Life of Liz

Archive for the ‘Punishment’ Category

Captain and 1st Officer

In Authentic Life, Out of the Comfort Zone, Punishment, Red Pill on January 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Marriage is hard; maintaining a fulfilling marriage is even harder.

One of the ways I get off track is switching roles.  I’ve found it is really hard for me to switch gears from Leader to follower.  It is especially evident now, with the addition of Grandma into our home.  I can say with confidence, I am making the transition less and less gracefully and it is taking its toll on the progress Henry and I have made in the last 8-10 months.  It is mostly in little ways, but he notices it (and so do I).marriage

When submission entered the picture it bridged the gap and gave Henry and me a framework that we could structure our marriage within.  In the early months, when it was all fresh and fun – it was easy to be a submissive, respectful wife.  And the pay-outs were HUGE.  I now had the dominate leader who was pouring both time and energy into leading our marriage.  He had an adoring fan whose main desire was building him up and ensuring his happiness.  We were able to maintain this glow for close to a year … BUT

Enter Grandma.  And then Xmas.  And then bring our 2 college daughters back home.  Oh and stir in some budget tightening and a dash of end of year work crunch.   All of a sudden it is not so fun and exciting to be a follower.  To stay emotionally connected to Henry is hard for me when life gets unmanageable.

My natural response to stress is to isolate myself emotionally.  I’ve always known I like to control situations.  Lately I’ve discovered I like to control other people’s expectations too.  Oh and I like to control the outflow of information too.  During the past 19 years of marriage and motherhood, it had been easy to hide the ugly two headed control monster and instead rationalize WHY I needed to control this or that.  After all, I ran our house; I ran the lives of our kids; I ran our finances (into the ground).  Henry was just another person in our household.  We’d argue, we’d sulk, we’d pretend things were going well at times – but the two headed control monster was SO power hungry she continually tried to provoke Henry until he took whatever measures necessary to keep clear of her tsunami.

If you gave me an evaluation to gauge my success as a submissive wife over the past 6 weeks, I would fail.  I would not get a C-.  Not even a D-.  Nope, I would get an F.  Is that why the phrase, “two steps forward, one step back” is so common?  Our talk yesterday revealed how much real work will be required to keep us headed in the right direction. It will require a conscience decision on my part to follow his lead and to compel myself to switch gears when he is around.

Does anyone else have this struggle in relinquishing the reins when the true leader enters the scene?  I know it is not because I doubt his ability to lead; it is more an internal inability to accept our house cannot tolerate 2 Captains when I am just so good at playing captain!

I’ve found myself questioning our dynamic, which Henry was quick to pick up on.  I guess there is a part of me that is uncomfortable admitting my need to feel the ramifications of relinquishing my personal power.  It takes an enormous amount of trust to submit; to say it is humbling is an understatement.

elderlyYesterday Henry expressed why our dynamic is working from his perspective and as he did I saw just how far we have come since starting down this road.  As he spoke, I saw who was unequivocally leading and directing US and who was really in control.  It’s not that I need the gushy feelings of submission, but it does help out and yesterday accomplished just that !

My goal for the time being is to see my marriage as a journey – and not a contest and to relax a little and let Henry steer this ship over the bumpy waters!  Gotta go, Grandma can’t get the toaster to work …

btw, I like to think H and I will get to take this picture someday.  Don’t they look happy?

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Authentic life … part 1

In Authentic Life, Out of the Comfort Zone, Punishment, The Countdown begins on November 27, 2012 at 7:33 am

Authentic life … part 1

Thanksgiving — Tuesday night brought a sense of ‘the calm before the storm’.  Henry’s mom arrived, followed by our oldest (Elizabeth).  Thanksgiving marks the first time since we’ve been a Dd couple that we’ve had relatives visit and stay with us.  It was just about 7 months ago, right before we started our new dynamic that I had a very public meltdown in front of not only his mother, but also my parents, my grandma, my sister, his sister and his mom’s best friends.  Henry thought it might be beneficial to write about that event as a way to discourage any type of repeats this week.

Let me set the stage … when our oldest left for college last year it was so much harder than I would have anticipated.  Jump ahead to our 2nd daughter’s (Gracie) high school graduation (which is the event that brought all of the relatives to our house).   Gracie would be reporting to her university 2 days after the ceremony and SHE was not handling it well at all.  She was equally Impossible, Rebellious, Pouty and Heartbroken during the preceding 6 weeks.   Truthfully, she was acting the part of an out of control 2 year old who had been denied the longed for piece of candy.  Enter the above mentioned 8 relatives into our home and what ensued was not our family’s finest hour.  In fact, over the course of the 4 days we spent together … The F word was used.  A plate was broken.  Doors were slammed.  Gracie got drunk and needed to be driven home (and NO we do not permit our kids –all under 21– to drink).  None of this was done behind closed doors. By the time we dropped Gracie off at her dorm room 2 days later, I actually was somewhat relieved!  (Ha, that lasted about 60 second).

It was just a few weeks after the ‘event’ that H and I got serious about our relationship.  We’ve joked a few times about how different and/or sore I would have been if we would have been a couple back then.

So much has changed in the last 6 months.  Thankfully …

I love Thanksgiving.  Correction, I love the imaginary Thanksgiving that is never achieved.

When I was growing up my mom demanded everyone is our home support her vision of the perfect holiday.  She would not permit anyone to actually help her.  No, she would instead require her kids to be on standby – typically that meant sitting and watching her in her efforts.  This also meant you could not be in the TV room or in your bedroom.  You couldn’t go outside and ride your bike or play tag. I ended up dreading Thanksgiving and vowed to make changes when I controlled the dinner with MY family.

And control things I did!  As a young mom I was eager to have my girls help with the preparation and happy to engage Henry into his share of the workload.  I can’t say it was any better than my own childhood – but it was different.  Instead of demanding my family stand at attention as my mom had done, I put my family to work and then followed behind them and re-did their tasks.  By the time we sat down to dinner I am sure all of my workers felt as though they were rode hard and put away wet!

I had a paradigm shift last year when Elizabeth came home for Thanksgiving after being at school for 3 months.  Suddenly it was more important to me that she enjoy her day with us and not so much about the appearance of a perfect event.  It was a lovely day and she commented several times how much she enjoyed herself.

Here is a bird’s eye view of the contrast:

Past:  8:00 am Thanksgiving morning … Henry would have been jolted out of bed by my demands of “I need help”

Today: I greeted Henry with a cup of coffee and then had a very pleasant conversation with my mother in law as we scoured the Black Friday advertisements.

 

Past: I would have insisted the TV be tuned into the Macy’s Parade because that would help create the Thanksgiving scene in my head of what a happy family would do; the kids would complain, Henry would make “football is on” overtures and no one would be in the family room.

Today:  I made no mention of what should be on TV … but glanced into the family room to see 3 kids enjoying the Macy’s Parade and overheard Henry say “10 more minutes and we switch to football”

Past:  Turkey time = A stressed out Mom with a brood of stressed out kids and a husband walking on eggshells. 

Today:  Tranquility and anticipation of a relaxing meal shared with family.

Next up … Authentic life part 2 ….presenting the appearance of success while the truth of failure lurked beneath the surface.  

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