I hope you dance
The reception was on a dinner cruise from Channelside. It was just great. I was so impressed. As they were dancing their first dance as husband and wife to Michael W. Smith's "Love of my Life", we snapped this photo of them. My favorite is the one where you can see the look of delight on Liane's face. (See last photo below...) I definitely wanted to get several dance photos for her and frame a special one and give her when she gets back from her honeymoon. In addition to the fact that I love Liane and want to do it just because of that, I have to admit, there is another thought in my mind as to why I want to give her a photo of their first dance.
During the reception, we are standing on the top deck, the band was playing, it was an absolutely gorgeous night. Everyone was standing there mingling and we noticed most of the men were gathered together, talking and leaning against a railing engrossed in conversation, completely oblivious that their wives are there. A friend comes over a bit frustrated and says to me, "I don't get it. Here we are, in a situation that is a perfect 'dance opportunity', and what does he do? He stands there and talks to Ralph Smith! (not his real name). Why? Why? Why? Why can't he give me some attention right now?"
I didn't have an answer. And I understood her angst perfectly. I don't know why men do this, but I will tell you this, it hurts.
I know a lot of ladies who feel this way, I mean SCORES of them. You might say, "why didn't she tell him she wanted to dance?" Well it's like this, all of us have told our husbands that many times and been given "the look". It's the unmistakable uncomfortable look that says, "ummmm....I really don't want to...I just want to stand here and look out at the water and talk to my friends..." or whatever. You can tell, they're just not that into it. Which really zaps all the joy out of it for you. It's not about being mad, not about being angry, not about being a "difficult woman". It's about feeling like you just want some attention from the person you love the most in this world.
I remember when we got married and my husband was dancing with me at the reception and to be honest he could have cared less who else was in the room. He danced with me the whole time and whispered in my ear or looked into my eyes and couldn't wipe the smile off of his face. The men in the room were non-existent to him. For a moment in time it was if the Steelers, the Penguins, and the Pirates didn't exist. He was enthralled. Every single groom I ever see looks and acts the same way. What is it? What is it that makes them act like this on their wedding day and then trade their wife momentarily for "Ralph Smith" at every future wedding now and forevermore?
The interesting thing is, the men can cluster in the corner at weddings and talk about the Bucs, the Devil Rays, or golf or whatever and ignore their wives but as soon as they get home in the bedroom, they are all very interested in their own private dance if you know what I mean. How do I know this? First I'm a woman. Second, I have a lot of friends and we talk. Third, women are very open about sharing their feelings on things like this. And believe me, a lot of us have this experience. What's so ironic about it is that if men just showed initiative and danced a lot more outside of the bedroom they would be ABSOLUTELY SHOCKED at what would happen inside, believe me. But it's something they just "don't get" in those testosterone laden heads of theirs, just as they also don't "get" putting the toilet seat down, stopping to ask for directions right away, or why doing the dishes is the prelude to absoutely mind-blowing sex. No, no, no, they don't understand the correlation at all. To them, doing the dishes has as much to do with sex as a football does with a manicure.
So today I watched this beautiful couple as they danced together. And I wanted more than any other part of the day to capture it on film and give it to the bride. Because quite frankly, unless the groom is completely different from 95% of men on the planet, she might be watching him stand by the railing and talk with the guys at the next wedding while she wonders what in the world happened in between her wedding and the next one. I hope not, I really do. I hope it's different for her. But if it's not, at least she'll have a nice photo to remember the dance forever, and how it felt, and how happy she was in that moment that seems that time is suspended and all that exists on the planet is the two of you.
To every woman out there who ever experiences this, may I just say...you're not alone. I don't have the answers for you. There are times Larry initiates this and dances with me and makes my decade. It's really quite indescribable how it makes me feel. At other times he stands by the railing or on the side and I feel really empty inside, just like a lot of other women do. The most special times in my marriage have been the nights he has not stood by the railing. They are so inexplicably life changing that I can tell you about every single time and remember every detail.
I wish this was something women could just do for each other if they needed to. But we can't.
There are so many things that "girlfriends" make up for that we don't get in a marriage relationship. I believe women friends are an invaluable gift God gives us. (This is why I always advise young ladies - don't abandon your girlfriends for your boyfriend/fiance/husband. He may be your first priority now, but continue investing in those female friendships and making them a priority in your life. You'll need those women to stand with you throughout the many times to come in your life in a way that only women can.) Anybody married longer than five minutes knows, no one person can meet all your relational needs, not even a spouse. That's why God gave us girlfriends, and Himself.
My husband listens to me vent for about half an hour and then he's tired. At that point, I call a girlfriend or meet them for coffee...we both dish over stuff going on in our lives for a few hours and then we feel like that need to communicate everything has been fulfilled. But there are some things your girlfriend can't do for you. She can't be your handsome prince, nor do you want her to be. She can't dance with you and gaze into your eyes and tell you you're beautiful and whisper into your ear. Well she can, but that would be totally gross not to mention a sin. So that's something you can only get from one place...your man. And when you don't get it, you feel a little lonely. At least my friends and I do, and I don't think we're all that odd...in fact I think we're a group of the most awesome chicks on the planet who really have our heads on straight and are some pretty wise women of God. At least we have each other to lean on and commiserate when we're feeling a little empty. No, it's not about being a man basher. I've never been a man basher and I don't hang out with women who are. The truth is, I am crazy about my husband and all my friends are crazy about theirs. The issue is, sometimes we want a little more attention from them, in the ways that mean the most to us.
No matter what happens, at each and every wedding I attend, when I watch the bride and groom dance, it's a sacred moment for me. I realize just how much it is for them too. I watch them and pray a silent prayer for the bride...
"I hope you dance...not just today, but forever...not just at home in your bedroom, but everywhere. I hope you dance."