I wrote about Boot Camp before submission exercises because I wanted to set the tone of the choices we had to make, the things we sorted through, before we developed our own style of Dd. And what you get here is indeed TTWD – The Thing WE Do. This blog is about us, our marriage, our ups and downs, struggles and resolutions. I often share personal day-to-day feelings, worries, joys, and I write about Dd concepts. I rarely get into details or specifics of our Dd, but rather I talk about the dynamic. I do that for a reason. First, my husband does not want me to share what goes on between us, the specifics. He feels it is intimate, special, and should be kept private between us. The other less important reason is this blog was not started to instruct and was never intended to be a place for others to learn how to do Dd. I needed a place to write, to help me learn. We do what we do and I write for me. When people began emailing me questions, as they started to do regularly, I tried to answer in general terms. Finally, I did open an “Ask Us” Page because so many questions are variations on a theme and I felt it would save me and others time to just post the answers in an organized fashion, and thus provide a resource.
As regular readers will know, we began Dd after 20 years of marriage and were trying to put a failed marriage back together. We needed a fresh start, a clean outlook, and a new way of doing things. We agreed to begin a power exchange dynamic. We had no idea what that would end up looking like, but we began with the idea that we would both have a voice, be equal partners, and when we could not agree, he would make the final call. I think we started with one rule. Dd was my idea to start, but the rule was Grant’s rule that he asked me to agree to if he was going to buy in. He said we would talk about everything else, but this one rule was non-negotiable. “Anything regarding safety, or the health and welfare of you or our marriage is mine to decide.” He said he needed my full agreement and cooperation on this one thing or it could not work. It was one rule. I agreed.
Sheesh, who knew that he had me coming and going? Not me! And in truth, not him either. That took us a year or so to figure out. What does NOT fall under that one rule? (Ok, so how I wear my hair is mine to decide…but then he has clear opinions on things that matter to him and I do want to please him, so…) When you really begin to incorporate Dominance and submission as a living dynamic in your marriage, when you stop looking for loopholes and thinking “what if” and stop playing the game of “catch me if you can”, when you get really honest with yourself and then with him, when you realize for real that you are in the same boat, same home, same life, with your spouse, that his joy and pain is yours and yours his, you come to understand that there is nothing that does not fall under that one rule. You are intertwined and will be. Consequences for each and every thing you do exist in your lives. The question is how many you recognize and how many you choose to actively control. Active submission takes tremendous control, by the way. Self control.
For us Domestic discipline was always a means to an end. Rules were there to support, consequences to enforce, and he expected us both to use our heads and give it (give us) our best. I did too. When we began we used the term “consequences” rather than “punishment” and “cooperation” rather than “obedience”. It’s ironic to realize that several years down the road we were both comfortable with and do use the terms “obedience” and “punishment”, but now I think we’ve come back around to realizing that “consequences” and “cooperation” more accurately describe what we do and how we choose to live our D/s or Dd dynamic.
This morning on “What Does It Mean To Be Dominant” by Sir J, I read a post called Day In and Day Out
He says: So day in and day out she stays on her best behavior out of respect and day in and day out I stay on mine to keep her trust. …….
…..Can I punish her… of course I can… but why would I need to???
And that describes what we do, how we live too. Everything around that, Dd, spanking, punishment, was intended and does work to keep us in a place of respect and trust.
And finally…that is where submission exercises came in. I won’t go back into Dd Boot Camp, but it was not anything that was going to take us in the direction we wanted to go…to a day in/day out peaceful life filled with respect and trust.
Grant never needed to work much on his dominance. He was always dominant. But he had to work hard on learning me better, and some on understanding that controlling and leading were not the same thing, that making the decisions and making the best ones aren’t synonymous. He ultimately has become softer while staying firm in his core. He’s more openly loving while standing strong. He cares for me, coddles me, protects me and yes, he guides me. It’s not often that he needs to correct me anymore.
I was not a natural submissive, or maybe just had not yet found that place inside myself where I am submissive. I do love feeling that soft and vulnerable side of me, being the yin to his yang, but it took learning to open myself, become vulnerable, and it took accepting, deep down inside, that in our home, our lives together, he is the authority. That’s really how we live, day to day.
Way back when, after he shot down “boot Camp” I asked Grant if we could figure out a way to help me get more in touch with that part of myself that was there after most reassurance spankings (maintenance, which we do 2x a week), the softer side of me that was emerging. I sincerely wanted to be better, do better at TTWD, and I didn’t want punishment to be the driving force. Grant did not want to make a series of complex rules and he did not want to micro-manage me. And frankly, I am a highly competent woman, he’s very busy, and neither of us have the time to spend on that kind of thing. And there is this too: I did not like being punished. I like knowing he will, but I hate the receiving of it. Grant did/does not like punishing me either, although he got enough practice so that he is quite capable. We did not want our version of Dd to be primarily about crime and punishment.
We talked and the first thing Grant came up with was an assignment. Now this may seem like no big deal to most of you, as many of you live with daily assignments, but I am a super busy professional woman, so to be told to organize a small area of our home within a specific time frame was a challenge. It was mostly a challenge to wrap my head around the fact that I had an assignment! Then we addressed doing it not only in time, but not last-minute, and doing it well. He wanted it done with care. That went on for a while, varied assignments and then Grant, out of the blue, asked me one day, “Would you make me a cup of coffee?” when we were sitting together in the living room with company. I know…no big deal either, and I did it almost without thinking, although it seemed odd at the time. You see he rarely asks me to get up and do something for him. It was out of character. He is more likely to get up and ask if he can bring me coffee. Later he told me that was a little submission exercise…and he would be asking small things without notice more often. He still does this.
Maintenance or reassurance spankings are always an exercise in submission. I am expected to not get sassy, take them well, to surrender. That requires focus each and every time, and I am more or less successful depending on my mood, the moon and our/my issues at any given time. Grant at some point started asking (telling) me to go prepare myself in a specific way for a maintenance spanking, dress or lack thereof, position, a non–specific wait time. Sometimes he does that for punishment too.
Grant gives orders. If we argue and I begin to leave the room, he might tell me to stop “Stop. You are not to leave this room.” I learned to stop. “I want you to end this discussion now.” “Please get in the car and wait for me.” “Don’t lift that.” “You are not to do those dishes. I will do them later.” And he means it!
I could go on and on, but here’s the real point; my life is a series of submission exercises. I exercise that muscle pretty much every day, and Grant helps me to do that. Sometimes to my frustration, and sometimes to my delight, and sometimes it just…is how we live. .Sometimes there is a more intense workout. Periodically Grant sets a night aside for bedroom ‘play’ that will have a heavy D/s component. We might have gone for a nice romantic dinner at a fine restaurant, have had a drink, be relaxed, and on the way home he will take my hand and tell me to be in the bedroom, ready, at 9 PM. And…anything can happen there. It might be spanking, it might be typical but delightful adult activities, and it might be that he does things that will push my boundaries and that please him. Sometimes they please me too. Sometimes I truly struggle to stay calm and open and to submit. He never hurts me, but he does push me. The details of that don’t matter. Use your imagination and do whatever comes to your mind (his mind) as something that would push your boundaries and take you to a submissive place.
Grant asked, not told me, but asked me if I would make our bed every day. (I’m not a slob but not an amazing housekeeper. I’m busy, OK? And not home a lot.) I have made our bed every day (that I am still home when he gets out of it) for the past 5 years…every day. It’s such a small thing, so simple. Is that really a submission exercise? I would say it is…for me. I do it with the intent to please my husband. I do it because he asked, because I know it makes him (and me) feel like I am attending to his needs and wants. I do it and each time I think “This is for him”. It is a small act that reminds me of my submission.
I believe one time when we began these exercises; I was punished because I did not meet a deadline for an assignment. Ok, maybe two? There was no reason except that I did not prioritize. I was testing and he knew it, and he spanked me. As a generality, punishment is not part of our submission practice. And why should it be? Why should I need to be punished to submit to my husband? Could he punish me…of course he could…but why would he need to?
Submission and dominance are states of mind more than anything else. We do specific things to remind us of our roles and to practice them. He does things to exercise our D/s, but our goal has been to learn how to relate day-to-day in a way that is harmonious. Grant does not dominate to dominate…he dominates because he is a dominant man, and because his commitment to consistently dominate helps our marriage run smoothly. I don’t submit because it’s anything other than the best way to make our marriage work well and be satisfying to us both. We use various exercises to practice on a daily and weekly and monthly basis so we can keep ourselves in shape. I don’t fail at these or require punishment because I’d be embarrassed to, because he deserves better, because disappointing him would be worse than any punishment he might deliver. And, he sets it up so that there is little possibility of failure if I give it my best. I have surely made mistakes and disappointed Grant, but I would never disappoint the love of my life with intent.
Submission is about intent. It is a mind-set. You do whatever you need to do to create an environment where you are reminded on a daily basis to keep your submissive self to the fore when it comes to your relationship. If your focus is respect and trust, you slowly, day by day, week by week work to build that. What we learned is that it can’t come over night and won’t come in a week or in a year. I know…I wanted it NOW too. But respect and trust are built from the inside out. We still work on ourselves every day.
You also might want to read a post Grant wrote in 2009: A Question On Submission Exercises.