If you are married, you were born to dance. Not the “every man for himself” bobbing up and down with no purpose, running into and catching the rhythm with whoever is in close proximity, roaming through the room with multiple dance partners catching your eye, but the steady, seamless cadence of being in step and moving as one.
You were born to dance in time with the one you love. When you dance in such a way, it is exhilarating; far better than the exhaustion that comes from dancing out of step. Though there will be times we do “miss the beat” and trip over one another’s feet, the goal is then to reset sooner than later and as often as needed to keep in step.
Yes, we were born to dance but also to run the race. Not to win, as in competing against our spouse; rather, as a team, coming together, side by side, cheering each other on.
In the past, dance marathons were a common occurrence. Two would begin and dance both fast and slow until the end…together. They didn’t change partners or walk away no matter how weary one of the two may have gotten, even if one had to literally carry the other.
We are called to lift our spouses. “Carry each other’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) Just, as at some points in a dance marathon, one or the other may be able to move with more energy or strength, in marriage we will have times where one or the other is stronger and can “carry” the other more easily. There is no shame in that nor is it to be a contention; it is a gift.
Spiritually, there are times we each need the other to spur us on to look at the cross and to live in the power of that grace, to be challenged but oh to be encouraged! Yes, mutual love, mutual respect, mutual encouragement; but, at varying times, each will bear the other’s burden more intensely. God specifically gives us our husbands and wives to do just that, not in a condescending way or with a sigh, but in a joy infused way that is faithfully and tenderly restorative.
“Your wife is the accountability partner God provided for you. And, wives, your husband is the accountability partner God provided for you. According to Him, the two of you are one single entity (the two shall become one)…” (Matthew L Jacobson, “Who is Your Real Accountability Partner?”) Again, it’s a gift, not a burden.
Part of keeping the rhythm is keeping all things that can cause us to stumble or create a gap between us cleared out from under our feet; secrets, hurts, weaknesses, fears, distractions from the outside pressing in. If we keep the ground clear, we can maneuver through them together; if we don’t, they will cause us to trip and sometimes fall and we can’t hide that from our dance partners no matter how much we try; we weren’t meant to.
Have you ever seen “extreme” dancing where the man spins the woman out, lifts her high, pulls her around? That takes trust. At times, we may feel like our dancing is “extreme” and, in those times, we have to know we can trust the one gripping our hand, that the grip is sure and secure. Trust is built when we know we are holding each other up and, when we begin to or do fall, we have a spouse that is there to lift us up, hold us close, show us grace, and restore the rhythm of the music.
The more we each seek to serve the one we love, even in the hardest moments – be it physical distance for an extended time, illness, the busyness of life, the temptations that bombard, conflict, or sin that has insidiously made its way in – the more our desire to love and serve them will increase and the more God will chip away at our selfishness and cause us to love them rather than ourselves more deeply.
Additionally, the more we each set our intimate sights and imaginations on our spouse rather than on others, the more attractive the one we love will be to us – not just the physical appeal but every aspect. He or she will captivate us and draw us in.
Choose to remember what led you to them and intentionally be on the watch, even list out, those things about your spouse that are a joy to you and others! Don’t be distracted by “shiny things” but choose to be fascinated by your “one and only” once again. Guard and keep your eyes – literally and figuratively – only for them. Deliberately find ways to increase that wonder!
On the other hand, the more we look around and intentionally or unintentionally compare our spouses to unrealistic images and expectations and/or the deceptive pull of a situation or a person – be it face to face or in some form of media, the less content we will become and the more the enemy will whisper in our ear – “There is more that will satisfy if you just look for it, go for it; what will it hurt?.” Slam the door on that whisper! Don’t entertain the lie and don’t, for an instant, believe that it is true!
Most importantly, the more we take our spouses, our marriage, and our own hearts humbly but boldly to the throne of grace, the more our God does exceedingly and abundantly more than we could think or ask, first in us and then in the heart of the one we love! Whether it be as the dance is sweet and perfectly in time or at the first hint of the dance being interrupted, lean in and pull your bride or groom closer, even if they are far away physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Call out to the One who can battle for you and put a hedge around the dance floor!
Yes, some days and in some seasons, we will be out of sync; but we must never accept that as the norm or allow the enemy of our souls to make us think the music has ended and it is time to add lines to our dance cards or stop dancing altogether. That is not the melody of delight! In those times, we should be deliberately taking the hand of our one. Then, if we stumble over each other’s feet, it will be together.
It takes two to dance an intimate slow dance. Whether it be dancing or walking as one, we must be intentional about choosing to not step on each other’s toes or be afraid of the other’s next move. Rather, we should be able to trust because grace has done and is doing a work in the lives of each of us.
Dancing with abandon because redemption has followed repentance and forgiveness in the small little irritations of life and the bigger, more hurtful situations.
Dancing with joy because we have “found the one whom my soul loves” (Song of Solomon 3:4) and we are growing in that love that is able to stand the test of time and the shifting winds that blow.
There is something beautiful about intentionally choosing each other again and again; there is something about keeping our affections for and on our one. There is wonder in rekindling desire with the one to whom we said “I do” when life has made us weary. There is delight in transparency made possible by grace. And there is great joy in picking up the beat of the music and the rhythm of their hearts, choosing once again to keep in step.
Hear the music and move as one. If the music has grown faint or even silent, be deliberate about making melody together again. You will be amazed at how your love, attraction, and desire for your husband or wife will rekindle and how refreshed your marriage can be.
But don’t stop there! Keep choosing! Keep pursuing! Keep fixing your gaze first on the Savior and, immediately thereafter, on the one with whom you walked the aisle and promised, yes even vowed, to love, honor, and cherish.
See the beauty! See the holiness, the sacred delight of dancing with the one you love… all the way to the end!
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up….Though one can be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12
We Will Dance Steven Curtis Chapman
I’ve watched the sunrise in your eyes And I’ve seen the tears fall like the rain You’ve seen me fight so brave and strong You’ve held my hand when I’m afraid
We’ve watched the seasons come and go We’ll see them come and go again But in winter’s chill, or summer’s breeze One thing will not be changin’
We will dance When the sun is shining In the pouring rain We’ll spin and we’ll sway And we will dance When the gentle breeze Becomes a hurricane The music will play And I’ll take your hand And hold you close to me And we will dance
Sometimes it’s hard to hold you tight Sometimes we feel so far apart Sometimes we dance as one And feel the beating of each others hearts
Some days the dance is slow and sweet Some days we’re bouncing off the walls No matter how this world may turn Our love will keep us from fallin’
And we will dance When the sun is shining In the pouring rain We’ll spin and we’ll sway And we will dance When the gentle breeze Becomes a hurricane The music will play And I’ll take your hand And hold you close to me And we will dance
The music will play And I’ll hold you close And I won’t let you go Even when our steps Grow weak and slow Still I’ll take your hand And hold you close to me And we, will dance