April 05, 2018 3 min read

There is a country music song that says:


Life’s a dance, you learn as you go
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow
Don’t worry ‘bout what you don’t know
Life’s a dance, you learn as you go


We can think about marriage as a kind of dance that is perfected over time. This a great analogy that nearly everyone can relate to. We’ve all been to wedding receptions or other places where we see people dancing. Now, in Wisconsin at a wedding you will witness such glorious things as the Chicken Dance, Bunny Hop and polkas! But that isn’t the type of dancing I’m talking about.

What you need to watch is when the slow-tempo songs are played and the couples get together. Look at the difference in how the older couples dance compared to the youngsters. The more mature couples dance beautifully as they glide around the floor in near to perfect rhythm with one another. They turn together in wonderful synchronicity and flow through the dance. You can tell they’ve been at this a while. These couples know the steps, they have it down.

Then look at the “newbies.” Unless they’ve taken ballroom dance lessons, you’ll see an entirely different picture. They throw their arms around each other and waddle back and forth like penguins. If they do try to really dance and actually follow steps, you’ll often observe an awkward display. She’s barking directions at him while they fight for the lead; he’s stepping on her feet and they are tripping over each other. Hopefully, they are laughing as they try to stay upright and not fall on the floor! They can’t come close to the way the older couples light up that dance floor.

Realize that we can draw parallels in marriage. If you’ve been in it for 10 years or less, while that can seem like a long time, you are still young at this dance. It really takes a while to learn all the steps of marriage; to get in sync with your spouse; to be able to flow together like those couples who have been doing it for 20, 30, 40 plus years. Trust me, when those great dancers started out all those years ago, they weren’t cutting a rug like Fred and Ginger the way they can now. (If you aren’t a geezer, you probably don’t even know who Fred and Ginger even are!)

It is truly those who hang in and keep at it, even when the steps are tough, even when they trip and fall and stumble, that learn to dance so beautifully together. They perfect their dance and know just when the dips and turns come. They know how to move together in harmony. It works the same way in marriage.

Even late in life, when the inevitable effects of aging set in, when illness, surgeries, even dementia become a part of the routine… the dance continues. Couples still know the steps. He clears the table, she washes the dishes. He takes out the trash, she puts the new bag in. She starts the load of laundry in the washer, he puts it in the dryer. In these twilight years of life, couples have the dance of marriage worked out and can still move and flow together. But it took many years to reach that level of perfection; years of stumbling, grumbling, slips, trips, and falls.

Being good at anything takes time and it takes even more time when there are two of you. Keep practicing and working at the marriage dance with your spouse. And the next time you are at a wedding, draw some inspiration from those couples who so effortlessly glide across the floor. Grab your partner, hang on tight and don’t give up. As the song says:

Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow
Don’t worry about what you don’t know
Life’s a dance you learn as you go!