learning to dance

How Your Marriage Can Benefit from Learning to Dance

I’m not a great dancer. There I said it. There is about a 100% chance my wife wasn’t attracted to me because of my dancing skills. When we attend a party or function where dancing is involved, I don’t shy away from the dance floor, I just use my two to three moves. (Think Will Smith teaching Kevin James how to dance in the movie Hitch.)

Several years ago, my wife and I took a dance class together so I could expand on those two to three moves. We learned a dance style called Stepping. For a while, it gave us some new moves and some more enjoyment when out dancing. But then we stopped going to the class and stopped practicing and I reverted back to my old moves. We were out-of-sync again.

Earlier this year, at a retreat put on by All Pro Dad and WinShape Retreat, I learned that I’m actually good at one type of dance. But it’s something I shouldn’t be good at. It’s called The Marriage Fear Dance. The Marriage Fear Dance is what leads to us being stuck in our marriage and aimlessly going ‘round and ‘round. It involves a fruitless cycle of button pushing, reactions, fears, and emotions that can keep your marriage in a bad place. Fortunately, we had a good dance instructor at the retreat that taught us how to recognize and learn to dance in a way that is beneficial to our marriage.

This is how taking personal responsibility can help you stop doing the Marriage Fear Dance and propel your marriage to a better place.

What is the Marriage Fear Dance?

The Marriage Fear Dance is a nonproductive cycle that starts with an action that triggers an emotion driven action in the other spouse. This then leads to the first person defending or reacting from an emotional state as well. Then the back and forth continues.

When you find yourself dancing the wrong dance, the Marriage Fear Dance, there are three things you can do to stop it and get is step.

  • Take personal responsibility

Taking personal responsibility stops this right in its tracks before you get to reacting, fears, and negative emotions. It puts you in the position where you say, I won’t react, but I’ll choose how I respond. Your response should be in love, whether you felt what pushed your buttons was done in love or not. The next two things are ways to take personal responsibility.

  • Believe the best in your wife

NASCAR drivers must continually look where they are going, even if that means looking around the corner. If they look at the wall, they will inevitably hit the wall.

If you believe the best of your wife, that she is not pushing your buttons on purpose, then you can respond in a way well. Believe that you and your wife have the same goals and intentions, although they may come out differently. [Tweet This]

  • Seek first to understand

This is a truth from Steven Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. We don’t think like our wives. That’s well-known. So, if that is the case, we need to seek to understand them first. This needs to be done in all situations.

Working from solely from our own point limited understanding leads to reacting versus responding or taking personal responsibility. Try to find the why behind your wife’s behavior and word. Without personal responsibility, we’ll be dancing all night long, but it won’t be pleasant. With personal responsibility, you can dance the night away with your wife and enjoy each and every step.

Sound Off

What are some ways you can consistently take personal responsibility?

Jackie Bledsoe

Jackie Bledsoe is an author, blogger, and speaker, but first and foremost a husband and father of three, who helps men better lead and love the ones who matter most.

  • Todd Sandel

    Yeah Jackie! You got it man! Well done! I can’t tell you how inspired I am that you have been able to leverage this learning for a larger greater relational impact here. Right on!

    • Thank you, Todd! You’ve inspired my wife and I both of the times we’ve gone to the APD/WinShape retreat. Thank you for sharing your story and your family, and for teaching us how to dance the right way! 🙂

      We still would love to have you and your wife (if possible) as guests on the 7 Rings of Marriage Web Show. We’ll start to record interviews for season 2 beginning in late July. Hopefully we can find a Saturday that works for us all. Look for an email from me around mid to late July.

  • Paul_Sp

    Good post!
    Glad you aren’t pushing us to literally dance, as I have about as much interest in dancing as most readers of this have for wearing make up.
    Now if I only had a wife to apply this stuff with……

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