by My wife and I recently celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary. We have an incredible marriage, with two wonderful children and I feel very blessed. People often ask, “What’s the secret to making a marriage last?” Well, there are lots of good tips to doing so, but I’d like to share one of the ways my wife and I have kept things spicy.
Back in 2010, Iris suggested we take some ballroom dancing lessons at our local Y, to shake things up a bit. Immediately, the gremlins in my head started stirring. Can I do this? Will I embarrass myself? Will I embarrass my wife? Even worse, will I step all over her toes?
You see, it’s not that I don’t have rhythm. In another life time I was a professional music performer and educator. I still play my guitar every day. It’s just that when I was younger, I never had the chance to learn how to dance. I was the guy too busy playing the music so everyone else could dance.
Nonetheless, I soothed my worries, telling myself that my ability to play guitar would somehow, magically, translate into my feet. Talk about deluding yourself. Boy was I wrong.
When the instructor fired up the very popular—and very upbeat—Meringue Suavamente, I was lost. I could not follow along.
Each movement of the Latin dance felt alien. My feet didn’t move the right way. My body was stiff. I heard the music and I knew I could play it on the guitar, but this was completely different. This time, my body was the instrument and I was responsible for leading my wife through the dance. There was no where to hide. I admit, it was terrifying.
Still we continued. After 6 lessons or so, Iris and I realized that if we were really going to do this “dance thing”, we needed personal instruction. So we hired our group teacher to come to our home once a week to teach us how to dance.
Soon we were making steady progress. My body relaxed; my arms kept their form; my feet were more confident. Then it happened. The “dance thing” actually happened. I was dancing with Iris, and leading. I was leading my wife on the dance floor, and she was following. I admit, it was thrilling.
We were actually dancing, our bodies moving in sync. I mean if you looked at us, we actually looked like we knew what we were doing. And the best part—we were having a blast!
I believe the most valuable aspect of learning ballroom dance is that it’s not a solo activity. Iris and I had to work at it together, spending quality time practicing and perfecting our movements. And when we finally got it down, I can attest that something wonderful happens when you are holding the dance frame and leading your partner around. You become the music, and the music becomes you. With the slightest movement, your partner reacts in kind. You must be in the moment when you dance. If Iris is thinking about the past or future, I can feel it.
After just a few months of dancing, we could do the Merengue, and other Latin dances like the Salsa, Rhumba and Cha-Cha, without embarrassing ourselves. We didn’t want to stop, so we looked for dance socials and kept dancing. We got so good that we were even called the Cha-Cha couple on a recent cruise.
Fast forward to today, our children tell us we are best at the Waltz and the Tango.
Looking back, I used to love watching my parents do the Peabody. They looked so happy together. It was important that my children would one day see me happily married as well.
Dancing is a fun way to grow closer together. It’s hard to stay mad at each other for long when you start dancing together…So if you want to spice up your marriage, or even save your marriage, find a class near you and sign up! Quick quick slow, quick quick slow.
You’ll be glad you did.