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?


  1. Oh good golly Ned, OFM. I was slightly amused that you chose to use this analogy at the very beginning. I thought it a very male way to present the concept.

    Thank you, this is an amazing post. And it's something that has run through our blog. I thought that I had surrendered all to Ward. And then as we traveled our path, I would find something that I had not surrendered. And that made/makes me sad because I realized my submission was incomplete.

    Each time I think I have surrendered completely, and inevitable at some point later I will find something else that I have held back. It is not something that I do consciously. But like the rooms in the mansion that you describe, I think that it is just too tatty, or unfounded, or not attributable to Ward and something that I can work out on my own.

    I've been wrong every time. I need him to help me find the beauty in each careworn room. And he does, and he validates my experience, while showing me my fears are unfounded. He also shows me gently, and without judgement that there will likely be more discoveries along the way, and that he will be here for both the journey, and each and every discovery.

    1. Thank you for sharing this, June. Yes, the journey into submission (or into leadership for the husband) isn't a quick one at all. Each new turn in the road gives us an opportunity to learn something new about ourselves and our partner, and in the process we grow deeper into our roles.

  2. I agree with June above - this is a remarkably lovely post.
    I loved the analogy of keys that unlock the secret places in a women. Because when we aren't sure we will lock out our husbands.
    I know that dd has given me the courage to open places to Ian that I previously kept known only to myself. It makes me feel vulnerable to share, but I am always happy I have...
    Thanks, I am going to make sure Ian gets around to read this one.

    1. Thank you, Lillie. I think it takes courage to include dd in a marriage in the first place, so perhaps dd couples have a slightly better chance of successfully overcoming the inherent fear associated with exposing vulnerabilities? Sharing what we are most afraid to share encourages the kind of closeness that enriches a marriage.

  3. This is one of the best things I have read about the process of reclaiming my wife. I don't have all the keys, but I am working on it.

    The difference between now and before dd:

    Now I believe that she will give them to me sooner or later, and I care about having them again. Well Done.


    1. Thank you, Ian. I think your wife will want to share her keys with you. When someone shows a genuine interest in knowing every part of who we are, it encourages us to deal with what keeps us from sharing. It's not the knowledge that sharing is good for the marriage, or a rule that forces sharing, but an attitude of "I care about having them..." that opens the doors to the hidden places of the soul.

  4. I also agree with June. This really is an incredible post, OFM. I think your analogy of a woman's heart having many rooms is spot on. And, I agree that submitting is not just a one time thing to be done and then it's over. If it were only that easy! Every single day, I have to chose to submit, or not. I don't know how many room keys I have left for Blue to collect. I suspect there are many more. That's okay. We're both equal to the task. I like what Ian said too. He cares about having those keys. Just as important as her willingness to give them.
    Thanks for a well thought out post.

    1. Thank you, Cowgirl. We humans are pretty complex beings. It's hard to know when we have shared all of who we are, because we are constantly growing and new levels in the "mansion" are being added as we grow. I think you hit on an important point: choice. If a wife doesn't think she has "arrived", but chooses to submit on a daily basis, she will always be on the lookout for rooms she may not yet have shared with her husband. It won't matter how much her mansion grows, she will be choosing to share the keys one day at a time.

  5. Anonymous7/10/12 06:15

    Hi OFM this is a very pictorial blog and really makes it easier to understand. I am not in a dd marriage but I have written to you before about how I am trying to make this journey - you advised me to read or show my husband the new blogg cslled 'The Improved Chauvanist' Like yours this is any amazing blogg. Unfortunately its still taking me time i just wish I could find a way to tell my husband. In the last blogg you made a comment about communication in response to my comment and I think I may have given you the impression that our communication in general is poor - this really is not the case 90+ per cent of the time. I am just in diffs with this area its just so hard. I liked this post becuase I feel I have my husband standing outside the door of my house - (don't know if its a mansion??) I am not sure if he even really knows if that mansion exists - or is that stretching it too far in terms of the analogy? I am interpeting the house to be a picture of submission Its just the way I see it and for other people may see it as being something different. I know I really should be doing something in this area I have just thought about it sooooo much!!! Maybe I should stop thinking and analzying and just blut out!!! Its really funny that both bloggs seem to getting right into my psychi and I really feel that sense of the need to take action but never before in my life have I been so hesitant Honestly I think that I am worried after all of this that when I do or even if I did reveal all of this to my husband and he was to reject it - what on earth would I do then??? and I am sure that there are people that happens to I am not sure I would know how to cope.
    Ps perhaps it would help if I had told you I am Jane.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Jane. I don't know if you are a "talker" or not, so I don't know how easily you share your heart in a conversation. I believe both talkers and non-talkers can benefit from preparing for a conversation that means a lot to them. By “prepare”, I mean that you ask yourself and answer the kind of questions you would want to have answered if you were on the other end of the conversation. I find it useful to do this exercise on a piece of paper or in a journal (or use your computer, if that is easier). You might ask yourself questions like, “why do I want to honor my husband as head of our home?”; “why does our home need my husband to be the leader?”; “why does being a submissive wife appeal to me?”; “why do I want my husband to exercise his authority over me?”; “what can I bring to my marriage through my submission to my husband?”; “why will traditional marriage roles work better for our marriage than what we already have?”; “what does being a submissive wife mean to me?”. These are just a few examples of some of the questions you can explore. Take your time and write down answers that are truly what you believe. Take more time and edit those answers until they clearly reflect what you are thinking. Sometimes when something means a lot to us, our emotions can distort the facts when we try to communicate them to someone who hasn’t been sharing our thoughts from the beginning of the learning process. When you are at peace with your understanding of why you would like to be a submissive wife, and why you desire your husband to be the leader, then you can confidently talk to him: not about dd, but about the importance of your individual marriage roles. That comes first. And when you share with him, it won’t be to convince him of what to do, but rather to share your heart. Invite him in and let him see some of those rooms in your mansion.

    2. Anonymous9/10/12 15:06

      Thank you for your comment OFM - now I really am wondering if you are reading my mind?? -- only joking!! Anyway I think your suggestion is a really good one. I had previously had a article form the Christian Domestic Discipline Blogg called 'What Your Wife Really Wants' I had left it inside a book my husband was reading - I had told him one evening before going to work that there was something for him to read. It ended up on top of a pile of papers on his side of the bed. He never mentioned it and then I eventually removed it one day we had had a disagreement about something I was in a bit of a huff and was thinking to myself that I really did not want to even consider what it contained. I cooled down - I did say I am hot tempered didn't I! I wanted to put it back I really wanted for him to read it but well I just could not face just handing it to him. It must be several weeks since I removed it. I won't say I am no further forward but well here we are. This is going to be hard work, really hard - I think I could cope with the submission if I ever get the courage to talk to him, he accepts it and we start out along this road, but this bit now has to be the hardest - maybe I am making you have a chuckle to to yourself as you think - she really dosent know what she saying. Honestly its just this is awful I want this bit to end. I actually have another idea as well - I have ordered a book called 'The Surrendered Wife' from the library and I am hopin to read this as my bedtime reading and that he will see it and it might generate some conversation as I will not hide it from him. Just to ask for your prayers and many many thanks againg you have been an enormous help.

    3. Thanks, Jane. It’s not so much mind-reading as recognizing that your situation is not all that uncommon. Wives everywhere desire more from their marriages, and when they find a possible solution that resonates with them, they become super inspired to get that solution into place. That’s where you are right now. You found what you believe will take your marriage to the next level and you really want your husband to get on board with it. But think about this - you have spent weeks or months getting to where you now are in your understanding of how this all works. It’s going to take some time for your husband to catch up, right? Yes, this is a tough time as you contain your excitement, but its a good time to exercise patience.

      If you really want to live out the traditional marriage roles, and you and your husband are not already living this way, keep the focus on those roles. Talk about wanting to be the surrendered wife you will read about in your library book. The discipline and spanking that many wives think will enrich their marriage can evolve out of developed marriage roles when you are both ready. If you really want to experience the spanking element of DD and you are afraid you will rush to this point before your husband is ready, why not try to introduce spanking as an erotic component during your intimate play? That’s a much smaller jump for many husbands to make (to start spanking in a sexual context) than to try to wrap their minds around punishing their wives with a spanking if it never occurred to them to do that before.

      Reading a book that might catch his attention is a good way to invite your husband to ask questions. Good idea! Just be ready to provide clear answers that won’t confuse him too much if he decides he wants to know more. Keep it simple, and have fun learning to be a submissive wife. If your husband sees how much you are enjoying your journey, he may well be inspired to embark on a journey of his own into leadership and authority.

  6. Anonymous8/10/12 09:18

    This is a good one. I can attest to the fact that I have many, many rooms, and I timidly gave my husband a few keys when we were first married. Over the ten years, I have sadly gathered them back up again, to keep to myself. I have learned the path of the invisible wife and while I regret it, and wish it wasn't so, I am resigned to it. I am fortified against getting hurt anymore, and continue to plod away being a wife and being a mother without sharing anything -- which hurts deeply, and many's the time I'm jealous of a friend because of the closeness she has with her husband, but I try to check that in time to be glad for her. God is always faithful and I am finding a lot of delight in Him and in my children. I still love my husband, although I can't say I really like him much, but I have wonderful friends and my children are my world.

    Jane -- if you are really afraid your husband will reject this (mine did) mention it once, then drop the subject and never bring it up again. It is best to find peace in the circumstances you are in, not try to change them. The very notion of a submissive wife also includes -- at least I have found that it does in our case -- taking his lead in everything. If he wants his space and has no interest, then you need to accept that. I have accepted that there are certain things I will never have and never know in my life. It helps to have good friends. As a homeschooling mother, my greatest support came when I finally joined a support group for my children. It greatly eased the loneliness and pain, and helped me to keep good friendships with good women who were trying to be good wives and mothers.

    Accept that the way things are is the way things are. It will give you much peace.

    1. Thank you for sharing your insights. Your husband does not seem aware of this, but he is indeed a blessed man. He is married to a woman with a mighty mansion who has much to share. Sadly, he seems blind to what a treasure he has, but the good news is that this type of blindness is not necessarily a permanent condition. You changed over ten years, right? You probably never imagined you would change the way you did, but it happened. Your husband can change, too. Do not assume he cannot, even though that is the easier path to follow.

      You say it hurts to not share, and many will agree with you. Marriage is one of our greatest opportunities for sharing - take the sharing out of it and the load of marriage can become a heavy burden. You admit to loving your husband (who has, it seems, proved unworthy of your trust), and you have God in your life, so based on that, I cannot help but challenge you a little.

      Loving is about giving, not receiving. I know you know that - you are giving a lot of your time and your energy to your family. Allow yourself to think about giving in the context that makes you most apprehensive. You love your husband, so will you couple that with the courage to translate your love into giving to him? Not giving of the more obvious things (like schooling the kids and making supper etc.), but of those hidden things that are the essence of who you are. Does your husband deserve to receive anything from you? Perhaps not. Will he trample all over what you offer him if you try to share yourself with him again? That’s a possibility. Is it worth putting your heart at risk again? You said it hurts deeply to not be able to share. Would you not trade that constant pain for the chance (even if its a tiny chance) that your husband may want to learn about one of your rooms? Your husband may not deserve your forgiveness, but love does not require him to deserve it. Love requires you to give it, and in so doing you release yourself to heal. Healing brings hope, and hope accepts the possibility of something better. Will you be able to share your mansion with your husband in the future? Without ever meeting you or your husband, I can say yes - I believe that with God anything is possible. Is it worth the risk of being hurt again? Only you can decide that.

    2. Anonymous9/10/12 09:28

      I appreciate your insight, but I have been the one desperately trying to keep afloat for ten years. It takes two people to make a marriage, and reading books, trying to apply them, frustrated because I am always coming up short...it's taken its toll on me. I have nothing left to give anymore.

      It's rather interesting how every marriage book out there blames the wife for everything. I have read them all -- Me? Obey Him?, Fascinating Womanhood, Becoming the Woman of His Dreams -- you name it. Particularly the F.W. book is heavy on the blame game. I soaked up the guilt for everything, "if I just cooked better", "I have to work harder", "if I could just get these last few pregnancy pounds off" -- combine that with slowly shouldering more and more responsibility in the marriage because of debt I discovered and then had to pay off bit by bit -- I am so done.

      He does not want to know me, as I am allowed only a small allotment of time to talk to him about anything. The allotment must be limited to conveying pertinent information or any other such, and going over the allotment is swiftly and severely punished.

      It is essential to protect yourself from temptations. This is why the homeschool support group was so important. I was very vulnerable at the time I finally joined it, and was ripe for infidelity. I knew it, too. So I joined the group because it was other mothers with their children. That was my safety net. You have to flee temptations; there is no alternative to that except ruin and sorrow for all involved, so that's why I would tell Jane to flee any problems before they can begin. Get around other Moms and their kids. Try to find one friend who is a confidante and get to her when the going gets tough. I have one rock-solid friend who is my mainstay. She is also in a "survival mode marriage" and we keep each other going. We both know one day this life will just be a blip on the screen, as Nancy Leigh DeMoss says in one of her books.

      My greatest struggle is jealousy of my friends who have good marriages. I battle that demon on a regular basis. Consequently, I do ask prayers that I may overcome that feeling when it surfaces. I also ask prayers that I may find more delight in God, and that I have the fortitude to flee temptations when they arise.

    3. Thank you for your thoughtful response. Your observation that many of the marriage-help books are directed at wives is interesting, and indeed a compliment to wives in general: wives seem more likely to seek solutions and improvement in their marriage than their husbands. You have also made some very wise, albeit difficult, social choices that have served to create a hedge of protection around your marriage. These choices invite blessing into your marriage. Many wives who are suffering in difficult marriages can learn from your example. I am glad you have found some supportive friends who encourage you and will take time to listen to you. We all need the chance to give and then be filled up by others giving back to us. In all the hardship you endure, one fact stands tallest: God still does miracles, and He can do one in your marriage. Is your husband a Christian? If not, you and your Christian support structure can make it a priority to pray him into the family of God. If your husband is a Christian with a poor understanding of love, then you act in love and begin to speak the promises of God over your home and your marriage. Allow the scripture to grow your hope and your faith in the miracle-working power of God. The plans God has for you - they are good plans. They are plans to prosper you and not to harm you. God can bring healing into your home where all logic says it is impossible. Dig into God’s word and find out what He wants to bless you and your husband with. And thanks again for taking the time to share with us and our readers - we all learn from each other and find inspiration and encouragement in the sharing of others.

    4. we have already had the erotic thing a little - and it did open up talk about punishment in the past but when it did this was always a sticking point - he always made it abundantly clear that to any further from his point of view would simply be abuse to go beyondhe could never consider that -and hence in some ways end of story. We still occasionally do it but I kind of engineer it consciously when I know it should be a more serious spanking. At least that was until I read an article about wives doing telling their husbands when to spank and how and so on and how that really made a mockery of submission and even more so of the husbands authority and how the husband concerned actually stopped until his wife stopped telling him what to do and then he took ownership and started again. This made me think maybe by even asking for an erotic spanking was me manipulating the situation and so I kind of felt I really should not ask even if I wanted to. Maybe I am confusing issue??? Jane

    5. Jane, you picked up on an important issue: honesty builds trust. If partners try to manipulate each other (even if they can justify it by saying it is for the greater good of the marriage), they are opening the door for distrust in the relationship. If you feel you may be on the edge of the slippery slope into manipulation, step back. For you and your husband to grow into your individual roles to where he can discipline you as you feel you need to be disciplined, you will have to learn to trust each other at a level that goes beyond what is found in the average marriage. Trust can become robust, but that takes time as partners prove themselves trustworthy time and time again. Your goal as a wife with her heart in the right place is to become trustworthy in submission. If you are unsure what to do or say, ask yourself if your words or actions will build trust in your relationship.