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OneSoLoved Heals from the World of BDSM and ” Christian Domestic Discipline”

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Last week, I ran the post “Do I Condone BDSM or ‘Christian Domestic Discipline.‘” Today, I am thrilled to share the story of this beautiful sister in Christ and how Jesus has set her free from a lifetime of abuse at the hands of her father and then further abuse (by her own choice)  at the hands of her husband and how He is healing her, her husband, and their marriage for His greatest glory! I pray her story might bless you, as well. You can find her at her new blog www.onesoloved.com. (A warning – if you have never read about this lifestyle, it is sometimes a very dark one, often involving abuse of women (and occasionally men) on multiple levels. There is a spectrum for BDSM and for CDD which are sometimes separate ideologies and sometimes combined. It can go all the way from being “just playful and fun” to literal slavery. I don’t condone either of these lifestyles as I defined them in the post from last week.  I believe that this sister in Christ has been careful not to share too many details from her former life. But, you may want to read the disclaimer at the top of the post from last week before reading this story. The best part is how Jesus has healed her! I am so excited to get to share all that God is doing in her life!)

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I grew up in a home where love was expressed as brutality and humiliation, where discipline meant a total loss of boundaries and personal dignity, and where obedience was crushed out of me long before I could even consider offering it out of willing love. As I grew I didn’t question these values but unthinkingly absorbed them, becoming a person without boundaries or self-respect, which sadly made me a target for more abuse and humiliation from men outside of my family.

When I met my husband at the age of 18, I was a mess. We were both from dysfunctional families and latched on to the kindness we recognized in each other, becoming inseparable. Neither of us had any real idea of what a healthy relationship should look like, but I was especially confused.

Because of how my father treated me as a child, I believed that if a man really loved me, he would “care” enough to be controlling, that he would take the time to physically hurt me to teach me how he wanted me to be, that he would help me to obey him using humiliation.

I no longer remember how I found websites about Domestic Discipline, but I remember as I devoured every post on these websites that I had a strong sense of finally coming home to a world where I was understood. Some of the websites I looked at were “Christian,” some were not. What the sites shared in common was an expressed belief that a husband should essentially play a fatherly role with his wife, taking control of the relationship and using spankings, corner time, and other methods to keep the wife in line.

I remember reading a post by a man who explained how Domestic Discipline was the farthest thing from abuse, because he used this with his wife because loved her so much that he cared enough to be a strong leader for her and he spanked her out of love and caring. He wrote that she was his princess. He posed the question, “Don’t you want to be your husband’s princess?”

Of course I did. All I had every longed for was to be someone’s princess.

I had been waiting my whole life for someone to understand my craving for punishment and humiliation and validate it. I showed these websites to my husband, and not knowing any better, he agreed to use these methods in our relationship.

I have always struggled to control my emotions during arguments. I have a tendency to use words as a weapon and go for my husband’s most sensitive emotional places during arguments in order to “win”. I struggle to use a gentle, kind tone. With Domestic Discipline, my husband finally had an edge. If I got out of control, too harsh and hurtful, he could shut things down right away by giving me a spanking. When the pain got to be too much, I quickly forgot about my pride or anything else and apologized. The overwhelming humiliation numbed my heart to the point that emotional engagement really wasn’t required.

Submission could be brutally extracted from me just like when I was a little girl being punished by my dad, a willing love-filled heart not needed.

I TURNED TO CHRIST

In the midst of this, I became a Christian. It’s hard for me to pinpoint how or why it happened, because I did not grow up in a Christian home and I did not know any Christians personally until I was a teenager, but from the time that I was a little girl I longed to know more about Jesus and would try to learn what I could by listening to Billy Graham on my little Walkman radio at night. I had prayed a prayer along with Billy Graham once but always felt frightened and confused by the Bible when I tried to read it on my own and didn’t have anyone to whom I could ask questions. I almost intuitively longed to give my whole heart to Jesus but lack of understanding, fear, and confusion kept me from doing so.

All I can say is the little ache that had been in my heart all along for God at a certain point grew into full on faith, and when I realized what had happened I still struggled not to surrender to it, but experienced – in a moment – God tangibly clearing away the barrier I had put up in my heart between us and finally making me His.

After this happened and I realized I was now a Christian, I reached out to a Christian ministry in my area that serves college students. I was not a college student myself, but was the age of one so this is where I looked. I became involved in a Bible study but was unable to connect with the students or form relationships since most of them were from Christian homes and I felt they did not understand the world of sexual immorality and brokenness that I came from.

My husband also became a Christian shortly after I did, and we would go to church sporadically, but did not allow ourselves to be truly known by anyone. We grew in our understanding of the gospel by reading the Bible and listening to sermons online, but did not grasp that Domestic Discipline was wrong and continued in it, though to a lesser extent.

Years went by. Though I was continually growing in knowledge, I struggled with my faith and spent seasons wandering away from God. My heart was incredibly cold and closed off to everyone, now including my husband. I thought getting spanked and humiliated by him would make us closer by forcing vulnerability, but it was exactly that forced vulnerability that had made real vulnerability impossible to me. How can you make yourself vulnerable with someone who regularly humiliates you?

HEALING BEGAN

We were invited to go to a new church by a friend. He said this church was really different, that the people really loved each other and valued relationships; that the gospel was the center of everything and this church was doing amazing things in our area. We began to go to this church, became members and joined a small group, finally creating actual relationships with other Christians and becoming a part of a community.

I grew and grew in my faith and made a lot of friends, but I continued to keep everyone at a distance. I refused to tell anyone anything about my past, pretending I was just a nice little Christian girl like I thought they wanted me to be, dorky even, and naïve. The truth is I was prideful and didn’t want anyone to know about the ocean of hurt, confusion and brokenness inside of me and in my marriage because I wanted to be in control in all my relationships.

I didn’t want to be anyone’s “Christian Project”.

I finally stopped getting spanked at home, but my husband and I didn’t talk about it or address it. I refused to acknowledge our past, be vulnerable, or open up to him at all. Finally, a friend got too close, and learned some things about the history of my marriage. She encouraged me to go see her therapist. I was horrified, but my husband insisted and so we went.

WE FOUND A GODLY, BIBLICAL COUNSELOR

This therapist was a Christian, but he wasn’t like any Christian I had ever met, and he wasn’t very “nice” in my opinion. He didn’t seem to buy my Bible-thumping façade and he did not take kindly to my shut-down coldness. He pushed me to bring the darkness of my past into the light, where God could redeem it, but I refused, because I had been abused by so many men that I believed if I opened up to this man about my abuse – he would only take pleasure in hearing about it.

Slowly though, I started opening up in therapy bit by bit, if only because the stress of going every week to face my therapist’s disapproval was getting to me. Life began to come back into my heart, but it was pure pain. Everything I had been hiding and denying broke loose inside of me as I admitted to the truth about myself and my past and old memories of abuse replayed themselves like videos in my mind at all times. I could not fake it anymore, and for months I worried that I had made a horrible mistake by letting the truth out.

In the midst of the pain though, I began to realize that God was with me. I had never even opened up to God about the darkness of my past. I didn’t really believe that He could handle it. I thought that the fact that God is holy meant that He would keep His distance from the dark and broken parts of me:

  • the way I craved humiliation and punishment
  • my addiction to soothing myself with porn and masturbation
  • my total lack of boundaries
  • my confusion about the difference between love and abuse

What I began to see though, is that it was God Himself who was leading me through it all, and actually piecing me back together bit by bit, helping me tell the truth and bring the darkness into the light so that I could understand that He really knew me inside and out and I didn’t have to hide anything from Him or try to clean myself up all alone so that He would tolerate me. His Holy Spirit was willing to physically live in my violated body with me while I was going through the torture of reliving abuse memories. I saw that God’s love is so huge and bold and powerful that He was willing to enter into my perversion, confusion and brokenness and sort through it with me with incredible gentleness and grace. I began to love Him like I never had before.

I found that I was healing. The work was far from over, though, because now I had to learn how to live like a whole human being. I had to confront the past with my husband, and talk openly about it with him in therapy, something so embarrassing I put it off for a full month after my therapist helped me understand that it needed to be done. When the time for the conversation finally came though, it was amazing. My husband shared with me how he actually felt that me getting spanked and punished and treated like a little kid was wrong, and we acknowledged together that the things that happened in our past were wrong. I felt put back together in a new way. I could be vulnerable with him again!

Now I opened up to him about how I confused I was about what love is, about how I still longed to be humiliated, controlled and dominated, about how I didn’t understand how men were supposed to treat women. He was very surprised and upset to learn how hurt and confused I was. He decided we would start reading Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood to help me.

It was in the pages of this book that God showed me why exactly Domestic Discipline is so wrong:

Unlike Christ, all husbands sin. They are finite and fallible in their wisdom. Not only that, but also, unlike Christ, a husband is not preparing a bride merely for himself, but also for another, namely, Christ. He does not merely act as Christ, he also acts for Christ. At this point he must not be Christ to his wife, lest he be a traitor to Christ. He must lead in such a way that his wife is encouraged to depend on Christ and not on himself. Practically, that rules out belittling supervision and fastidious oversight.

Even when acting as Christ, the husband must remember that Christ does not lead the church as His daughter, but as His wife. He is preparing her to be a “fellow-heir,” not a servant girl (Romans 8:17). Any kind of leadership that, in the name of Christlike headship, tends to foster in a wife personal immaturity or spiritual weakness or insecurity through excessive control, picky supervision, or oppressive domination has missed the point of the analogy in Ephesians 5. Christ does not create that kind of wife. (Page 59)

 

I finally saw how wrong it was for me to want my husband to be anything but a husband the way Jesus is to His church!

With my therapist’s help, I also came to understand that I’m an adult, and that it’s wrong for me to be spanked or punished like a child because God wants me to grow into mature femininity.

One of the most important and healing aspects of therapy for me was my therapist’s character as a Christian and as a man. At the beginning, I didn’t understand what love looked like, and I had not experienced a man loving me or guiding me in a safe and appropriate way. For this reason it was very hard for me to understand that God is my father or to relate to Him as a daughter.

My therapist was so accepting, gentle and careful with my boundaries while also being firm about what was and wasn’t healthy and acceptable that I finally began to understand what a father’s love feels like. By the way he related to me, he helped me understand that God is a gentle and good father, that His discipline and care for me is not humiliating or degrading but builds me up and makes me whole, and this helped me love God so much more and finally allow myself to be vulnerable with Him and surrender my heart to Him out of love and not fear or guilt.

I can’t say that I am completely healed today, but I am getting closer and continuing to work hard at understanding the truth and become a real whole person. Now that I know I’m not going to be humiliated or punished by my husband, I finally feel free to be truly vulnerable with him and learn what it means to submit to him and respect him with my whole heart engaged, only willingly and because I want to love him well and be who God wants me to be as a wife and a woman.

I finally have real, deep friendships with other Christians because now I can share openly about my past and my sin with others knowing that God accepts me and is able to redeem everything and anything.

Above all, the journey God brought me on from shame, hiding and brokenness to honesty and light is so precious to me because He revealed Himself as one who loves so powerfully and with such grace that He comes and meets us in the darkest, scariest parts of ourselves to bring us home.

COMMENTS BY PEACEFULWIFE:

The issues of BDSM and CDD, in my understanding, are a great stumbling block to many, and create confusion for many. Is it possible that some may be able to participate without sinning? Yes, I suppose that it could be possible in some circumstances. I don’t know everyone’s definitions of BDSM. I don’t know everyone’s definitions of CDD. I don’t know people’s hearts, minds, actions, words, or motivations.

But with so very many wives who are deeply wounded from these practices, I simply cannot condone BDSM or CDD. I don’t believe Scripture teaches or promotes either of these lifestyles as I described them in last week’s post or as they are described here in today’s post. I very much want women who have been hurt by these lifestyles to find healing, hope, peace, and new Life in Christ Jesus.

Please pray with me for those who are hurting and confused that they might find clarity, truth, love, acceptance, forgiveness, healing, mercy, and grace in Jesus Christ and that they might come to Him as both Savior and Lord and get to experience God’s beautiful design for them as women and wives.

If you are living in this lifestyle of Christian Domestic Discipline and/or BDSM and you are wounded as this woman was, please seek out a godly, biblical, spiritually wise counselor who can help you work through the long process of healing! The wife who authored this post said her counselor recommends finding a godly, biblical counselor on this site. (I am not affiliated with this site and do not know any of the counselors. This tool may help you find a good counselor, but it will be up to you to determine which counselor is appropriate and truly able to help you. Please weigh anything that any counselor says against God’s Word and look at the fruit – Galatians 5:22-23 – in that person’s life before receiving counsel from him/her.)

What’s So Wrong with Domestic Discipline? by OneSoLoved

Do I Actually Need a Spanking? by OneSoLoved

Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – David Platt www.radical.net

Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – John Piper www.desiringgod.org

Do I Condone Marital Rape or Abuse? – Peacefulwife

Spiritual Authority – by Rev. Weaver (a minister at Peacefulwife’s church)

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage – by Rev. Weaver

I Am Responsible for Myself Spiritually – I am to be a grown woman, seeking God with all my heart, allowing His Spirit to work in me so that He gives me the power to walk in holiness and obedience to God. I do not need my husband to be my father, my disciplinarian, or the Holy Spirit. My husband needs a true helpmeet who is a mature woman and believer in Christ, not a little child.

Godly Femininity

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