February 26, 2021

Faith and Family / Sean Gallagher

‘Divine choreography’ makes marriage a beautiful dance

Sean GallagherThrough the years, my boys have enjoyed watching The Sound of Music together as a family. It makes me happy that they like it, for I loved listening to its music as my mom often played the soundtrack to the movie in our home when I was growing up.

My mind has been on that movie a good bit recently since the death of Christopher Plummer on Feb. 5. He played Captain Georg von Trapp in the movie, opposite of Julie Andrews, who played Maria.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Georg and Maria dance a laendler, an Austrian folk dance. The steps to the dance are beautifully performed by them, and the music and setting only added to the beauty. So did the deepening relationship between Georg and Maria that the dance brought out.

Plummer and Andrews also made the dance look effortless. The way they moved their feet, hands and arms with each other seemed totally natural—all, again, adding beauty to the scene.

We can take the beauty of a dance like the laendler even further, though.

Consider a dance like this as an image of marriage.

When a husband and wife live out their mutual calling according to God’s plan, their life together is a thing of beauty. It can be as graceful as two dancers who seem to be floating on air.

And, actually, it is grace-full, for husbands and wives cannot follow the divine choreography of marriage without God’s grace that comes to them daily through their sacramental relationship.

It is like dancing partners moving their bodies in perfect time with the music and each other. One foot moving in while another moves back. The partners’ arms and hands flow together without getting tied up in knots.

Only … sometimes they do. Sometimes, partners step on each other’s feet. Sometimes they bump into each other when they should smoothly pass by and around each other.

That’s because dances that look as effortless as the laendler in The Sound of Music actually take a great deal of effort between the partners.

It takes effort from them to learn the steps and get them so much into muscle memory that they can make every movement without thinking. This requires practicing the dance again and again.

My wife Cindy and I have been practicing the steps for nearly 20 years. Some days, we get the dance just right and catch a glimpse of the beauty that God has woven into marriage.

There are other days when we step on each other’s feet or knock heads instead of gliding by. I’ll take a good amount of the blame for such missteps.

And as God blessed us with our five sons through the years, the steps of the dance have gotten more complex, but also filled with the potential for even greater grace and beauty.

Marriage, like a well-danced laendler, take a lot of hard work. But when everything comes together, it’s a wonder to behold—and to take part in.

And it’s attractive, drawing more and more people into the dance that is the Church’s life of faith here on Earth.

Join in the dance, then, that leads to the great wedding feast in heaven where the divine choreography will be revealed in all its glory. †

Local site Links: