When my wife and I started dance lessons some years ago I remember our dance teacher saying to me, “Your job as a man is to make your wife look good when she dances.” I was taken back by that and wondered to myself, “Why is it my responsibility to make her look good? That’s her job, not mine!” Apart from the fact that I didn’t think I looked all that good myself as a dancer, it seemed a lot to ask of me to take responsibility for making her look good too. I eventually learned that what he was trying to tell me is that I needed to work on over-coming my own flaws in dancing in order for her to recognize and work on hers. When I did, so did she, and we both improved in our dancing and in our relationship together as husband and wife.

Dancing is like life together in the commitment of marriage. There has to be that signed, sealed, and delivered commitment to begin with in order for things to grow into a good relationship from the start. In the commitment of marriage if you want to learn to dance well in day-to-day life look at your own weaknesses and your wife will look at her own. It’s better than complaining, blaming and eventually failing in marriage. If I am doing right by my wife; she will do right by me. It’s not just doing things right so that I can get my way. It’s being genuinely concerned about her as well as about yourself. Don’t blame! Don’t complain! Care about one another! We concluded that our paying attention to our marriage would help us make it a beautiful one.

In paying attention to our needs in marriage we learned early what not to do. We learned, for example, that there are good times and not-so-good times to disagree on something. We learned that a disagreement is not easily settled when you are tired. My wife and I learned that when we had an argument shortly before going to sleep at night we neither slept well nor solved our disagreement. But there were better times when we purposely postponed discussing an issue of disagreement until the morning and discovered that in the morning we either settled the disagreement more pleasantly or forgot what it was altogether because our previous night’s complaints where due to exhaustion rather than real disagreement. In the morning we could think more clearly and resolve differences more easily.

So, make the woman look good, husband! What does that really mean for marriage? It means taking responsibility for a constructive disagreement and providing a supportive caring for and about the one with whom you are dancing your way through life. Be honest, creative, forgiving, and faithful to the one whom God has given you for a lifetime. My wife and I are still working on paying attention to our marriage even after 48 years of it.



  1. Help me understand how one “takes responsibility for a constructive disagreement ” in a supportive way. How does the outcome help build the relationship so that both parties feel heard and honored? Where does mutuality fit in? Thank you for explaining this.


    • I think, “taking responsibility for a constructive disagreement” means not continuing defensively to vent your own anger, but trying to understand what the other person is trying to say. It means not listening defensively or listening for a opportunity to challenge someone. It means taking into yourself what the other person is saying and recognizing what the other person is trying to say. If what the other is saying is legitimate and not just an attack on you, then listen to what is being said. The supportiveness in a an argument is helping the other person be clear about that person’s disagreement and why. Then, evaluate what that person is saying as to it’s accuracy and/or truthfulness. Hope that helps.


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