I sometimes think one of the hardest aspects of domestic discipline is actually starting it. Going to your spouse with an idea such as domestic discipline that's extremely controversial, out of the norm, and life changing (because it's literally a lifestyle that both parties have to be willing to adapt) can be really tough at first..for both of you to accept.
The steps below are what I'd recommend doing before you approach your spouse about starting domestic discipline. A couple of these steps I didn't use myself (if you want to know how I went to my husband about DD, click here and here) but looking back on it, I wish I would have. Obviously this isn't some sort of fool-proof "plan" but regardless, here's my recommendations.
1. Make sure you want this. The first thing I would recommend doing is making sure domestic discipline is something that you want in your marriage. Domestic discipline isn't really something that you can turn off and on. What I mean by that is if DD sounds like a fine and great concept to you, you go to your spouse about it, they agree to try it..and then a week later you decide it sucks and want to stop but then the next week you want it again...it just won't work. Don't get me wrong, domestic discipline is absolutely something you can (and should) stop at any time if it's not working for you, but it's not something I'd recommend continually stopping and starting because you can't make up your mind what you want. The consistency needs to be there at all times in order for domestic discipline to be effective. So, BOTH parties need to be 100% on board and that starts with you being 100% on board before approaching your spouse. Research domestic discipline first. Ask whatever questions you have about DD to someone who already practices it. Really make sure this is a lifestyle that you want to adapt.
2. Be prepared for the "common hesitations" ahead of time. The second step I'd recommend is to understand how your spouse might react, that way you're prepared for it. Very few spouses, from the get go, are going to say "wow sounds great, lets try it" (especially if they've never heard of it before) There's going to be some hesitation, naturally. So, be prepared for that. The following list is just some feelings I've noticed from husbands, and wives, regarding their hesitations with incorporating domestic discipline into their marriage. Hopefully this will help you to understand a little more about where your spouse may be coming from.
- They don't want to hurt their wives. This is extremely common, and actually a good thing (after all, who really wants to be married to someone who enjoys hurting them?). However, try explain to your husband that there are different kinds of hurt and it's the intention behind the "hurt" that matters. For example- punishment is hurt (in some situations, such as spanking) with the intent to correct, and is done lovingly (that's the key word, everyone). There's also physical hurt that is not done lovingly or with the intent to correct (example- punching someone in the face), and emotional hurt (example- saying rude things). Both of those are NOT what domestic discipline is, stands for, recommends, or exhibits. It's important that your husband understands that.
- They don't want to see their wives cry. This goes pretty much hand in hand with the above hesitation.
- They don't want to be the parent to their wives. A lot of husbands feel that by creating rules/setting boundaries (and then using discipline to enforce those rules when/if they're broken) that they will lose their wife, and instead gain another child. This one is just one of those "you have to try it to experience the dynamic" things. I've never heard one couple in a DD marriage say they feel like a child, or they feel like a parent. It's a totally different dynamic you have to experience (even if it's just once) to understand.
- They want an independent woman. I've only heard this one a couple of times, but I'd imagine there are more men out there who are thinking this. However, being disciplined doesn't mean you aren't strong, independent, or capable of making decisions for yourself. It just means that if those decisions are made poorly, you have help in fixing them before it becomes an issue in your marriage/family.
- They don't want to be treated like a child. This one goes hand in hand with one of the common hesitations the husbands face when hearing about DD, which is that they don't want to feel like they are parenting their wives. The explanation for this one is the same- it's just an experience you have to try to understand the dynamic. I could try to explain it on my blog, but it probably wouldn't make a lot of sense. However, if someone wants me to, I'm willing to try.
- They're afraid it will hurt (the spanking aspect). Well, it does hurt..I won't lie. But the pain is temporary, and what you gain from it is well worth it.
(If anyone has anything to add to these, or anything I left out, please let me know).
3. Understand the benefits. After you've studied up on all the hesitations so you know where your spouse might stand on the topic or what fears he/she might have about it, it's important that you also understand the benefits and explain these to your spouse. There's a lot I could list, but I'll just list a few to start with.
- It brings the two of you closer together. For someone who's never tried domestic discipline before, this might sound ridiculous (I thought the same, at first). However, the entire aspect of domestic discipline requires a lot of honesty, trust, communication, and love that, starting from the very beginning, begins to slowly bring you closer and closer together.
- It greatly reduces arguments. A lot of couples (who don't practice DD) argue about things such as children, money, and the list goes on and on. However, when you have DD as a part of your marriage, it reduces those arguments by giving both of you a different way to outlet your feelings. If your husband is having an issue with how much you spend, instead of yelling/arguing/etc. with you about it, he'll punish you and the issue will be resolved (or on it's way to being resolved). This gives him a feeling of "ok, she's going to really work on this now. The problem will be fixed, and I don't have to repeatedly argue with her about it" and it gives the wife a sense of "I'm forgiven, I've been punished for it, and now I can take the necessary steps to fix the problem.". It also makes her feel that her husband is with her in fixing the problem, not against her.
- It creates a more structured and consistent environment in your home and marriage.
- It improves your marriage.
So there you have it. Those 3 steps are what I'd recommend you do before you go approach your spouse with the idea of trying domestic discipline in your marriage.
I broke this "series" into 3 parts because it's such a long and complex topic. Part 2 will be how to actually talk to your spouse about domestic discipline, and part 3 will be what to expect in the beginning stages of domestic discipline if your spouse agrees to it or how to handle it if he/she rejects the idea completely.