Friday, May 30, 2008

Learning about service submission

This last week seems to have been about doing things. I've spent a couple of nights on the bills (I said it was complicated), and gardening, and laundry, all of which have not been part of our normal routine for me to do, so sort of qualify as "service." Actually, I've been feeling bad about the bills part and the laundry part because there's no reason why I haven't been doing those for years except that I could get away with it.

There's a rationalization for everything, in this case that my beloved works at home so it's easier for her to keep after that stuff, but as I've started to do these things, I'm not sure I buy that explanation.

What I have found out is that service submission is much more of a "mind set" than it is a specific set of tasks. There are the normal routines (like these household things), there are things that I do for her - precious few and I treasure them: taking care of her cell phone, wallet, and bag, all of which she often does herself. The only thing I really get to do regularly is the vitamin thing and turning on her bedside light - pretty minor.

And there's being attentive to what she wants. She doesn't make this easy. This morning in the wee hours when she was leaving for a one-week trip, it was "I was wondering whether the tape was upstairs." Not "Get me the tape", not "Could you please get me the tape", not "I was wondering if you would get me the tape." I'm getting better at translating comments like "I was wondering if the tape was upstairs" into things to jump on and do right away. It is somewhat satisfying, but at a fundamental level, not so much, because it forces me to wonder if this is still all in my head - if this is an arrangement of one person: me.

Oh, and a fourth category: things I have no idea if she even notices, like the fact that her wallet always has money in it, and the cars always have gas in them. Or the fact that when she gets up to go in the wee hours, I get up too, make the coffee, carry the bags out to the car etc.

We still haven't figured out what Ms. Rika's "accepting from a position of dominance" actually works out to be in real life.

We have another talk in our future, when she gets back. It *won't* be "Hi honey, you're home. Let's talk about submission." But within a day or two, or I think we'll drift off to a place that doesn't work so well. I am happy to do the service submission things. But I need some acknowledgment of what is happening here.

Pretty much anything she asks if I can do, I respond with "As you wish." But as I mentioned above, she seldom asks. And that's still all in my head.

What I need is...

What I need is...

What surprises me is that I don't know exactly what I need. Some acknowledgment from her that this is happening. Unprompted by me. In a way that I perceive of as meaning something to her.

This may be impossible. This may never happen. I might be able to grow to be OK with that.

There are subtle changes happening around the fact that my time is hers to dispose of, that I'm trying to be around to just make life easier for her. There are random moments when it works: when I'm working on something I'd rather not be doing and she's reading a magazine. But they are few and unacknowledged.

She is also demands perfection in a way that I don't know that I can ever achieve. If I've left the laundry in the washer, to be air dried later, I'm just as likely to come home and find it laid out and done by her. On the one hand, there are only so many minutes in the morning. ON the other, I suppose I could get up early and get there before her. But that's our most intimate time, and I won't give it up, truth be told. If I come home and go upstairs before cleaning the kitchen counter, I'm likely to come down and find her doing it. If I leave a case of oil in the car to remind me to change the oil, I'm likely to find it in entryway.

I can aspire to be better at these things, but I don't know how much better I can actually do.

And now she's away for a week, so the rhythm of things will change. I suggested (I think only once) that she might think about a "honey-do" list for while she's away, but she didn't find time to make one up. I tried not to resent that, even though she mentioned it. She mentioned minor garden maintenance, and suggested she might think of something while she's on the road - I'll be bitterly disappointed if she doesn't, but I don't expect her to.

I think I have myself dialed back to the point that I'm not bugging her. I'm trying as hard as I can. The extent to which I raised this at all yesterday (for example) was to note, as we were in bed, that back-rubs are always on offer. Her response: "I'll have to figure out what my equivalent of a back-rub is."

And I think if we proceed quietly and slowly at this pace, something may happen. Certainly it has in the sex department (more on that in another post). Maybe it will in the "we communicate about this and I feel validated as the the submissive" department as well.


s said...


Boy, do I relate to this post. My wife easily accepts my service (and takes much for granted), but does not acknowledge its origin. It is often noted that we submissive men need to have our wives acknowledge their dominance. On that front, I've made little to no progress, and (as you note), there's a gap.

When it comes to service, I think we get into a bad frame of mind when we invest so much energy evaluating our wives' reactions and actions. For the first several months of my "awakening" (so to speak), I had the very bad habit of reacting to my wife folding laundry when she could just leave it for me to do. She sensed this, and it drove her nuts (she's told me several times to back off!). I've had to train myself to acknowledge that she'll do what she wants to do...and doing things around the house is important for her, personally.

Hence, when it comes to service, it's not about the tasks you complete, or about her making a list for you. It's simply about your making an effort. With time and effort (lots of both), she'll slowly come to take for granted that you're happy to do things to make her life easier.

Here's a perfect example: As early as a year ago, my wife insisted on bathing and feeding our toddler each weekday morning. After all, she thought, I work 50-60 hours per week, and she stays home with our's her "job", right? I saw my doing these things as an opportunity for her to take time for herself to go running, browse a bookstore, or get caught up with...whatever. I just started first she refused, then it was an occasional day, then once per week, etc. Now I probably do the morning routine 3 or 4 weekdays AND BOTH Saturday and Sunday. My wife enjoys yoga or running 3 or 4 mornings per week, and usually takes some time to go shopping or sit on the porch and read. She takes over and I head off to work when I've got all of the morning work done. She doesn't even ask me about the weekend mornings...she just assumes I'll be home, and she can come or go as she likes. That would never have happened a year ago.

Sorry for the length of the reply...but the point is, I simply work as hard as I can at home so that my wife doesn't have to.

Great post!

At all Times said...

"Been there, done that, got the tee shirt". What you are experiencing must be the most common problem experienced by most submissive husbands trying to impose a WLR on their wives, for this is what most of us are trying to do, I think. Whatever you do for your wife, however hard you try and serve her, we all crave that acknowledgement, that sense and feeling that she is actively taking control or at least accpets that she has the power to control you and your actions.

Assuming that your wife eventually accpets some degree of control, and this will vary greatly from couple to couple, how she reacts towards you on a day to day basis, how and if she acknowledges your submission will depend on so many differeent factors. There is no doubt that she will still want to do things for herself, and you have already understood this and are learning to deal with it. Its imossible to do everything, and unrealistic to expect your wife to ever treat you like a full time slave.

I think its very easy to assume that your wife will just accpet "your gift" and just sit back and become the dominant wife. I'm afraid it doesn't work like that. Jane is exactly the same as many wives, and has taken a very long time to even get close to giving me direct "orders" as such. Like your wife, she is more likely to mention that something needs doing, or that it hasn't been done in a certain way, rather than just telling me to do something. This can be very frustrating, why can't she just say you need to do this or that. Being dominant or bossy does not come easy to many women.

It will come slowly, the more that you remain attentive and continue doing all the things that you are doing. It maybe that every now and again, when things become routine that you need to give things a little kick start, but hopefully overtime your wife will respond more and more. You will also adapt your own expectations, and see far more into her reactions than maybe you would have at the start of this journey.

If as you say things are starting to happen in the bedroom, then eventually it will start to spread more into everyday life, it just takes time.

Jamie said...

Thank you both for great comments. I think the most important thing is to realize that there are other men and couples going through this process, and that it's not entirely different for you. I come to suspect that this is a long slow process, and it's nice to hear you both confirm that it does move forward with time.

's' points out that we want to do things, and when she does them, it's almost like being "mean" - taking away something we love to do - which is, of course, the last thing these caring women intend. But it takes a long time to build a new understanding of what unspoken actions and signals mean what.

'at all times' put it perfectly: "we all crave that acknowledgment, that sense and feeling that she is actively taking control or at least accepts that she has the power to control you and your actions." It's a simple thing, but I've never heard it put better. I hope to come back to that quote and use it a lot.

I think the attentive mind-set is one of the most important things I'm trying to cultivate.

All of which is not to ignore the fact that I need to ask for what I want. Paradoxical though it may seem, needing to ask for sexual satisfaction has been huge in getting me to be able to ask for the FLR I want. Now that we've started down that road, I feel quite inhibited about asking, and I'm not sure that's a good thing.

But that's matter for a long post of it's own.

Thank you both for your support. It's hugely important.


artistic submissive husband said...

Absolutely great post and comments. Just to chime in I feel I am at the very same spot. All I need to hear are those magic words that say something like,"I'm the boss, you will do what I tell you to do!"
I think I would melt if I heard that.

Jamie said...

Thanks, "ash". It's great to hear from people who are in the same place. Funny, the FLR "boards" (SheMakesTheRules, flr.yuku, etc) are good, but sometimes it feels to me like there's so much "noise" and so many people with different agendas or who are in different places in their lives, that it's hard to find the "me" in there.

So I really appreciate your comment.