When I got married, that whole, "love, honour and obey" part was intentionally left in our wedding vows, especially the "obey" part. My vows. It turns out that my husband didn't think he needed to say his part, but that, unfortunately is a choice he made in the moment.
MY choice was to leave it in.
Not because I think women should live in total subservience to men. Oh no, thank you very much for my post-feminist-movement education at a fine Canadian University, I know better than to think a woman is owned or that she should live in total subjugation to any man.
I left that one word, "obey" in my vows of marriage (I'm sure to the shock and horror of some of my school friends & relatives) because I believed I was entering into an agreement to live a life with someone whereby I would love, and be loved, enough to feel secure enough to want to make them happy...thereby doing as they ask, whatever they ask. Secure enough in the thought that they would never ask me to do something that made me feel uncomfortable, dishonoured or disembodied.
With the willingness to offer servitude to any person with whom you are bound, or feel bound, comes a great price...the responsibility of the other person NOT to abuse or neglect your offering.
I believe that when someone crosses the line, dishonours you or your intentions, the vow/promise/agreement is already broken, and there is no further need for you to choose to make good on what it is that you offered...in my case obeyance.
However, I also believe it IS possible to find someone with whom you are able to experience that level of trust. Not everyone on this earthly plane is going to find someone they can or are able to find this level of intimacy and trust with...but when you do...it's magical.
I had a discussion recently with my closest of closest friends, and I told him that IF I lived in a country where it would honour my husband to walk ten feet behind him, and IF he treated me well at home, in front of my children, in our culture and in his heart, I would find no difficulty in walking ten feet behind him...not because I am less of a person for being a woman and having to walk that far behind him, but because it would please me to please him and not harm his honour within our culture to do so. I could do this with ease of heart for being fully appreciated in his eyes, and through his actions.
Lack of appreciation within a relationship is the ONE thing that can bring about that relationship's demise. As well lack of appreciation may bring about the demise of the choice to continue to serve your spouse/partner/soul-mate lovingly and live in obeyance. To serve someone is a choice. To be served by someone who loves you is a privilege. Not a Right. It is a gift.
There is a level of self-servience that needs to be preserved when a fundamental lack of appreciation, love or support is given freely from your life-partner.
However, when the vitality of loving appreciation and support exists in a life, that life, when shared, is vibrant, full, intoxicating and a place where the realms of true-sharing, obeyance and servitude can be explored.
Where my service is of no pleasing, and my gifts not appreciated or supported...I still offer my thanks for the experience, and walk away.
In this lifetime, I enjoy the gifts that my service, or servitude, brings to those I love.