The image of a man and a woman dancing together in three-quarter time is the best metaphor for (and experience of) a romantic relationship as it should be.
More specifically, a couple dance provides much of the information we need in order to understand what makes a romantic relationship work well. The man takes the lead, and the woman follows. He guides and protects her. She influences him, even as she admires him … and makes him look good to anyone who’s watching.
I’ve included one of my favorite waltz videos here. There are so many couples on the dance floor it’s hard to imagine how they keep twirling around without crashing into one another. That is, unless you realize that each pair has only one leader.
It’s the man’s job to protect his partner from other couples on the floor, and to guide her steps as they swish and swirl in time to the music. If the woman starts criticizing what he’s doing or pulling him in a different direction, it will be impossible for him to take responsibility for the dance.
As Christian women, most of us have been taught that the man is to be the leader in the family. In reality, women have been running the show for a long time now. Let’s face it. We can make it through life without a man. But can we really live the life we desire?
Yes, we can survive. But in taking charge, we miss the beauty of what God intended our relationships to be. We not only make it impossible for our man to lead, but we deny what every girl’s heart longs for.
Every girl wants three things from the man she loves.
She wants him to protect her, to guide her, and to hold her. And as the leader, he was designed by God to do just that!
1. Protect Me
Men are designed to protect us. It’s a fact of life that men are bigger and stronger than women. And they have this wonderful quality about them: much much much high testosterone levels. Women’s bodies produce testosterone, too, but far far less of it than men do … without giving it a thought.
However, this very fact can make us afraid of them. When we feel intimidated or threatened by a man, we use the only surefire weapon we have: our words. And given that men are sensitive to us, our words usually work to “cut him down to size.” Not a bad thing if he’s the enemy. But if he’s our partner in life, we’ve just made it impossible for him to protect us.
2. Guide Me
Okay, this one may be hard for us to admit. But don’t we really wish someone knew the answers? And don’t we wish it was our man who knew? We love it when he solves a problem for us … and he does, too! His brain was made to solve problems, so you’re actually helping him fulfill his purpose in life when you let him guide. It’s very satisfying to a man when he can win in this way … finding a workable solution that makes life better for others.
However, guys get a bump rap for trying to solve our problems for us. Sometimes we just want them to listen (see #3 below). If that’s what we need, all we have to do is tell him that up front. Most guys are happy to provide whatever will make us happy, but we have to be specific about what we want … because guys don’t think like we do … at all!
3. Hold Me
This one is probably the most important of the three things a woman desires from the man she loves. And it happens while you dance. (Maybe that’s why I love waltzing so much!) Women not only want to be touched, but they want to be held … lovingly, caringly, respectfully. Research shows that being held by someone you love will dramatically reduce anxiety in a matter of minutes! We’ve all seen an anxious toddler benefit from being scooped up and held by a loving parent. As adults, we’re no different. We all need to be held sometimes. And women need it every day!
We’re vulnerable creatures, but we often don’t feel safe enough to admit it. We often get a bump rap by being called “needy” … especially by men. And we hate that. So we’d rather not say how we’re feeling … or ask to be comforted, reassured, held.
And that’s really, really sad. Because a man loves (and receives measurable emotional and psychological benefits) from holding the woman he cares for. If he only knew that’s what you needed … Most of the time, he just thinks he’s screwed something up and that you would like to have him beheaded.
What can you do to assure that your partner will protect you, guide you, and hold you?
First, he needs to know that you are following him, even if he’s not a very seasoned leader. A man can never become a really great leader if no one is willing to follow him. In a word, he needs you to submit to his leadership. Submission really means that you trust and respect him. It does not mean that you follow him blindly and without feedback.
Second, he needs your feedback. Both Scripture and research show that men need to be open to the influence of their wives. Otherwise, they’re doomed to failure. However, your feedback must not be in the form of criticism, attack, blame, or advice. What he desperately needs to know is what he is doing right … what pleases you … what makes you happy. Give him that, and he will pull out all the stops to make you even more pleased and more happy.
Finally, he needs you to help him look good to anyone who’s watching. He’ll stand taller and work harder than you ever thought possible. And he’ll love doing it … for you!
A couple of final thoughts …
Remember that the man you fell in love with is still in there … no matter what you may be going through right now. He longs to be your best friend, your protector, your guide, and your comfort. Let him be those things for you.
And remember to have fun together. That’s what best friends do! Sharing laughter and memories will strengthen your emotional bond and help you make it through the tough times.