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.

28 comments:

  1. Oh boy, I am going to struggle mightily with this one. I mean, I understand the philosophy behind it, but it seems so unfair. My husband is often telling me to let go of the need to make things fair, and he has actually asked me not to use that phrase with him. However, can this lifestyle work if someone is responsible for everyone's crimes.
    I guess I expect my husband to admit his mistakes and express his regret when he makes them, but I would be miffed (I mean, really miffed) if he decided to punish me for something that he admitted was his fault.
    I am relatively new to this lifestyle, however and perhaps I just haven't learned this finer point of dd.
    It was certainly food for thought, my friend and I am going to ask Ian what his thoughts are when he arrives home.
    Great post - really made me think. :)

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    1. Thanks for sharing your honest reactions, Lillie. I have no doubt many women would balk at the thought of accepting an undeserved spanking, and if it is viewed as her punishment then it certainly screams "unfair". But punishment aside,what about the principle behind it? Would you take a bullet to save your husband's life? Would you sacrifice something you really want to benefit your marriage? Replace "punishment" with "investment in my marriage" and the level of unfairness changes.

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  2. Ward and I, I guess do things this way. When I see Ward is stressed, or in turmoil I will lay across his lap and offer myself to him as a form of stress relief.

    It's not something that he would not do for me were I going through stress. It's just the way our kind of relationships work that my bottom will be the one on the line.

    One of my favorite concepts in our relationship and this lifestyle in general (aside from awesome communication) is reciprocity. If he is willing to give me TTWD to relieve me of stress, should I not be willing to do the same?

    We do have a rule against distancing, by the way. And with me, generally it is not a willful thing,
    "Regular communication is, however, challenged when one partner finds themself battling with an issue that is not easy to grasp or talk about." so I appreciate that you also recognize this - mostly for me it is that I do not understand what I am feeling. Sometimes I am unaware that I am doing it until he points it out to me.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your view, June. Yes, I do think the "giving" element in a good marriage is what makes the "unfairness" less relevant. Some things are not fair, but how important is that on the grand scale of things? It's not about what I can get from my marriage, so fairness isn't all that significant. It's about what I will give to make it the best marriage it can be. And sometimes what a husband or wife is called to give in order to enrich the marriage may seem unfair on the surface or in the short term.

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    2. Anonymous5/10/12 23:53

      Very strong points. Thank you June and thank you to the writer. This scenario has gotten me all hot and very positively bothers! Its because of the natural order of things. Wow. Ive never felt this deep aching I feel when placing my husband in authority and power over me. You both are strong women, I appreciate you both. This dynamic supports the progressing of me building more and more respect for my husband

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  3. Anonymous2/10/12 08:58

    This approach nearly ruined our marriage. I would become very frightened and avoided him at all costs. I developed a schedule in which I made very sure I neglected nothing, but I lived in fear and finally hate. I made doubly sure I did not neglect the house, the children or him, but he finally could tell I was faking when it came to being close to him. When I was punished for it, I resented it so deeply I could not respond to him, if you know what I mean, I faked it as best I could. Finally we were in tatters. He finally realized I needed love and respect, too. I could not live in a situation where I was in fear and hatred.

    I think you should seriously consider what you have just said here, and realize -- please accept this in the charity with which I am trying to say this -- that you may be responsible for many fragmented marriages if you continue to say things as in this post.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your story. It always saddens me to hear of wives whose gift of submission to their husbands was abused the way yours was. That gift is precious, and in some ways extremely fragile. I am sorry you came to fear your husband - this is not God's best for your marriage, and it a horrible way to live life. But it sounds like your story took a turn for the better when your husband finally took ownership of his role as leader and realized his responsibility is to GIVE and not take. The husband's number one priority is to LOVE his wife. It is not to dominate her or to rule over her - his prime objective is to LOVE you. Love, as you discovered, banishes fear. When a wife is truly loved by her husband, she does not fear him, and offers him her respect as a gift. Her respect and obedience is not demanded of her - she gives it as an act of submission.

      We appreciate you sharing your experience. May your marriage heal as you both mature in your marriage roles and grow to love and forgive each other.

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  4. I have to admit, I do have a little trouble in accepting that I could be spanked for HIS fault. On the other hand, I have taken some spankings, not of the punishment variety, with the intent of relieving some of his stress. It seems to work quite well too. I do get the reasoning behind your post though. And, I guess I'll reluctantly admit, that it could probably be very effective. Thanks for giving us something to think about.....

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    1. Thanks for your input, Cowgirl. Stress-relief spankings do indeed work well irrespective of which partner starts off with the stress build-up.

      The scenario in this post allows us to explore grace in the context of marriage. The wife's act of grace in this thought experiment is one way for her to encourage her husband to take a step deeper into his leadership. Will there be husbands who abuse this gift? Sadly, there probably are some - these are men who don't understand their own authority. But for the husband who already owns his responsibility, he should probably never have to go through this humbling experience more than once.

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  5. Humm...I do get spanked for distancing from him but not the other way around. I don't know that this would work for us. I have a funny feeling that if you were two true "spankos" it might, as it could open the doors to communication and things might not get so serious. What we do in Dd is a little different and this kind of approach might cause resentment in me. Might...but I'll think about it.

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    1. Thanks for commenting and for doing this thought experiment, Susie. I believe there is value in exploring new ideas that are a little outside of our comfort zone. Sometimes it helps us to understand ourselves and our values better.

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  6. Yes we have a few rules but they aren't hard and fast. No punishment has been decided upon for each infraction. If I could be spanked for my wrong doing as well as his, I would live in fear. Submission out of fear is not submission at all. To submit is to act out of love and respect. It has nothing to do with fear.

    No, this would not work for us at all.

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    1. Thanks for thinking about this, Rose. You are absolutely correct: submission and fear are not related, and a life of fear is the wrong life to choose. Your comment got me thinking about why the prospect of a wife taking a husband's punishment might evoke fear or cause resentment. I'd like to explore that a little more. Thanks again for sharing.

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  7. Hi friend,
    Blogger wouldn't allow me to comment under your reply, so please excuse the disjointed nature of this response. :)
    I would do anything my husband asked me to. I would certainly do anything to help my husband that I was capable of doing.
    When you put the question in purely philosophical terms, it does change things, doesn't it?
    I asked Ian, because I thought this was an interesting post.......and he said that he felt that would be a horrible burden for an HoH. He was more vehemently opposed than myself, and he is the one who lectures me about the need to have everything "fair".
    Again,
    thanks for this thought provoking question. Love your blog. :)
    Lillie

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    1. Thank you so much for "researching" and sharing an HoH's viewpoint, Lillie. I find great value in exploring and investigating new ideas, and am enjoying sharing this process with others who enjoy thinking a little deeper about complicated issues. I think we learn a lot about ourselves when we challenge ourselves to explore our motives and the foundations of what we say we believe. Too often we settle for an emotional response, without digging a little deeper and figuring out why we respond that way. I really like to explore and discover, and I am glad you are enjoying being part of that.

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  8. Anonymous3/10/12 18:49

    Hi a lot of what you say makes sense but its hard enough getting the submission to tell my husband about dd never mind getting my head round taking a spanking for something he dose wrong and I sure don't think this would be good post to show him at this time if I wanted him to accepte a dd lifestyle. I do however feel quite convicted about what you say about shutting myself in the quiet place and staying there too long. This makes me feel even more I need to say something to my husband.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. No, this post is not the ideal starting point to introduce someone to domestic discipline. It is intended to stimulate some thought in couples already very comfortable with it. But shutting a partner out can happen in brand new marriages as easily as it can happen in marriages that are decades old. It is dangerous for any marriage, and a couple does need to talk about how to deal with this threat before it ever becomes an issue. Hopefully, this post will get you and your husband talking about why its so important to keep the channels of communication open. That is FAR more important than focusing on whether or not punishment should ever be involved in resolving this type of situation. The more you talk with him about marriage in a general sense, the more appropriate it will eventually become to talk about DD.

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  9. I find your blog very interesting, shared it to my blog readers, hope you don't mind!

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    1. Thanks for reading, Mityst. Hope your readers find the posts stimulating to read as well.

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  10. I saw that many commenters were troubled by this post, but I think what you're trying to suggest is a need for a "reset," not for wife receiving punishment for the husband's wrongs. Whatever the issue, in those times when the husband was at fault, it is easy and natural for the wife to develop resentment toward her husband which then causes a barrier in the relationship. I agree that a spanking can allow the wife to let go of the resentment and for the couple to break through those barriers, "resetting" the dynamic. This can appear very unfair, unless the goal of the spanking is clearly understood by both. But as a couple grow in their (dd) relationship, I believe they often move from "rules and consequences" mindset to one that focuses more on intimacy. And in that pursuit, their definition of "fair" begin to get expanded, IMO.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your perspective, Danielle. I agree that the issue of fairness does begin to take a backseat in the relationship as the couple grows up in their roles and the relationship matures. It begins to be less about what is fair, and more about what is right and enriching for the relationship and each other.

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  11. If I may add a touch of humour, I copy here an entry from my own blog in August 2012:

    "Yesterday I took our picture calendar off the wall to look at the pictures. I started putting it back but carelessly the picture side was facing the wall.
    At this my wife began to laugh. Nothing amuses her more than watching me make silly mistakes, hearing about silly mistakes I have made, like filling my basket at the supermarket and reaching the cashier's desk finding I have no money with me. This kind of thing sends her into fits of hysterical laughter. She is waiting, and hoping, for the time when I start off to walk to the town having forgotten to put on my pants.
    Anyway when I realised what I was doing with the calendar I started laughing too. I decided to give my wife a good hard smack or two. It's a thing I do sometimes, especially at moments like this. She was wearing very short, tightly fitting, thin shorts clearly showing every curve and valley, so a hard smack would land well and feel good. The first one didn't land right so I pulled her towards me, both of us convulsed with laughter, and gave her two more as hard as I could. Through the laughter, clinging perversely to me and getting the words out with difficulty, she always tries to say that I am the one who should get spanked, but I always reply that when I make a mistake, she must be the one to get spanked. That makes us both laugh even more. I have a sore hand, she has a sore arse. That's married life!"

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the lighter side of marital spanking, Malcolm. Weathering the storms of marriage is certainly easier when we carry the umbrella of humour from the day to day.

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  12. Anonymous7/2/13 22:46

    Spanking someone else for your mistakes/faults is the most appalling thought process I’ve ever heard. It teaches nothing to the sub except that if your dom makes a mistake you’re going to get punished. So now the sub has to monitor her behavior and the dom. So it basically doesn’t matter what’s going on in the household it’s the subs fault. And you can be damn sure the sub it’s going to bring up anything that is wrong because she’s going to get punished.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to share your perspective, Anonymous. If you read a little beyond this particular post, you will discover that this blog is focused on learning from people (sometimes much older than us) who have successful marriages. Obviously, not all of what we discover is going to keep us snug in our comfort zone. There is no growth without stretching, and sometimes stretching beyond our comfort limit is going to be unsettling at first. A traditional marriage is not an undefined relationship with punishment traded between a sexual dominant and a sexual submissive partner, or a master and slave - it is about two committed (for life) people, a husband and a wife (as opposed to a dom and sub), with distinctly different roles and responsibilities in and out of the bedroom who choose to love each other and put each other first in all they do. When a couple is ready to give of themselves at this level, they are probably ready to explore less comfortable ways to grow their marriage. But even then, not everyone will want to explore beyond their comfort zone. This is a decision that must be made by each couple as their marriage matures.

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    2. Anonymous10/2/13 10:12

      So what you’re saying is so long as the person in control is not held accountable for their own faults everything is right in their own world. Like the Lords of Olden Days, the ones in power where not held accountable for any mistakes they committed. Or how about this, if your boss/older brother/someone you had to answer to, continually blamed you for their mistakes AND you were the one punished/not promoted/no raise – you’d be fine with that. Grow up! Take responsibility for yourself and stop blaming other for your faults just to make yourself feel better. Because if it was you getting punished unjustly, you’d be resentful, angry, and mad as hell. Yea, you can say it’s not the same as a marriage relationship and your right. Your marriage should mean more. Making someone take the blame for something you did is wrong, wrong, wrong! And you shouldn’t put the blame on anyone but yourself and own up to your faults.

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    3. It's great to read how passionate you are - that kind of fervor will go a long way to help a marriage grow. But perhaps you need to read a little more carefully, Anonymous, before you jump to conclusions. The husband bears the ultimate responsibility for all that happens in the home and the marriage - this is part of what it means to be the leader. He is never free of responsibility.

      "Resentful, angry, and mad as hell" is exactly how a self-centered person would feel if they somehow had to sacrifice a little for the benefit of the team. That's exactly why marriage is not for wimps or children. It takes a mature and courageous individual to put the marriage ahead of his or her own wants and desires. Marriages crumble when the "I" becomes bigger than the "we".

      Mature adults have the courage to accept responsibility for their failings. A successful marriage doesn't require a perfect couple - it needs two, flawed people with the guts to put their selfishness aside and do what it takes to keep the marriage growing.

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    4. Anonymous14/2/13 13:46

      If refusing to be treated with disrespect, used, and disregard makes my selfish, then yes, I’m selfish. If refusing to be blamed, condemn, and subjugated for something I didn’t commit, then yes, I’m very selfish. Everyone needs to own up to their own mistakes and make restitution. Just because you’ve had a bad day and YOU need a reset – don’t use your moods (the ones you punish your wife for) and take it out on someone else. Would you let your son do that? Would you let your daughter? I already know you wouldn’t let you wife. How about if your son caused a minor car accident and caused damage to someone’s property? Would you make him talk to the owner and make restitution? Or would you give him the feeling of entitlement and try to make the owner take the blame? What about if that happened to your daughter? Or you? Again, already know what would happen to your wife. Allowing someone else to take the blame for your mistakes, creates a weak, indecisive, incompetent and inept human being. You stated that the HoH is responsible for the household but the wife needs to be punished for his offenses – then how is he responsible? Punishing someone else for your mistakes is fruitless. It doesn’t allow you to grow into a better human being and you’re abusing your wife’s trust and love. You’re passing the buck and taking out your inadequacies out on her.

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