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Friday, August 6, 2010
The song “Dancing in the Mine Fields” written and sung by Andrew Peterson has been posted on marriage blogs and passed around the internet quite a bit, So much so that I had previously decided to pass on posting it here. But I cannot resist. It’s just that good.

If you can’t see the embedded video, click here for the YouTube link.

As a songwriter, I rate the song as a work of true lyrical craftsmanship. The words just beg to be sung, which is the hallmark of a strong lyric. The word choices are fresh and he avoids trite, over-sung love song expressions. The metaphors are strong and not cliché. The melody meshes precisely with the lyrics – fitted like a glove. The guitar riff is akin to much of the stuff I write and play, so to me it struck me in my musical sweet spot. In all, It’s a great song in and of itself, but that is not why I’m posting about it..

Again, speaking as a songwriter, I find the only weak spot is the title. Now it is a given that the selection of the first line of the chorus as the song title is a popular convention, at least in a verse-chorus song. But the real payoff of the song (what’s referred to as the lyrical hook) in my mind is the last line, “I believe that’s what the promise is for.” Granted, “Dancing in the Minefield” is catchier than “The Promise” and has more commercial appeal because of the unique imagery it paints.

The point of the song is not the minefields. It’s the promise.

Why do I think the song is really about the power of the promise? It’s because I believe that marriage is a covenant relationship and that at its root it is a spiritual union as much as or more so than it is a civil one. It is a promise made to each other before and to God. I know that society at large doesn’t necessarily value it as such, but whether it is recognized or not, when two people promise to love, honor and cherish one another, till death do they part, something shifts in the spiritual realm. At that point, I believe, a husband and wife are joined in a mysterious way in their inner most beings.

This promise is the first step toward becoming one flesh. The bond that is formed in the process is much deeper than the goose bumpy feelings we feel on the surface. When the Goosebumps get blown up in the mine field and swept away in the storms, what remain is the promise. Would more marriages endure the hardships that ultimately come if they better understood the covenantal nature of marriage going in? Maybe. Am I saying you should always stay married no matter what? No.

What I’m saying is that the promise we make to each other, the covenant that we enter into, is what can see us through the minefields and the storms and the times that are harder than we ever dreamed. In the words of the descant, "Don't give up on me."

What do you think of the song, of it’s title, and the role of the promise in marriage?


Jenni said...

For me the song provokes me to pray for and hope for and believe for the marriages that I am familiar with that currently seem to be in the mine field. The Promise goes beyond the human committment and includes the Lord in whose presence we exchanged our vows. The promise is part of the sacrament, sacred.

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