Protecting your partner is a key part of Dance and Marriage and relationships. Ballroom dancing looks to an outsider as a sport that is gentle, elegant, full of good manners and behavior. For the most part, it is, but as the following story shows, it’s not always the case.
My wife and I were at a dance camp one time, having a great time on a reasonably crowded dance floor. All of a sudden, some guy bumped into me from behind, and almost knocked me down – which says a lot, because I’m a pretty big guy.
While there’s nothing unusual about this happening, it’s normal for the two people to face each other and apologize, especially when they had their back turned and neither was really at fault. But when I turned around, I was looking into the face of a guy who outweighed me by at least 50 pounds, and was glaring at me as if it was my fault. I made my apologies, turned, and continued dancing.
For the next week I watched this guy closely. I didn’t provoke him, but when he came near, I held my ground (to my wife’s annoyance). Perhaps I should have been more gracious, but my absolute contempt for bullies got the best of me. All my life I’ve despised bullies, and there are bullies on the dance floor as well.
Floor Craft and Protecting Your Partner
One of the basic skills in dance is called “floor craft”, and it’s the ability to navigate through a crowd of dancers without bumping, colliding, or disrupting others, AND STILL MAINTAINING the timing and flow of your own dance.
Most of the floor craft is performed by the leader, because he is “driving”, knows what he wants to do, and has a view of the floor ahead. This is not to say that the woman plays no part; indeed her part is critical. She is the one watching out for her man on his blind side, and helping him maintain a safe distance from those he cannot see. Often in dance the leader will need to dance backward to avoid problems ahead, and it is the lady’s job to let him know if there is danger. She does this by strongly placed resistance to his backward movement. The leader should be sensitive to this and heed the warning promptly. If this doesn’t work, she can simply say “Look Out!”.
Collision on a dance floor is a dangerous thing, and almost like a NASCAR event more than one couple can easily be involved, with serious injury possible. Clearly, the lead and follow roles are equally important for a safe and enjoyable dance, and when performed together can add greatly to the safety and pleasure of the dance.
Both Roles Matter
The man’s role is to watch ahead, with several goals in mind:
- Analyzing where the traffic is going, anticipating where it will go and what openings will be available, and then moving toward those open areas
- Watching out for traffic jams, and avoiding them
- Choosing the appropriate “traffic lane” for your skill level
The Woman’s role is :
- Watching the traffic behind, and alerting the leader when they get too close
- Applying gentle resistance (or un-following) if the man makes a sudden backwards step or change of direction into another couple
- Briefly taking the lead just like the man, when appropriate – such as the turning pattern of a Viennese Waltz, when the lead is alternated
As you can see, the roles of leading and following are equally important for a safe and enjoyable dance, and when performed together, can add greatly to the safety and pleasure of the dance.
As in Dance, So in Marriage
Just as in the story above about partners protecting each other, so it is in a relationship or marriage. Protection and care comes in many areas, some of them are physical, such as protection from harm. Some of them are emotional, such as protecting each other from situations in the world that hurt the other person’s feelings, are indiscreet, or deceitful. Some of the protection comes in the form of spiritual matters, caring for each other’s spiritual well being, and looking out for threats that will injure the marriage.
Protecting Each Other
The Bible has a great deal to say about Marriage between a man and a woman. There are many great love stories of course, such as that contained in the Song of Solomon. But pertaining to protection in a marriage, it’s mostly found in the writings of Paul in the New Testament. One of the most popular and important ones is found in Ephesians 5:25
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for her
Clearly, this places the marriage into the same context as Christ and His church. Christ loved the world so much that he gave himself up for it (even thought many did not respond to that love). So also should a husband love his wife, and she should respond to that love.
It’s More Than Flowers
The part about “giving of himself” is often overlooked, in favor of giving other things such as flowers on Valentine’s Day. While such gifts are appreciated by the wife, they are not the most important. The better gift is giving of the soul and the heart. Such intangible gifts are often far more appreciated.
A second verse, Ephesians 5:28 re-emphasizes the importance of the husbands love, and looks at it it in a slightly different way:
So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself, for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church.
Now About Dating
Dating is “Retro”
Before I go too deeply into this subject, let me comment to the younger set, the “millennials”, and those who think “dating” doesn’t happen anymore. Many of this age group will say they don’t “date” they just “hang out” or get together, or “meet up” . Perhaps they see it as just talking, not dating. Whatever you call it, it’s essentially the same. I say “retro” is big right now, so let’s use the retro term “dating”.
Ballroom Dancing Is Like Speed Dating
Many people have described Ballroom Dancing as somewhat like “speed dating”, where the date only lasts the length of a song, about 3 minutes. During that time you get a first impression about the other person, and whether you would like another dance or not. This is one of the reasons I so highly recommend this sport as the perfect venue to meet others, develop social skills, and build friendships.
Honor and Integrity From The Voice of a Ranger
One of my favorite speakers on the subject of dating is the blunt-talking “Ranger Gary Horton”. Gary has a ministry of speaking to youth and High Schools across the country, with the honest, candid and entertaining talk that kids appreciate. I can’t improve on what hes says, so let me just paraphrase some of his important points.
When you’re dating, in many cases the other person is going to be someone else’s future husband or wife. It’s important that you treat that person with honor and integrity. You have no right to leave guilt or shame or pain with this person. For the men i would caution you that every real guy knows that women are the future of our country. If you love your country then be a man of honor and integrity, and treat the women with respect.
Ladies – before you begin dating a guy, talk to his friends or his siblings, and find if they would like to marry a guy like this. Find out how he talks to his mother, and how he treats his family. Remember that if you marry him and have a family, the way he treats his new family will be a lot like how he treated his old one.
“Guys, I want to get into your face on this issue of dating! One of the ways you judge a nation is by how it takes care of their young and their women! Why do you think we always refer to America in the feminine? Be a man of honor and integrity when you are dating another man’s future wife!”
“Emotions are thoughtless, they have no thought content and what we do on the basis of how we feel is usually confusing and wrong.Your emotions are like taste buds, they react or respond to whatever you give them. But honor is a code of life.”
The Key To A Long And Successful Marriage
Protection of the body, the soul, and the spirit of your husband or wife is one of the important keys to a successful marriage that will withstand all the trials of the world. Be always vigilant to insure this protection!