Designated Dance Partners
Sometimes, a talent or skill seems so easy and natural for someone, it doesn’t seem fair. It’s not always based on the amount of practice. Sometimes, people are just naturally good at things like singing, sports, or public speaking. When things like that come so naturally, we come to the conclusion that it has to be God’s favor. God has blessed me with the gift of dancing.
My husband, on the other hand, was not blessed with the gift of dancing. God didn’t give him the gift of natural movement and rhythm. Instead, God put me in his life to help in this department. Being a sweetheart, he tries so much because he loves me. I love him for that, but sometimes I get agitated, discouraged and even mad at him because of my high and unrealistic expectations.
Now, I don't like country music, and my husband doesn’t like dancing, but we both love each other. There had to be a compromise here and luckily we found one. Two Step Dancing is the compromise between a country loving husband (that doesn’t like to dance) and a dance loving wife (that doesn’t like country). A simple one, two, step, turned out not to be so simple as a couple. I was able to pick it up instantly, but my husband was not. His rhythm was off. He was stiff as a board when he swayed in an attempt to “flow” as he would say. Dance moves and tricks seemed so simple in my mind, but when we tried to execute them it ended in a tangled mess and a bitter heart. I felt embarrassed and disappointed, even to the point where I asked this sinful question: “Here is the man whose role is to lead me. How can a man who can’t lead a dance be able to lead me spiritually?”
This was not my proudest moment as a wife. Rather than looking inward to see how I could change, I looked outward to critique everyone and everything but myself. So I took control. I lead our dancing, which lead to an even more tangled mess and a disgruntled heart. I took pride in my dancing. Instead of recognizing it as God’s blessing, I viewed it like it was a gift I had all on my own. I found myself trying to orchestrate our dance entirely on my own. I was not the “helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). My constant nagging and bickering tore down my husband. He not only disliked dancing but also felt incompetent. What was supposed to be an enjoyable dance turned into a walk on eggshells. Our dancing grew worse. The more I nagged, the more he didn’t do well, which made me nag, and the cycle repeated on and on.
Here’s the thing: men lead dances. If you go to any dance class or look in the rule books, it will say, “Men lead dances.” That is traditionally their role because they are typically taller and stronger. And just like dancing, God made men the spiritual leaders in our marriages too. As unpopular as it is today, the truth is that God gave you the role to submit to your husband.
“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:22-24)
I bet you’re thinking, “What a word! SUBMISSIVE? Ummmm. Really? Because I can think of multiple reasons why I should take that role. I’ll submit to him in everything but with finances or managing the house.” I’ve definitely had those thoughts too (along with others I am battling with).
If you’ve made it this far into this letter, congratulations! The act of submitting is one of the most off-putting commandments for wives and is a touchy subject for many in today’s day and age. It is a difficult teaching. Trust me, I know. All these doubts and arguments come against God’s word, but please stop. Stop tolerating and entertaining all of Satan’s influence. Forget what social media or the world says. Stop living by the song, ‘Who Run the World? Girls!’. Why would God choose to put verses about submission not once, but multiple times in his word? There has never been a time where God said, “Oops, I made a mistake. You are right. Let me obey you.” There is something to behold from God’s word.
That being said, be careful not to pick and choose the parts of the Bible that support your opinion. Rather, work to change your opinion to the truth God has laid out in front of us. Look at the Bible verses as a whole. Pray for wisdom, understanding, and a soft heart. Whether you’re saved or not, there are still some hard teachings because we are still human. I’m so glad that God doesn’t say, “Submit because I said so!” He gives us more (read slowly):
Ephesians 5:25-33 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church – for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
1 Peter 2:21 – 3:1-2 “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. ‘He bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’ For ‘you were like sheep going astray,’ but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of you lives.” (emphasis by me) (I don’t know about you, but I have never thought that Jesus was weak when he submitted himself to God.)
1 Peter 3:7 “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
1 Corinthians 11:3 “But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”
These commands aren’t something just implied for the modern, strong, I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.T. woman. Women were still struggling with submission in the beginning. The fall of mankind was due to the disobedience of Eve and the passivity of Adam. Eve tried to take control and took that first bite. Adam stood passively beside her and followed suit.
Genesis 3:5-6 “‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’' When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and ate it.”
Be on guard sisters. Just as Satan lied to Eve about the negative aspects of submitting, he will lie to you also. He is scheming against you. It won’t be in the form of a snake, instead he will morph into the form that will convince you the most. There were only animals, Adam, and Eve in the beginning. So, he was a snake. Nowadays, he can be that catchy song, YouTube channel, or public influencer. Choose to silence the schemes of Satan and look to what God is teaching you. Trust that God knew what he was doing when he created man and woman.
Like dance, a marriage doesn’t work if both partners aren’t acting in their roles: Man leads, Woman follows. It must be said, however, that the man has to choose to lead. In Eden, Adam stood by passively. Rather than trying to stop her or protect her, he listened to her and fell into sin. Don’t underestimate the role God has for men. The Bible verses I listed previously not only emphasize the woman’s role, but the man’s role too. They are to love us, be considerate towards us, and respect us. The fact is, being the spiritual leader is not an easy task. So God made Adam a helper: Eve. We are the helpers to our husbands. “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him.’” (Genesis 2:18, emphasis added by me)
Husbands are designated by God, the Almighty Creator, Our Shepherd, to be the head of the wife. They are there to protect us and to be proactive, not passive, in deciding which step is best because that is the role God designed for them. Now this doesn’t mean that as wives we are always a step behind them, following their every word. We are there to help them. The spiritual battle is just as vicious in their lives as it is in ours. By nagging, we can unknowingly bring down our husband’s defences against Satan. You need to help them and let them lead. Encourage them to completely embody the role ordered by God. Soften your heart, sister, and submit to your husband. Their fight against Satan is worth more than our pride.
Psalm 21:19 Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife
How many times as wives are we trying to perform roles that weren’t meant for us? Don’t underestimate the role God called you to be, my sister. We’re in the same spiritual battle as our husbands fighting the same enemy. Just like the natural talents God blessed us with, God also blessed us with the ability to be helpers.
I’m not saying never ever listen to women, or that women make bad decisions, or that men are higher than us and we should bow in their presence. I’m emphasizing that we have different ROLES, not IMPORTANCE. You can’t play tennis with a racket or dance the tango with only one person. Different roles, equal importance, different roles, equal importance. (repeat this over and over). If you believe one role is more important than the other, that is not Biblical and thus not the truth. God does not declare one gender more important than the other. That is a worldly debate. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Both complete different tasks, but require equal obedience to God to be one flesh. Two halves make a whole.
Matthew 19:4-6 “‘Haven’t you read,’ Jesus replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female,’ and said , ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’”
I want to emphasize this simple point: we need to trust in God, and how he decided to make us. He decided to make you a woman, not a man, for a reason. We can’t change God’s commandments, but we can choose to change our perspective and how we faithfully obey his word.
I once heard a quote regarding dancing (maybe from Dirty Dancing 2??) that states: “Men are the frame and women are the picture. The job of the frame is to make the picture look good.” Yes, men will have to take role in leading, but the outcome isn’t so the man looks good, it’s so the wife is beautifully presented, similar to how Christ presented the church in Ephesians 5. The frame is sturdy and is hung to display the picture’s beauty. The frame is bigger and stronger than the picture so it can protect it. They both need each other. Without the picture, the frame doesn’t have a purpose. Without the frame, the picture can’t be displayed or protected from dirt or tearing. Both are needed to properly display God’s creation.
Dancing is a public symbol of the relationship between husband and wife. When the man leads and the woman follows, it creates a beautiful masterpiece. And in the same way, our marriages should give glory to God. It is his perfect plan. It attracts people to look and say, “I want to do that. I wish I could do that. Wow, they look so harmonious. Look how he lifts her; how he catches her. Look how she trusts in him. Look how weightless and beautiful she is. Look how joyful they look.”
Just like dancing, marriages require patience, discipline, advice from older couples in healthy marriages, and following the roles designed for us. It takes meditation on God’s word and self-reflection. It takes the difficult challenge of being humble to admit our own faults out of the desire to obey God’s law.
Take Charge of your Role
When we initially choose to be submissive, it is uncomfortable and feels weird. Modern age women’s roles and paths are different now than even 10 years ago. Although, lifestyles are changing, the Bible is still the same and thus the commandment doesn’t change. What can we do to actively help our husbands? Encourage them. Encourage them against the lies of Satan. Encourage them as they make the hard decisions. Encourage them when they are protecting us or giving us their opinions. As husband and wife, we are a team.
Many times I have to humble myself and take a step back. Hold my ever active and vocal tongue from nagging and correcting my husband and encourage him instead. Sometimes, what stands in the way of letting the husband lead is the very person who should be helping him, his wife. We are the helpers to our husbands. Neither of us were meant to walk on this world alone.
By encouraging my husband, he was no longer feeling like he had to be perfect and walk on eggshells. He no longer felt insecure even though dancing isn’t his natural gift from God. God gave him me to help with dancing. By encouraging him, his confidence started to increase. He was confident in his decisions and knew which steps to take. He was also comfortable that if he made a mistake, he didn’t have to worry about being reprimanded. He started to enjoy dancing! When he was happy, I was happy (and because we were dancing correctly).
With him making the decisions, I was now in new territory. Once in a leadership role, I now had to learn to take a submissive role and follow his decisions. I had to LET him lead. I had to help encourage him. I had to learn what each of his dance gestures meant. So we both were now on an equal playing field. Him learning to lead and me learning to follow.
We practiced. And persisted. And went to that dance hall for weeks. He led, and I followed. What started as a stressful, fight inducing activity turned out to be a beautiful and exciting hobby. Man, I was so proud of my husband. I was proud of myself. He spun me around till I was about to puke. He dipped and flipped. We spent hours there just enjoying every moment. I didn’t even notice that it was country music playing, because I was so amazed and impressed to see his confidence in something he previously had anxiety over. Similar to our marriages, God turned two incompatible country dancing partners into a beautiful display.