|To the wives who read this: I know how hard it can be to talk about submission and discipline, even with your own husband. I've had to do it. That's why I've written this essay in letter format. It can be printed or emailed to your husband if you agree with all I've said and wish to let him know that. If you wish to edit anything I've said, or add anything, to make it your own, feel free, but I ask that you be sure to note that it has been modified from my original version by you. Thank you.
If you are reading this, it is most likely because your wife (or fiance, possibly) has given it to you. You're probably wondering why she handed you this essay in letter format, and wanting to ask her why she doesn't just talk. Set that curiosity aside. She has given it to you for a reason. I'm dealing with a subject here which should be a very small matter, because it is something she wants that costs nothing and she feels will improve life and marriage drastically if you give her. However, humans being what they are, it is NOT a small matter; it is very difficult to make this request.
You see, you're holding this letter, reading it, because your wife has come to the decision that she would rather you be the authority in your home. She would like you to take over your job as husband, as defined in the Bible. She doesn't have to do this, and the Bible isn't forcing her to do something outside of her will. For many of us, our faith does not force us to choose this, but it affirms our right to let our husbands be the final authority in our home. But, being an authority without the actions to back up your words is not what your wife has in mind. What she has in mind is to give you full authority to make rules and have expectations for her, and to physically discipline her when she chooses not to follow your rules.
You're probably quite shocked right now. How could you possibly consider spanking your wife? Isn't that just for kids? Isn't it abuse? Well, consider that children are punished for wrongdoing because it influences them later to suppress their selfish desires and choose right over wrong. Adults are no different, as I will explain later. Also, consider that you are reading this because your wife is ASKING you to be her disciplinarian. Children have no choices in this matter. Their parents, relatives, school authorities all have an automatic right to punish any way they see fit. Children do not get to decide anything on matters of punishment. They must simply accept it. Your wife has the ability to choose who punishes her and how. So, if a child can and should be punished for wrongdoing even though he has not recognized his need for discipline, isn't it even more right to punish an adult for wrongdoing when that adult has recognized his need for one? When you consider it in that manner, it is plain that it is not abusive to discipline somebody who asks you to do so.
Let's start by defining Domestic Discipline (DD). There are many definitions out there. To some, a parent spanking his child qualifies as DD. To others, any form of discipline or punishment, including time-outs qualifies. Some people regard the concept of spanking one's spouse as DD, and some even include spanking or other activity done for sexual purposes.
My definition is that DD is anything that the leaders of a family (parents) incorporate that helps other members of the family (including the other parent) to basically behave themselves and do the things that need done for the family and home life to run smoothly. For this paper, we will focus on the particular facet of DD that involves physical discipline (spanking) of one spouse by the other.
We shall start with the very basic concept that rules and consequences are necessary. There is little doubt for most people that in order for a family to work, there must be rules, and somebody must be responsible for enforcing those rules. Most of us understand that the parents are responsible for laying down the rules and expecting all in the family to obey them. Further, people generally agree that in order for parents to enforce rules, it is not enough to simply teach them; there will come a time when punishment for breaking the rules must be used, or the rules are worthless. We can see evidence of this in the Bible, where in repeated passages God talks about the "rod of correction" being applied to those who choose to break the rules. In Hebrews 12, God promises to chastise those who break His rules, for a child who is expected to behave is indeed loved. A child who is allowed to indulge his sinful desires, however, is clearly neglected by his parents, who clearly don't love him enough to want him to learn how to follow God. Rules and consequences are vital in helping a person overcome their selfish desires and be a blessing to the family and to God.
This principle is easily seen in God's Word, but it is also seen in our society, no matter how people have tried to strip God out of it. In order for society to work, there must be rules of conduct. We must not steal another's belongings; we must drive in a uniform fashion. These are two examples of rules we all must follow in order for our society to work. In both cases, these rules are not simply spoken of and encouraged. There are consequences for choosing to break the rules. A person who steals may find himself confined to a prison cell, both as punishment for his misdeed and to protect society from a repeat offense. A person who does not drive according to the rules could find himself paying a traffic fine, paying for damage caused to his or somebody else's car, or even imprisoned for recklessly endangering or taking another's life while driving. American society, despite its yearnings to abandon the Word of God, mirrors it almost exactly in this case. There are rules. Somebody is in charge. Everybody, including those in charge, must abide by the rules or suffer the consequences. Scandals aside, this is the way America works. The same can be said for schools, workplaces, and non-Christian homes, but for reasons of brevity I will assume that the reader does not need that proof laid out for him.
It is safe to say, then, that it is completely reasonable for a person to expect a family to have a leader, rules, and consequences. But who should that leader be? Society teaches that man and wife should be equal, both leading the home, resolving their conflicts by discussion and coming to a compromise as needed. God teaches that there must be a final authority. God teaches in Ephesians that the husband is the family's final authority. The husband is the spiritual leader of the family, and therefore it is his job to teach, lead, and punish as needed. The wife is next in the chain of command. It is also her job to teach, lead, and punish as needed those who are below her on the chain. She does this according to the decisions made by her husband, whi involves her in the decision-making process out of respect for her desire and ability to help him. She need not argue or try to usurp his authority in order to make herself heard; she is heard because he values her.
Why did God give the man the job to be final authority? How can you possibly justify choosing to obey God when society teaches that woman should be equal, or even above man? God created man and woman differently. Women were designed for raising children and working in the home. Men were designed to provide for the family and to make final decisions for the family. As a result, women are more emotionally-driven than men. They concern themselves over the feelings and happiness of the family, where men are less interested in how the children feel and more interested in being sure they're learning to become self-sufficient. Because of this and many other differences, the job of spiritual leadership falls to husbands. Where a wife will make eotional choices, a husband will make logical choices. So, the jobs of husband and wife are assigned based on their strengths and weaknesses. This is not a character or gender flaw, but simply a sign of intelligent design in creating two genders that fit together like puzzle pieces. Surely there are many more reasons for man being the leader that I have not discussed, and more still that God has not revealed to us for whatever reason. But aside from logic, man is to be the leader because God says so. In Ephesians 5, God is quite clear about how the chain of command should work. There are those who talk about man being head of woman as being simply a metaphor, but this would also make God's authority nothing more than a metaphor, and we know that to be pure rubbish! Marriage is to be an object lesson about how God and Jesus work, and how Jesus and Christians should interact. When a person accepts Jesus Christ, they also accept the expectations that come with and the consequences and rewards that follow that, quite gladly. When a woman marries a man, she doesn't simply accept his authority, she GIVES it to him by choosing to become his wife! As a member of God's family, we are generally not so foolish as to believe we have 50/50 authority with Jesus Christ. The same goes for marriage.
So we have reached the point where we recognize not only the need for rules and consequences, and for a final authority, but we also understand that the husband is to be the authority, for reasons we can see and probably for many more reasons we can't understand. We have reached the understanding that even a wife is under the authority of the husband. Some may feel the need to do further research on this. I encourage this. I'm glossing over everything, providing a single to-the-point essay on the topic at hand. If you feel the need to study any part of this further in order to understand and strengthen your belief, please do, because now we step into territory that is less readily accepted by even conservatives in our society.
We have come now to the question of if a wife should be subject to discipline or punishment from her authority (husband). We shall start by considering why punishment exists at all. Is it because children do not know better? No,a child who does not know better is not often held accountable for his actions. Instead he is trained (by whatever method the parent chooses) so that he will learn to choose right over wrong. A child is punished when he does know what is right and selfishly chooses wrong anyway. The same goes for any man or woman who commits wrong. A person who breaks a law and is caught will suffer punishment from the government. A person who breaks company policy may find his job in danger, and will certainly find promotions hard to come by later. A person who breaks school rules also knows he faces punishment for doing so. It is simply accepted that those in authority also have the authority to punish as needed.
Punishment (of any kind, but we will focus on spanking) serves several purposes. First, it makes it completely clear to the offender that there is a problem with the offender's behaviour. Second, it serves to exact a price for the offense, thus removing the guilt and need to make further ammends. For this reason, punishment should come after any apology and be the last time anybody mentions an offense. Third, it serves to add an artificial consequence in a place where often the consequences are not so easy to see. Fourth, it serves as a reminder that the rules matter and that there is a price to pay for breaking them. A child who finds himself over his parent's knee does not doubt that he has done something unaccceptable. He also knows he has paid the price for his choice. In many cases a child will not see a consequence, or will not accept it as enough of a deterrent to prevent misbehaviour. Playing in the street is a danger because a child may be hit by a car, and a parent inserts an artificial consequence in hopes of preventing the child from the real consequence of being injured or killed. Knowing he will be punished for a fit has a better chance of working. A child who earns punishment for a misdeed is also likely to consider that in the future when deciding whether or not to repeat the misdeed. The same is true of an adult. He who finds himself paying a traffic ticket knows he has done something wrong. He has paid a penalty for his wrongdoing. He has suffered an artificial consequence in the hopes that the "real" consequence (causing an accident) can be avoided. And he is likely to consider that experience when he is driving next time.
Why, then, if parents, governments, employers, and schools have the authority to punish rulebreakers, would a husband NOT have the same authority over his wife? It is certainly not because of her equal status with him before God. All men are created equal, our Declaration of Independence states, and yet our founding fathers recognized the rights of some men (courts) to punish other men. Even American legal documents support the concept that despite equality among humans, those in charge must exact a penalty for rulebreaking in order to maintain a peaceful society. It is then wise to consider that a husband, as ruler over his home, also has the responsibility of exacting a penalty for misdeeds, even if the offender is his wife.
But how would this remain in check, you ask? How does it remain discipline and not become abuse? Let's first define abuse. Abuse is mistreatment. It is the punishment of the wife at the sole discretion of the husband, without attention paid to the wife's spirit, her respect (or lack thereof) of her husband's authority, without rules being clearly-stated, and without contstraint. This means a woman has no real ability to avoid the punishment, since she cannot understand the reasoning. Abuse seeks to only harm a person. Punshment seeks to cause temporary discomfort (and even pain) in order to help the person. Punishment is the act of charging a known price for breaking known rules. This means that a wife has the freedom to choose to ignore the dinner dishes, but she knows she will pay the price of a predetermined number of swats. In short, it is the job of both partners together to be sure that punishment never becomes abuse. The wife has the unusual ability to affect her own punishment, because she is not only her husband's subject but his trusted advisor.
You may be concerned about many things, not the least of which is that your parents always taught you never to hit a girl. Well that is definitely true. You should never hit your wife. But those of you who are fathers know there is a difference between hitting your child and spanking your child. The same is true of your wife. Also, keep in mind that she's ASKING you to do this. You are not choosing to do something to her that she believes is abuse. She is asking for it because she believes it to be valuable to your relationship, valuable to her as a person, and a sign of love rather than abuse. It is a sign of love; anybody with children knows that a spanking for misdeeds is out of love for the child and desire for him to have an easier life free from later punishment from the government for misdeeds.
You may also wonder how only the wife could be subject to punishment. Why shouldn't you be subject to the same from her? For reasons God does not spell out to us, God placed man above woman in the chain of command. It is not right for the submissive wife to punish her husband any more than it is right for a child to turn his father over a knee for the father's misdeeds. It is not for your wife to punish, but for God. You are accountable to God alone for your misdeeds. While this may sound like you've gotten off easily, keep in mind that you are ALSO accountable to God for your wife's behaviour (or rather, your tolerance of her bad behaviour), as well as for the behaviour of any children you have. You ought to be VERY concerned with their behaviour, because while they will have to own up to it with God, you will also be accountable. In exchange for this serious responsibility, your wife has chosen to give you the right (and responsibility) to punish her for giving God a reason to be displeased with you. Again, for reasons only God understands fully, God does not hold her accountable for your behaviour. Therefore, she does not automatically earn the right to exact punishment from you.
But this does not answer the question of how to prevent punishment from becoming abuse. This is where your wife's position as your advisor comes in. Together, you must draft a list of rules--a job description for a wife, if you will. It may be as long or short a list as you like, but you must make certain it is as complete as possible. It may include things such as "wash the dishes after breakfast and dinner", which puts the wife's job into writing and there is no confusion about it. Separately, make a list of the problems that have led you to read this article. Are the clothes not getting washed until there's not a thing clean in the house? Does she try to usurp your authority in front of the children instead of discussing a disagreement privately without letting the children see dissent among their authorities? List these things. Now, with your wife, decide on a few things off of either list, in any proportion which is right for your family, and choose to focus on these behaviours and problems first. Most people choose three to five items to start with. These are the only offenses your wife should be punished for, at first. She should always know what jobs are expected of her, and she should be made aware of the problems she's causing, so that she may be influenced to change her ways without need of punishment. But she should not be overwhelmed by having a hundred new rules and finding herself receiving several spankings a day when just last week she was allowed to run wild. Even a wife who choses this herself will need time to adjust.
So now you and your wife have a list of a small handful of punishable offenses. Now you must decide when you will add more. Perhaps you will add one more rule a week. Whatever you decide, agree on it. Also agree upon the consequences for breaking the rules. Perhaps they will be different depending on the rule broken, or perhaps you would rather the same consequence all the time. Whatever they are, they should be flexible to allow for harsher or gentler punishment at the husband's sole discretion. For example, an agreed-upon punishment of five to ten swats keeps the punishment within reason while allowing for flexibility. Half of the dishes being done might justify only five swats, while ignoring them entirely would likely earn seven, and if it is a consistent problem it might be worth ten. How many swats should you give, you ask? This will take some tinkering. Most men are inclined to be too gentle at first. After the first couple of spankings, you will need to discuss the matter with your wife and possibly adjust your numbers. Generally, ten to fifteen swats with an implement (fewer with a belt or switch) are adequate. If your wife is open to the suggestion, it may help to select an implement and give a few practice swats, with her giving direction as to the force. She has asked you to spank her because she feels she needs it, so she will likely be quick to be certain your punishments will be effective. This practice time can also serve to show her a little of what to expect if she chooses to break a rule, which is especially effective for a wife who has long been allowed to run wild, or who perhaps was never spanked as a child and needs to know what to expect.
So now you have decided to implement DD in your realtionship. You have your list of offenses and punishments. You know the rules that will be added in the future as you both adjust to life with expectations. But... where do you start when your wife has broken a rule? You start by pointing out her offense, preferably alone. You want to punish and train her, not embarrass her. She, being an intelligent person, will see that she has allowed her sinful nature to take over by not abiding by the rules. Because she has chosen to give you the right to punish her, she will not argue or try to convince you that you are wrong. She may become saddened and upset, and who wouldn't upon the prospect of being punished? But she will be quick to obey and to allow you to spank, since it is by her own choice that you have the right to do so.
A hand is not an appropriate tool for this job. Hands are for touching, not spanking. This might be an area you wish to let your wife decide. She has likely been spanked before and knows what does and doesn't work on her. Generally, a hairbrush, a wooden spoon, a belt, or a switch are common choices. One effective switch for children is about three feet of quarter inch plumbing supply line. It's a flexible cane-like implement that stings but leaves no lasting mark (unless the offender is easily bruised). Find a single implement you both agree upon and stick with it. If you have never spanked a person before, or if you are choosing an implement you have no experience with (such as a switch), it is advisable to give some unsuspecting pillow a few test swats before you spank your wife. It may be helpful to do this every time you spank her for a while. It may also be helpful to you to strike your own leg with the implement every time you spank anybody (wife or children) to remind yourself how hard to spank. If you choose, it can also demonstrate the point that when your wife or child does wrong, God holds you accountable for punishment as well.
Spankings are best done on the bare skin with adults. It can often take several swats before the effect will last more than a second. You want to be able to see the effect of your spanking, because your goal is to sting her skin, not injure it. Yes, if you spank on the bare skin, you run the risk of arousal for either of you. However, you are in control of yours and can suppress it for the time being in order to deal with your wife's misdeeds. And I find it hard to believe a man might not be able to spank long enough to make his wife feel punished. And anyway, a married man who wishes to avoid having either partner aroused should see a doctor. Should you stumble upon something that enhances intimacy between you, that's not something to be regarded negatively.
The position you choose depends on your implement, and it may vary depending on how either of you feels. For example, if her back is hurting her, you're not likely to ask her to stand and bend over for a spanking. With a hairbrush or other relatively short implement, you may find it easiest if your wife lays over your lap or stands with her hands on a nightstand or chair, so you can find a comfortable angle for inflicting sting without having to cause damage to get your point across. For a belt or switch, she may be best positioned laying on or standing bent over a bed, where you can stand at her side.
So. We've reached the end. I've shared with you all I know about the logic and logistics of spanking your wife. You're probably still very uncertain about things, but you hopefully feel more prepared to give your wife what she's asked for. Perhaps now would be a good time to go find your wife, who is surely sick with nervousness about asking you to do this. Talk with her about your thoughts on the matter. I have shared the reasons that make implementing DD a logical decision. I have shared some basic information on technique. But only she can share her reasons for asking this of you in the first place, which you must be quite curious about by now.