She Does the Dishes

My submissive does the dishes.

I know, if you're reading this wondering what d/s is all about, you're probably thinking, "What the hell? My girlfriend does that!"

But the fact is, that one act captures all the intensity and ardor of our d/s relationship.

There are only so many ways you can manage a household chore. It can be split (ad hoc, scheduled, done together), or it can be the duty of one person, hopefully balanced by things the other does elsewhere. What we do looks like the latter, but is different in an important way that isn't obvious from the outside, and that's the distinction between duty and service.

But first, let's talk about what can go wrong with each of those ways of dividing chores. I'm looking at the more extreme aspects; obviously these methods can and do work for many people.

Ad hoc splitting of a chore is going to make the burden fall unevenly on the person who is most organized and/or the one who is most irritated by the chore remaining undone. Because the splitting is ad hoc, there is no automatic balance. In the worst case, one person ends up doing almost all the chores. The person doing the work isn't likely to thank the other for the few times they actually do contribute—they're too irritated. The person not doing the work isn't likely to thank their partner either, because they are feeling either guilty, or irritated that they are expected to do the work before they naturally would have. This is a recipe for resentment.

Scheduled splitting of a chore is better, but it turns it into a boring duty, and it may conflict with the real-life vagaries of people's schedules. There's less resentment, but there's no real appreciation for the work done by the other—after all, you're both doing it.

Doing things together is wonderful, and I really enjoy when my submissive and I do the dishes together. The washing is still her service to perform, but I hand her things and put them away. I also love the interplay (foreplay?) that can come from doing chores together. This is not incompatible at all with service. Unfortunately, sharing is not always an option if one or the other is busy, so this often ends up having the same issues as ad hoc managment.

Duty has a number of advantages. The person best at a chore can be the one who does it, and the lines are clear as to who is responsible. At risk is whether the duty becomes taken for granted, what to do when time constraints interfere, and maintaining the overall equilibrium. The latter two require frequent communication and re-balancing. The former is where I believe service and duty really part ways.

When you approach a chore as a duty, you are saying that the chore needs to be done, and one of you is taking responsibility for it. In return, the other will take responsibility for something else.

When you approach a chore as a service, you are saying that you have a responsibility to do something for your partner, and this is one of the ways in which you are fulfilling your responsibilities.

I think the difference between a chore and a service is that with a chore, you are doing it because the task needs to be done, with a service, you are doing it because it is something that pleases your partner. Both require balance—that need never goes away—but the latter makes the task (and receipt of it) an almost spiritual event. Knowing that your partner does the dishes because you take out the trash imparts no special value to the action. Knowing that your partner does the dishes for your happiness makes every dish dirtied a reason to think about, and thank, the person who washes them.

My submissive does the dishes, and I think about her every time I use one, every time I place one in the sink, and every time I see one on the shelf. Her service to me is an expression of her love, and I will never forget that, nor will I ever forget to thank her…for her service, and for her submission.*

* Okay, not every time…I'm human, but it is a constant and lovely reminder, and I do try to to thank her every time I think of it.