Marriage is a Dance

Marriage is a Dance

Cherish the honeymoon phase in your marriage, forever, by matching footsteps with your partner.. because marriage is a dance.

“Love is a constant process of tuning in, connecting, missing and misreading cues, disconnecting, repairing, and finding a deeper connection. It is a dance of meeting and paryting and finding each other again. Minute to minute and day to day.”
– Dr. Sue Johnson

My first exposure to “couples dancing” was through a semester-long ballroom dance class in college. My now husband and I eagerly absorbed the sampler of foxtrot, waltz, tango, swing, and salsa, and we aced our final recital with flying colors.

We learned some basic rhythms and a few fancy moves. It was just enough to impress a few friends and keep us on the dance floor till the very end of the night at weddings (including our own), parties, and “swing nights” at the dude ranch where we worked for a summer.

However, as much as we loved our college dance teacher, and as relentless as we were on the dance floor, we were by no means “experts.” As obvious as that might seem, I somehow believed that with a class or two and some additional practice, my partner and I would look just like those couples on “Dancing with the Stars.” Subconsciously, I bought this same expectation into my marriage.

My husband and I were the first of our friends to get married at the wise old ages of 22 and 23. We set out as a team to love and serve one another, and to show the world the beauty of a committed marriage.

We had managed to work through all of our conflicts, met twice with another couple to discuss premarital topics, and to top it off, I was in the middle of graduate school to become a Marriage and Family Therapist. We had learned all of the valuable lessons of what it takes to make a relationship great, so marriage would be a breeze.

You probably know where I am going with this. Although marriage was easily the best decision I have ever made, marriage itself is not inherently easy.

Like dance, marriage is a humbling experience. While a beautiful, harmonious marriage is certainly possible, we have been learning that it takes continual concerted effort, intention, and commitment over time.


To that extent, my husband and I have had a unique and powerful opportunity to strengthen our relationship through the art of dance.

The art of dance

At a recent couples workshop offered through The Gottman Institute (TGI), Michael Haug, owner of Flow Dance Studios, approached me while I was working at our professional development table.

He spoke of the parallels between his work with couples on the dance floor and the Gottman’s work with couples through workshops, books, articles, and therapy, and inquired whether TGI would be interested in collaborating with him to explore the interrelated nature of our fields.

As an eagerly aspiring dancer and an enthusiast for metaphors, I took him up on his offer for my husband and me to take private and group lessons at Flow Studios for a month.