In this book excerpt from Gary Thomas, author of the bestseller Sacred Marriage, Gary walks us through a fundamental aspect of the concept of cherishing your spouse. Gary explores what happens when spouses truly keep their wedding vows of “to love and to cherish.”
Famed Russian-born ballet choreographer George Balanchine once said, “Ballet is woman.”1 The best male dancers recog- nize that their role is all about showcasing the female dancer’s beauty, particularly during pas de deux—couples’ dancing. People generally go to the ballet to see the beautiful form, grace, balance, coordination, and strength of the female lead, but all of those qualities are even better showcased when the ballerina has a male dancer who can set her up, catch her, and support her.
As a former male dancer and later choreographer, Balanchine said his job was to “make the beautiful more beautiful.”
With a strong and gifted male dancer nearby, the ballerina can do more and attempt more than she could in a solo endeavor. In the words of Sarah Jessica Parker (who put together a documentary on the New York City Ballet), “When a male dancer is paired with a ballerina, he can support, stabilize, lift, and turn her, allowing the partner to perform feats she could never do alone.”
What if we considered that our job as husbands and wives was “to make the beautiful more beautiful”? By supporting, stabilizing, lifting, and turning our spouses to the “best sides” of their strengths and personalities, our spouses can become more and do more than they ever could on their own. We essentially affirm the beauty we see in them by helping them become even more beautiful.
Some of our spouses may not even realize they have a best side. It’s our job—and joy—to help them discover it. Others may have never allowed their best side to flourish—or even be seen—because they’re insecure. If that’s the case, when we learn to cherish them, we will provide the support they need.
“Showcasing”—making the deliberate mental shift to cherish our spouses by highlighting their beauty to others in the same way a dancer focuses on supporting his partner—is an essential part of learning how to cherish our spouses. If two dancers are each trying their hardest to be noticed above or even by each other, the performance is going to be a colossal, ugly failure.
Husbands can take the attitude of male dancers, seeking to showcase their wives’ beauty. It may be the beauty of wisdom, so in social settings we do our best to ensure she is heard. It may be the beauty of leadership, and we support her so she can cast vision with others. It may be the beauty of hospitality, and we buy the things she needs and open up our homes (when we might prefer to be left alone) so her beauty can be on full display. We remind ourselves, “Today my job is to cherish her.”
Very few marriages would ever approach divorce if each spouse would make one of their first daily comments to each other be this: “How can I support you today? How can I make your day better?”
If wives adopted this attitude, supporting their partners to perform feats they could never do on their own, they might soon be married to “different” husbands with the same names— more confident, more at peace, more engaged at home. What if a husband knew—in the deepest part of his soul—that his wife was his strongest support, his most encouraging partner? What would that do to him? What if he was willing to risk failure out in the world or at home with his kids because he knew in his wife’s eyes he would always be her cherished champion? She supports him and stabilizes him, and when he fails, she binds up his wounds—spiritual and emotional—constantly turning and lifting him so his strongest side is always showing. What if every wife woke up and thought to herself, Today my job is to cherish him by showcasing his best side to others?
Taken from Cherish by Gary Thomas Copyright © 2017 by Gary Thomas. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.