A while back I wrote Men and women – a man’s thoughts and now I’ve had some more thoughts. hehehe.
Actually the revelation came while doing Ceroc dancing. The (excellent) instructor had us rotating dance partners quite often, so I danced with many women.
I learned a few things.
Respect her dignity
In Ceroc you touch. A lot. All over. Are you getting the picture? I’m not terribly keen on touching a woman who is not my partner (meaning: wife). And I bet that the other person feels the same. hehehehe.
I learned that if I protected her dignity by relaxing and simply dancing, but trying to not touch unnecesarily, my partner relaxed. This is simply because she could sense I was respecting her and not “trying to cop a feel”. She relaxed and enjoyed it far more.
My arm still ended up across her chest – in Ceroc this is unavoidable – but it didn’t matter. She knew I respected her and that made it ok.
Lead, don’t co-lead
With some women as dance partners, they tried to lead (or try to co-lead). It ended in disaster. In Ceroc the man has to lead and the woman has to learn to follow. The bible says that in a home that the man should lead too. I was brought up in a feminist time/age of society, so I became extremely (acutely!) aware of any behaviour that would separate men from women.
One day I got “verballed” for standing back to let a lady through a door before me – as if I was insulting her. I didn’t want to insult her… so after that I tried even more to treat both sexes as if they were the same.
I always tried to consider my partners thoughts and I tried to co-lead the marriage with her. I tried not to lead, but to co-lead. Things didn’t go well.
I watched a couple fighting recently and I heard a mature (older) Christian women comment (well out of their earshot!) that they are fighting because they are confused about who is the leader. That hit me like a ton of bricks. My own failed marriage stood up, pointed it’s finger at me and accused me. Had I been a leader, had I led, had I enforced what I knew was the right thing to do… who knows what would have happened? Surely not what did happen.
Feminism showed men that women are equal (and they CERTAINLY are) but feminism has trained some men to be less than they should be (or it causes some men to go to the other extreme and be totally insensitive). I think society and marriage is suffering for this over-correction in attitudes.
Reassurance that I am capable and willing
In one dance movement I had to lift my partner up and swing her around as I pivoted. The lady clearly didn’t like this idea and I figured she was insecure about her weight, or perhaps she didn’t want to be dropped? hehehe. I reassured her that I am very strong and that it will be ok. She relaxed a bit.
Don’t rotate partners, build trust
By now I had decided to stop rotating partners – to get used to just one person. And we clicked a bit (as dance partners). We got used to each other. We began to see the weakness and the needs of the other. We relaxed with each other. Trust formed.
Trust and planning go together
In one of the movements, I have to lead her into position, pivot her, dip her and then swing her into another position where she does a jump and I lift her and spin around.
This takes trust from her. It takes planning from me!
I had to remember to put my arm out, firmly, straight and in a strong position, so she can lean on me for support as she hops up. I really have to support her in doing this.
Ask her to help you lead
But I couldn’t remember the footwork and the steps and the hand. It’s my first night doing this, remember? So I asked her to help me remember. She seemed to relish that idea. She counted for me, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4 and this helped me to be able to lead (little pushes and tugs and motions) and she helped me make sure my hand was placed in the right position at the right time for the hop-and-spin. She helped me lead her and then she hopped and we spun!
It was complicated and it was only my first Ceroc lesson, but we did it. *WE* DID IT! (Not *I* did it).
We’d didn’t have conflict over who would lead. I led. She helped me lead. And she smiled at me in a way that said she truly enjoyed it that I had led, but she had been able to help me lead. That smile spoke volumes to me. I knew that I had seen something that could help me in my life.
I am sure that this was just another of God’s small steps in establishing me as a healthy man and husband – just as I’ve been asking Him to (item #5).
I know that in my marriage to come I won’t know exactly how to lead, but she can help. I won’t know exactly what to do, but she can help. I know now that if I ask my wife to help me lead, she will be a “help-mate” and help me do exactly that. And she will find it fulfilling – and I’ll benefit and enjoy it.
Dancing is much like marriage, when you think about it. The man leads, but it takes both to move fluidly. Respect for each other is a monumental factor in both.