UNDER CONSTRUCTION

We had to take down all our posts for a while. We did not realize that to put them back up would repost them in everyone's feeds. We apologize for that. We also will do our best, as life allows, to get the rest of the posts up as soon as possible. :)

Sincerely, The Duke and EsMay

Monday, August 05, 2013

Submission Vs Leading?

As some of my posts in the past month have reflected, I've been thinking a lot about submission. I've been trying to figure out what it really means? How do I find this state? Can it be achieved on my own? Can it be achieved even if the Duke doesn't follow through?

Now, the things I’m going to share here are what we have found work for us.  These may not work for you, and that is totally okay.  I’m always afraid in sharing opinions that I’ll offend, but I hope you all know me well enough by now that I do not believe in molds, and that I don’t push what works for me onto others. :)  But I’ve learned a lot this month, and really want to share what we are learning in our marriage.

I've studied a lot about what submission is. Several definitions are out there.
Merriam Webster says that submission is
- an act of submitting to the authority or control of another
Google says that it is
- The action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.
Free Online Dictionary says
- To yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another.

So I thought a lot on that. Our whole marriage I've struggled to submit, without having the Duke show me his will or authority. Lately, when he is inconsistent or steps back, I have a really hard time staying in that submissive state. But reading these, and other definitions on submission, really helped.

I also read up on definitions of to lead. Here is what I found. There were other links, but they all said the same thing.
Free Online Dictionary says a leader is
- One who is in charge or in command of others.
Merriam Webster had several definitions,
- to direct on a course or in a direction , to guide someone or something along a way, and I really like this one -> to guide a dance partner through the steps of a dance

I have been thinking a lot about our little dance that we do, because in all honesty, that is how I feel DD is. A very precious and delicate dance. When the Duke isn't leading, I end up leading. Let's picture this dance, the Duke is 3/4 of a foot taller than me, and about 65 pounds heavier than me. Imagine me trying to lead him in a dance? I can't, even if he wanted to follow, it would be hard to guide him being so small compared to him. (Not that I’m small, but compared to him, I am) But with his frame being large, and strong, he can lead me easily, even if I were to choose to resist. Also imagine if I tried to do my own thing, well, that wouldn't work either, we would each be trying to go in a different direction, and there would be no grace and beauty in our dance. But let’s think of another option. What if the Duke doesn't lead at all? And I try to follow? Where will we go? No where. We'll just stay there, on the spot, and no ground will be covered.

I've come to some conclusions, and researching the meaning of submission has helped. If you think about submission, it can't be forced. A leader is only truly a leader if people willing follow in submission to letting them lead. If a leader has to force someone to follow against their will, he is no longer a leader, and they are no longer submissive. He has become a bully, and they have become a victim. You can only be a leader if someone willingly submits to let you lead.

So let’s turn the table. Can we really be submissive without a leader? Submit means to surrender to the will and/or authority of another. But if someone is not sharing their will and authority, how do we truly become submissive? We can't force someone to lead, if we do, then we follow the saying of "topping from the bottom" and we in turn carry the control instead of handing it over. We can try to be submissive without a leader, but I've tried, I really suck at it. I don't need the Duke to micromanage me, but if we go a while, especially with things getting stressful, and he hasn't helped establish our roles or set guidelines for me, I get lost, I get frustrated, and I'm back to being in control again. I try to be submissive, but I find it impossible if he's not expecting anything from me. Without anything expected of me, without guidelines and consequences, I'm back to deciding what does and doesn't need to be done, or how I should or shouldn't live.

Let me try to share an example:

One rule I have is to go to bed at a certain time. If I don't get enough sleep, I end up with pretty bad migraines. So this is now a rule. But the past few weeks have been really stressful. I have not had any time to myself between work, planning an event for my church, dealing with several contractors trying to get to the roof over the apartment next door, and now the tenants in that apartment are complaining about everything, from thinking they "may" have seen a shadow of a rodent at 3am one night to they were promised a screen on the living room window and on and on, things I was never told about. I need to get at least three hours of sun a week, and now I feel I can't even go out into the back yard because the tenants keep finding me back out there. They have my email and phone number, and are always trying to get in contact with me, and now if I hear them outside at all, or I see their car in the driveway, I'm tense they're going to knock on our door. All my chances to relax are gone, and I'm a bundle of nerves. The past few days, the only time I've had to actually sit down and do anything for me is when it's past my bedtime. And so, I've taken that time to play around on the computer (what do you think of the new implements on my title bar? ;) The Duke is afraid they'll scare you all away... what do you think?  I had most of them made already, but made the rest this week, and then put my new title bar together.) And so in staying up, the Duke has said nothing to stop me. I tell myself to go to bed, but I also tell myself I need a break. I tell myself going to bed just an hour or two later won't be too hard on me the next day, but it is. And then the Duke stepped back on a lot of things, and in needing to be in control with the apartments, contractors, at work, and now at home, I lost sight of how to be submissive.  I tried, I really tried, but it was so hard, I all the sudden felt no guidelines, and had too much control, and then started to spin out of control.

The dictionaries say that to submit means to bend, surrender, give in, or bow down to the authority, will and control of another. The reason this helped me is because when the Duke goes several days, or over a week, without reminding me of my place, I start to feel the control is back in my hands. I start to feel alone, lost in my role, and unable to feel submissive. I do try to do what I can to be submissive, but if he's not seeking to lead, then is it possible to really be submissive? If I feel more and more in control, if I feel more and more that it's only up to me to do what is right, how is that any different than before I felt led by him?  So this has helped me know how to talk to him, without attacking him.  We just sit down and talk, and go over ways we can help our dynamic.

When the Duke steps up, when he does take my hand, and leads me in the direction that he wants me to go, in the direction that is best for my well being, and for the well being of our marriage, then I feel submissive. Even if he only reminds me to do the things I was already trying to do without his guidance. When the Duke leads me, I feel his support, I feel his strength, I all the sudden feel I'm not so alone. When the Duke steps up, I feel loved, I feel important, and I feel that my well being takes a priority in his life. When the Duke tells me to do something, I feel that place in me that tends to worry relaxing, I feel the calm, I feel the desire to serve glow and grow. I have a clear cut path of where to go, and I know he is there in case I get off track. I know if I get off track, I won't be by myself to try to figure out how to get back. I know that if I can't go it on my own, or if I fail, he is there to catch me, and even take over if needed.

But this dance takes two. As much as I need him to lead, he needs me to be submissive, to follow without a fight, and do my best to honour him. He needs me to thank him when he helps me, and when he corrects me. It can be hard to always be in charge, I need to show my gratitude, I need to do what I can to show him how grateful I am, and make it easier for him. If he is trying to lead in this dance, I can't always be trying to fight the steps he wants me to take, I have to trust and let go and follow.  If I want the Duke to lead, I need to meet him halfway.  I have to be willing to follow.  Just like I can’t submit if he isn’t leading, he can’t lead if I’m always be bucking what he wants, no matter how ridiculous and small the request may seem, it is up to me to respect him.  Each time I don’t, even if it’s over something small, I risk putting a chink in the strength he is building so that he becomes the leader he wants to be.

There is a line in Nattie Jones' book "Prim and Proper Passion" that I just love. I read the story this week, and it sums up one of the reasons I find submission so beautiful. The male lead asks the female lead why it is she thinks he spanks her. She has no idea. So he tells her.  "I do it because I want to help you. I want to help you be the person you are, and keep you from turning into someone you'd rather not be."

That sums up one reason I need this. I was turning more and more into a selfish bitter person because of the death of our son. I was on a downward spiral, and even though I chased after healing as a bear would after honey, I still had so much anger in my heart. I was trying to over come the bitterness, it wasn't helping. {If you want to find a good book on spanking without anything sexual at all, this would be a good book for you.}

Another of her books, "Plain Passion" (not books in the same series) talks about how the male lead thinks his wife is sweet and lovely, and how he spanks her because he never wants her to lose that love and sweetness. {This book is quite tame as well, no sex scenes, but does have a bit of anal play.}

When my hormones hit me, I get dark, really fast. But with the Duke there, to help guide me, I've been avoiding those dark places. Even this morning, it was coming, and he stopped me cold.  He told me later he wasn't sure he'd really done anything. So I reminded him that he'd cut me off at the knees. If he hadn't, pretty soon it would have been anger building until I was mad at him, and then yelling at him, and then sadly, attacking him. If the anger, when I'm hormonal, is allowed to build at all, I go really dark, and as much as I try to fight it, I just can't. I try, I try so hard, I tell myself to calm down, remind myself that I'm being irrational, but I just can't seem to calm down. But him being there stopping me, he's keeping me sweet, he's keeping me from having to face guilt later by having to apologize for saying things I did not mean, he’s keeping me from becoming someone I don’t want to be.

So now, I’m still looking at how to be more submissive with less guidance so that I'm not needy, or depending all my obedience on him, but I also see in all this study that when he backs off completely, then I can try to be submissive all I want, but if he's not leading, how can I follow or surrender? I may have all this wrong, but I’m still processing.  You may see a post from me next week saying how wrong I was, or maybe I’ll keep learning more along this same line. So I'm going to look more closely at our dance, and see how I can do my best to make it work so that our dance is beautiful and graceful and that I’m doing all I can to make it work.  And the Duke and I are talking, a lot.  He's learning a lot with me in this as we've studied it.  There is something else we've learned, and I'll share that in another post this week if all goes as planned. :)

I hope I have not stepped on anyone's toes in my thoughts or opinions, I really am just processing.  I know the idea of submission, and ways to do it can be very controversial, and I hope it's okay to share what has helped us.  I have spent all day looking back at this post, and still nervous about posting it, but it's where I'm at right now, and in case anyone else is... wanted to share... please, PLEASE forgive me if I've shared too much, or said something to step on any toes.  These are just what works for me, for us, and may or may not be what works in your marriage, and since this is a journey, may only be the thoughts that will get us through the next season in our life...

And hopefully I made some sense in all of this.

26 comments:

  1. Very informative post. I sure it helps others as much as it helps you when you write it.

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    1. Thank you, sunnygirl, that would be really nice if it did. :) But it really does help me process to write it all out.

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  2. I've been thinking a lot about this too. I don't feel that my hubby has a consistency issue but sometimes I wonder about littles ways that I can just remind him of my submissiveness. I know it makes him feel very loved if when I need to talk to him about something I kneel down beside his feet in from of him. I'd love to think of other little gestures or maybe phrases that would make him feel like that.

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    1. Brittany, what a sweet and beautiful way to show your submission to him. :) He must feel so honoured when you do that. :) It does take time sometimes for them to see how much we truly want to be submissive, but I think in time, they'll like the changes. :)

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  3. I love this post EsMay. It is sooo hard to submit if you can't feel the lead on the other side. You can go where you think the journey is taking you, but you'll never know if it's the correct path or if you'll end up lost int he woods. You sound like you are doing a wonderful job of being supportive and submissive and thats all you really can do.

    HUGS,
    Callie

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    1. It is so true, Callie. I told the Duke that if he didn't give me ideas of what he wanted and needed, I'd literally be trying fifty different things trying to figure out how to please him in life, and all of them could be things he cares not one iota about. It's easier for me to have the guidelines so that I don't wear myself out guessing.

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  4. I love the dance analogy how you totally see the importance of your role in all of it...to trust him and follow and really support his efforts to lead, whatever they may be. Neither role is easy, but they both support and feed off of each other.

    p.s. I hope the stressful tenant situation is resolved soon so you can get your sunshine!!

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    1. Thank you, Tess. You are right, neither role is easy, but each needs the other in a beautiful way. :) And I think the stressful situation will be fixed soon, LOL, or here's hoping! :)

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  5. The dance analogy is simply perfect, I will remember that. We lost a child too,last year, and sometimes that darkness is consuming. If he didn't haul me out of it kicking and screaming, I think I would stay down there forever. ((((Hugs)))))

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    1. Oh Tara, I just want to hug you now. {{{HUGS}}} I know how dark that can be, how it just swallows you whole. I am so glad that your husband is doing what mine did, dragging, kicking and screaming to help you. {{{HUGS}}} I literally do not know what would have happened if not for the Duke. Lean on your hubby, he loves you. :) I am so glad you have him.

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  6. Agree with everyone..... the dance analogy is perfect! Very good thinking post Es May.

    I have more to say on this but I need to process my thoughts a bit ;) I'll message you.

    Hugs,
    Tricia

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    1. No worries about processing, Tricia, it took me a month to wrap my head around this and make sense of it. :) Thank you for liking the dance analogy, once it hit me, I just couldn't seem to let it go.

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  7. EsMay, as a dancer on the floor alone more often than both Barney and I would like to admit, it is NOT easy to keep your submissive mindset when you feel like you are not being led.

    The dance analogy has been floating around as long as ttwd, but Callie has an excellent one as well- concerning being lost in the woods. I think of a General and his officers, without a leader, the officers will either stay or start to lead on their own. On the reverse side of the coin, without anyone who will follow, the General certainly cannot lead :)

    This is an excellent quote -> ""I do it because I want to help you. I want to help you be the person you are, and keep you from turning into someone you'd rather not be." At least for me, this is so true- AND this is what keeps Barney plugging forward.

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    1. OH man, Willie, I didn't know that the dance analogy had floated around... woops. I hope I didn't steal it from anyone in particular. That is so how I feel, like the General idea. If the Duke isn't leading, I have no direction, if I don't let him lead, he can't do anything. Such a great way to put it! :)

      And that quote is so true for me too, it's really helped me put things into perspective. :)

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    2. Sigh...lol..I didn't mean it as a negative. I mean that you are at a point where we get to with ttwd ...we all do, where you realize it is a dance. How can you 'steal' a thought silly girl?

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    3. LOL First I need to learn to read minds, then I can steal them. ;) I'll let you know how I develop in this area, but just don't let the Duke know I'm practicing. ;)

      I guess that is true, that eventually we all notice a lot of the same things.

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  8. Ttwd is work, on both ends and it is made even harder if you you don't feel you are being led instead you will end up "dancing" in circles at times. Communication is key! We personally run into issues when I am too submissive, my hubby backs off and doesn't feel the need to take the lead if I am doing good without him having to really show any authority. Just keep doing what you are doing but let him know how you feel :)

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    1. That's just how I felt, dancing in circles, nice way to put it, Tasha. :) You know, I think we have the same issue. When I'm being really submissive, that is when he forgets to step up, might have to work on not being so submissive. ;) Yeah, I'd feel pretty bad if I tried. lol

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  9. Hi Thank you for sharing your journey. I'm sorry about the loss of your son.

    I also have a hard time being submissive when my bf isn't acting dominant. I know what you mean about those hormonal mood swings. There is no reasoning with me when I'm having one. hugs
    btw: I like the implements at the top :)

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    1. Hi saturn, I am glad you liked the implements. :) I had a lot of fun making them. :) Oh, hormonal mood swings are JUST brutal, aren't they? It's like we're this beautiful sweet person, and then they happen, and watch out, GODZILLA on the loose! lol

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  10. Thank you for this post! This is so hard sometimes, and it requires equal effort on both sides, I'm pretty sure I'm an awful dance partner :)

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    1. It's funny, because if we're being honest about real dancing, I suck at it if anyone else is around, but alone, I dance all over my house. LOL But in DD, I hope I'm starting to work on it well with the Duke. :) I'm sure you're not a bad partner at all. :)

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  11. Hi Es May,

    Wow, this is a fantastic post! I love the dance analogy. It is so hard to retain that submissive mindset when you feel you aren't being led. So true too, it's about supporting and encouraging each other in our roles. As much as it is difficult to to maintain submission without the dominance, the same is true for him as well.

    Hugs Es May, I'm glad the Duke is able to help stop you from going to those dark places. I hope the tenancy issues are resolved soon too. Such a stressful situation for you both to be dealing with.

    Hugs,
    Roz

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    1. Thank you, Roz. :) I am glad you liked it. Yes, I have to remember to be submissive as much as he is remembering to lead. It's funny, the more I give in, the more beautiful this all feels. :) Oh, and the Duke saving me from the dark the other day... I am so thankful too. He really is becoming my knight in shining armor. :)

      {{{HUGS}}}

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  12. I only had time to scan Es May but great post.

    I do think that in a perfect world, the dance does take two, but the times I learn the most in submission for me happen when I'm fighting it and while not in it alone, it's a struggle.

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    1. I am honoured whenever you drop by, even if you can only scan. :) Yes, I do agree, I want to find ways to help keep my submissive mindset, even when the dance may become just one for a bit. I do admit I struggle, but I am working on it, with the faith that one day I'll do better at it. :)

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Please feel free to leave any comments, but I do ask you to be kind. We go into this with eyes wide open after months of prayer, and a peace in our hearts that this is the right choice before God for our marriage. I am open to questions from those who wonder why we made this choice, but I would ask for no personal attacks. Thank you. :)

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