Difficult Conversations – Ding-Dong
There are several phases of marriage for men. The first is the wonderful honeymoon phase. A happy time. Then follows the woeful transition into ding-dong territory, where friction and tension become common-place as two people try to become one.
I am currently in the ding-dong avoidance phase. That is where men do everything reasonably possible to avoid ding-dong. Men should try to get out of ding-dong as soon as possible in their marriages. Once out, they should plan never to return.
PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN.
All men must put their ‘foot down’ during their marriages. It is an important part of being a responsible man. During such times, a man must ensure that his foot is firmly placed on stable ground – and then keep moving because his wife has already given her orders. That is the way of ding-dong avoidance.
Men in ding-dong will plant their feet and escalate an argument. Like all men who have travelled that way before, they too will learn that they cannot argue their way out of ding-dong. Instead, they must learn how to negotiate more effectively.
One of a wife’s primary responsibilities is to be a life coach – to help men be better. In sports, a coach pushes athletes to their limits – that is the normal way of improvement. We do not like to be pushed to our limits, and initially, we may: resist, make excuses, procrastinate, and postpone our training. But the sooner we accept that the training is critical to improving our competitiveness, and decide to submit to the training, the sooner we may improve.
Once we accept the training, we do not accuse the coach of nagging us. We do not get angry, short-tempered, or argue with the coach. We certainly do not curse or strike the coach. We simply say, ‘yes coach’, and do as instructed. After months of intense training, results are normally noticeable.
When performing their important coaching responsibilities, our wives are supposed to push us to our limits – so that we may improve. Initially, we tend to resist that training. That transition period is natural and challenging – and it is supposed to be temporary. The duration of that temporary period is normally up to the man.
Coaching tends to be frustrated for three common reasons. (i) Men do not know that they are being trained, and spend their marriages in ding-dong. (ii) Men do not know that they are being trained, and abuse their wives into submission – so they stop coaching. (iii) Unfaithfulness – coaching another man, or being coached by another woman.
THE NEXT PHASE.
As men submit to their training, they may notice that they are becoming more: patient, kind, tolerant, competent, hopeful, forgiving, confident, temperate, and responsible. What is the purpose of it all? It is not entirely clear now, but after this life, there is an eternity where all this training will make perfect sense.
The scriptures explain that after our training, there will be no more pain or sorrow. Those who do not want such an afterlife may reserve for themselves an eternity of ding-dong, characterised by weeping and gnashing of teeth. With our free-will, we choose our final destination. But it is advisable to go through ding-dong once, and having done so, never return to it in this life – or the next.