My wife and I are taking dance lessons again. A couple of years back we learned west coast swing. Now we are learning a slow dance called night club 2 step. I really like it. Not only does it give the two of us something to do during our long winters in Minnesota, but I also love the symbology of dancing and how it is a communication style of non verbal cues between 2 people. The entire dance hinges on a “connection” between 2 people. For the dance to succeed in looking like a dance it requires some very basic skills of highly subtle communication. Once those basic skills are mastered you can move on to more “styling” in your dance.
For the dancing to start being successful it requires 2 things. First, I need to communicate the dance moves to Sue in a way she understands. In dancing a lot of these are subtle things you do to communicate your intent. This connection between 2 people is what makes the dance work. If the leader gives the wrong understanding to the follower it does not look like much of a dance. If the follower back leads the dance it is not very much fun for the leader and its definitely not how dancing was designed to be like.
Second, to move on to where the dance really looks good and start making progress Sue needs to feel safe in the dance communication going on between us. If that safety is not there she is not willing to move on to learning the next thing to make dancing even more fun. Furthermore, A lack of safety sucks the fun right of out dancing for me and her.
Those are the building blocks of dancing. Communicating our intentions with understanding and providing a safe environment where can grow and move on to more advanced and more fun dance moves!! Growing with my wife is is much like dancing. Intimacy and closeness with my wife requires understanding and safety. Safety and understanding are the building blocks of intimacy and both, like dancing, require effort and intentionality as we take specific steps to grow together. To communicate with understanding and safety requires some very deep roots in Gods love and mercy because, quite often it is NOT safe to communicate our shortcomings and vulnerabilitites to other sinners. Also, we strive and work hard to protect our image of performance as a good performing employee, nice person, or moral achiever. We communicate our strengths but.. gasp!…. never our weaknesses. When we live up to our performance expectations we feel good about ourselves and when we don’t we feel like failures.
However, when we create an environment to safely share our weaknesses (James 5:16) and we live with the grace and mercy narrative of the cross in how we behave toward other sinners we have the recipe for growth and change and finally have a chance at …. real intimacy. This intimacy is not rooted in the performance and expectations of the other person but it finally has real understanding. It loves progress but does not demand perfection. We can put finally put down the performance achievement mask and be real with each other.
Finally, intimacy must be about something shared. For years as Sue and I were raising the kids we seemed to be on separate missions. Our shared lives were dismal as I became rooted in my job and she became more rooted in the children. So what are you sharing? For Sue and I we now share workouts together, walks, devotions, a few games, some deep conversations and of course … we are trying something new …. dancing.
As we enjoy our new dancing skills I also have a vision I established about 5 years ago that I am temporarily calling for this blog topic “the cosmic dance of life” . <—Link
Merry Christmas to you all!