Spoke briefly to my beloved last night though she's still out of town. In the midst of all the quotidian conversation, she say "I read your book." I can't say as how she sounded two enthusiastic about it.
I said, "I'm thinking we should just talk about it section by section to see what seems relevant." She agreed that that seemed like a good idea. I also mentioned that I think I'm more excited about having the conversation than about the subject of the book itself - it's like not having to drag this enormous weight around anymore.
For the past three days, I've been on tenterhooks trying to figure out what it is I want. I know I've blogged about this in the past, but it is surprisingly difficult to figure out.
Starting from what's in Ms. Rika's book:
- I do want to serve her. From our conversation some time ago, each of those little service things says "I love you" and that's the message I want to send, over and over again during the day. Who'da thunk that after more than 20 years of married life, it would still be important, but it is to me.
- I need her to acknowledge that service. This is one of the key insights from Ms. Rika's book that I had never been able to put in so succinct a form.
So far, there's nothing "power exchange-y" or "wife-led marriage-y" about that arrangment. So what I'm trying to do is define for us, for me, what is the additional element that makes this work, that gives this zing, that makes it scratch that submissive itch. I don't have Ms. Rika's book with me now, so I can't comb through it looking for her take on that, but it strikes me as a key point. Here's what I think:
Her acknowledgment of that service has to go beyond "Gee, thanks for doing that, honey." To be candid, Ms. Rika does point that out that the woman can acknowledge service without thanking explicitly, thus reinforcing the "power exchange" portion of the relationship. For example, "The kitchen looks clean" rather than "Thanks for doing the dishes", which elicits from the man, "Thanks for letting me do that" (I'd add, "I love you" just to make it explicit) rather than "Your welcome."
I love that kind of discipline in speech, even though it's hard; as I said, I'm still working on "May I .... " rather than "Would you like me to..." but I am working on it. But I think it would drive my beloved crazy (maybe I'm wrong).
I have a hard time getting away from desiring that there be a lack of choice on my part in doing these things - not a coercion based on sexual denial or rewards, but an acknowledgment that I *have* to do these things based on the agreement we have made. So what is that (right now, hypothetical) agreement?
A long long time ago, I had some chores to do (in a D/s context, when we were taking another run at this). I defined it as there being a "barrier to intimacy" until those chores were done. I think that's close to the mark, but doesn't work if the context of the service is "all the time." But there's something in that.
I honestly don't know what the answer is here, and while part of me wants to say "Let it emerge from the discussion", another part says "She's going to ask, 'what do you need, what works for you?', since if it was up to her, we wouldn't be doing this at all." And then I need an answer at least to start a discussion.
Here are two possibilities, neither perfect:
1) Whenever I do something that I wouldn't otherwise have done, I have the opportunity to find my beloved and thank her for the opportunity to serve. Scratches my itch, doesn't require initiative from her (though a nice response would be nice), and if I don't overdo it, shouldn't be overly annoying.
2) A nightly check in. Assuming she wouldn't come to dread this, it would foster communication, which is key for me. And it would give me an opportunity to assess how I was doing service-wise, and her an opportunity to provide feedback.
My final dread is that she'll say, "I've been doing all this crap for years, and now you want to do it and get credit for it?" This is a little unrealistic, since we share a lot of work now - our basic egalitarian approach to life is one of the barriers for her in thinking about this whole arrangement. So this doesn't apply to dishes (which I do anyway), but to things she's been doing that she doesn't particularly like, like laundry and some aspects of our home business.
My fantasies have a habit of getting away from me, but I can think of one that addresses this issue. That would be for me to have to ask explicitly for "down time" (perhaps not more than once an hour or twice an evening, or once an evening). If she says "No" for whatever reason, I'm supposed to be on task working for her.
Enough food for thought. I think I've broken my "What do you want" log jam enough to have a conversation, which I dearly hope will happen tonight.
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