Our Vows

Our Wedding Vows:

To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my love.”

I remember the day we were married and how our wedding vows seemed so easy.  We were young, healthy, happy and in love.  Nothing on that day seemed like it would ever take us apart.  

Then life happens. Children, deaths, health, finances, stress, busyness and occupations all become reality.  Slowly, separation can occur.  It happens without you even realizing it. 

2020 was a year that we all experienced many hardships that most likely challenged our marriages. Our marriage vows were put to test, for sure.  

Along with the stresses of Covid, I threw in a bought with Kidney Stones.  Three surgery’s, a hospital stay and Dan catching my vomit was definitely a ‘for worse’ moment.  

We also experienced separation from our loved ones.

 In August a natural disaster, Derecho (land hurricane)destroyed our property, city and much of our beloved state.  After the Derecho,  I found myself not being able to move forward.  Dan helped me . 

We need each other. 

Being One-we can help each other get through the difficulties of life.  Our vows become real. Our vows are put into practice.  It is not easy, but with God’s help we can keep our vows to each other. We can remain One. 

God’s Word-Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Remaining One

As we become one in our marriage there has to be a connection that gets you through the dance of life.  You realize soon after becoming one, that connection with communication is key.  

Connection points in Marriage:

  • Connecting- Daily interaction and doing activities together will help you stay connected.  Just having fun together. We each have to put effort in staying connected. If you don’t stay connected, your eyes will wonder.  What is keeping you from daily connecting? Technology? Too busy? A Hobby? 
  • Good communication-This does not happen if you don’t take time alone to talk.  What is happening in your spouse’s life?  Share your dreams!  This will draw you closer to each other.  This is part of intimacy in a marriage.  For us, meals together without distractions is a great place to communicate. 
  • Practice a healthy lead and follow.  This will keep the marriage flowing smoothly. (More to come)

It is fun when it works.  Remaining as One, will take time and practice.  It will keep us together until death do us part. 

Great connection- a beautiful marriage

Great communication-a beautiful marriage

Great Lead and Follow-a beautiful marriage

Two become one. How do you stay connected? 

God’s Word- Mark 11 5-9    “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. 6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’[a] 7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,[b] 8 and the two will become one flesh.’[c] So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

2009-Remanining One

It’s All About the Frame

One of the very first lessons in ballroom dancing is learning the 4 connection points of the dance frame.  I remember when we first began taking lessons our teacher would always say, “It’s all about the frame;” I really didn’t get it at the time but now I can say, “ It is all about the dance frame.”  This is how 2 ballroom dancers become one.  This is your communication. 

Dance Frame Basics

 Four connection points

o   Man’s left hand holding woman’s right

o   Man’s right hand on woman’s left shoulder blade (men:  keep elbow up, parallel with the floor and fingers together!)

o   Woman’s left elbow on man’s right elbow

o   Woman’s left hand on inside edge (near top) of man’s right shoulder(I put my thumb in front of Dan’s deltoid muscle)

As dancers, you will also be offset from each other.  We always use the illustration, if a man was wearing a tie, it would rest on the ladies right shoulder. This allows the man to see what lies ahead in line of dance. If I was straight in front of Dan, he would not see over my head and hair.  We for sure would run into problems.

When you begin the dance, the leader does not say, “Hey, do an underarm turn.” Or, “Watch out, we are about to run into upcoming dancers.”  There is no verbal communication, It’s all about the frame. The leader will use connection point one, to lead the underarm turn.  He will use connection point two, to hold onto the follower and slow her down to avoid a collision with upcoming dancers.  

It is fun when it works.  But it takes practice and time. 

What we have learned about the dance frame: 

Droopy Elbow Syndrome: We have to hold our own weight- It is very easy, after time to let your connection point three, which is your elbows, droop.  If I put all my arm weight on Dan, he will not be able to carry the weight for very long. He will get tired and down the elbows go.  It will be difficult for Dan to lead.  

Noodle Arm-We call it the dreaded noodle arm.  Basically there is no tone in my arm. When Dan moves forward, and there is no tone, he ends up stepping on my toes or a collusion occurs.   When this happens, It becomes difficult for the man to lead.  

Dan’s connection point two needs to stay up on my shoulder blade. There is a phrase, “The hand needs to stay in North America, and not in Brazil.”  Fingers are kept together.  If Dan’s fingers are spread apart it will be hard for him to lead.  If he heads to Brazil, it will be hard for him to lead.  I also have to put a bit of weight into his connection point, two.  I do mean a bit.  

Great connection- a beautiful dance

Great communication-a beautiful dance

Great Lead and Follow-a beautiful dance

Two dancers become one. The Dance frame is how you stay connected. 

Forgiven

Moving together as one, is what you do when you begin to ballroom dance.  Through the dance frame you become one.  In your marriage, you become one on your wedding day.  Intimacy, brings you closer together.   This takes time with each other.  Yet, the more time we spend together, the more we see each other’s flaws, say things that are not nice and step on each other’s toes.  The only way to avoid this, is not being together.  However, this is not what God intended for our marriage. 

We all make mistakes and are far from perfect.  Forgiveness has to be a part of our dance experience. Forgiveness has to be a part of our marriage. 

On this Good Friday, I am reminded of the ultimate act of forgiveness.  God sent His Son, Jesus,  to die on the cross for each one of us.  He did not deserve it.  But He did it for us.  No matter where we are on our spiritual journey, we will fall short.  I continue to stumble, step on toes, and say things that are not nice.  I am thankful that when I call out to Him, He forgives me.  His grace is sufficient for me.  

I sometimes hear people say, “Well, they are a Christian, they shouldn’t act this way.”  This is a true statement, but until we breathe our last, we will continually fall short.  We can learn from our mistakes, and hopefully grow from them.  

God wants to have intimacy with each one of us.  He wants a closeness with us. Through Jesus, this is made possible. 

Happy Easter!

David Crowder ‘Forgiven’

God’s Word- John 3:16-17     For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

The 40 Year Journey

Our journey began 40 years ago on New Years Eve, 1980.  It was our first date together.  I was 16 and Dan just turned 18.  We had met a few months earlier at a very romantic place called Hardee’s.  

Dan had planned the date, taking me to a restaurant called Avanti in Clinton, Iowa.  

A few memories from that evening: Both of us being nervous, Dan in his polyester suit with athletic socks, Dan’s first drive to the Manning farm, Dan going to the wrong door, meeting the parents just to name a few. 

This was the beginning of our dancing together.  It was not ballroom, but shake your booty, kind of dance.  We even did a few dances that had that highschool slow dance look. The kind you hang on each other.  It makes me chuckle. 

On that first date, we didn’t know what the future held.  We didn’t know there was ever going to be a 40 year anniversary.  But we did like each other and were hoping our relationship would continue. This was the beginning of our journey. 

Here we are 40 years later, ready to celebrate a new year – 2021 – following after a very difficult year for so many all around the world, including us.  

We do not know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future!  This is our hope for the New Year!  

God’s Word-Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.(NIV)

Take time this New Year and dance together so you can keep your marriage close. 

Happy New Year! Sending Love, Dan and Lori

Becoming One

Ballroom dancing is not intended to be done by one person alone.  Ballroom dancing requires two people – a leader and a follower.  They become one on the dance floor.  It is beautiful to see a couple moving together, so elegant and smooth. There are types of dances that you can do alone, like disco, jive, or line, but these are not ballroom dancing. 

Proficiency in ballroom dancing does not come without lots of practice, hard work, gentle words and many hours spent together.  

Our dance instructor told Dan as the leader of the dance, “Stay connected. You don’t want to lose her.  You need to know where she is at all the time.”

In marriage, you become one.  Marriage is not intended to be two individuals going at it alone.  We began Dance with Me Ministries, because so many married couples were calling it quits.  They did not want to be one anymore.  

Marriage takes lots of practice, hard work, gentle words and time spent together.  

Are you staying connected as a couple?  Husbands, you don’t want to lose her!  Know where she is all the time!  Marriage is beautiful when done as one!  

God’s Word- Mark 10:6-9  But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together. (NLT)  

(A special thank you to our daughters, Adrienne and Audrey who have helped us with the Dance with Me Ministries Blog. Adrienne for your amazing graphics and Audrey for your blog expertise. We love you both! )