When Marriage Is Not a Beautiful Dance

“Beautiful when done right,” commented a recent workshop participant regarding the correlation between marriage and dance.

It’s true that both dance and Christian marriage are objects of beauty when done well, but conversely either can be corrupted and unpleasant.

In a recent blog post entitled The Dark Side of Submission, Lee Grady cites examples of how misinterpretation of the scriptures on the husband’s headship has resulted in abuse of women.

“Traditionalists assume that a Christian marriage is defined as a dominant husband who makes all family decisions while the wife graciously obeys without input. Yet Scripture actually portrays marriage as a loving partnership … ,” he writes.

His post is a reminder that we live in a fallen world where Christian marriages are not always the beautiful dance that they could be.

“Headship, in its essence, is not about ‘who’s the boss.’ Rather it refers to the Genesis account of Eve being taken from Adam’s side. The husband is the ‘source’ of the wife because she originated from him, and she is intimately connected to him in a mystical union that is unlike any other human relationship,” Grady writes.

“Truly Christian marriages, according to the apostle Paul, involve a tender, servant-hearted and unselfish husband who (1) loves his wife ‘just as Christ also loved the church;’ (2) loves her as his own body; and (3) loves her as himself (see Eph. 5:25, 28 33). He stands alongside his wife in faithfulness, and she joyfully respects her husband because he can be trusted. And the two become one.”

Dancing in partnership can provide a picture of this beautiful, active, loving and respectful relationship as it was intended by our Creator.

Copr 2009 MarriageDance

7 thoughts on “When Marriage Is Not a Beautiful Dance

  1. landschooner on said:

    I agree that it isn’t a dictatorship, but headship isn’t just loving servant hood. If Christ and the church is our model, and it is, Christ served the Church because He loved the church, but He also is the leader of the church. Not just leading by service but also as the authority.

    • marriagedance on said:

      Yes, the leader has authority — whether we are speaking of Christ and the church, the husband and wife or the dancing couple leader/follower. Christ models authority for us in humility and servanthood.

  2. You’ve highlighted only one way, by far the most commonly cited way, in which dancing and marriage can be a failure.

    What about what I see as the much more common problem in the US and Western Europe: When the partner designated as “follower” refuses to follow, doesn’t see that as her role, or follows reluctantly and begrudgingly–wishing she didn’t have to? Or about when the “leader” chooses not to, or is afraid to lead? Those things lead to some ugly dancing as well.

    That is another common failure of dancing. And Marriage.

    • MarriageDance on said:

      In this post, I was specifically responding to Lee Grady’s article which addresses how the concept of submission has been terribly misrepresented within the church over the years. But I agree it is only one of the ways that marriage may not be the “beautiful dance” it was intended to be. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Reading in Keller’s book, The Meaning of Marriage, in relation to the “submit” chapter in Ephesians, he points out that that whole conversation is opened in the Greek by the leading verse “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (v. 21).

    Paul’s point, broken up artificially by most English translations of the book which unlink verse 21 from the following verses in that passage on marriage, is that a spirit of submission by both participants in a marriage should exist regardless by each to God and to His service, and that spirit should provide the context for the nurturing of their marital relationship. Both individuals should have discovered in their personal lives that a lifestyle of servanthood, which counters selfish interests, is the route Jesus prescribes for personal happiness anyways, and that submission through service is Christ’s call to his followers, whether they are married or not. If both participants in a relationship have that priority in their personal lives, and make servanthood a cornerstone in their joint life missions, the rest of the marriage discussion by Paul falls into context. We love through submission to God and the service of others. Marriage is the exceptional place where love should grow and the furthering of two serving hearts should happen. Men, love your wife like you ought to be loving other anyways. Wives, likewise, love as Christ asks you to love as you walk with Him.

    • marriagedance on said:

      Thanks for sharing these thoughts from Tim Keller’s book. This explanation of submitting to one another in marriage nicely addresses the previously posted comment about the additional ways marriage can fail to be a beautiful dance.

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