Nate and I started taking ballroom lessons this week. He is such a trooper. He has a horrible cold but sucked it up to go to the first class with me.
We weren't sure what to expect, because the class description didn't entail much, but we were told during class that we would learn three basic dances in the six-week course --- the foxtrot, swing and waltz.
We began with the foxtrot --- slow, slow, quick, quick.
So, I kind of figured that it would be simple enough for us to pick up on. I mean, I teach dance and Nate enjoys dancing. It shouldn't be hard for us to learn a few steps, right?
But it was a bit more difficult than I imagined for one major reason. Nate is completely in charge during the foxtrot, and I simply have to follow his silent directions.
If you haven't taken ballroom before, the basic foxtrot is the man guides the direction through hand pressure. The female is going backward the entire time, so the man uses pressure to tell her when they will turn at the end of the dance floor, to turn when he wants to promenade, to tighten up when they need to dance in place in order to not hit someone, to turn her. He does everything silently, and she is to follow his direction without knowing what is coming.
My instinct in dance is to take control. I anticipate where we are going and try to accommodate those changes. It's easy for me to pick up on the footwork, and then it makes me want to lead so that even if he messes up I can keep us going.
The teacher also explained that it is hard for the man to lead because men have a one-track mind. Women can multitask, and that means ballroom dancing is easier for them. Men have to learn to do multiple things at once --- keep their feet moving, guide their partner, anticipate, signal.
Ballroom dancing is so much like marriage. Nate and I have down pretty well that the man leads, but I know it is natural for women to slip into the leadership role when they don't see their man controlling the way things are heading. We anticipate, and men sometimes don't, so we take the lead when we anticipate more than they do. However, it is their God-given job to lead us. We need to allow that.
Yes, sometimes our feet might get twisted. We might bungle over each other. But that doesn't mean that the woman can just take control. She is to trust her husband and let him guide her, because she doesn't always see what's going on.
During ballroom, when I would try to take control, Nate had to regain that control, because I was going backward and even though I thought I knew what was best, he could see that we were about to bump into someone and had to steer me. He had to use that upperhand and bring us back in line as a couple.
We messed our feet up at one point and started cracking up. The teacher commented, "At least you are laughing about it."
I actually said to Nate later, "Do you think that he sees couples who don't laugh when they mess up?"
"Yeah, I'm sure that some people get mad at each other."
"Why would you get mad about it?"
"I don't know. Maybe they get frustrated that they're doing something wrong."
I think that is a huge issue in marriage as well. When you mess up together, sometimes you just have to laugh it off. You can't always fault the other person for a making a mistake. You take what happened and you start again. It only makes situations worse when you aren't sure you can count on your spouse to support you through failures. It makes things so much easier when you know you can mess up and move on together without a fight.
I'm excited to continue our dance lessons together. Slow, slow, quick, quick. That's the way life works. Some moves are slow, some are fast. But through it all, you're together. Just don't lose hold on each other and you can keep dancing through life with a smile on.