I’ve had numerous conversations with female friends who dance, and we all agree. Partner dancing affirms our femininity. We love that princess-like feeling resulting from a chivalrous invitation to dance followed by being gracefully led around the dance floor for a few brief minutes (the length of a song). We walk out of the door with our heads held higher from the experience, feeling beautiful even if we were not wearing a formal gown or it had been a bad-hair day.
What I didn’t know was if men were affirmed in their masculinity through dance. So I finally asked the question. The particular group of men I asked were Christians, new to dance and participating in a dance workshop with their wives. Their answer seemed to be unanimous. Yes, dancing affirmed their masculinity. Why? There are not many circumstances in life where they were unequivocally the “leader,” where they are given permission to lead without any question or hesitation.
The results of my quick survey are completely unscientific, of course. But even so, it begs the question: Why does dancing affirm us in our femininity and masculinity? My theory is we were made for this. Men were designed by our Creator to be leaders; women were designed by our Creator to be helpers and responders. The male-female dance partnership reflects our God-intended roles as men and women, so when we dance we feel affirmed in who we were made to be.
This is not a welcomed or celebrated message in our time and place in history. There is much argument and debate over “gender roles,” and scriptural guidelines are often regarded as archaic and irrelevant.
In a humorously titled blog post, Woman! Know Your Role, the author finds that submission (as referenced in Ephesians 5) often looks different than what she expected. She gives the following examples:
I recently had an epiphany about the times my husband has said to me, “Where do you want to go for dinner?” And I refused to decide, thus refusing to submit to a simple request he’d made of me. So what I actually thought was submission was not, because he asked me for input and I wouldn’t give it to him. Or many times Adam has told me to leave the dishes and let him clean the kitchen after a dinner I’ve made. Guess what I used to do? Ignore him completely. When I thought I was serving him by continuing to clean, what I was communicating was that I didn’t regard his requests enough to comply with them, not even when they were to my benefit.
She concludes: “Honor and esteem your role, ladies. It is a high calling and one that should be embraced.” Likewise, I would encourage men to embrace their God-intended role. I think we will each find that when we do, as in dance, we are affirmed in who we are created to be.
Copr 2009 MarriageDance
So true! I do think dancing affirms men’s masculinity because they get to do the planning, and they decide what the couple does. And it doesn’t work if we women try to intrude. I’ve found that I stop learning the steps they teach us in lessons now. I just don’t pay attention. Because if I think, I try to lead. It’s so much easier just to follow what he’s doing and copy it, and then we don’t get into conflict! And it really does help you feel more romantic.
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Thanks for your comment, Sheila. I have had dance instructors tell me … “Don’t think. Follow!” I find it’s a nice way to “unwind” when I can tune into the lead and simply follow. So glad you are finding some of the same “truths” in dancing that I have! Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Keith!
Thanks for the link to this article. It reminds me so aptly that when we let our world view be restructured according to His design, the roles of men and women make sense, and there is a beauty and wonder to behold as men and women in these roles work together. I’ve found in my own journey into dance that there have been a number of little things that I have experienced or witnessed or been told that have affirmed your idea, that dancing strengthens and clarifies masculinity and femininity for people.
Probably the best compliment I have been given, even as a junior dancer, is being told that I have a strong lead, and that I am easy to follow. As a man, this is such a meaningful compliment from a partner. I may not know a million steps or have the flair of some other fellows, but when a woman says she can tell where I am guiding her as we move together, and she finds both a comfort and a freedom to play, bringing what she knows, into our dance because she can trust me. That little insight has meant a lot to me, translated over into real life and relationships.
I also appreciate your reminder that in dance, as in other areas of life, women appreciate feeling pretty and princess-like. The Eldredge’s book, Captivating, helped me to understand that being considered beautiful is a deeper core need in women, just as men strive to be regarded as strong. Certainly, dance provides a way for both and men and women to have those core needs shared and met.
Thanks for sharing how you’ve found these principles to be true in your own experience, Bruce. As a dancer myself, I also appreciate a lead that is clear and easy to follow. I compare having a clear lead in dance to taking initiative, which you mention in your post as one of the qualities of a maturing man that women appreciate. Dance gives followers the opportunity to express appreciation for leaders’ initiative … another principle that can be applied off the dance floor for the benefit of relationships.
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