By Rob Furlong
The hit song Shut up and dance captures the wonder and excitement of a blossoming romance:
We were victims of the night
The chemical, physical, kryptonite
Helpless to the bass and the fading light
Oh we were bound to get together
Bound to get together
She took my arm
I don't know how it happened
We took the floor and she said
Oh don't you dare look backJust keep your eyes on me
I said you're holding back
She said shut up and dance with me
This woman is my destiny
She said oh oh oh
Shut up and dance with me
You'd be forgiven for thinking that the phrase "shut up and dance with me" is not the number one pick for encouraging love and intimacy between a couple, but I disagree!
The boy is attracted to the girl but he is hesitant to get out onto the dance floor with her. Perhaps he can't dance; he could be afraid of making a fool of himself or that someone else will cut in and dance with his girl.
He has a question – does she really want to be out there with me or is she reluctant?
So she looks him in the eye and says, "Shut up and dance with me!"
It's not bad advice for when a relationship hits a bump or two, regardless of how long you have been together.
A lack of good inter-personal skills can be one of those bumps. Some people are extremely shy, so sharing deeply with another person can be awkward and embarrassing.
For others, it may be that past experiences with family members or friends have them left them emotionally damaged or wary of intimacy.
The good news is that there are a wealth of tools available today that enable people to develop healthy relational and communication skills – the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality website (emotionallyhealthy.org) has a variety of resources to encourage deeper relationships among people.
Then there is the bump of fear that relationships often encounter. "What if this won't last?" "What if the other person doesn't really like me?" "Did I marry the wrong person?"
Unfounded fear severely hampers intimacy between two people and it will cripple a relationship.
If you are struggling with fear and it is holding you back from intimacy, then give voice to it. Speak with a counsellor or trusted friend about your fears and find healing in their objective advice.
Bring your fear into the light and see how quickly it begins to fade!
The bump of insecurity also damages a couple's intimacy. We all have insecurities but some of us allow them to eat away at us, gnawing at our brains.
"Am I good enough for my husband/wife?"
"Does he/she really love me for who I am?"
"Will they leave me for someone else?"
I have found that the best way of dealing with some of these insecurities is to talk to your husband or wife about them. Make sure that you clearly explain to them that this is your problem, not theirs and then share openly the "what" and "why" of your insecurity.
And if you are the receiver in this conversation then listen with your ears and your heart, ready to speak the words of assurance and comfort that they need.
Every relationship will have its bumps and these need to be addressed, worked through – never ignore them.
But sometimes, as the song above suggests, we can allow the bumps to consume us and we look for reasons as to why this will fail.
Sometimes a husband or wife just needs to look their troubled lover in the eye, speak the words of love and reassurance they long for and simply say, "Shut up and dance with me!"
May you know the utter exhilaration of dancing forever with the one you love deeply!•