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Friday, April 8, 2011

dancing in the minefields

Absolutely beautiful. That was my reaction the first time I heard Andrew Peterson's "Dancing in the Minefields." In what seems like a near perfect blend of songwriting and lyricism, where every note is intricately placed and each word meticulously selected to communicate the weightiness of the message, the song's delivery is haunting in its brilliance. I felt as if finally, someone had been courageous enough to be honest with the subject of marriage.

You see, I believe that one of the biggest challenges to marriage today is that most people have an incorrect perception of what it is to be, what it should look like, and most importantly what is realistic. We have wholly bought into the unattainable media-inspired image of marriage portrayed in romantic comedies, fanciful literature, and popular song. And in doing so, we fail to recognize the mounting personal and statistical evidence that marriage is actually much harder than any of us realize, or at least are willing to admit.

Don't get me wrong, I like that image too. What's not to like? Ask those around me and you'll find that I am a huge romantic, probably more so than most. But I am also pragmatic enough to see that our expectations fail to match the gravity of reality. At issue is not that we want the "happily ever after," but instead that we merely assume it will come to pass when vows are exchanged. It can and does, but only when we resolutely commit to achieving it as a team. Unfortunately, most look for, and even expect, automatic wedded bliss, perfection. And as a result, we are vastly disappointed, offended even, when it doesn't just happen.

That, more than anything, is what I love about this song. Peterson doesn't mince words while refuting the popular notion that marriage is easy. With an authentic realism, much needed in this world, he frames marriage correctly, expressing the need to doggedly hold firm to "the promise" by continually laying ourselves down for one another, lifting her/his needs above our own, and supporting her/him when they lose their way. It is journey fraught with danger, but together we can dance through it all, bad or good.

Watch the video. Listen to the words, letting them penetrate your heart. I think it will be clear why this is one of my favorite songs. And it's quite possible that it will become one of yours as well. 

Here's something that Peterson wrote about this song. Again, I think he nails it.
"In December of 2009 my wife and I celebrated fifteen years of marriage. A few days later, we got in a silly argument and I wrote this song after she went to bed. Marriage, see, was God’s idea. It’s one of the most potent metaphors in all of Scripture for the way God loves us and the way we’re to let ourselves be loved by him. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. To the contrary, it’s fraught with peril. Any good marriage involves a thousand deaths to self—the good news is, in Christ that marriage involves at least as many resurrections. We lay our lives down and enter this perilous dance with another human being who has done the same. Why should we expect to emerge unscathed?"
Why indeed?

I'm anxious to hear your thoughts and reactions to the song and video. Please share your comments below. If you are married, I especially want to hear from you. Does this song resonate with your own experience? What would you add? 

As for me, I long to start dancing. I'm just waiting for my dance partner. 

Don't give up. Don't give up on me. Don't give up. Don't give up on me. Don't give up. Don't give up on me.


Bridget said...

This is currently one of my favorite songs. I heard it about a month before we got married, and it meant so much to me. Romance is wonderful, of course, but it's the heart of marriage. This video is just the best too!

So, I have a potential dancing partner for you, but you've ignored my multiple emails about it! Write me back Robby!

Bridget said...

"NOT" the heart of marriage, is what I meant.

Robby Larson said...

BVBV (I just now realized the coolness of the added V.) -

Thanks for chiming in. I can only imagine the impact of hearing this song shortly before you walked down the aisle. I'm glad to hear that you still like it seven months later. That's a good sign! Speaking of which, when do I get to meet Michael?

I know that I have been ignoring you, and I apologize for that. To be clear though, it wasn't you that I was ignoring. It was the topic. And yes, I had a very good reason for doing so.

But, maybe we can chat soon.

erin said...

Love the song -- shamefully, I haven't heard it until now. Life and marriage is a journey, not easy and not always fun, but rewarding none the less.

As far as a dp, we have a potential one as well...but, we haven't heard from you either! Give us a call or send an email. We'd love to catch up with you.

Unknown said...

He's spent some time on this theme before, though I think "Minefields" is much, much effective as a love song. Check out "Hold Up My Arms."


Andrew Peterson will always be my favorite, if only for one genius decision he made on a previous album...but I digress...

I'm working for my dad this summer in Newberg. We should get together regularly.

Robby Larson said...


Are you going to be filling in for Melissa this summer?

Unknown said...

Oops. Left that last comment as Caroline and not me...I might do the same on this one too...It is Matt. I am doing random assorted labor for my dad this summer.

Christy said...

Here is my "chime in"
I have been married for 10 1/2 years. It has been the most amazing, wonderful, and HARDEST journeys of my life! The line in the song "harder than we dreamed" is SO TRUE! We married young. We had a strong friendship and a strong love and a strong faith....and it was/is still hard! Life happens. Kids happen. Expectations don't get met. Feelings get hurt. Things change. But....we have learned that marriage is a covenant, a promise to eachother and to God. It is forever. no matter what. Trust me, this is not always easy. It is a daily choice to CHOOSE to love. even when it is hard. Even when it is not "romantic" or fun. In this past year we have had to take a long hard look at our marriage and evaluate things. change some things. review some things. make promises all over again. But...we have come through it stronger and more in love. more respected. More together. God is good. He has a plan for marriage and it is good. This song is beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

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