My husband and I went salsa dancing recently. By ‘went salsa dancing’ I mean we went to a lesson and learned a few basic steps. It was the perfect activity for a date night post dinner. We had just eaten a scrumptious Italian meal of pasta alla vodka and gnocchi with plumy red wine at a hole-in-the-wall place in south Nashville. Dancing seemed like the perfect activity after dinner rather then putting on yoga pants and crawling into bed to watch Netflix with a belly full of carbs.
We were only one of three couples at the class, and out of the six students I was hands down the worst dancer with little to no rhythm in my blood.
We started things off by learning the basic steps. For someone with no rhythm and who is dyslexic (to this day I still hold up my thumbs and index fingers in the shape L’s to know which side is right and which side is left) its incredibly confusing to try to learn a dance where you are only stepping on 6 out of the 8 counts.
But we were there, and we didn’t care about anyone else in the room.
We were there to be together and to have fun.
And that we did. We learned the basic steps, cross body lead and a few turns.
He had his steps and I had mine. They were different but flowed perfectly together.
What I came to find as we salsa danced the night away was that salsa dancing was much like the dance of a marriage.
The steps were basic and the rhythm grew familiar but if one of us lost focus or made a wrong step, it threw the whole dance off.
The male is the lead in salsa, the male leads the cross body and the turns. I found myself that evening, so focused on anticipating when he would turn that many times I jumped the gun or forced a turn when that wasn’t where he was leading the dance.
It was so striking that in our marriage, its often when I force the turn, or I try to take over control and lead, that we end up derailing the dance.
If I broke eye contact to look around the room at the other couples or to look down at his feet, I lost focus on my own steps and we got out of step with one another.
And that’s strangely familiar to the dance of our marriage. When I look around at everyone else or look over to see if he’s doing his steps, I lose my step and throw our rhythm off. We falter, we scramble to get our feet back under us and we try to keep dancing.
It was only when I looked into his eyes that we were able to dance in sync with one another.
It was only when I looked into his eyes that we were able to move together a one. One dance with two partners with differing steps.
It’s only when you are looking one another in the eyes that you can surrender to the rhythm of the music.
It’s only when you are looking one another in the eyes that you can dance in step together.
It’s only when you are looking one another in the eyes that one can lead while the other follows.
It’s only when you are looking one another in the eyes that you can feel the resounding emotion together.
It’s only when you are looking one another in the eyes that your souls can connect and you can truly dance.