Looking back on my time with the woman I love, I'd have to say our discipline comes down to being ultimately about changing the way we relate to each other. I think we all can react sometimes instead of responding the way in saner, calmer moments we would agree is more reasonable. However, we get used to a certain way of relating to an intimate partner, and that way is really easy to get back into if we don't make a conscious effort to change it. The effect of poor communication on a relationship will eventually erode the relationship.
Once, when I wasn't paying attention, I sat on my girlfriend's glasses and bent the frames. She said that these poor frames were bent beyond repair and she was trying to have me believe she would need to go through life blind from then on. The truth is that I did bend her glasses frame, a mistake of some carelessness, but after some time I did respond by stating (rather decisively I might add) that we were not going to continue to relate over such issues in this matter. She calmed down immediately. The glasses were eventually repaired free of charge at the local and very friendly Fred Meyer Optometrist.
Truth is, before this relationship, I likely would have been overpowered by a woman who was in such a state, would have had no real choice except to “fight back” or just leave. It is easy to see how this way of relating would diminish a relationship and diminish both individuals over time. I think, for us, that discipline isn't really about the guilt thing, the “making her a better person” (she's wonderful the way she is), and she really doesn't engage in individually harmful behavior. She certainly would not even consider anything that would harm others.
We use discipline as our way of choosing how we're going to relate instead of allowing our random, often unconscious and sometimes harmful interactions to determine how we relate over time.