Setting the Distance…in Dance and Marriage

Setting the Distance

“Setting the distance” in both Ballroom Dancing and Marriage is always an interesting topic, and sometimes a delicate one to talk about. The distance i’m talking about is not always measured in feet and inches, but is often measured based on a comfort level. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about; the guys may need a little help. Let me explain.

Get away from me you Creepazoid!

Dancers: Be Discreet

One of the most important aspects in Ballroom Dancing is discretion, and fortunately it’s the ladies choice how close to her partner she wants to be.

Distance between partners depends in some cases on the dance. Rhythm dances like swing, cha cha, and others work well with some space between the partners. Other dances like Waltz, Foxtrot, and Tango work much better with a closely held frame, especially when doing pivots or turns. Yet other dances like Rumba or Bolero are inherently close due to the romantic nature of the dance and music. And then there’s the inevitable “High School Prom” dance where the partners are pretty much glued to each other.

But in all these circumstances, the man should be a Gentleman and allow the woman to set the distance she is comfortable with. And this is most often by her impression of you, how you treat her before the dance, during the dance and after the dance. Trust me when i say guys, everyone (especially the other women) is watching you and how you act at the dance party. If you are being rude, dancing carelessly, placing the girl at risk of falls, collission, or injuries, she most likely will never dance with you again. And if you watch carefullty youll see that the people she talks to don’t want to dance with you either

In many dance studios, partners rotate when in a class, and afterwards they frequently will ask others in the studio to dance. It is important that both partners be respectful of each other’s “personal space” when dancing, and even if the partners are married, to exercise discretion.

Husbands and Wives

Setting the distance or “parameters” in a marriage are important as well. While husband and wife are obviously expected to be close and intimate, there are accepted boundaries, publicly, within the family, and in the bedroom. In public – at a nightclub or a dance studio, it’s still important for the husband and wife to be discreet. It’s not hard for a loving, committed couple to display that love without making others uncomfortable. The recently used term “Public Displays of Affection” refers to closeness that make others uncomfortable to watch or be around. When real love and respect is there between a couple, it shows in the body language, the smiles, the conversations between them. And other people see it. On several occasions my wife and I have been complimented about our marriage and relationship, and how it shows on the dance floor. One person even told us “it gives us hope”, referring to the idea that marriages can work, and work well.

In the Bedroom

The Biblical boundary in the bedroom is actually quite liberal. The apostle Paul addressed it in i Corinthians 7:5a when he talks about not depriving each other except by mutual consent. On the surface, this refers to depriving each other of sex in general, but it also refers to what you do in the bedroom. It doesn’t prohibit sex toys,  different positions, or any of these things. However it doesn’t provide an excuse for bringing in a third party for a three-way, or the “swingers” parties that were popular in the Eighties. Adultery is still   adultery! Beyond that, the Biblical admonition is whatever you both agree on.

Vashti told the King “No Way!”

Vashti Told Him…”No Way!”

One of my favorite stories to illustrate creepy guys and discrete, level-headed women is the Biblical account of Xerxes, King of Persia, and his wife Vashti. It is found in the Old Testament, Esther 1, 2:1; 4:17 .

It seems the King in his third year decided to hold major party in the capitol city. Maybe it was an inauguration party, and it took that long to get the word out – we don’t know. But we are told that he invited just about everyone – his military officers, all his princes and their attendants, and royalty from around the kingdom. It was, in a word, a huge party! This party displayed all the riches of his kingdom, and went on for SIX MONTHS! The Bible describes in great detail the extravigance of what they did; if you’re in to “red carpet reporting” of Galas, you should read it.

In the very last week of this party, the King and the Party Goers went on a genuine “bender” – a time when everyone drank until they were satisfied. The Bible says when the king was “merry with wine” (drunk!) he decided he wanted to show off beautiful wife Vashti to his party friends (it was a guy-only party, the women partied separately).


It doesn’t take much to imagine the setting and mindset of what was going on here. No doubt, Vashti was beautiful and expected to display that beauty fully to a bunch of drunken guys. but Queen Vashti had far more integrity, discretion,  and insight than her husband. She “set the distance” and would not cross that boundary, and would not tolerate her husband doing it either. SHE REFUSED!

The Worst Law Ever

Naturally, the King was angry, and once he sobered up, he consulted his seven advisers about what he should do. Their answer was one of the classics of male arrogance. They told the king that if word of her disobedience got out, every wife in the kingdom would feel entitled to do the same to their husband, and they couldn’t have that! So they made a proclamation (passed a law) that Vashti was no longer Queen and the King was to find another. And also in the law was that:

“all women will give honor to their husbands, great and small”

In other words, wives had to do what their husbands said, regardless of the correctness or Godliness of it.

A New Queen: Esther

Following that, the King was to choose a new Queen, which he did through [what we would call] a “beauty contest”. All the selected girls of the Kingdom were paraded in front of him, and he picked the winner. But this is where God intervened. He caused the King to choose Esther, a Jewish girl. And because of the power and influence she had, she was able to save the Jewish people of the kingdom from annihilation!

Conclusion: Setting the Distance is a Ladies Prerogative

The point in these stories is that it is morally and biblicaly correct for the lady to put limits on, or set the behavior and distance between dance partners and marriage partners. Most women do so graciously, and in a way that does not embarrass or discourage her partner. But ladies, be firm in your convictions, and men: No means No!