When I first met my wife almost 20 years ago, we were training to become dance instructors at the Arthur Murray studio in Redlands CA. I can’t speak for her, but I was a mess. I didn’t know how to dress and i was awkward when it came to women. Fast forward a year later, i started to get the hang of dancing, Cari and i were spending more time together as friends. Then one day, I got the courage to ask her for a date. We went to a salsa club. It was right around Halloween so everyone dressed up in costume. I didn’t know what to expect other than dance with a girl I really liked. We didn’t talk much that evening, but we said a lot. As the evening progressed, the dancing become more intimate. A fun crazy salsa turned into a slow romantic salsa. It was amazing. We both walked out of the club that night knowing one thing. We weren’t friends anymore. We were dating.
Exciting how one thing like dance can shape the way one looks at another. Learning to dance can be exciting, but as a couple, it could be the best thing that ever happened. We’ve all heard the saying “Happy wife, happy life.” But this technique you won’t find in a book. Only in the comfort of your partners arms and on the dance floor. Here are 4 reasons how learning to Ballroom Dance can be great for your marriage.
A Harvard Study on happier marriages cites that the number one cause of all divorce is communication. Marriage counselors spend the majority of their sessions on how to listen, and to use words like “I hear you” and “What I’m feeling…”. It could prove to be uncomfortable at first yet necessary. Taking a dance class could ease the pain and help get you communicating without you even knowing it.
Learning to Ballroom Dance specifically focuses on one lead and one follow. One person communicating and the other listening. The main difference is that it has nothing to do with what you are saying verbally, but what you say physically. You show your communication through your bodies. Although that may make some husbands happy to know that their counterparts don’t get to talk, you and your spouse have to be in tune with one another to know who’s communicating at what time. Before you know it, this new skill trickles into other parts of your life and you no longer have to fight about why “someone” didn’t take the trash out.
Usually, everyone has their own thing. One golfs, the other has book club. One goes to the bar, the other plays tennis. Having nothing in common tends to put a strain on marriage. If you have kids, it may be harder. For 18 plus years, children are usually the one thing couples have in common. And when they’re gone, it’s like two people getting to know each other all over again. The great thing is that a dance studio is nearby to help.
Most couples come in for 3 reasons.
- Getting married (it’s so cute. They don’t know what’s about to happen in 5 years)
- Need something fun to do together
- Have tried everything to reconnect and are looking for one last thing
In either case, it’s a win win for all stages of the marriage. Dancing is a learned skill. Which means everyone is on the same page when they first start. There is no better than the other, there is only happiness because finally we get to do something together. And it’s fun. In a recent post, I talked about Andreea Berfield, a student at Arthur Murray Los Gatos, who’s dream was to learn to dance with her husband. What she didn’t realize was what dancing brought to them as a couple. “Dancing forces us to stop and not think about work. We get to focus on each other and do something fun together”.
Most importantly, you’re sharing this undivided attention with someone you really care about. It can’t get any better than that.
There are certain things that can make one person swoon over the other. The ability to play an instrument or sing, the ability to be a culinary master and the ability to Dance and sweep them off of their feet. And if you’re my wife, the ability to put things away. Makes her happy every time (especially the dish soap. Sorry I’ll do it next time). Although learning to dance can’t help the previous two, it does prove to be one of the more exciting of the options. There’s nothing like the old attache of “Dinner and Dancing”. It just sounds like fun. Listening to a live band, moving as one. It’s the epitome of what a couple should feel like.
I remember taking Cari to Las Vegas for a weekend trip years ago. When we were walking through the lobby of the Bellagio, we noticed a band playing at a bar and decided to check it out. It was so cool, 4 guys playing some cool jazz, dancing in the early afternoon, what could be better? An older couple was dancing on the floor next to us with some cool moves. We chatted with them a bit and asked the famed “What advice would you have for a young couple like us?” To which she answered “Dance”! Please explain. “Every time I get mad at him for not doing something, he just scoops me up in his arms and dances with me. It could be in the middle of the living room, anywhere. And I forget what I was mad at him about.” He chimes in and says “Works every time.”
The best part is, regardless the reason, you get to spend a moment holding your partner close and look into each other’s eyes. It’s the epitome of romance.
4. Social Calendar
Having a new hobby with your loved one can prove to be a very exciting venture. But when that hobby happens to be a worldwide phenomenon, you’re immediately included in a group of individuals and couples that share the same hobby. Your social calendar not only opens up to the vastness of dancing but to the many opportunities it surrounds. I rented a jeep Wrangler once while in Phoenix. I’ve always wanted to try it out and didn’t see very many on the road. Immediately within 2 hours of the rental, I saw Jeep Wranglers everywhere I went. And when at a stoplight I saw the person next to me with a Jeep, they looked at me and nodded as if to say “hey fellow member of the Jeep Wrangler club”. I was in the club and it was everywhere jeeps are sold. You’ll be amazed at how many places you can go dancing. At the beach in Mexico when a mariachi band plays. When you’re in Puerto Rico and the concierge says try this restaurant in the heart of old San Juan and a live band is playing salsa all night long. It’s everywhere. Time to take advantage of it.
In addition, the community at a dance studio will take you dancing all around your immediate area. Julie was a student at the Arthur Murray in San Jose. Before she joined, her life was spent taking care of her kids and husband, watching TV, staying at home. Not much of a socialite. Years later after dancing, she was going out almost every night. Whether it was dancing at the studio or going out with her friends she made while dancing. She had the time of her life. Conversely, her kids worried saying that she was staying out too late and needed to stay home more often. Julie says “I’ve done my job taking care of you kids. It’s time I take care of myself”. Mostly they were upset that she had more of a social life than they.
One Last Thing…
I once had a coach tell me “There’s no original mistake in your body. Everything you are doing has been done before”. For a moment I thought “then what makes us unique?”. And then I realized it has nothing to do with uniqueness, it has everything to do with feeling. And that made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I’ve seen every couple come into the studio. There is no original reason why you are here. Others have been here before. I say this to let you know, that you are not alone. Whatever you are going through whether exciting or challenging. We are here.
WARNING: Learning to dance may lead to an enhanced life. It will change your outlook, make you happier, healthier and live longer. It will make your marriage better and increase many other things that we can’t express in this blog.