I watched my nephew Daniel marry his beautiful bride Lori this weekend. A lovely ceremony -- a fun dance at the reception -- and now another long drive back. Precious as weddings are, I always find myself having mixed feelings at them anymore. I'm always quite confident that the sweet young couple we are celebrating has no earthly idea what they're getting into.
Over this trip, I have been inundated, physically and mentally, with images of various marriage relationships . . and pre-marriage relationships . . and post-marriage relationships . . and pseudo-marriage relationships. Marriage is just straight up HARD.
Some of these couples are walking through life together, side by side, facing the outside -- a good position to be in, but they rarely if ever turn to face each other. So the space between them grows until it's hard to tell that they're supposed to be walking together. Other couples (usually young or "new" ones) are so absorbed in each other's faces and entwined in each other's arms that any progress into the world is an awkward crab-like side-step that trips them up.
Marriage, ultimately, is a dance. Turn to face each other -- turn out to the world -- and back again. Pull apart -- pull together -- spin around but never lose touch of hands. Now you're holding the other up -- now you're the one being supported. And back again.
The trick is finding your balance, finding the rhythm. Hearing the music and paying attention to what steps fit the beat and the melody. Not fighting the music with the dance that you think SHOULD be happening (like my youngest and her new friend jamming to the polka the other night). Trusting the Composer and Choreographer with the tone and direction -- allowing one partner to lead with joy -- not waiting for the storm to pass, but "learning to dance in the rain".
Daniel and Lori took dancing lessons in preparation for their first dance together at the wedding. Here's praying they're preparing for a lifetime of dance.