FAQ – Accountability of the Head of Household (HoH)


We’ve been asked the following question (or some variation of it) so many times that we’ve decided to dedicate an entire post to it.  If you follow the comments on the blog, you’ve probably seen it pop up regularly.


What happens when the HoH breaks a rule?

This question has been addressed before on Learning Domestic Discipline.  Chelsea wrote about this very question several months ago.  It’s a great post, and if you’d like to read it you can do so by clicking here.  With the regularity that this question comes up, I (Clint) felt it was appropriate/necessary to share my perspective on it as well.

Let me start by saying that I do NOT recommend couples use the Spencer Plan dynamic in a relationship.  If you’re unfamiliar with the Spencer Plan dynamic, you can read more about it here.  The short version of the Spencer Plan is this – the man punishes the woman when she breaks a rule, and the woman punishes the man when he breaks a rule.  They hold each other accountable, essentially, as if there are two HoHs in the relationship.

The Spencer Plan is the mother of all bad ideas, unless, of course, you hate your partner and want to argue all the time.  The Spencer Plan dynamic would create unnecessary tension, conflict, and disruption in a relationship.  Take a moment to step back and really think about this.  It would unnecessarily create a power struggle between partners, thus creating a myriad of problems that are counter-productive to the all encompassing purpose of a domestic discipline partnership.  Resentment would ensue at some point, leading to one partner punishing the other for being unfair or unjust, and things would negatively snowball from there.  I could go on and on about how bad of an idea I think this is, but I think you get the point.  I verystrongly recommend against using the Spencer Plan dynamic.  Perhaps that’s another blog entry for another time.  I’ll move on.

The first thing that must happen when the HoH breaks a rule, whether the HoH is male or female, is a confession (if the mistake is not made directly in front of the submissive partner).  I purposely used the term “must” in that sentence.  This needs to happen.  A confession is essential in fixing the problem and essential in helping the HoH grow as a person.  The HoH needs to confess their mistake to their partner and essentially seek forgiveness.  It’s not easy to do sometimes, but that’s the point.  That reluctant feeling of admitting a mistake to your partner plays a large part in correcting whatever mistake was made.  It’s a very uncomfortable, uneasy feeling – one that doesn’t want to be experienced again – and it’s necessary to experience it to decrease the likelihood of repeating the mistake.  This feeling is commonly referred to as guilt.

After the confession comes the apology.  The HoH must apologize for the mistake they made.  Again I used the term “must” in that sentence.  The apology isn’t optional.  It needs to happen, and it needs to be sincere.  The submissive partner needs to know their HoH feels remorse for their actions and understands how their behavior has hurt/upset/disappointed their partner.  An apology shows remorse, it shows acknowledgment of the problem, and it shows accountability for the mistake.  All very important things when seeking forgiveness from your partner.

Once the sincere apology is made, the HoH must then must make amends in some fashion.  There’s that term “must” again.  It’s important for the HoH to make amends for their mistake/poor behavior/lack of judgment.  Making amends can be done in many different ways.  Whatever it may be, it needs to be something the submissive partner appreciates and something the HoH doesn’t necessarily do on a day-to-day basis.  Something that means a lot to the submissive partner.

The final step is that the HoH needs to make a genuine, conscious effort to prevent the mistake from happening again.  A submissive partner deserves their HoHs respect, and they deserve their HoH’s effort in following the rules that they BOTH agreed to for their home and relationship.  If the submissive partner is expected to follow the rules, then the HoH is as well.

Part of being a great HoH is leading by example.  Show your partner you love and respect them by holding yourself to a higher standard, and by following the rules of the home and relationship.  That’s a big part of what being an HoH is all about.  If you don’t make a serious effort to fix your mistakes, then all the previous steps (the confession, the apology, and making amends) are meaningless.  They lose their sincerity and when that happens, you lose respect from your partner.  You don’t need me to tell you that would be a serious problem for your relationship.

Let’s recap.

When an HoH makes a mistake, the following things must happen, in order:

  • A confession from the HoH to their partner (if their partner did not witness it).
  • A sincere apology from the HoH to their partner.
  • The HoH makes amends with their partner.
  • The HoH gives a genuine effort to correct the mistake/problem.

This is how I recommend the problem of the HoH breaking a rule be handled.

There is another option for couples to consider, which I’ll go over quickly.  It’s essentially the same process, however the “making amends” step is done slightly differently.

The second option still includes the confession and the apology (in that order), however the next step of making amends has a different approach to it.

Rather than essentially doing one individual thing to make amends for each mistake, the HoH makes an appropriate contribution to a “money jar” each time they make a mistake.  The contribution amount varies on the severity of the offense.  At the end of a specified time frame to be determined by the HoH (a month, or 3 months, or 6 months, for example), the submissive partner can then take all the money in the “money jar” and do whatever they wish with it, so long as whatever they choose to do is WITHIN THE RULES of the home and relationship.

The final step of the HoH giving a genuine effort to correct each individual mistake remains the same.

I’m comfortable enough with the “money jar” option to include it here, however I do see one potential problem with it.  Should a financial emergency arise where those “money jar” funds are needed elsewhere, the submissive partner may feel as though the HoH was not held accountable for their mistakes, which COULD lead to some issues.  It’s a pretty minor potential problem, but a potential problem nonetheless.  Just something to think about when considering the “money jar” option.

Nobody is perfect.  We all make mistakes.  It’s all in how mistakes are approached and handled that show a person’s true character.  Your partner will respect you MORE when you acknowledge your faults, apologize for your mistakes, and make a serious effort to fix those faults/mistakes.  It’s all part of growing as a person, and as a couple within a healthy domestic discipline relationship.

– Clint

2 thoughts on “FAQ – Accountability of the Head of Household (HoH)

    1. Good question! I would try to approach them slowly – give them a couple of hints, and ideally, talk about a hypothetical DD situation. Judging on their reaction you should continue talking or change the topic. To be honest, the more “left-leaning” people are, the more likely they will actively despise DD. That’s not worth it.

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