Beth and I were in the bathroom this morning getting ready. She anticipated something I was about to do and responded so smoothly it was like we had choreographed and rehearsed it. I remarked as such. She said something like, “Marriage is like a dance. We’ve been married long enough to learn how not to step on each other’s toes.” I smiled. ‘Tis true. I’m grateful. She left to help get kids ready.
I started thinking about the “not stepping on each other’s toes” idea. You don’t learn to dance by focusing on how to avoid your partner's toes. You learn to dance by learning the steps. I wonder how many marriages are too focused on toe avoidance.
“Don’t want to rock the boat.”
“Don’t want to hear her nag.”
“Don’t want to get him angry.”
“Don’t want to bring THAT up again!”
That is no dance. It’s walking on eggshells.
What if we focus positively on the biblical steps of the dance that is Christian marriage? What if husbands regularly stiff-arm the impulses to passivity and proactively lead and serve their wives? What if wives repeatedly put up the hand to negativity, nagging and a critical spirit and practice the steps of honor and respect and willing support? What if we practice, over and over and over, the “dance steps” of, say, Colossians 3:12-17?
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
If we do, I think we’ll step on each other’s toes a lot less. And when we do get stepped on, we’ll forgive, and even, at times, be able to laugh it off. Loving your partner will be more to you than avoiding the pain. And learning to dance – even to enjoy it! – will be more to you than merely being skilled at sidestepping.