We’ve both been writing about the wall we seem to have hit in terms of Mrs. Lion spanking me for saying or doing things that upset her. She’s made some very good points. One is that it doesn’t feel fair to punish me for something that I really didn’t play a very large part in. I understand that. I think that the problem is that the sort of offenses I may commit in terms of interacting with her are subtle and frequently not intentional. It would be one thing if when I got angry I acted brattily. I don’t. I’m generally not aware of times when I interrupt her or otherwise make her feel bad.
I don’t think Mrs. Lion or any other disciplinary wife expects to turn her husband into a perfect, saintly man. It’s no accident that most wives will often refer to their husbands as their “oldest child”. Obviously, they don’t expect us to have perfect communication skills inside our marriages.
Mrs. Lion reserves punishment for when I break a rule. I have a few concrete, easy-to-spot rules she enforces consistently. She attempted to make a couple of behavioral rules: no interrupting and no acting like a know-it-all. I have to agree that those are reasonable rules. However, Mrs. Lion has found them impossible to enforce. I think the reason for this is that infractions of those rules generally occur while we are communicating. She’s focusing on the topic at hand and not my communication style. The only times she’s even snarled at me about one of those infractions has been when my behavior was particularly egregious.
Remembering the offense
That’s the dilemma. Is it worth the effort to interrupt a chain of thought to call me out? What happens to the real subject of the conversation if she growls at me about interrupting? It’s not easy to pick up a conversational thread when you switch gears so drastically. In the context of our communication, it isn’t particularly sensible to stop things and inform me I’m in trouble. Even if Mrs. Lion decides to make a mental note of my transgression and then inform me and punish me later, she’s burdened with the obligation to remember exactly what happened. That’s not reasonable. We were having a conversation because we needed to discuss something, not because she was testing me to make sure I wouldn’t interrupt.
Does this mean that we should abandon the idea that her disciplinary role also applies to my communication style? I hope it doesn’t. Based on my research, disciplinary wives with a lifetime set of experiences involving parents punishing them, develop a skill to manage these conversational issues. They appear to be able to make a mental note of behavioral infractions. Then, at a more opportune time, recall the situations, and advise their husbands that they committed spankable offenses.
does a snarl mean i get spanked?
On occasion, Mrs. Lion has snarled at me when I displeased her while we were talking. I think that’s a perfectly effective way to let me know that I’ve done something wrong. It’s also much more subtle than announcing that I was going to be spanked. Maybe we both have to recognize that a snarl signals that a spanking will be forthcoming when convenient. That way we avoid undue interruptions of our conversation. Mrs. Lion can also make me jointly responsible for remembering a snarl.
Mrs. Lion may consider this unfair. After all, her snarl may just be a warning for me to watch myself. If we are keeping track of those snarls, when we discuss them, she can decide what, if any penalty has been earned. If she spanks me when she snarls at least some of the time, I will be on notice that I may be in for a painful paddling. If it turns out the snarl was just a warning, at least we will have discussed the situation.
The principal value of spanking for bad behavior is that each time that behavior is repeated, a sense of fear accompanies it. If a lioness snarl often results in a sore bottom, it will get my full, undivided attention. After all, that’s what Mrs. Lion wants. It’s a matter of training. She learns to identify and express her reaction to the behavior she doesn’t like. Any expression of displeasure has to be taken seriously because it’s very likely to result in a spanking later. If it doesn’t, I can consider myself lucky.
If it seems that I’m spending too much time thinking about this, consider that in our 17 years together those behavioral issues have been the most frequent cause of Mrs. Lion being angry at me. She has a long record of not expressing her anger in any way. I think the health of our marriage can be vastly improved if she learns to express her feelings. My behavior will improve if I learn to take those expressions very seriously. She has the tools and knows how to use them. It’s just a matter of learning a new skill.
[Mrs. Lion — Lion is due for a spanking based on a conversation we had earlier. I made a statement, Lion said it was dumb (I’m simplifying) and took over the conversation. I tried to explain my statement but he was already fired up. I told him he was being difficult. Voices raised. And we were both frustrated with each other. Mr. Knowitall will get some paddle attention.]