Complements by Design

In dance circles I’ve heard it said that “The woman is the picture; the man is the frame.” This speaks to the individual and complementary roles of the woman and the man in the dance.

A frame around an artwork provides a complement to the art not a distraction. It may be artistic in its own right, but it does not compete. Rather it focuses attention on and brings out the best features of the artwork it supports and protects.

The same can be said in dance, though it is true in some dances more than others. As a general rule, the man provides the structure through his lead. The woman is able to add creative flourishes or “art” to the dance as she follows, particularly if she is an experienced dancer. This may be most obviously demonstrated in ballroom dance moves such as an oversway, throwaway and develope. She is responsible for supporting her own weight in any move other than a lift,  but the structure or set up provided by the man is essential to the proper execution of such moves.

Additionally like the frame, the dance leader has responsibility for protecting his partner. This can be particularly challenging on a crowded dance floor.

How is this like a Christian marriage? Husbands and wives have individual, complementary roles. The man’s leadership offers structure and protection for his wife.

Christian author John Eldredge writes that the essence of a man is his strength and the essence of a woman is her beauty. Both strength and beauty are characteristics of God, in whose image both men and women are made. They work together like a picture and its frame.

Copr 2009 MarriageDance

3 thoughts on “Complements by Design

  1. Thank you for your amazing insight, Dawn. All your posts shed examples and light on a godly marriage. May God bless you as God reveals more to you and you share it with us.

  2. Hey Dawn, now that I know how important blogging is in the “online world”… I’ll go ahead and post here…. With regards to the “frame” aah yes, the man is the frame in the dance and in marriage…. had some additional analogous thoughts today… with regards to the frame providing structure, support, maybe even boundaries, yikes =) If the frame is not structurally sound… i.e. lazy, not strong spiritually, mentally, or physically…. then the “picture” will not be “supported”, it will not look as good either… so this is a call to all men =) be a strong supporter, get in shape so to speak. Wives needs that strong frame, that structure, both in the dance and in marriage! How’s that for analogy =)

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Frank. From the dance perspective, followers really appreciate a leader’s solid frame. It conveys confidence and clarity … two things everyone can appreciate in a leader in any situation. If the follower is doing her part, she will receive the clear and confident lead and be able to respond accordingly … confidently and clearly. And when both partners are working well together, we should remember to express our appreciation to each other.

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