When I was a little girl, I remember seeing my mom working in the kitchen almost every night putting together a meal for my then stepfather. She’d cook, fix his plate first, then mine and my brothers, and finally hers. Anything he needed, she got up and got. When it was over, he retired to…wherever. Who knows? That was the nightly ritual for years. That was the type of home I grew up in.
It’s a large part of what shaped my views on submission.
Recently, I engaged in a conversation with a mixed group about the role of submissive women. Some people felt that a woman submitting to her man was practically archaic and diminished her efforts as an independent individual. There were a few people who believed simple gestures of love and appreciation were acts of submission, and there were a couple who felt that submission was synonymous with servitude.
It was interesting to see everyone’s take on the subject. Personally, I don’t see a submissive role in a relationship as one equivalent to being a maid, a mother, or a doormat. I see it as an act of love.
Allow me to elaborate. Let’s say you have a couple, we’ll call them Phil and Patty for argument’s sake. Now, Phil has had a long day at work. He’s tired and stressed. An earlier phone conversation with Patty alerted her to his mood. Expecting a night of de-stressing, Phil arrives home and is immediately bombarded by Patty. The bills need paying, dinner has not been made, the kids are running amuck with no silence in sight. She starts in on him about working long hours and not being home and blames him for being overworked. She doesn’t allow him to have a moment’s peace.
Patty needs to have a seat.
So many women (myself included) have gotten used to fending for themselves. We’ve had to wear pants under our skirts, figuratively speaking. We work, go to school, take care our family, etc. Taking care of a man is not something we honestly aspire to do.
Well, consider me old-fashioned. To me, playing this role is not “taking care of a man.” I’ve always been of a mind that the man is the head of the household while the woman operates as the neck. Not only does she support him, but she has the power to turn the head any way she needs (thanks My Big Fat Greek Wedding!). That’s not to say she’s meant to manipulate him, no. It’s a partnership. Fifty fifty. Give and take.
Now let’s revisit Phil and Patty. Let’s say he’s just come home from a rough day and Patty takes a moment to greet him. It can be a hug, a kiss, a “how are you feeling?” It doesn’t matter. That’s submission. That’s putting another person’s immediate need over your own for just a moment. That doesn’t make you weak. That shows you care.
Take care of him and he’ll take care of you. Ideally.
I say ideally because of my mother. She’s a great example of how being submissive in a relationship can be disastrous or it can work. With my former stepfather, she was basically a servant. She took being submissive to extreme levels, largely because that’s how she thought she was supposed to be. In return, he walked all over her. He abused her trust and did not reciprocate her efforts in the relationship.
Fast forward a few years, like, 15 or so, and she meets my new stepdad. By this time she understands that being submissive isn’t about being a doormat or not being strong. She became her own woman and developed her own identity. But she still plays the role. Granted, it’s not as severe as it once was, but it’s there. And this time it’s with a man who is truly the head of the household and adores her. They’re partners. Every simple gesture counts and is appreciated on both ends.
See, ladies, if you gave your best to a man and he gave you his worst, that doesn’t mean everything you did was in vain. You just had the wrong partner. There’s always a lesson to be learned in every relationship, good or bad. And sometimes you have to go through hell just to find out how strong you really are. I see my mother today and know this to be true.
With that being said, I support being a submissive. I’m still my own person and I’m learning new things about myself daily. I can only hope that my future partner is someone who will meet me halfway and understand reciprocity.
I’m just sayin‘. If I’m fixing the plate, perhaps he can do the dishes.