I can't claim to have the kind of relationship that some lucky folks have documented on this site, but I can say that my wife and I have benefited from the discovery that I enjoy taking a more hands-on approach to dealing with her.
I've been married to Sam for almost 20 years, and for most of that we seemed to coast through simply on pure love and momentum. We hit the occasional patches of turbulence that affect most (if not all) long term relationships, and somewhere along the line it became clear that my wife needed a firmer hand to help her through the maze of depression and low self esteem that she seems prone to experiencing. These were the worst of times, but I found that if I took the view that they were merely dips in the road, we could rise above the situation and be rewarded with a view of life that revealed the potentials awaiting us.
When the world seemed too overwhelming to her, I offered her a shoulder to cry on, and two strong arms to envelop her in. Due to the issues of past abuse that Sam has had to deal with (she was raped a year or so before we met), there have been areas that were and are still off limits in our relationship. I lived with these limits for years before realizing that I resented them. I am not a man who is comfortable paying someone else's bills in perpetuity, so over the past couple of years I have been gently but firmly changing that.
To my delight, she is gradually discovering that physically-expressed control is not completely unappealing to her. Likewise, I am discovering the pleasure of forms of control that are much more subtle than I had initially envisaged. We are exploring together and creating something new that suits us as individuals and jointly.
I can't define our relationship using terms like “D/s”, “BDSM” or “DD”. None of those really apply to the level of subtle control she enjoys. She doesn't want to be punished (even when she brats), or feel that she is being treated like a child (even when she acts childishly). So I try to love and control her to the extent she's comfortable with, then push it a bit further. When I get this right, she finds it exciting and pleasurable, and it also shows her that my needs are still present and as important as ever.
I believe that the key to increasing the sphere of control and discipline a woman enjoys is (1) to take it slowly, (2) to make the control loving and erotic for her, and (3) to be highly sensitive to any possible lack of consent. By “erotic”, I do not mean role-playing or interacting in obviously-sexual ways. I mean that the man should find subtle ways of signalling to the woman that the control is erotic dominance rather than domineering control. Apparently there's a world of difference for women. :-) My wife would not be able to function well if I pushed too far or too fast. I've found that I have to be extremely sensitive to her most subtle wishes in order to get this right. Consent is essential. But the more I get it right, the better our connection becomes.
Another thing I've discovered is that withdrawing and giving her space when there's a problem compounds the problem by adding a feeling on her part of rejection. It turns out that I need to be more demanding and almost selfish instead of giving her space. When I stay connected with her, even if I am being demanding, and sometimes especially then, she does not feel rejected.
Erotic spanking has brought us closer. It is not punishment; rather it is a non-subtle expression of my affection for her. It is something she can take or leave when it is on its own, but when it is part of a bedroom feast, it is the spice that can really bring out a deeper flavour of passion. In fact, now that she is beginning to see that the effect on me of delivering such attention to her beautiful behind is so positive, discipline is (slowly) escaping from being a bedroom-only activity. In a way, you could say that she is leading the way, with the gentlest of loving pushes from behind by me. To try to move any faster would cause us to crash and burn.
There are other aspects of control that I use to underscore the fact that she is loved, but that she is also my woman. Women seem to like it when their man's a bit possessive but not oppressive, don't they? Like when you show a little concern about what she's wearing when she goes out without you—is it modest enough? This type of control makes her feel desirable. Or when you insist on speaking to her internet friend before she meets her in person. This makes her feel protected. Some of the best forms of control are those that make her feel protected, loved and desirable. My wife loves that kind of control, and she also likes to please me, so I have her serve me in various small ways.
When I get home from the office, I sit down and she gets me a drink while we talk about the day. Then she kneels at my feet and takes off my shoes. In the morning, she brings me coffee and makes my breakfast. These little rituals are not time-consuming or arduous so she can do them without feeling like a servant. She likes to please me but I can't push it too far. :-) She is very strong willed, but that's part of the fun. She does also submit to me and that brings us closer.
All this has meant an adjustment for both of us, and I try to handle my role responsibly, with regard for her health and wellbeing. We have been married a long time, but thanks to the discovery of spanking and control, we are still learning wonderful new things about each other and ourselves all the time. The journey continues.