What DANCING Taught Us About MARRIAGE
I [Robert here] have taught many classes on Counseling. One of the questions I always bring to the first lecture is this: “In one word, what is the goal of counseling?” The responses among students usually vary widely and include words such as: “healing”, “emotional repair”, “understanding”, “honesty”, “forgiveness”, and the list goes on. However, the word we invariably end up agreeing on is this: “wholeness.” The goal of counseling is ultimately helping a wounded, hurting, discouraged or broken person experience a greater measure of wholeness in life.
Well, if wholeness is the goal of counseling, than oneness is the goal of marriage. It was the goal from the start, that “these two shall become one” (Gen. 2:24) and it is confirmed thousands of years later in the Gospels (in Mark 10:8). In fact, Jesus adds a line of firmness to this goal of oneness: “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate (v. 9).” In other words, what God brings together as one, no one should ever try to divide. After all, God is the God of unity. Marriage is God’s idea, his design, and even his artistic expression. It reveals something of God’s nature, his heart and his plan for mankind.
How great it is to see a man and women growing closer and stronger through the years in their marriage. In fact, one of the most discouraging marriage images we have ever seen is watching some older couples sitting at a restaurant eating their meal, not talking at all and looking at every thing and everyone in the room, except each other. A hundred times or more we have seen that depressing sight and reminded each other: “We do not want to grow old that way.”
The Way At Its Worst and Best
When a Man’s Will gets in a Woman’s Way, or vice versa, things can get quite messed up in marriage. But when The Will of a Man & The Way of a Woman learn to move together with grace – that is quite another story. The Will of a Man and the Way of a Woman were designed by God to go hand in hand. In the purest sense, where there is a WILL, there is a WAY.
One of the images that helps us picture The Will and They Way at its the best is that of a dance, even a salsa (why not add some spice to this example, right!?). For starters, it is so interesting to look online at blogger/dancers writing on The Rules of Salsa Dancing. They actually apply quite well to the Principle of The Will and the Way.
One of the posts was entitled “Connecting with Your Partner – An Introduction to Leading & Following in Salsa Dancing.”[i] Does that fit this conversation or what? Here are some of the more apt directions we found with a couple of our comments [added in] from the first section of the website referred to as “The Rules of The Dance”. See if they remind you of marriage:
- “Since salsa is a couple dance, there need to be rules in order to move smoothly together with a partner.”
- “Leading & Following does not just mean the guy says what to do and the girl executes his wishes [sorry guys].”
- “Leading & following is communication and teamwork.”
- “We try to split the work it takes, resulting in effortlessly moving together as one unit.”
- “To learn how to lead or follow well takes a lot of sensitivity, you need to be willing to talk and listen to your partner, as opposed to just executing your steps or styling.”
- “You need to adhere to the grammar rules and have a certain vocabulary in order to communicate with your partner.”
- “Screaming at each other [forcing a lead] will not make up for clear communication …”
- “Not listening [anticipating] will take the joy out of any conversation.”
- “Just be sure you learn the language …”
We were amazed to see how much these directions relate to what it takes to have a great relationship as a couple, to have a great marriage, to dance well together in life. Also, woven through them are principles that are so similar to understanding the beautiful balance that can result from understanding the Will and the Way and how they best work together. To do so, however, a couple must have a clear understanding of what they do and do not bring to the dance.
Do you see how the will and the way go hand in hand, in life and in the dance? While arguably in most dances, especially traditional ones, the man (or the Will of a man) leads; it is the Woman (or the elegant Way of a Woman) that adds beauty, flow, intrigue and wonder to the dance itself. This example is not meant at all to imply that men are the only ones who take the first step, or lead out, or initiate in a relationship between a man and a woman; only that there is a beautiful flow that can come from the collaborative connection of the Will of a Man and the Way of a Woman.
While a man’s will brings direction to the dance, the way of a woman adds beauty and wonder to it. When one tries to dominate rather than collaborate, rigidity sets in and the dance falls apart [more about that in the next chapter]. However, when both find a part to play, embrace it, and pour their hearts into it, something beautiful results.
The Will and the Way in life. The Will and the Way on the dance floor. The Will and the Way moving together as one. That’s the idea. But, it takes understanding; teach ability, and practice, lots of practice.
Press on. Read on. Dance on.
ROBERT and PAMELA CROSBY are the Co-founders of Teaming Life (teaminglife.com), investing their lives in men and women who desire to live as Teaming Couples, Teaming Families and equipping leaders to build strong Teams in the Church and Marketplace. Robert’s works include The Teaming Church: Ministry in the Age of Collaboration and The One Jesus Loves. Together they have written, The Will of a Man and the Way of a Woman, recently released.
[i] “Connecting with Your Partner: An Introduction to Leading and Following in Salsa Dancing.” SALSADANCINGTIPS.com. http://www.salsadancingtips.com/leading-following-technique.html (accessed May 26, 2016).