Sunday, August 24, 2008

Service, Supportiveness, Expectations, and "Being good enough"

So I'm on the road. I get to have my fantasies. Based on my beloved's comments at our last check-in, I fantasize the following:

How about if at our check-in, it is my responsibility to list all the things I'm supposed to do for her today. And because it's my fantasy, I get to say that it's only the non-regular-household stuff that get's listed. Or maybe that stuff get's listed in a separate category, like "being a good husband." [Of course, reflection reveals that these categories aren't as different as they might seem, but I think I'd still distinguish them as below, as a first cut.]

It's just the kind of ritual that I think I like - and might actually hate. And, I'm learning, might actually have trouble doing with a straight face. Unless she cares about it. But wait, that's getting ahead of myself.

I wonder how she would react to a formula like the following:

When you let me serve you, it means to me that you love me, and that's important to me. I appreciate it that you let me
  • Paint your toe-nails
  • Shave your legs
  • Trim your hair
  • Check-in with your after work
  • Meet you when you arrive home
  • Give you foot rubs
  • Give you back rubs
  • Recite this list for you every night
  • Get your permission before going to bed
Thank you for letting me ... whatever it was that she let me do, personal service wise, that day. On days when that's nothing, I guess I'd say the honest thing, which is "I'm sorry there was nothing I could do for you, but thank you for expecting me to do this ritual; it's important to me."

That's a good moment to bring up things like: "I'd like to paint your toenails soon; I think they need it" or "I'd like to shave your legs soon, I think they need it." The point of that is to address what's happened occasionally recently: I don't suggest those kinds of things in a timely enough manner, and she does them when she decides they're needed. To me, that's an "I screwed up" moment, and I really really need to know that she cares about them. Not necessarily in a "You need to come here right now and do that" kind of way (which I'd love, but what if I'm out), but in a "I'm disappointed you're more in to your fantasy than the reality of this" kind of way.

I don't think I've written about the idea of not being allowed to come to bed, but being required to sleep on the floor at her side of the bed. The kind of thing that sounds trememdously sexy but would become tremendously tedious in about 1/2 hour, I think. Since that consequence would so quickly follow the night-time disclosure, I would love to try it. I mentioned it to my beloved, and she explicitly wasn't repulsed by the idea, but if she were ever to actually do it, I'd be stunned.

The second half of the evening's recitation would go:

As an attentive husband, you have the right to expect that I will make your life as easy as I can by making it so you don't have to worry about routine things like
  • Making coffee in the morning
  • Making sure your cell phone is charged
  • Making sure your wallet has money it in
  • Making sure the random receipts are out of your wallet
  • Paying the bills
  • Taking out the trash
  • Doing the dishes
  • Caring for the animals
  • Putting our your vitamin
  • Doing the laundry
  • Making sure the floors are swept
  • Making sure the counters are clean
  • Making sure the cars are maintained
  • Mowing the lawn
I know the following need to be done, and I'm planning to do them on...

Is there anything you noticed today that I should have done, or anything you did today that you'd rather not have had to?

And at that point, we get to have the conversation about our days.

I'd love for her to attach a consequence to failure - either things I should have done or things she had to do. Things I should have done(or things she did, some of them): do (or re-do) them now, before coming to bed, for example. Or not-being-able-to-come-to-bed time. Or anything. Anything that says, "We're doing this and I care enough to want to motivate you to do better."

This whole thing is a psychological drama, I know, and writing this post reminds me that one of my psychological prime-movers is "Not good enough." And this all plays with that dynamic in, I think, a positive way, because it's acknowledged and explicit, as it has never been before. If, as I intellectually but not emotionally believe, I am in fact "good enough" I'm hoping that playing with this dynamic will get me to a place where I do emotionally believe that. I'm not sure how, I'm not sure what would happen to all this if I got there. But this feels like a way of finding out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Only you can judge how your wife would react to this type of approach, but I know that it would not work for me and Jane. It sounds like too much in her face, setting you aside some how as her slave. Is that what she really wants, would this make her feel loved, and that this is about both of you, rather than just you. I can understand how you maybe feeling and would love to have your wife's acknowledgement that these lists are something that she would enjoy having you do for her but there is a danger that she may feel isolated and feel that she is being pressured into doing what you want rather than something that she wants. I know that this is really difficult, but believe me it's so much better if things like that come from her rather than you, and that you will stand a much better chance of attaining a longer term WLM if she feels that she has as much about developing your new relationship than you. What I am learning is that in whatever you do for your wife, she must feel that it is more about your love and respect for her, and that it is she that is having this effect on you, and not just the way she behaves. I know that its easy to say this when things are going well and moving forward, but given time and the right approach you to may see things develop more quickly than you think. It may not be the way that you fantasised it would be, but it can be just as rewarding, maybe more so than you think.