It is easy for the new married couple to take time to adapt to having discipline in their marriage. In fact, to apply it to your life, for a husband to lead and correct his wife, and for a wife to follow him fully and with her whole heart, takes understanding and is aided by experience. There are two common ways people stumble at this. While one common error is to feel trepidation about using strong authority, or to have fear over the pain of a spanking, the other extreme is not rare either — the couple ends up making an entire lifestyle, or entire relationship, out of rules and spanking. Their life becomes soaked in them, making regular marital interactions more difficult. This is where the young couple needs to remember that spanking is not a lifestyle. Marriage is their life and marriage is their commitment, and should be for the glory of God. Discipline is only a tool therein. It does not exist for its own sake, or because it’s thrilling. It’s only there to aid when needed.
I’ve written before on the topic of keeping discipline subordinate to the broader context of marriage, and also spoken of some easy misuses of it, but I’d like to work with the topic again, and with a look at common misapplications. I find that while overdoing discipline can happen in a variety of ways, it most frequently is rooted in not keeping the eye on marriage and fulfilling all the goals of marriage. That includes spiritual leadership and growth, leading a virtuous home, sharing each other’s burdens, loving one another, bearing and raising children, serving in the Church and serving in the community, putting food on the table each day; if these are not a center of attention, then the focus can become something much smaller, such as discipline. The same is true of other smaller parts of home life that can become overly important. Once a couple stops making the priority the incredibly valuable job they have as a family, it’s easy for anything else to nudge it out of the way, and become too central. With discipline, and the often enthusiastic response many people have to it, the danger of becoming too grand is significant. It can never be led by my selfish desire, or done for personal fulfillment. It is only a tool in guiding a wife when she needs it.
Some married couples I have heard from feel nearly obliged to try out everything in the discipline tool box in a short period of time. That toolbox is full of useful activities. But not everything needs to be done in a short period of time. To see what you need to use, start guiding your wife and setting the standards of the home first. In areas she needs guidance, you discipline her for those areas which are most serious and trouble causing. Other areas you manage with talking, or more gentle correction. Build your marriage, and your home life step by step, and apply discipline when you truly see the need. You will do some experimentation early on, not only in how you guide your wife, but also in the rules you have for your home. You will make adjustments. You will get used to the challenges and how to deal with them. It’s not meant to all happen at once.
Nudity is an extremely attractive factor for a lot of couples. Yet there is no obligation to practice this a large part of the time, and if a man kept his wife nude much of the time, it would not be the the normal relationship they are supposed to have. It would in fact get in the way of their relationship. Nudity may take place in love making, or during a spanking. It may be used in limited time periods for training. However, a relationship is not built on nudity, which unnecessarily sexualizes daily activities for husband and wife. Sex and sexualization is not for all time, even for the intimate marriage union. We relate to one another on an emotional, spiritual, brotherly, and warm level most of the time. The sexual element should not be coming in strongly but for specific purposes and specific times. Therefore, the fact having your wife undressed can be used to train her, does not naturally mean she does not normally wear clothes. Of course she does.
Men also have a tendency to overdo sex in marriage. This can come across by also overdoing a wife’s sexual submission, or using sex too abundantly in teaching submission. Not only is such abundant sex necessary to teach a wife submission, but like any other imbalance, it can get in the way of the relationship, and overly focus a man on one thing. That will weaken a man in the long run. Sex being as pleasurable as it is, both emotionally and psychically, is also easy to use for purely selfish purposes. It is important to use self-control. A man should be capable of controlling his passions when he wills. Fasting from sex, just like fasting from food, can also help keep man and wife away from being dominated by their passions. Moreover, when the focus on nudity or sex is for the purpose of teaching submission, it can take away from ordinary making love, and being able to express fond emotions through intimacy.
Maintenance spanking is a useful tool as well, but also one that can be overused or over relied on. You should not feel obliged to spank so regularly. It is a form of training, and can be valuable. However, it could cause trouble if used without a visible need for it. It could confuse a wife about her behavior, or make her think she is always failing. It could cause her to view her marriage as too full of rules and punishment, and not see and value the love that is there. I would not advise spanking as training without apparent need or clear benefit. Similarly, and even more so, boot camps are in no way obligatory to discipline. They are there for when intense, but short periods of training are needed. I’ve never done one with my wife, and I manage her well, and she behaves well most of the time. Even when used, boot camps are typically short, being several days to a week. To make it much more time consuming could be over burdensome, and ultimately pointless. There is only so much learning and discipline anyone needs.
Don’t feel bad if you fall into any of these pitfalls. It’s easy to do if you have not practiced either headship or discipline before. Make adjustments to bring things back to the norm for a marriage relationship, which itself can vary somewhat from couple to couple. It’s not bad to get an idea of where the norm is for other couples, just to see how it works out in more experienced homes, and among the general community. Spank for bad behavior, and do so thoroughly and consistently. Don’t worry about the small stuff. Keep your eye on the goals of marriage, and its daily joys, and not on discipline. Let it come in where it is needed. Live a happy and fulfilling life, not a spanking lifestyle.