|Our wedding day 1964|
The beauty of marriage is under a concerted ‘acid attack’ designed to deface it by degrading its image and meaning. The Christian view of the mystery and majesty underlining this union of a man and woman has suffered under a barrage of Humanistic attacks. Such a philosophy of life has no room for the spiritual dimension nor for defending what is termed sacred and moral boundaries. Applied to marriage this allows such people to consider same sex relationships, multiple partners and polygamy as valid marriages.
The only place, and I‘ll write it again, the only place to gain an understanding of marriage is in the Judeo–Christian Bible. Only there will you find its institution with the wonder of its meaning, majesty and mystery. For such a relation didn’t evolve but was God given to men and women through Adam and Eve. Read Genesis chapter 2 for the beginning, Ephesians 5:21-33 for its mystery.
When a man and a woman enter into a marital union they more often than not are ignorant of what underlies such a unique and beautiful oneness. This is a shame if it is never discovered. However in the beginning of becoming husband and wife the intent is to enjoy the rhythm of the wedding dance. This dance of a loving relationship has many steps, different music moods and takes place on various ‘dance-floors’. It takes time and effort, grace and forgiveness, perseverance and laughter.
I remember as a teenager plucking up the courage to go and learn ballroom dancing. At first it felt awkward. I was nervous, reticent and clumsy. My teacher endured many a sore toe and scrapped shin before I became reasonably proficient in a variety of dances. When I married I began an unending dance. My wife and I were beginners. We did have some good teachers on the ‘sidelines’ encouraging us but it was up to us to learn the steps and sense the rhythm of the dance being ‘played’ at that time. Sore toes or should I say hurt egos that caused concerns. These came about due to each wanting to swing and sway to his or her own tune. This made us want to do our own ‘steps’ resulting in a wrestling match instead of a loving tango. However, we knew ours was an unending dance. Therefore we set our hearts to practice. Perhaps one of the hardest things was to hear the same melody and sway to the same beat. It’s easy to embrace in the dance. It’s another things to maintain the embrace in the movement of life.
Factors that kept us dancing, even when we had our egos stepped upon or something interrupted the music was the grace of mercy and forgiveness. There was also the healing qualities of communicating, even is hesitantly of what was causing us to be ‘tripped.’ Such sharing requires trust and tenderness and at the same time a willingness to learn from it. Other features in the dance routine of life include the serious and intense as well as the fun provoking jigs mixed with the passion of the waltz and tango. Many of the modern dances portray individuals shaking and shimmering, but not reaching out to the other and learning to co-ordinate their movements. Seems like a modern day metaphor for how people view marriage.
God intended marriage to be on the ‘dance floor’ of everyday living. Husbands and wives were to feel the rhythm of God’s music in the midst of earth’s cacophony. They were meant to know that the skill in marriage comes though faithfulness and persistence in understanding and appreciating each other. The more time you dance together, the closer you grow together. The closer you are the sweeter the dance. The sweeter the dance the more varied the steps. The more varied the steps the more exhilarating the embrace. The more exhilarating the embrace the more wonderful the music that plays for you to dance.
For that to be true, God must be the Dance master as well as the Orchestra leader. I have to admit, I like to dance with my wife to the music of the Eternal God on the dance floor of the everyday life. We have been in the dance for fifty years now. While the vigour of the early days may be pleasant memories the vitality of our senior years in the marriage dance is stronger and more meaningful. This is because we discovered the mystery, the meaning and the majesty of marriage. It has kept us dancing together across life’s varied ‘dance floors’.
© Ray Hawkins
For an insight into the three ‘M’s of marriage you could read my 31 day devotional book ‘From Eden with Love.’ Published by Even Before Publishing’ and available in Christian bookshops and Amazon. It is also an Ebook.