I'm feeling a little - i'm not sure what - worn down, overwhelmed, a little cynical, ok - probably a lot cynical.
The idea of D/s or M/s seems to include service, devotion, self-sacrifice.... on the part of the "s," to a greater or lesser degree. For some it is a big element, for others less so than other aspects.
It has always struck me though that each side of the equation gets something out of it - like with pain, or obedience, or whatever other element of the dynamic. 'You hurt me, which you like and that feeds you, but having you hurt me turns me on and reaches me on some deeper level, which feeds me too.' Win-Win. 'I serve you which looks like good for you/just plain work for me; but, really, i get off on serving, have a deep need to do it, it fulfills me on some level.' So - really, Win-Win.
I think this is all well and good - the power really does have to be exchanged, the circle complete, the elements need to be ultimately in balance; or someone runs out of juice eventually. There is give and take on both sides, titles and mythology aside; it is unsustainable otherwise. I know i couldn't carry on indefinitely if giving what he were asking of me didn't also feed me. Mother nature knows this too - babies are so damn cute precisely to keep us rewarded and motivated to continue meeting their incessant demands.
I have always wondered at the service thing - partly because - in our time and place in life - i do a lot of work anyhow. For that matter so does he. There's just an awful lot that has to get accomplished, over and over and over again. This makes us not the least bit unique.
Also - the facts of my childhood mean that anything that smacks remotely of, "drop what you're doing and come see to my needs, NOW!" is an enormous kick in the gut for me. I guess trigger is the word, but it instantly raises my hackles and makes me anything but sweet or submissive. Even if it's couched with a please and thank you. I know this about myself, i work on it constantly, it made me very seriously consider myself unfit to have children (the whole incessant demands thing).
My husband has - to his credit and my amazement - played me very skillfully. He often gets me to respond to demands, frequently i even respond well, and i almost always respond civilly. It has been good for us, it has been a good thing for me to learn. D/s or not, I think marriages in which the parties spend more time trying to figure out how to help/serve/meet the needs of the other party are far stronger and more joyous than those spent keeping score to make sure no one does more 'work' than the other person.
There is a lot of perspective to be had though: for example, watch a spouse or adult child care for a person with dementia: incessant demands, incessant work, the caregiver's life put aside, all give, no reward, no balancing out of the equation, no understanding and often anger and abuse from the person being cared for, and judgement and second guessing from all kinds of people who have no idea.
My service, especially my balanced out, give and take, 'I ultimately get something out of it too' service is nothing like the devotion, service, and self-sacrifice many people live. Sometimes, when the perspective has slapped me in the face, and i'm particularly cynical, it feels like nothing more than a stupid game we are playing. And really - we don't use those terms - it isn't called "service" - it's just - he asks and i think it's probably ok to do.