I wrote about service before, back in August 2017, when I had various revelations about the fact that, despite believing that I was not a service sub, there were elements of my relationship which were acts of service and had a service function to them. My revelations came really due to reading the book, Real Service, by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny. I have written a post explaining, which is here, but essentially there were the key pointers that I was able to take from the book.
It left me with a better idea of what motivates my service and made me think about the balance between reactive and proactive styles of service. This tied in pretty much with my ideas on active and passive submission and I recognised that I often felt into some of the traps of anticipatory service, where, although I was doing some things which seemed like they were acts of service, it was not real service it if wasn’t wanted or valued by HL.
I concluded my previous post on service with the following plan for the future, so I thought that it might be a good place to start to build on the part that service had played since. I will forewarn you that due to life matters, we have not made the sort of progress that we would have hoped. We are, however, still here as they say, so that is always something. Although we have made fewer adaptations to our practice than we might have, the ways that we view service and its part in our dynamic has certainly changed.
The things that I had hoped that we could work on were as follows.
One – to try to look at our rules and protocols and work out which ones are important to him and put less emphasis on the others.
Two – to discuss the tasks which he wants me to do and have a more service minded approach to completing them.
And three – to watch him more closely and try to do things which I think that he will want me to do for him, rather than things that I want to do for him.
Rules and Protocols
We did have a complete overhaul of our rules and protocols and spring cleaning is something that we continue to do as part of our regular reviews. Looking at the value of something and considering why we are doing it, rather than simply focussing on what we do, is something that we apply to many areas of our relationship, but it works especially well in this one. Tying the rules into the things that HL felt strongly about allowed us to shed some of those which had been things that I had suggested and he was trying to do because they mattered to me.
That is not to say that there are never things which matter to me, but if they are things which HL is to make a priority and follow up on then he needs to care about them too. Some of them, while he was happy that I did them if it mattered to me, he found hard to remember about as they weren’t things which irritated him or that he noticed. We got around this by having some elements which were part of a system of self-reporting, or made it into an area where I was responsible myself. Food and exercise has been one area like this.
It was hard for HL to micromanage what I ate and did and in addition, my issues with eating and body image meant that it didn’t always feel comfortable for him. My willpower can be extreme, so working on it together didn’t work for this as it does in some of the other areas either. Instead, I used functions on my fit bit to set and record targets and goals which I could then feed back on. My eating tends to be managed through weight checks and although I beat myself up over the way I am feeling, in reality I don’t actually allow things to fluctuate that much, so it would be hard for HL to monitor.
A Service Minded Approach
There have always been some jobs which were mine: planning weekly menus, managing the budgets and accounts, arranging family events etc. Although these were things that I was happy to do, they benefit both of us and sometimes it felt like I not only had to do all the work, but also make all the decisions too. It didn’t feel right to be handing each small decision over to HL when I had done all of the groundwork, but it felt as if he wasn’t invested in the same way, and also as if I was in charge and deciding things for him.
Having a more service minded approach allowed me to see, performing these things to the best of my ability, as a service to him. It meant that instead of being irritated by his lack of engagement, I could feel happy that I had sheltered him from something that he felt sure that I would manage well anyway. Rather than irritating, I could impress him and involve him at any point when it mattered and felt was relevant to do so. This really helped my submissive mindset.
Being a nagging wife never felt sexy and feeling like I had the responsibility and control pulled me out of my headspace rather than pushing me in. So really I was doing the same thing in terms of action as I had always done, but my perception had changed. This probably ties in with the first point too as it became about why rather than what. I have always been a firm believer in the fact that what is a submissive act to one can be a dominant action to another and that, in reality, the meaning is attached by the value that the parties place on it themselves.
Watching and thinking
This last part was really important. I think if you like to make people happy the you can fall quite easily into the trap of doing things which you would like and suit you, rather than what you think they would like for them. This hasn’t always been easy with HL for a couple of reasons. Firstly he is pretty easy going so he tends to be very even in mood and also pretty happy with whatever comes his way, especially if it is something nice. The second is that he isn’t great at communicating his needs, and probably this is partly due to the first reason.
As a result I think that I had probably done things which I felt that he should want or would want, rather than looking closely for the clues. I started to try to ask more questions, to watch how he did things for himself or for others, and that was helpful. We got a new desk in the study and I offered to put everything away for him as he was the one who was working in there at that point. It was really hard, to be honest. I wanted the various things where I thought they should go, as that made sense, so I had to really think about what might be best for him.
The other thing with service which is anticipatory is that you have to accept that even after all of that, you may get it wrong. You have to be prepared to be told no to an act of service which is proactive, and to be corrected when what you anticipated to be the case turns out to be other than you thought. This is a bit like any training, I guess, and it is important to see the act as something which is serving, and to accept help on tailoring that to suit the D’s needs better
This wasn’t one of the areas that I had set out as target areas for growth of service in my last post, but at the various chats on service we have had at The SWC, sexual service always comes out very high on the list of priories with both Doms and subs. For me, I am a sexual submissive and that side of it comes more easily and more naturally for me than the other. I think that the idea of the sub as being sexually available to the Dom all the time is something that many couples choose to employ.
I know that HL likes to feel wanted and desired, so me being proactive in offering my service there is usually well received. This is also something that I have tried to focus more on and include, as sometimes it can be too easy to slip into being passive and reacting to the Dominance, rather than feeding it with my own submission. I have tried to offer myself, which is also good as it can buy into my humiliation kink as it can feel a bit awkward and offer a little depersonalisation, which again plays well into the headspace.
I think that all of the areas are ones where we will keep growing and things will likely take leaps if and when our circumstances change and we have more privacy and time to add to it, especially in the area of sexual service. The idea of being a sex slave for a time is appealing and something that I would like to try. We have also introduced higher protocol times in the past which were designed to make this easier for extended periods, so this is another thing that we would like to do more with.
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