Thursday, July 31, 2014

Book Review: Marriage is Like Dancing by Richard C. Eyer

Marriage is Like Dancing by Richard C. Eyer

Richard Eyer's book draws a nice parallel between dancing (particularly ball room dancing) and being married. The couple needs to communicate and to know their individual roles and routines in order for things to go smoothly. A lot of effort and practice is needed to get to a comfortable, expert level. Even becoming more proficient is not a guarantee against the occasional mistake. A fun-filled and forgiving attitude is required for both dance partners and married couples.

The simile goes deeper. He talks about the dance role of the man (the leader) and the woman (the follower) and how those roles parallel the headship of the husband and the obedience of the wife. Aware of their roles, things work out better. Of course, at times the woman/wife needs to lead and the man/husband follow. Having a proper connection makes such times natural.

Eyer often mentions how we are made in the image of God but never articulates how that is significant for his argument. He references St. Paul's idea that the husband/wife relationship is a reflection of Christ's relationship to the church, but that is a different principle. It leads to some mixed results. When he talks about a spouse dying, he says, "In marriage between a Christian husband and wife the surviving spouse will be able to continue the dance of life with the Lord as stand-in partner." [pp. 135-136] I find this very awkward and untrue. The grace of God is always there, before and after the death of a spouse, it doesn't suddenly become a substitute for the loss. God's grace should help in the loss just as it helps in all of life's trials. On the other hand (and the other page, 137), Eyer understands the Christian notion of the afterlife so well:
In the resurrection, my wife and I will see each other again, not as husband and wife, but as something more. Our love for each other will be greater then than it is now, as it will be with all who are one in Christ. As much as I love my wife, I do not look to heaven to see her as my wife, but to see her with the Lord. She will see me with Him also and our joy will be greater than it is now. [p. 137]

The good simile between marriage and dancing is fascinating but gets stretched a bit, at time too much. I liked this book but didn't love it.

The book does have an appendix with study questions for couples reading the book. The author does not recommend using it in a group setting since the questions are personal and focused on the needs of an individual couple.

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