To quote Bananarama, “It aint what you do it’s the way that you do it, and that’s what gets results.” This is something that I think is important when you are thinking about your relationship, particularly if you are introducing D/s to an existing relationship or thinking about establishing or reviewing the rules and rituals which will help to reinforce it. I recently read Kisungura’s post, Knowing your why and it made me think that so often with D/s, it is not so much what we do but how and why we do it. I realise that at the start D/s can seem that it is something new and different but actually, you really need something that will fit into your life and be sustainable. Unless the life and relationship you have currently is one which requires a complete overhaul, it is likely that you will just be redecorating and remodelling what you have, rather than casting it all aside to start again. So what you do may be similar to the sorts of things that you have done before, but the way that you do it and the meaning and reasoning behind it will often be what has changed.
Frequently during discussion, we see that while one couple does it one way, another does it the opposite way. Initially this may seem contradictory but in actual fact, it is because the meaning and the perception of that act to those particular individuals is what counts. I remember a very heated topic chat about service where this became apparent. There were differing views as to what was and wasn’t service, based on what worked and carried meaning for that couple. There really is not a right and a wrong here, expect for the obvious if it works it is right and if it doesn’t it is wrong. This is a rule that HL and I have tried to follow since we learnt the hard way that there was no one true way and that our way was the one for us (although we certainly would not suggest it would be the one for all of you).
The rules and rituals which we have serve to reinforce our own power exchange. The things we do are essentially based around respect, self-care, and nurture and over time we have found that the ones that have stuck are the ones which are important to us. Initially we made the mistake of trying to incorporate things which we had read others did, or things which other more experienced people told us we should be doing. This failed, quite spectacularly in some instances. It was hard for me to remember to do things which held no value to us and it was hard for HL to reinforce them for the same reason. Obviously what each couple does will depend on them but, for anyone who is interested, there is more detail about the sorts of things that work for us here and here.
Some of what we do will help to reinforce the feeling of submission for me and Dominance for him so essentially it is there to support the power exchange. Some will be about me thinking about him and making him the focus and my motivation for what I do. We try to meet the needs of the other and that is easier when you are fully connected on an emotional and on a physical level, so it will be about talking and listening as well as showing the other person that you are thinking abiout them and demonstrating how much they mean through your actions. Through constant effective communication, the level of trust will grow and the level of intimacy that is created as a result will strengthen what passes between you.
I think that whether you are starting out, or part way through your journey it is always good to stop and ask yourselves why you are doing the things that you are. What do they add for you? How do they contribute to your growth as an individual and strengthen you as a couple? Whether you wait for a door to be opened for you because that is part of the respect and care that your Dom wants to show you or whether you hold the door open for him because that is part of how you show your respect and service to him, really is immaterial. Whether you initiate things sexually because he wants to know that you love and desire him, or wait for him to initiate them because he sees your body as his, will not matter as long as the way that you approach things is adding value to your dynamic.
All so often, when making sense of the world, we tend to focus on the actions that we see without always being aware of the thought and reasoning behind it. Within a relationship, this sort of approach doesn’t really work that well as it can lead to things which lead you to feel like you have failed or have not got it right. It is not what you do but how and why you do it that is important and those are often the things which are not discussed because they are particular to the individual and to the couple. If you can come up with things that fit with your lifestyle and which are significant and hold value to you, then the chances are that they will be easier to implement, to reinforce and to sustain.