It’s the small, unspoken things that tell the difference between an egalitarian marriage and a female-led marriage. While my wife and I don’t go out of our way to advertise the D/s nature of our marriage, there are certain constant truths that set us (and other D/s couples) apart.
My wife has certain expectations of me that would be completely out of the realm of possibility in an egalitarian marriage. When “we” make plans, she’s actually just telling me what we’re doing. If she doesn’t care, she delegates that part of the plan to me to figure out. When she is planning, she assumes–quite rightly–that I am constantly available for her, and that her desires trump mine.
It’s the typical things you find when the husband is subservient and obedient to his wife:
- When she needs to be driven somewhere or picked up, I am expected to drop everything and prioritize this. When I need to be somewhere, if she is busy I am expected to drive myself or take public transportation.
- When we have a lazy weekend day, the assumption is that I’m going to be doing housework, and she’s going to watch Netflix. I’ll happily dance the morning away (in my apron, if she wishes), and she’ll text my phone if she wants anything delivered to her in the living room.
- When she is ready to play her role (managing the money, planning what to eat that week), I’m supposed to stop what I’m doing and assist her. When she’s done, she’ll give me a to-do list to execute (like moving money between accounts, or going to the grocery store)
These are common elements of a D/s marriage. The thing is that we’re not conscious of these things anymore. My wife never says, “you’ll go to the grocery store while I watch TV, because I’m in charge and you are obedient.” She just assumes that I’m going to the store, and she’s correct. She assumes I’m going to have the laundry done, and she’s right. If I’m not done with the laundry, she doesn’t say “I thought you were my submissive bitch husband and you’d better get the laundry done or you’ll get a spanking.” She says “wow, you’re going to be up late tonight if you’re not done with the laundry.”
These expectations are the result of both of us learning our new roles. Both of us work hard in our marriage, and there’s no resentment on either side. I spend more time doing work around our house, but my wife makes the important decisions that, if she’s wrong, could have consequences for our financial lives. I have more obvious impact on the state of the house, but she leads our marriage. Over time, we’ve grown to find that these assumptions about her authority and my obedience have become automatic for both of us.
They key is that this is a way of working that fits us both. This feels natural to us, and we are happier when each of us plays our role. Spouses are taught that both partners should be equally invested in all parts of marriage, but that’s not works for many couples. We’re taught egalitarianism is better because the “traditional” marriage determined who took on the subservient role and dominant role arbitrarily, often with disastrous results.
It’s not a lack of equality that made these marriages dysfunctional, but the fact that this inequality was based on outdated gender stereotypes, rather than the partner’s personality. Some of these relationships turned out quite well, because the couple had the happy luck to find that the male was suited to leadership and the female was suited to domestic duties.
My wife and I are proof OK for one member of a couple to take on a subservient role, as long as that person does so willingly, and his or her partner is likewise capable of exercising competent leadership. We’re constantly aware of our dynamic, and discuss it honestly and openly. She uses our time in the bedroom to reinforce our dynamic, and so sex brings us not just closer to each other, but also anchors us in our respective roles.
As couples grow their D/s dynamic, I’d encourage the submissive partner to do their best to establish expectations on your dominant partner’s part that ask more of you, and less of them. Do this without topping from the bottom by waiting until your partner has directed you to do something and expresses a doubt, and reassuring them. Don’t preemptively guess at what they want, but make sure that they only need to ask once for something. Another way to avoid topping from the bottom is to call out what you’re doing, and to get their feedback on what you think might make a good expectation.