Think of your marriage as a dance. Dancing may look beautiful and effortless, but it takes a lot of hard work and persistence. You may say, “Well, I want to ‘dance.’ But my partner—he (or she) doesn’t want to ‘dance.’” Let’s look at the question, “Do you want to dance?” from three different angles:
1. Do you want to dance?
The question is not for your partner; it is personal and requires honesty. Are you willing to dance or have you given up? Are you discouraged or bored with your marriage? Maybe you are complacent; your marriage is acceptable but so what. Taking your marriage relationship to the next level is up to you. Are you willing to dance?
2. Do you want to dance?
No one can force a person to dance. He or she can only invite you to dance. It’s a choice. For 30 years, I wanted to dance with Bob. A little Two-Step in the kitchen seemed like fun. His answer was “no,” and I couldn’t make him. Once, I tried. I took his hands and arms and said, “Come on. Just move with me.” He declined. What was I to do? Try to push him? That wouldn’t have been a dance, would it? And yet, that’s exactly what some marriages look like with one partner trying to push the other one into relationship with them.
3. Do you want to dance?
Maybe you’re willing to stay in the relationship—but simply staying isn’t dancing. For some couples, success is the household functioning smoothly. For others, less fighting would be counted as success. And then, there’s dancing—the relationship we believe God has in mind. But dancing requires some work.
In the summer of 2002, we seemed to have an efficient, functioning marriage. We didn’t hit, yell, or throw things. Our children were not juvenile delinquents. We felt successful. We were so confident we even tried to help other couples with their marriages. Then we attended an advanced training seminar taught by a biblical counselor. He only held it once a year for ten couples, and to be accepted, we had to agree to be counseled in front of the other nine couples. In our naivety, we were not concerned about exposing our marriage to critique. About five minutes into our counseling session, the counselor said, “You know what your problem is? On the outside, you look great. You are like good roommates. On the inside, you’re crying because you have no idea how to connect at the heart level.”
Roommates? I was furious! If he had known us at all, he would have at least given us credit for being good teammates. Our record was clear; we had managed to accomplish a lot during our marriage. We were active volunteers at church, at our children’s schools, and in the community. I ran the house. Bob provided for us. Bob came home from work; we put our heads together, took care of family business, and then started our extra-curricular activities.
We were very efficient, but had no idea how to connect at the heart level. We didn’t know what was going on in the deep recesses of our partner’s heart.
We will be forever grateful to this man because God used him to show us what we were missing. By many standards, we had a good marriage, but God had something more for us—He had a dance. In fact, our infinite God always has infinitely more in store for us, no matter where we are in our marriage relationship. Once we saw how to “dance,” we were no longer satisfied with taking care of business.
What is your mindset toward your marriage right now? If it were completely up to you, are you willing to put in the time and effort to make your marriage really dance?
Today’s blog post was adapted from the book The Marriage Dance: Moving Together as One.