Misunderstandings and disagreements have always been a part of a healthy relationship, whether it is a parent-child relation, a husband-wife relation or for that matter, any other relationship between two individuals. Resolving these little tiffs is also necessary for the general benefit of the relationship. History shows that there have been many methods used in the past to overcome ridges in relationships, varying from positive reinforcements to punishments. While some spouses are happy to resolve their conflicts with their partner by merely talking to him/her and putting their point forward, some prefer punishment as a means to discipline the person at fault. This is where the topic of domestic discipline in relationships comes in.

Domestic discipline is usually an agreement between a husband and wife. It distinguishes the roles of a husband from his wife in their relationship. Also, according to this agreement, one partner is the head of the household and the other partner is supposed to agree with his/her decision although he/she may suggest his/her own viewpoint. In most relationships, the husband is the one who heads the household and the wife has to be the submissive partner.

Many people find this practice beneficial as it gives the impression of existence of harmony and decrease in conflicts and misunderstandings in a marriage. Each partner’s roles are well defined and life seems to be all the more smoother. In case, the other partner fails to comply with the decisions of the head of the household, she is disciplined domestically, spanking being the most popular method. The head of the household can discipline the other partner for bad behaviour, mistakes or on other grounds as defined in the agreement.

The domestic discipline movement that promotes wife spanking is supported by some religions and condoned by others. However, giving the husbands this level of power in a marriage may lead to spousal abuse. It can also destroy the dignity and self esteem of his wife. There is common belief that the Bible allows domestic discipline in a relationship and suggests that it is a better way to maintain a healthy husband-wife relationship, although the others claim that the Bible has been misinterpreted.

Supporters of domestic discipline in a relationship believe that:

·         Domestic discipline emanates from the Bible.

·         Domestic discipline plays a significant role in their relationship.

·         Domestic discipline is not erotic.

·         Domestic discipline is a form of physical correction from someone who truly cares.

·         Domestic discipline is the responsibility of the husband towards his wife.

·         Domestic discipline is a very appropriate punishment.

·         Domestic discipline requires that there ought to be complete consent from both    parties.

On the other hand, research on domestic discipline reveals that:

·         Domestic discipline originates from the misinterpretations of the Bible.

·         Domestic discipline is actually sexually erotic.

·         Physical correction is never healthy for relationships.

·         Spanking of a wife as a method to correct her is a serious issue and is potentially abusive.

·         Marriage calls for mutual understanding between a couple and not for punishing each other.

Now, the question which arises is why at all women agree to their domestic disciplining in spite of knowing the fact that it involves violence and abuse. One belief is that women are guilty of their past sexual behaviour and believe that God via the religious scriptures has deemed this as the correct role of a husband. Another common belief is that women feel spanking sexually exciting. Moreover, in some cases, domestic discipline seems to cause an irresponsible behaviour. Such wives "misbehave" since they think that the act is worth the punishment. They believe that being spanked for a couple of days eliminates the wrong.

Domestic discipline can also be a good alternative for a woman who wants to avoid responsibilities and be free from having to make decisions. All responsibility comes over to the husband and the wife is reverted to a child status. If she does not handle her responsibility, she gets a spanking and that is all. There is negligible motivation and effort to grow into a mature woman.

To sum it up, domestic discipline is a submissive style of living which encourages husbands to spank their wives for their misbehaviour or mistakes. Statistics suggest that the number of beaten women in US annually is around three million. It has been observed that 25-30 per cent of American women are vulnerable to domestic violence post their marriage. Such abuse is not only harmful for the wife, but also devastating for the children, who frequently find themselves helpless and suffer from increased anxieties, aggressiveness, and behavioural problems. When there is an attack on a person's body or self esteem or when one of the partners becomes aggressive in the relationship, the marriage is heading towards divorce.


Use of words like punishment while relating to your life partner sets a couple up to feel like a feet and a doormat. The wife plays a doormat which is good only for wiping one’s feet on. There will come a day when she will have had enough.



Picture- ruurmo

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