Monday, June 22, 2009

Marital Moments Issue 35 - The Dance

There was a couple that lived across the hall from us when we lived in TX that my husband and I befriended. Both newly married, we had a lot in common and often had each other over for dinners. They invited us to a "Big Band" night with them once and we accepted.

They had ballroom danced together in college; we had never danced any kind of ballroom. I was hesitant, so our neighbor (the husband - with his wife's blessing) danced with me to show me how "easy" it was - and it truly was easy with him leading. It caught me off guard a bit how he led me around the floor firmly and confidently executing each move and yet, although firm; it was not forceful.

It was simple to follow his lead and as we glided across the floor, I actually thought I was a better ballroom dancer than I had originally imagined...until the song was over and I danced with my husband (who had also never danced that way and had no clue of how to lead the dance.)

I resisted my husband's attempt to lead at first because I thought he was "doing it wrong." Which only complicated our lack of coordination and left us less then joyful with one another. Our neighbor (who I'm quite sure noticed the tension building) instructed that I just needed to relax and follow. "Trust his lead." She said. "Even if he doesn't do it completely right; just let him lead."

I'm sure we weren't awesome; but we were able to feel like we were dancing gracefully when I stopped resisting and simply followed my husband's lead. The irony; he became more confident in his own lead as I submitted and as he showed more confidence; I respected his lead more. It was humbling and such a powerful lesson for me even then as I reflected on how it related to our relationship as husband and wife.

"Trust His lead. Even if he doesn't do it completely right; just let him lead."

Last week my friend, Daveda blogged about a portion of the "Because of Jesus" Conference that she attended and in it, she mentioned how one of the speakers shared an example similar to my above experience (You can read her entire post, It's Not About Me, here.)

All of these years, I have never made the correlation of my ballroom dance experience to my walk with the Lord. Reading Daveda's post, it hit me in such a beautiful new way. The best part? God DOES know how to lead and He will ALWAYS do it completely right.

Yet here I (often) am; the dance partner that has experienced a little success (most likely by His hand in moments when I was walking in humility and allowing Him to lead), resisting His turns and movements. Why? As my Dad often said, "It's normally three things that stop a Christian from living the life God has for them. Lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life." Basically, we (I) get distracted by things that we want, desire, tell ourselves that we need, and we're worried about what other people are going to think about us. We take our eyes off of God and His perfect will and put them on ourselves. But as Daveda so beautifully put it, "It's not about me" (us).

I'm still contemplating the depths of the symbolism in both relationships. But I want to encourage you to dance today! With your spouse and with your Heavenly Father.

"Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They're really doing themselves a favor—since they're already "one" in marriage." Ephesians 5:22-28 (The Message)

"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake. Psalm 23:1-3 (NIV)

*For my male readers...I apologize if "dancing with God" isn't a great analogy for you...I'm sure my own husband could relate a bit better to God being his "trail guide" out in the wilderness somewhere when he is without a compass of his own...having to trust someone else to lead him in the correct direction.* : )

Many Blessings!



Daveda said...

I am touched that God used my post to speak to your heart.

I think that one of the best things about walking with the Lord is that when we continually turn our hearts to Him, and trust in His ability to lead us, even those three things that distract, are not bigger than His spirit within! His love will eventually reveal truth and lead us back in the right direction.

Great Post, Shanda!

Pam D said...

Oh girl, that was beautiful! You DANCED in that post.. as gracefully and beautifully as you could ever hope to. God... was obviously leading.. and you let Him. And when that happens, it's a thing of beauty! Love you.. love your heart... and I learn from you EVERY time I come here!

Keystone said...

"Children, OBEY your parent", I declared to my rambunctious daughters.

With a quick grin on her face, Karli replied:
"Father's, do not exhasperate your children".


I was referring to Exodus, and Ten Commandment stuff like "Honor Thy Father".

Karli, a self learner, referred to Ephesians 6 as a retort of truth.
(Btw, she was grinning ear to ear with joy at that retort of hers. Even at age 7, they are learning just who the weaker sex really is. Yikes!).

Men understand the dance flow analogy.

Indeed, the pressure to lead has long been on the male. An exception occurred when Sadie Hawkins Day was created as a comic, but women grasped it in real life as the ONE time, SHE pursues HIM.

Few men mind being pursued, but on Sadie Hawkins Day, once on the dance floor, the role reversal ended and HE led the dance, not her.

It is common that every day is Sadie Hawkins Day now. It is common that empowerment has led to confusion on the dance floor, since "she who" asked, now leads on the floor, or pays for dinner (if not just her own).
We have entered an era of chaos on the roles.

My cousin, Steve, is a naturally graced dancer.
From the top of his head, to his widening smile, to his flailing arms (most artfully) to his astonishing footwork, the dance floor comes alive at every family wedding, as he and his wife take the floor.
They have outrageous fun, and it shows.

Steve invariably dances with every woman, single and married, for their escort or spouse is only too happy to allow the king of dance to have his moment, and bring joy to their female, if only for a slice of infinity.

Your own dance, Shanda, was hindered with resistance as hubs "got it wrong". I want you to imagine that moment from his perspective.
He has just witnessed a god perform the ultimate perfect dance, bringing a joy to his wife he is not capable of doing, for he has never done it.

He must come up to spin immediately.
He is met with resistance immediately.
Soon, gears no longer mesh and flow, but grind and grate, with the lurication of resistance.

Watch any dance in any forum. The floor often is filled with women dancing....with women.
Soon, a slow dance comes along, and there is no room on the dance floor as every man grabs a partner to embrace in their personal harmony.

And there is no one to view if they "got it wrong" for they were pleasing an audience of ONE, their partner! And all the other men were simulataneously doing the same.

Men can feel the resistance of a partner in dance as he "does it wrong". He already knows he has no clue, and is out there making a fool of himself because he loves his woman.

Love "keeps no records of wrongs".
"It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres"
~~~1Corinthian 13: 5-6

And as men can feel the resistance, friction replaces fun.

God wants your slow dances always, but he wants your jitterbug, ballroom, tango, even ballet, whatever you want.

We, of course, specialize in resistance. It is nothing short of grace, that He does not walk off the floor and leave us to dance alone.

To embrace and to entangle are very close as we draw near to one another in relationship, and to God. One leads to security and joy; the other leads to confusing, a need to escape, and sometimes death.

It was a blind Al Pacino, who managed a tango on the dance floor with a 22 year old beauty in the movie, "Scent of a Woman". She had a lifelong desire to tango, but never a partner to dance it with.

A blind man was better than no one. The dance, became a moment of serendipity, for its execution, audacity, and intent. BOTH partners became more alive with one another, than sitting at separate tables alone.

Since your heart is teachable, I suspect the Teacher...will dance with you often.

God bless you abundantly.

Belinda said...

Oh I loved how you danced with God the best dancer there is. Love the post .....Glad you had fun.

joanofalltrades said...

Wonderful post as always! Just think if we all danced with God daily and let Him lead us how different our world and our lives would be. I'm reading The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian, and like your blog, it is really helping me become a better Christian wife.

HappyascanB said...

This is awesome! I love to dance, and my hubby does, too! But we have always laughed at how I will, at any given moment, decide I can and should lead! And we always end up in a big ole' mess!!! I do the same thing with God!! And like you, I've never realized the correlation until I read this. GREAT thinking, Shanda!!! Love it!

Still Learning said...

I am living this right now. My husband is beginning to lead our home and the more I just be quiet and let him the better he does it and it just amazes me.

He has been reading in Ephesians 5 and trying his best to his part and that only makes me want to do mine even more. LOVE IT.

A wonderful post and I loved the dancing story. That was really great. If only we just let them lead....

Sun-Kissed Savages said...

Wow. We just took ballroom dancing lessons not long ago. I was horrible, unless led by an experienced dancer. And I was not following my husband's lead because, like you, I didn't think he was doing it right. What good advice your friend gave you.

Many wives need this same advice when they have a baby. The daddy doesn't play the same way, change diapers the same way, or prepare meals the same way. But that doesn't mean he is doing anything wrong.

My husband has a very phlegmatic personality, and I can easily step into the leadership position when I force the issue. It took years for me to just step back and relax.
"The irony; he became more confident in his own lead as I submitted and as he showed more confidence; I respected his lead more." Amen, sista!

Perfectly timed around Father's Day. We have the best and perfect FATHER, and our own husbands become more confident in their roles when we give them unwavering support.

Farmgirl Paints said...

I love the idea of dancing with God. It's such an intimate thing...leading and following, close contact. Great analogy!

Thanks for the great comment about Twilight too. I haven't seen the movie yet, and I completely understand the hesitancy to jump in. I am very guarded with what I read and will be the first to shun it if it does turn too dark.

Warren Baldwin said...

Very good metaphor and principle. Powerful post!

christy rose said...

Shanda, Isn't God good. I think it is so wonderful that God uses us all to speak to each other His heart and will for our lives. I loved it that Daveda's post was so touching to you and you had an experience of your own to make it come alive even more. It is wonderful to think of our life with the Lord and our husbands are a dance. How beautiful!!

Jennifer said...

Isn't it amazing how often we want to "lead" when we truly have no idea what we are doing....doesn't take much to convince us that we are "pretty good at this or that"!

I really loved your analogy - and I wouldn't mind trying ballroom dancing, either! :)

Shanda said...

I always enjoy your comments! Your daughter and my own could be trouble together! (Had they been the same age.) As I read your opening sentences I could envision that very exchange happening between the two of us. It hasn't...yet.

I had never given much thought to the Sadie Hawkins Dance...excellent point!

I also appreciated your thoughts on the "pressure to lead" that males are faced with. You are told to lead, expected to lead, and then met with resistance so many times...I'm going to ponder that a bit more so I can really understand that (especially with regard to my husband. Less friction and more fun is always a good thing!)

May your Monday be blessed. May those who you pray over today also be blessed!

Keystone said...


Your kind words always lift my heart as a butterfly on a summer wind current.

Many people read; few comprehend or recall, so I was delighted at your recollection of Monday Prayer. I did recall your marriage in prayer, and the Vital Statistics appear anew each week for more people in need of prayer. Here is this weeks prayer list:

Mostly Marriages and Bankruptcies. Next week will likely be heavy on Births and Divorces.
The dead appear daily in Obits.

I try to add anyone new I meet each week as well, or comment at, or hear about... like little girl, Jordan, the young lady at Billy Coffey's post, who wondered of God loving her while pondering He allowed her mom to die.

Or the author of Dream Weaver, your grampa!
Though long ago perished, we will meet him one day anew and he is worth more than many sparrows to Christ still.

I wanted to use that poem in a eulogy to my dad, along with personal notes. He died 25 years ago and his coffin was closed Father's Day 1984, the last time I saw his face. He was Catholic, and the priest forbid anyone but him to speak. It was quiet in the hearse.
He apologized a dozen years later, but sometimes, enlightenment comes too late to do any good.

The lovely Becky of Farm Girl Paints came into weekly prayer as she alerted reader's to the essentials of mammograms.
My cousin died of cancer two months ago, so the post was timely, tho troublesome to read for it was so fresh at hitting home. Yet, she came to the medical necessity with a fresh and wholesome attitude, that may just be infectious enough to encourage women to get a mammogram too.

Moreover, men are not allowed into this curtain of secrecy, until a shoulder is needed to lean on in a bad news report.
How refreshing to go throgh the procedure with someone who has been there, only to find that "Truth has set her free" of anxiety. She gets a week of prayers too.

Find new people God sends your way and pray for them all week. Once He can depend on you, He will send some amazing folks your way, for He knows who needs His help and YOUR prayers make that possible.
Prayer trumps free will, so intecede away!

God bless you abundantly.

Gretchen said...

Lovely word pictures, Shanda. As always. And i extend this to not only marriages, but other relationships, too. In order to grow others, we must allow for them to make mistakes, even when they're leading. And of course...well, God is the best dance partner for all of us. He never lets us down and even twirls us princess-types.

Shanda said...

Thank you again for your wonderful additions in comment form!

As I read through, I came across the portion when you mentioned that my grandfather had written "The Weaver." I stopped; read your words again, and quickly jumped over to The Glass House to check my own comment to see how I had mis-led you. I have corrected my error and left an apology there.

I also must apologize to you. In my joy of finding the poem on line and jumping through the all to familiar and meaning-filled lines, I completely missed the sentiment at the top, "written by my grandfather."

B.M. Franklin is not my grandfather.

As one who respects and honors the individual writings and lineage of others, my own error surprised me. It is serving as a teachable moment to this "teachable heart" to stay sharp and take additional pause before I hit that "publish" button.

My heart ached knowing that you were unable to share anything at your father's funeral. I can only imagine how difficult that must have been for you. I can absolutely see why you would have wanted to share the poem.

I had never considered the male perspective on mammograms. Because my mother died so young from breast cancer and self checking and mammograms seem to saturate my world, it never occurred to me. So glad that you mentioned it! And so glad Becky's check went well.

Your comment "Prayer trumps free will" has me thinking...Again, a thought I had not yet considered.

Thank you again for your words. I again apologize for mis-leading you. That was never an intent of mine.

May the sun shine down upon you warmly today!

Anonymous said...

So I watched that show "So You Think You Can Dance" a few weeks ago. (I'm a horrible dancer but love to watch talented dancers). There were two male dancers who auditioned as a couple. Throughout their dance they took turns leading. It ended up being confusing - even hard for the judges to follow - and they literally both fell down in the middle of the routine. It was a disaster...

Keystone said...

It is B. M. Franklin's loss that YOU are not in his lineage, Shanda.
I suspect he would be proud to have you represent his heritage.

In my mind, the poem was "Tapestry" until I read it anew at Glass House. That poem was the one for dad, unallowed with personal observations by me, as well.

Yes, the male perspective is missing in many of the female conversations online, and I suspect they would be shocked to hear many of their assumptions struck down by truth.

I have never seen a post like Farmgirl Paint's Ten Things She Hates/Loves, but her credibility as "genuine" woman went up in my book, with that post.

I have eight sisters, some younger, some older than me. They talk up a storm and wave their hands (like men shouting at TV during a sport game to influence the outcome). One of my sister's, Colleen, talks about 300 words per minute, with gusts of 500 wpm. I wish I could patent her communication process.

On breast cancer, MEN are affected hugely when a woman succumbs or battles this dread. We are sheltered from the room of mammography, and I doubt one in ten men could identify a speculum. This ignorance is appalling, for it is an integral part of the better gender's daily life.
[Note: I speak as single dad to daughters; they learned all this stuff from me.

Pampered Chef? Been there.

Day Care clubs of sharing time, instead of money, via increments of 1/4 hour to all day/night activities, with 28 women and me... been there. Debits and credits were given for day care of the group children and they had to even-out each quarter, or you left. This allowed freedom to go shopping, doctor appointment, dinner out, whatever, and no expense except YOU then watch other children. The credit/debit wash allowed no one to USE the service, but not watch other children. Good system.]

Becky does a marvelous job of taking everyone, everywhere in her daily excursions and observations. Must be the Minnesota air that makes honesty such a fresh breath.

On prayer and free will, please keep in mind that God is dying to jump in to each of our lives with the very best that life has to offer. But free will puts us in charge. He stands aside when our decision is NOT best.
Some folks are smart enough to say :
"God, I got myself in a fix and don't know what to do, so I put my eyes on you. Please undo the knots I made too tight".
He will do so.

Others move through life via free will at abandon and never consult him. His desire for the best is true for ALL his children (including Bin Laden, btw).

But lots of folks do not ask. They do not have, for they do not ask. So, He stands aside.

Along comes an intercessor, who knows HOW to pray, Who to pray for, and WHAT to ask.
God responds to them saying: "I knew I could depend on you to pray".

He has now been asked to intercede, and does. The free will of an individual is allowed still; they did not ask. But the prayers of intercession allow Him to intercede. THEY did ask! He is responding to intercessors. In effect, free will is trumped.
Be a praying person for others.

When I saw the picture of Becky's pedicure, I have never been in a seat looking down on a young Asian girl in a mask --- guys do not see this stuff from that angle.

But I know how to pray for that servant girl, willing to take feet in her hands every day, all day. At a tender age, she seems to make many women very happy with her work. But it is servant work akin to Christ, or cleaning toilets. I do not know if the lass is Christian, but I was in awe that she works with her head bowed humbly every day.
Ya just gotta love somebody like that, eh?
She gets a week of prayer as a new person I met in my life, unawares.
And I love Becky for being the open book she is in her domain. Her outer beauty belongs to her husband, but her inner beauty is what has created what we all see on the outside.

I can count on two hands the bloggers who pull this off well.
Shanda, your Teachable Heart is among that count.

Butterfly Flutter said...

God just revealed to me again how important it is to let him lead. Just is a little similar to my post today. Keeping the faith and letting God direct the road ahead. Either the human flesh said WHY!! God was saying well why not.

Sue said...

I loved this post. It reminded me of the amazing books by Angela Thomas where she uses the dancing with God analogy as well. It's so true, isn't it? When we let Him lead life is so much smoother!

Shanda said...

Thank you for being so very gracious and kind regarding my error!

I agree, Becky does an amazing job being real and open in her posts. Again, you have opened my eyes to the male perspective - I had not considered that a man would not know the view of having a pedicure. Sadly, many of the nail salons locally have idols to Budda in them in our town. They actually place "offerings" (fruit and other things) in front of the idols each day to "find favor and to bring in business." I have often wondered what happens at the end of the day...does the offering simply go into the trash or does someone privileged to consume the offering?

I would consider myself a praying person for others. Prayers for my spouse and children are especially vast. Your thoughts on intercessory prayer trumping free will offers many a parent hope! ;)

Blessings to you this evening. I would love to "chat" more; but I must go to sleep. Another very busy and fun filled day tomorrow! (Water day at VBS.)

May you rest well and may hope and peace fill your mind and heart.

Farmgirl Paints said...

Hi Shanda,
Thanks for letting me know about that comment it did bless me...along with all of your comments daily. I love hearing from you.

twofinches said...

My husband and I take ballroom dancing lessons each are right. Trusting the lead is so counter intuitive for us! Oh but how beautiful it seems when I stop resisting and we can glide around the room! Great analogy for God and his children!