Beth blogged a thought today from Dale Carnegie, and I thought I’d schedule this post to go up at the same time.
Our D/s was originally centered on helping Beth get motivated to do chores and housework. She was struggling with fatigue and depression due to her chronic illness, and after reading about Domestic Discipline, she felt that asking me to incorporate punishments might help her more than just the positive reinforcement I had been giving her as her doting husband. It took her many months to talk me around, but eventually I agreed to experiment with it.
Early on I realized something important: “I can’t make you do anything,” I told her. “But I can make you wish you had.”
This is central to why we spank and how. I want to change Beth’s behavior, but I can’t. I can only make her want to change it herself. In surrendering her submission to me, she hasn’t given me puppet strings to march her through life. She’s just entrusted me with the power to apply consequences when she succumbs to temptation and breaks the rules. Rules she hasn’t just agreed to follow, but begged me to help her obey.
This takes as much discipline and self-control on her part as it does mine. Maybe more. I’ve watched a few couples crash and burn in DD because the sub is either unwilling or unable to submit at that crucial moment. In my experience, this is highly toxic to the dynamic. Note: I’m talking couples who agree to strict disciplinary punishments and then completely back out of the agreement in order to escape a punishment. If you are submissive but wish you could be more so, I applaud your effort and I am absolutely not talking about you. (Similarly, if you will only accept spankings in a sexy funtime context, but that is all you have agreed to, then I am also not talking about you. I’m talking specifically about “agree to be spanked then refuse to be spanked” behavior.)
I think about this from time to time, and it’s why I always praise Beth after a punishment. I tell her how proud I am of her for taking her punishment like a good girl. She always thanks me for being willing to punish her. She knows it kills me to see her suffer.
Having received that trust, it’s on me to step up. I judge the infraction and match the punishment to fit. I consider our priorities before deciding on the severity of the infraction. I think most Doms punish more for defiant disobedience than the forgetful kind, but I think about the next time Beth will be subject to temptation. Sometimes this means I actually punish harder for forgetting, because I want to give her a reason to remember next time.
That might sound unfair because forgetting is unavoidable, right? I’m not sure I agree. The first time I saw Beth snuggle down into her pillow and then suddenly shoot out of bed and run to take care of something before it became an infraction, I realized I was on the right track.
I can’t make her do anything… but I can make her wish she had. So far, this has been a profoundly effective approach. Beth typically goes months between spankings. Once she wishes she’d done it differently, I know subsequent temptations will hold no power over her.
And that’s exactly what she asked me for.