Disciplinary Time Outs

I realize that when it comes to moving I’ve never been particularly helpful. It’s just the way I’m wired. This time around, I’m dealing with some new challenges. My vision is deteriorated substantially and I’m still not fully recovered from my surgery earlier this year. The last time we moved, which was over 13 years ago, I had full command of my faculties and I still wasn’t a terrific help. There was a transcontinental move and we had professional movers do all the packing a lot of the unpacking.

This time we face some additional challenges. For one thing, were moving into a much smaller house. Total square feet of living space is probably 1/3 of what we have now. It has some additional storage space, but even counting that we will be trying to squeeze into less than half of the space that we have at this time. From my perspective, this puts an enormous burden on my lioness. I can’t see well enough to know exactly what needs to go where. I am capable of deciding what to keep and what to discard. I also think I can help with a strategy that will get us through it. It still leaves Mrs. Lion with either doing a lot of the work herself or supervising people we bring in to help us.

My theory is that she and I can pack up things we want to keep. Hopefully, that’s a small part of the stuff crammed into every corner here. Once we have the keys to the new house, I figure we can move and put away as much of this stuff is possible prior to the actual move date. Mrs. Lion agrees that this is a good idea. But she knows most of the effort will fall to her and she’s understandably worried.

Logically, it would be helpful to be able to divide things between garbage, giveaway/sell, and move. There isn’t enough space to do that and it would be a giant physical burden on Mrs. Lion. So, since we have until the end of September to be out of this house, a staged approach could well work. The big problem is we would both have to work at this steadily, and so far we are not even close. I think that Mrs. Lion shares my problem with moving. Maybe we need professional help.

I am very sure that in the course of this move, Mrs. Lion will need to make liberal use of her paddle. Fortunately, we don’t have any particular rituals around discipline so Mrs. Lion can dispense it rapidly and efficiently when needed. We don’t need more distractions right now.

I’m sure she’s thinking about how to get things done. I’m also sure her ideas are at least as good as mine, probably better. Neither of us are used to me being as helpless as I am right now. I think the stress is starting to show. One of the biggest stressors for me is that I can’t always tell what’s going on. More and more lately, Mrs. Lion thinks I heard her say something when in fact I didn’t. Or, the current situation is a little confusing and I would appreciate a short explanation of what’s happening.

It’s entirely too easy for me, and for her as well, to get irritated and impatient. This is where our disciplinary relationship can support our marriage in a very helpful way. In situations that are stressful, like this move, there is almost certainly no clearly better way to do anything. The job is to empty one house and fill another. Mrs. Lion thinks I would like to be in charge. I’m used to that role so she’s probably right. This isn’t the best time for me to do that.

Here’s my suggestion: If a situation arises and I become impatient or annoy Mrs. Lion, she immediately lets me know I’ve crossed the line and will spank me for it. This is a slight loss of efficiency. But I think if there ever was a situation where FLRD could effectively destress a difficult time, this is it. The way I see it, if we are alone she might want to carry out the initial spanking then and there. It would interrupt the flow, but I think in a good way. One of the best ways to avoid escalating upset and impatience is to stop and take a timeout. In our case, a disciplinary break serves two purposes: It distracts both of us from the emotions that were flaring, and it effectively lets me know I need to watch my step.

I don’t think this will be easy for Mrs. Lion to do. For one thing she internalizes a lot of stressful situations. I’m very sure even as she reads this post, she’s thinking of reasons I’m not making sense. I really believe I am. I also believe it’s important for her to tell me how she feels when she feels it, no matter who’s around. I also think she shouldn’t store up punishments, but find a way to do them as soon as we are alone.

Moving is one of the most difficult things people do. Dealing with stress on a real-time basis is probably one of the most difficult challenges Mrs. Lion faces. I can be willful. I can also be pretty clever about the way I do it. The point is that it doesn’t matter who is right, it only matters that we take the short timeout necessary to use our tools to destress. If Mrs. Lion agrees, we may actually get through this without headaches and upsets.

Yesterday, Mrs. Lion had two situations when a disciplinary timeout would have benefited both of us. The first occurred when we were at the new house. I didn’t hear Mrs. Lion tell me to wait while she checked something out. She walked away and I became a little panicky because the ground was very uneven. I responded in an annoyed way. She did let me know I was being impatient. I disagreed claiming I never heard her tell me to wait.

It didn’t really matter if I heard or not. I think that was a good time to be scolded, which she began to do not caring who heard, and to schedule an as-soon-as-possible spanking to reinforce the point. In cases like this, the least delay is best for both of us. She may not agree, but I’m pretty sure that the spanking would have helped her release tension and helped me understand patience.

The second situation she mentioned happened when we were at the Home Depot parking lot. Our RAV4 has all sorts of warnings and lets us know with a plethora of beeps. I asked her what was wrong. She didn’t immediately answer. I asked her again impatiently and she growled at me. I responded by saying it wouldn’t have taken a second to let me know. We were on our way home, so a disciplinary timeout could have been only 10 minutes away. Clearly we needed one.

What do you think, Mrs. Lion?


  1. It sounds as if your vision has deteriorated to an alarming degree. I hope that there is hope you recover a lot of it. All the best! I’ll keep you in my prayers.

    1. Author

      It’s deteriorated quite a bit. I’m told it won’t get better. The goal right now is to keep it from getting worse. Thanks for your good thoughts.

  2. Moving is so stressful and when you add downsizing and health issues it is a nightmare. We moved from a 5 bedroom home to one with only 2 bedrooms. Trying to discard things was difficult. Add to that my husband had just had back surgery and you have a recipe for disaster. I am ashamed to say we failed miserably. We have a two car garage and a basement stuffed full of stuff and there were hurt feelings. I agree with your disciplinary time out theory. If we had been practicing FLRD at that time we would have had fewer emotional breakdowns or at least an outlet for the stress. I have faith that you and Mrs. Lion with make it through and strengthen your relationship in the process. Good luck!

    1. Author

      Thanks for sharing this with us. I’m convinced that we need the stress outlet and Mrs. Lion really needs to help me and help herself with disciplinary timeouts. I hope she will be able to do them. Meanwhile, like you, we struggle with downsizing. I’m very motivated and I think my lioness is too.

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