better still, by actively encouraging his wife to explore or develop new ideas and then share them, he is helping his wife to grow creatively. By letting her make decisions, he comes to understand his wife better. A wise husband will quickly realize that his wife is an asset to his leadership, as she provides a perspective on the home and marriage that is never identical to his own. Merging his and her perspectives will broaden the scope for marriage grow, and this includes making it easier to find solutions to common marriage conflicts.

Is the husband obligated to adopt any ideas his wife shares with him? No, he still retains the authority to rule in favor of a different approach, but when he does so, he can be confident that he has explored not only his own ideas, but his wife's as well. He won't be acting from a position of ignorance or blinded by arrogance - he will be making that final decision for the benefit of his wife and his marriage. Encouraging his wife to think independently does not minimize his authority - it enhances it.

But won't a wife who is allowed to have her own ideas struggle to submit to her husband? After all, her submission requires her to align her will with that of her leader and husband. If she is allowed too much "free will" won't she become defiant and want to dominate her husband? A weak leader is controlling, demanding submission through fear and manipulation. Good leaders don't control. Instead of putting his wife into a limiting box from which she desires to break free, the strong leader creates boundaries within which his wife will thrive. A wife that is encouraged to become all she can be, a woman who is free to grow to her full potential, won't be driven to instinctively rebel against unseen oppression. No, this doesn't mean she will never digress from the path of submission. She will simply not feel shackled to the path, and will walk it willingly (even if she stumbles from time to time).

Is it reasonable to think that if you submit to your husband's leadership, you will lose your right to think for yourself? Certainly not. Your husband's leadership is strengthened when you contribute your thoughts and ideas in a respectful way.