Looking back on attempts to get our marriage right, we tried hard to follow the Biblical model as Mr. D and I were active members of church through most of our married years. We wanted to get it right, do what was appropriate and accepted and right in the sight of God. Instead, we got so much wrong. Seeking counseling from leadership and those in the church we looked up to as role models for Mr. D being the head and I being submissive, we were told to lead and submit, but not how to lead and submit. What did this look like?
We wandered around for over two decades in the dark trying to live roles we didn’t understand. A couple of years ago when we came to that point that something needed to change in our marriage I knew I needed to submit and stop trying to take the lead. It felt like what needed to take place to right the relationship between Mr. D and I, but again the question came—what did this look like? By this time we had left our last church because of internal problems we’d seen before; though I’m not writing this to blast the church, just wanted to set the place where Mr. D and I were at the time.
Going on the internet and searching for submission took me in two directions; the church and the BDSM community.
We’d already gone the church route in trying to understand headship and submission. I spent a lot of time looking at Proverbs 31 and trying to be that kind of woman in my marriage. I was in confusion as to how to mix that with the submission spoken about in Ephesians 5; how did the two combine to be the type of wife I needed to be to my husband? Growing up on feminist tripe it was difficult to understand and define submission in current culture in relation to Biblical teaching. Proverbs 31 looked like the strong independent woman I was told I needed to be from a young age, but it seemed to contradict the submissive woman I was commanded to be; as I understood the definition of submission to be according to that same upbringing, meaning subservient. Since the two seemed to contradict one another I kept asking—what did submission look like for a woman today? I never got a straight answer.
That meant there was only one other direction to go in. I struggled with this since it went against everything within me of what a good Christian woman should be looking at, but I needed information; Mr. D and I both needed information. We picked up books about dominance and submission, we read some things online. We tried to implement a d/s relationship as we understood from what we learned and people we talked to in the community. It was short lived. We had just a little more understanding of the roles of Mr. D taking the lead and I following and deferring to him in a submissive role, but it still didn’t seem to fit. There were many other elements to it that weren’t what we wanted as part of our relationship. We took what little from it we felt we could use to build what we were looking for, but it seemed we didn’t fit anywhere. Were we looking for something that didn’t exist?
A little more research, a bit more reading, some good information that fit here and there; but I still had questions—what did it look like to submit to my husband while still being who I was meant to be? What did it look like on a day to day basis? How do I blend the person and the wife?
While stumbling around the internet reading blogs, looking for more resources I came upon a site that at first bothered me quite a bit. I didn’t like some of what I read—actually I downright hated some of what I read. I also couldn’t help but agree with most of it—I couldn’t stop reading. Going through the archives I came across this post and it all fell into place. This is exactly what we were looking for. I showed the blog MMSL to Mr. D and he started reading, and reading some more. He told me to order the Primer.
So that should be it. We got on track; Mr. D, the Captain, I, the First Officer. Follow this model and you’ll live happily ever after.
Not. So. Fast.
Having the title of First Officer and earning the rank of First Officer are two different things. Just being married may give me the title, but what I do to earn the rank is going to determine just how happy happily ever after will be and the success of the Captain’s mission. Yes, the Captain’s mission, not the First Officer’s mission. It’s his mission, his ship, his crew, his command.
Reading Athol’s site led me to a part of the internet that opened my eyes to so many truths about men and women, gender relations, feminism, the world and reality. Reading various blogs and researching what I read in those blogs to ensure their validity along with my own personal observations took the First Officer model further than what I’d first read about it. Yes, I wanted to be my husband’s FO, but more importantly I wanted to be a FO that he could depend on; I wanted to earn the rank. I felt I now had direction, I knew what it looked like and it was a model that we could live out for the long term.
What earns the rank of First Officer in a marriage relationship? How would this look in a woman who understands her place in the hierarchy of a long term relationship? This is the question I had to answer to know how to move forward. A good officer would be one of good character and high quality. To be a good wife and woman I know the character traits I need to posses as outlined in earlier posts defining femininity; honesty, support, nurture, respect and responsibility. To be a good FO would take being a woman of high quality also. The feminine attracts the masculine; a good FO compliments the mission of her Captain.
In a search of the internet I came across many lists and ideas of what qualities comprise a good officer. Putting together my own list I tried to include what I thought were the main aspects of what would be the most essential contributions I could make for a successful marriage relationship. These are a part of who I want to be as a quality woman and officer to my captain.
The manner in which I conduct myself needs to be the first aspect of a quality officer. Having confidence in my husband and in his mission needs to be evident in my attitude toward him. By demonstrating self control and integrity my husband’s trust in me will strengthen, and being easy to get along with, having a good sense of humor will help him to be able to relax when we are together working or enjoying some down time. My conduct is either going to make life more stressful or easier to deal with even in the most difficult times.
Displaying the willingness to tackle tasks and make significant contributions toward common goals displays the spirit of wanting the mission to succeed. This includes not requiring micromanagement by the Captain. A good FO knows what must be done and gets it done efficiently and in a timely manner; she need not be reminded. This relieves the Captain to the tasks that he takes on himself. As part of the team it is my responsibility to help the Captain succeed.
Being fit for duty is just the first part of the physical presentation important in officer quality. General fitness is essential to the energy and overall beauty of a FO; being ready for whatever would be required of me physically needs to take top priority. Regular exercise, eating healthy and taking care of overall health needs to be maintained. How I present myself to and for my Captain is also important; keeping myself groomed and the clothing I wear is representative of my Captain as well as myself to those who see and meet with me. I need to be mindful of the image I am portraying at all times.
Since we are talking about the physical I guess this would be as good of a place as any to insert that part of the marriage part of being a quality FO is seeing to the, ahem, physical needs of the Captain. When he may need a little relief of stress and tension, a good FO is sure to provide whatever her Captain may need when he needs it. It just helps the ship run that much smoother.
This quality is not intended to take over the command as Captain as it might be in other situations for a FO. Instead it is meant as a means to compliment the Captain in that as FO I show that I am capable of handling the bridge while the Captain is called out to take care of other matters.
Being able to think on my feet, demonstrating the ability to respond to circumstances that should arise, take initiative by assessing and initiating solutions independently of the Captain while still maintaining the overall mission is one of the most important qualities I could contribute to the relationship. My husband brought me on board his life to add to it, to share his visions and assist in achieving them, not to be a burden, but rather to help ease the burdens which he may encounter along the way.
I refer to this aspect as effective intelligence because I could be highly intelligent and come up with great solutions, but how I use my brain will distinguish between being smart and just being a smart-mouth.
It is my responsibility to acquire the information and skills I need to fulfill all jobs and duties of the role of FO, and these jobs and duties will change over the course of the relationship. During the early years I had to know how to maintain our home, taking care to stock it properly, prepare meals, cleaning, etc. Later, when our children were born I had to be prepared and capable to take proper care of them and, in our case, educate them at home. Our children are now adults and my jobs and duties are changing again so I guess the ability to be flexible can be applicable also.
Another part of this quality is in possessing the capacity for good judgment or discernment and to exercise it. Making poor choices could risk the overall mission. As we adjust to the current changes taking place in our lives I have a certain amount of leeway with regard to bringing in additional income. Using sensible judgment and planning for this includes keeping within the mission set by the Captain. This is not the time for me to be thinking in independent terms and chasing after my own ideas, unless it fits in with the objectives and goals already in place. I still need to be keeping up on the duties of the home which have not changed, while fitting in some new ones and utilizing good time management skills. It is a delicate balance.
These are by no means a complete list as I will more than likely add to them whether mentally or on paper. Overall what I do see is that dedication to my husband is the essential key to being the highest quality First Officer I could be. Showing not only competence to hold the rank, but doing those things that earn me the privilege of holding the rank that he has given me is what I strive for. It is a model that I searched for, one that I find contentment and peace in and one that I will not apologize for. I am where I need to be and it is where I will serve faithfully.