If you were to walk into our house, you’d think my wife and I were just another solid, middle class Christian couple. And we are. I work fulltime as a systems analyst and my wife stays home with and home schools our two boys. We are active in our church and community and enjoy spending time together with each other, our children and our friends.
But we are also quite different than other couples, in that we are happily married for fourteen years and have never even entertained the possibility of divorce, even as half of our Christian friends have seen their own marriages crumble.
A number of people have remarked, with a mixture of admiration and envy, about the solidity of our marriage. Several have jokingly asked what the secret is. And while the answer is remarkably simple, functional and Biblical it is not something we can readily share because even among Christians it would cause debate.
In our house, I make the rules.
My wife and children follow them. If the rules are broken, there are consequences, both for my children and for my wife. Those consequences can and do involve spanking.
My wife and I practice Domestic Discipline, and while I am an ardent supporter and beneficiary of this lifestyle, this article is not a defense of it. I am respectful of the rights of other Christian husbands of their right to run their families as they see fit, and believe that DD is something that some – but not all men – are called to. So I’m not seeking to convert others to my viewpoint, but to advise men who are considering this about just what it requires to be the kind of man who deserves the kind of authority I’ve been called to exercise.
Not just any man is fit to lead in a Domestic Discipline household. For instance, if you’re a man of considerable ego, insecurity or temper then this lifestyle may not be for you. If you are not do not respect your wife as mandated in the book of Ephesians 5: 23-30, then this lifestyle is definitely not for you.
Let’s take a look for a moment at that passage of scripture, shall we:
For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body.
As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.
Some husbands who advocate DD read that passage and the only thing they see is an order for the wives to submit. But that passage is loaded with a call to responsibility for the husband.
The wife is a reflection on her husband, and it is his job to cleanse her of her ill manners, school her in scripture and present her “without blemish” to the church. A man who humiliates his wife, degrades her, punishes her because he’s in a bad mood or otherwise behaves in an ungodly manner that undermines his authority in her eyes is not removing blemishes in his wife, but creating them.
Many women want Domestic Discipline and even initiate it by suggesting the notion to their husbands.
A wise man, if he’s inclined, will take her up on it, for the joys are myriad. Women, being wise (for God made them that way since wisdom goes hand in hand with motherhood!) often realize the benefits that structure and discipline can have in their own lives and in their relationship. They are good at listening to the Holy Spirit, and responding when they get the message that that Biblical submission to a godly husband will enhance their lives.
What is necessary for a successful Domestic Discipline relationship?
But before a man enters a Domestic Discipline relationship thinking that it’s just about keeping order through spanking a wife for her flaws, he should think again. Domestic Discipline works only when the man fixes his first, or at least tries to overcome them through repentance and prayer. Only after he asks forgiveness of God and works diligently to become a Man of Honor is he ready to assume the mantle of leadership that makes him worthy to turn his wife over his knee when she needs it. Sure, a woman may accept a spanking from a lesser man, but let’s face it. If your boss reprimanded you for coming in late when he made no effort to arrive at work on time himself, would you strive to do better or would you resent him for his hypocrisy?
A woman whose husband is morally above repute will not only appreciate his discipline all the more, but will be unable to use his own behavior as ammunition to avoid a well-deserved trip across his lap.
An effectively delivered spanking is painful, and even if women want DD they often will not want the spanking when the time comes, even if in later reflection they admit it was justified. She will more readily submit if she’s assured herself that her husband is practicing what he preaches.
A husband who enters into the DD lifestyle should also be consistent.
This is not only important to maintaining order, but also because it increases the emotional well-being of his wife. A husband who treats DD as a game or only sees to discipline when he has time or is in the mood will send his wife mixed signals and reveal himself as a wishy-washy leader. Remember, most women take this very seriously because they seek order and guidance. A man who enters DD only half-heartedly – even if he’s not meaning to – will give his wife the impression that he doesn’t take his role as a leader seriously. The disappointment this causes in a wife can endanger the marriage, so before entering DD, pray for the resolve to stick to it in the long haul. Approach it seriously, with the same commitment to results that you put into your profession.
Finally, a husband who enters a DD relationship must be willing to talk to his wife not just about discipline, but about her need to be spanked, what spanking does for her and how she needs it to occur to feel safe, secure, cherished and led.
He also needs to be prepared to talk about the sexual aspects of spanking. This is often a touchy subject for Christian couples in DD, because the eroticism of spanking may make them feel kinky and sinful. But a woman’s bottom, I believe, was created not only as an enticement to men but as a target for his hand when she disobeys. God did not separate the two, and neither can we husbands and wives.
Maintenance spankings, for those times when she is feeling tense and anxious, such as around the time of her monthly cycle, should be explored and discussed, as should lighter, erotic spankings during sex. Implementing spanking in its various forms helps ensure the success of a DD relationship because a regularly spanked woman who knows she can come to her man for a maintenance or erotic spanking is less likely to act out to get one through discipline that she may end up regretting.
Having practiced Domestic Discipline for the last eleven years, I can honestly say that I believe it has made the difference between a good marriage and a great one. But it is not a decision to be taken lightly. A woman who seeks or accepts this lifestyle is truly a woman of worth. The man who leads her should strive to be worthy of her submission.
Finally, check out the biblical reference on this, Ephesians 5:22 -33.
Pastor Fuller explains in this video: