Friday, July 10, 2015

Proactive vs Reactive

After watching the fall out of the Amtrack train wreck in Philadelphia last month I couldn’t help but notice the reactions by so many who wanted to fix the problem. There was a suggestion to change policy making sure there are two in the engine rather than one. Others wanted to install monitoring cameras in every engine compartment to watch the engineer to see what he/she is doing while on the job. Still others wanted to make certain a speed monitoring device is mounted to every train that would slow it down on curves to prevent a repeat of this terrible accident.

Are we not a reactive society? Now a month later after the horrific shooting in Charleston, everyone wants the Confederate flag taken down because some loony 21 year old had it as a symbol of white supremacy. I’m not a southerner, although I now live in the south. I can say from a Yankees perspective: I have no negative association with the confederate flag. I’ve never associated it with slavery. My only associations are those flags in the back of pickup trucks along with a gun rack and the symbol of the Confederacy during the Civil War. But policy will be what policymakers decide and momentum is on the side of taking the flag down in public places.

How many of us know of a bad intersection and have said, “if they don’t put a traffic light here or make this a four-way stop someone is going to get killed.” And when that accident happens, guess what happens? They install that light or sign. They react rather than proact.

It made me wonder if we approach our marriages in the same way. Too many of us wait until things become noticeably bad before we do anything about the problems. Usually by then, whatever the issue is has hit an acute point of sensitivity so now, whenever it occurs again, both partners are in defense mode. Looking back on my failed marriage I know we both let things go too long before addressing them. But that’s simply the kind of people we are – we react. I think we’re just too busy with life to not put small stuff aside (even if it ends up being major stuff). 

I saw my son not too long ago and asked “do you or your wife do anything to protect your marriage and ensure it stays healthy?” He looked at me like I was from Mars. I told him about his mom and I and how I wish for him to never experience what we it. I don’t think he saw the significance of what I was saying because he really had no answer.

Doesn’t it seem like being proactive is a better solution than being reactive? What do we do proactively to keep that special “oneness” with our spouse? Kathy has evening chats while her husband kneels at her feet. Sub hub in Phoenix and his Mistress go out for dinner periodically specifically to talk about their D/s relationship. Katie makes sure I’m locked if I ever leave the house without her accompanying me. We recommit our love for one another by reciting vows annually. She knows my email passwords and monitors my location via her phone when we are part. Dennis’ wife (worshipping your wife) rifles through his wallet to see what receipts/cash he has, making certain he isn’t spending on items he shouldn’t. I wonder what your spouse does to keep the two of you close? (I put the ownership on the wife since most reading here live in a WLM.)

I guess some might respond by saying “she disciplines me”. I would agree that discipline serves as a way to curb wrong behavior although it is a reactionary response rather than a proactive one. Many years ago I went to a seminar on esteem building. The talk pertained to helping children grow to be well adapted and have a positive self image. I remember the speaker stating, “For every negative comment you make you need to balance that with at least four positive ones.”  Wow! Now that’s a toughie. We don’t think that way. It’s not how most of us are wired.

I attended another conference some years later and the speaker was a therapist. He noted that if you say ‘don’t do this or don’t do that’ the patient will then focus on that very thing. That’s not the goal here he went on to say; the goal is not to get them to focus on the negative but the positive – what you want them to accomplish. He then said, “When your patient doesn’t perform the task properly correct them without saying the word don’t.” Again, it’s not how we tend to speak. It takes a conscious effort to rephrase the statement from a negative to positive. As a parent isn’t it easier to say, “Sally stop that!” then say “Sally, come. Let’s try this.”

I did a quick Google search and came across this article.  It noted those in the business world who are most successful had a 5.6/1 positive/negative feedback ratio from colleagues while those that were least successful had a .7/1.0 ratio (that’s four negatives for every three positives). The study sounded quite similar to the talk I heard fifteen years ago regarding self esteem. It seems getting the most out of employees works the same way as building a positive self image.

To bring the message a little closer to home the above author makes this parallel,

“As an interesting aside, we find ….this research is echoed in an uncanny way by John Gottman’s analysis of wedded couples’ likelihood of getting divorced or remaining married. Once again, the single biggest determinant is the ratio of positive to negative comments the partners make to one another. And the optimal ratio is amazingly similar — five positive comments for every negative one.”

Isn’t that interesting? Not to use this as a barb to those engaged in domestic discipline but having your bottom reddened every time you do something wrong doesn’t seem like the best method to get Joe to stop doing wrong. Yes, discipline and criticism does work in the short term. A beating is akin to a sharp rebuttal or other negative comment. It gets one’s attention. It works to get your point across in the immediacy of life but life isn’t about the moment, it’s about a lifetime. It’s a continuum. It seems a better choice than the whack or cutting remark is to be proactive and build your spouse up, saving criticism when it is needed but using it sparingly.

I know if I’ve had a great day at work but had a situation where someone criticized me, on the way home that one critical remark will stick in my mind and bother me. When my son was younger I attended a piano recital. He memorized a piece that was several minutes long but messed up the ending. When the recital was over I was standing with him and his teacher and I said, “you did great except for the ending.” His teacher promptly corrected me saying, “but did you notice how many notes he played perfectly?” She cut me to the quick. I focused on the negative. I cut my son down by my remark. She built him up. She commended him on doing well and implicitly reminded me I should do the same.

OK, enough writing.  I need to stop so I can go tell Katie how much I love her, and how much I’ve appreciated being able to spend my day with her (that’s two positives…. she deserves so many more!). I’m sure your Mistress does as well.

I’m Hers


  1. Sweetie, I very much enjoyed the post and agree with you. So many of us are missing true intimacy in our lives. While spanking a man is not for me, I can understand why many women do it. If you think about an over the knee spanking it is a very intimate act. We crave intimacy with our men.
    We want their touch both physical and spiritually. This is what many marriages are missing in today's busy world. What I tell Becky is every day take some time out for your guy. I time to be silly with him, to kiss him, and laugh with him.

    1. Thank you Kathy for your thoughts. I thought sub hub (below) said well what you were referring to regarding the intimacy of spanking. He responded in such a way to make it make sense - at least for me. Now if I can only get Katie to 'go there' I'll be happy as a lark!

      Love you stopping by

  2. Sweetie (as Kathy likes to call you), first let me say that I am honored to mentioned in one of your thought provoking posts. After reading it, i couldn't help feel a sense of pride in knowing that the catalyst for the lifestyle Mistress K. and I currently love, come from a proactive desire to keep our love "healthy". Yes, things like going our to dinner to discuss our love, and renewing your vows are an important ingredient in one's marriage, Female Led or otherwise. I cherish those times together and when we last renewed our vows, and used it as an occasion to formally commit ourselves to our FLM before God and his officiant, it was an emotional moment for both of us. I got chocked up.

    Now onto this: "but having your bottom reddened every time you do something wrong doesn’t seem like the best method to get Joe to stop doing wrong ....." Just to show that I'm not always kissing your ass with praise for your wisdom, I'll tell you here that I will agree and disagree with you in the statement. I'll agree that spanking alone doesn't solve anything. Many of us that participate in DD use spanking as an ingredient to the overall recipe. The spanking itself is only part of a process, that for me, helps establish and then continuously affirms her position as my Mistress Dominant, and my position as her submissive husband. I don't behave because I fear the spanking. I behave because I fear the disappointment of my beloved Wife. For me, the spanking itself provides a number of benefits. It "wipes the slate clean" as well as bringing us closer each time on an intimate level. It provides a natural venue for her to demonstrate her dominance and for me to demonstrate my submission. The level of intimacy that comes with our ritual of spanking for punishment is so profound, so strong, so deep that I don't know that I could do it justice with just words. At the end of the day however, I totally agree with you that a spanking, all by itself, accomplishes nothing and is indeed harmful and helpful to the relationship.

    Thanks again for the "shoutout"

    1. SHIP, Glad you decided to comment on 'sweetie's blog' :)! I believe what you say about the spanking - that it does visually affirm both of your positions within the marriage and it does 'force her' to visually show you she is the dominant one and you the submissive (by your physical position during the act). I"m glad we agree that it doesnt' fix anything permanently but I do understand what you say about you behaving and the reasons you do. That makes perfect sense to me.

      As to your recent blog comment in which you got like 30+ responses.... well I didn't comment cause I had nothing to add but I did think... "well who is writing this? It's McGyver! He can figure this problem out. McGyver always figures things out!" And so I will let you do that. Thanks for commenting!

    2. You humble me my friend. Thanks for the kind words, and yes .... McGyver will indeed find a way to fix it so that Mistress K. gets the kind sex she wants and deserves.

  3. Ellie and I love to go on dates and we love to talk. We make sure to schedule dates regularly. In addition we are intentional in our conversations regularly about our marriage. We ask each other how its going and talk through any concerns we have. At least once a year we go away alone around the time of our anniversary with the intention of goal setting for the following year. The goals we have are in relation to our family, finances, time, etc. It has worked for us over the years and I definitely agree that being proactive in this case is the only way to live.

    1. Mr. Ellie, Nice. I like hearing what you two do. I don't think being proactive need be a big deal - a major part of our life and time but rather a simple mindset of being intentional and thinking ahead. thanks for your thoughts!

  4. Carolina CyclistJuly 13, 2015 at 1:44 PM

    This is a very well written and thoughtful post. I really appreciate your candor on the subject.

    MrsL initially brought up discipline and punishment early on after she read a couple of the books written by Ms. Ivey. I told her I needed to process it and would give her an answer. What I realized is that in being closer to MrsL, I wanted...the discipline aspect in our relationship. She uses two methods now: spankings and what we call "the thinking closet". After each discipline session, I feel so much more connected to her. It is an incredibly powerful feeling.

    Thanks for a great post!

    1. Thanks for the comment Carolina cyclist. Although Mrs. L does discipline you with spankings and timeouts I really wonder if the greater benefit to your intimacy comes through the positive things that she does to encourage you rather than the negative/reactive punishments she is sometimes forced to employ.

      The point of my post was that research seems to point to encouragement and compliments is a better choice than approaching things more negatively as the better way to build success and intimacy. I understand how you to feel about the discipline and timeouts as a way to build intimacy but you can't sustain a relationship if that is the only means of interaction.

  5. Carolina CyclistJuly 17, 2015 at 9:25 AM

    I appreciate the feedback and agree that positive reinforcement is much nicer and MrsL uses it quite regularly. It is even more prominent in our new chosen chastity lifestyle. We more intimate now than we have ever been. Even after the discipline, right now, I feel more connected to her. I am not discounting the research...I just know right now it is a welcome aspect in our relationship.

    One thing we have both agreed to: if either of us feel uncomfortable with something or want to stop doing something all we have to do is ask to stop and this includes the discipline.