Dan and I have a brand new yard this year. We went from full shade to full sun. No we did not move, it was because of a land hurricane or Derecho. In August of 2020, we lost between 50-60 trees in our yard.
We soon realized with full sun, your yard dries out much faster. You need lots of water to make your grass, vegetables and flowers look good. Mother Nature did not help us much with rain this summer. We spent lots of our time watering our yard. If we did not take care and water our new sun loving plants, everything would have died.
Our city is currently in a severe drought.
This reminded me of what a marriage looks like without watering it. If we don’t take care of our marriage it will eventually dry out and die. A good marriage doesn’t happen on it’s own. It takes work and action.
Are you in a drought?
God’s Word-Ephesians 4:2-3 NIV Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
What are the 3 stages of “practice” in a marriage?
Stage One: The Excitement Stage-This is the beginning of being together. It is the honeymoon stage. You dream about your future and all the wonderful times you will have together.
You make the commitment to be together forever. You want to spend the rest of your life with each other.
Stage Two: Work Stage
After the honeymoon is over real life sets in. Children, employment, busyness, and stresses of life are part of this stage.
Marriage Books, Conferences, and God’s Word can help with how to keep closeness in marriage. We have done them all. But it is up to the two of us to put it into action. Dan and I both need to work on striving to keep our marriage close and healthy.
The more effort we put into our marriage, the healthier it will be.
It can be very hard. Many don’t make it. : (
Stage Three: Reward Stage: After you have put in a lot of time and effort in improving your marriage, it does become more fun.
You never stop finding ways to make your marriage better. It is constant but the reward is great.
God’s Word-Proverbs 18:15
Wise men and women are always learning , always listening to fresh insights. The Message
We like to say there are three stages to ballroom dance practice.
Stage One: Excitement stage:
This is where it begins. You may be dreaming about being a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars”. For Dan and I, our daughter was getting married soon, so we, or should I say, “I” thought it would be nice to learn Ballroom Dance. So I had to get Dan onboard. We took our first dance lessons with friends, which helped.
With Ballroom Dancing it takes two people. So the commitment to learn a new skill has to be from the two of you. You both have to want to dance and practice. It is new and exciting!
Stage Two: Work Stage:
This is where the action begins. You have to work together. You can’t learn Ballroom by watching others, YouTube or reading a book.
Dan and I have taken dance lessons, watched YouTube and videos, but then we have to practice what we learn. This takes time. We look at this as our togetherness time.
We have to practice steps over and over again. Stepping on toes, frustration, mistakes, and forgiveness are a part of this stage. When you begin, you will most likely not look smooth. It looks mechanical. Most people give up.
Stage Three-Reward Stage:
After lots of practice your dancing looks and becomes more natural. You will not have to think so hard. The muscle memory sets in. You will have confidence on the dance floor.
It becomes more fun.
Dan and I do not stop practicing at this stage, but we continue to build on the skills we have. If we want to continue dancing, we keep practicing.
To master Ballroom Dancing, you have to practice to learn the dance steps. It takes a lot of practice before you feel comfortable out on the dance floor.
For those of you who have learned to play a musical instrument, master a sport or speak a foreign language, you know you have to practice to become better. You can’t go to class and play in the orchestra if you have never practiced at home. You can’t run a marathon if you have never taken a run. You can’t go speak a foreign language to someone if you have not practiced beforehand. A skill takes continual practice. The more you practice the better you become.
It takes action. You can not watch Youtube or read a book and expect to become better at something. Visual aids are tools that can help but action has to be a part of the learning experience.
You also have to set aside time if you expect this to happen. It takes discipline. If you don’t want to put in the time, it’s best you don’t start.
Dan and I practice every Wednesday morning, at 6 a.m. We have a playlist of different songs that we practice our ballroom dance steps to. Going to area dances also gives us a chance to practice our steps. We have learned many steps over the years, but if we don’t practice they tend to disappear from our memory. It may still be there in the old noggin , but you have to work on refreshing the skill all over again.
Muscle memory converts a short-term memory into a long term memory. Practice is what makes it long term. Then you will dance without thinking so hard. It will become more natural and fun.
Dan and I can teach a step to our dance class, but it is up to them to practice at home. It is up to the couple to master the skill. We can’t do that for them.
God’s Word-Proverbs 12:1 -The Message
If you love learning, you love the discipline that goes with it— how shortsighted to refuse correction!
Have you ever wanted a book to understand the inner life of your husband or your wife? Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn interviewed and surveyed thousands of men and women to write their two books ‘For Women Only and For Men Only.‘ When we can better understand our husband or wife, our marriages can be happier.
Dan and I led a book study on these two books as part of our dance ministry. Following is an excerpt from the book, For Men Only.
The Girl In The Mirror Written by Jeff Feldhahn
As I write this, our daughter is five years old and definitely at that ”Daddy’s girl” stage. She can whack a pretty good line drive for her age. But she’s happiest, I think, when she’s dancing for me in the consignment-store costume dress Shaunti bought for her last year. It’s pink, and has a twirly skirt.
Pink and twirly matters a lot when you’re five. You should see her twirling around our living room. She absolutely beams with delight. Twirl left, pause. Twirl right.
“Daddy, watch!” she calls as she spins and the skirt does its thing. Daddy, look at me! “Do you think I’m pretty?”
If you’ve ever had a little girl twirling around your house, you know what I’m thinking right then. Lord, just let me hold on to this moment! Please…don’t let my little girl grow up.
That’s what this chapter is about. Because you see, in a way little girls never really do.
Would it surprise you to know that your gifted, hardworking, secure, grown-up wife is still (silently)asking the same question: “Do you think I’m pretty?” Only now it’s you watching. It’s you she’s asking, and you who will decide her haunting question. Not just “Am I beautiful?” But “Am I beautiful… to him?”
In a culture where women are bombarded with expectations to lose weight, look younger, look sexy-actually, look perfect-that question has killer consequences. But it also gives clued-in men an opportunity that we didn’t even know we had to affirm our wives in a very important way.
In our survey most women told us they had a “deep need or desire” to know that their husband or boyfriend found them beautiful.
Women need to be reassured often that they are beautiful and they are loved.
It was a formal dance evening. I sat in my chair, waiting for the next song that Dan and I wanted to dance to. A young University of Northern Iowa dance club student came over to our table and asked me if I would like to dance with him. Most generally, I dance with Dan only, but his approach made it more appealing.
He put out his hand and said it this way, “Would you please like to dance with me?”
So with Dan’s encouragement not to ruin this young man’s dance experience, I accepted his offer.
He put out his arm and escorted me to the dance floor. We introduced ourselves to each other, then did a ballroom dance together. He led gently, not knowing my dance level. Then as the dance ended he thanked me for dancing with him. Again, he put his arm out and escorted me back to my chair. I have to say, I felt special. I was wondering what my husband was thinking.
It didn’t take long to know what was rolling around inside his head. The next song, Dan put his hand out and said “Would you please like to dance with me?” He then escorted me out to the dance floor. Just like the young UNI dance student.
You realize what a polite word can do to motivate. A kind gesture. A husband and wife treating each other special in a marriage or on the dance floor. It works!
Some might say it’s old fashioned. But maybe old fashioned is just what a marriage needs.
Proverbs 21:21-Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and
In Ballroom Dance there is a phrase, “The man is the frame, and the woman is the picture. “ The leader’s goal during the dance is to show her off, not to dominate over her on the dance floor! In the lead and follow of the ballroom dance, the gentleman will lead in such a way that makes the girl look wonderful, not by domineering, but by cherishing his dance partner.
The purpose of the frame:
Enhance the picture
Supports and holds the picture
Not to be a distraction from the picture. If the eye goes to the frame it is the wrong frame. They eye should go to the picture
Is this the picture of your marriage? Husbands are you treating your wife as your queen? Do you compliment her? Adore her? Make her look good? Do you show her off?
God’s Word-Ephesians 5:25-28(The Message) Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.
What does it take to become a good wife of your home?
She respects her husband’s role as the leader of the home
She is patient and understanding
She encourages him-she is his biggest cheerleader
She doesn’t cling. It is important for each to have space when needed
Staying connected by doing things he enjoys
She takes time to know where her husband is
She does not compare her husband to others
She continues to work on making her home a happy place
She puts effort into the marriage
She communicates if she does not understand his lead
She knows when to stay silent
God’s Word-Ephesians 5:22-23 NASB-Wives, subject yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.