In a submissive marriage, rules are central.
As a person I am pretty good at following rules as long as I see their purpose. Rules can be there to keep us safe, to keep others safe and to generally make life run more smoothly. Sometimes rules are so valuable and so ingrained that they actually become an unwritten part of our expectations. In a submissive marriage, rules are central. They allow you to apply the power exchange to an existing relationship in a way which benefits you both, and reinforces the agreement that you have between you. Basically they take a healthy relationship where there is equality, and allow you to apply inequalities to it in a healthy way.
I realise this is why many people have an issue around Dominance submissive agreements. The appearance of inequality seems to suggest that one party is inferior, and in this day and age this goes against the grain. It is the applying and the following of rules which seems to be often quoted as evidence of the negatives of the way we choose to live. But he tells you what to do. You are diminished by following these rules. He is taking advantage of you. Actually, the rules in our D/s marriage have been carefully negotiated and agreed through lengthy discussion and are evaluated, reviewed and amended regularly.
Rules are good not only for HisLordship and for our relationship, but also for me on a personal level.
I have asked for these rules. I want these rules. They make it easier for us to live in the way that we want to live, and I feel happier with them than without them. They allow me to be the best version of myself that I can be and this is good not only for HisLordship and for our relationship, but also for me on a personal level. We first introduced D/s more formally to our relationship in 2012 but we followed a bedroom only style of dynamic. We did have rules then but they were essentially about play and concerned staying safe and showing respect. When we decided to take our dynamic outside of the bedroom and adopt a full time D/s lifestyle, we negotiated and agreed on some rules which would help us to weave it through other areas of out relationship.
One thing I have learnt is that it is important with any set of rules to understand why they are in place. We made this mistake initially when we were trying to do what we thought was the right thing. We researched and asked others and ended up adopting a set of rules which might have been great for some couples, but didn’t always work for us. Some of them had no real purpose for us and so they diminished in value and in our commitment to follow them. That commitment goes both ways too; as a submissive it is my responsibility to follow the rules set for me, but it is HisLordship’s responsibility to make sure that I do, and to follow up if I slip. If this doesn’t happen, the purpose is lost, it decreases in value and impact and before you know it, it becomes a rule you used to have but don’t any more.
For this reason, it is important to go back and evaluate your rules. Check that they are working for you and meeting their purpose and if not, change them. Look at where you want to go in terms of your relationship, or your own personal development. Is there something there that you are struggling to do? If so then perhaps having some rules to support it would help to give it the value and commitment that it needs. You will see from these other posts, Rules, New Term New Rules, Two New Rules and Broken Rules that this part of our dynamic has indeed moved and grown with us and the way that our life has panned out. The post Respect the Rules is the most recent one and probably the closest to what we are doing right now, although I have since, given up time and so there are new rules about that.
In essence, my rules have always been about three main areas: respect, self-care and well-being. They are things which matter to us. They are important and often, they become so much part of what we do for each other that we don’t think about them in a conscious way any longer. When this happens, we will look either to tweak the rule so that we can go further with it, or take is as assumed and move on to another area where we would like to see change and growth. Sometimes the rules will come from things that I have addressed as areas I would like to change or improve upon, and others will have come from things that HL would like me to do. They are always discussed at length so that we both are clear about the purpose behind them.
Having someone else put value on something which is fundamentally about my welfare is not only motivational, it also provides a deep connection between us.
I know that people can view having rules as being patronising and childish. And yes, I am old enough and capable enough to make sure that I go to bed at a reasonable time myself, but having someone else put value on something which is fundamentally about my welfare is not only motivational, it also provides a deep connection between us. So often in life I see people join in with others as a way of adding value to the things that they do and to ‘make them do it’: diet and exercise are good examples of this. Somehow, when this strategy is applied to a relationship, people view it differently, seeing it more negatively. For me it is a positive as it allows me to achieve more and achieve it more consistently than if I was looking to motivate myself.
I suppose the elephant in the room is also the equality. Having to follow rules which have been ‘set’ and are being ‘enforced’ by your Dominant certainly does fuel the fire of the power exchange. It aids a submissive mindset for me and a Dominant mindset for him but on the inside, it means that he also strives to meet the standards he is setting. I have a bedtime, but we both go to bed together. I have diet and exercise goals, but we both eat and exercise together. I have to behave in a way which is respectful towards him, but he echoes this behaviour by always treating me with the utmost respect too. This is why I say that a D/s relationship can have the appearance of inequality. We both have clearly defined roles which are different, but we both value the other and make the choice that this is how we want to live. One is not less and the other is not more.