For one hour every week, I let my fiance take the lead with no questions asked.
Now before I start getting hate mail from feminists and love notes from barefoot-in-the-kitchen traditionalists, let me explain that on Thursday nights, we take an hourlong couples dance class.
One of toughest lessons that I’m still learning is how to follow my fiance. And while the lesson is learned on the dance floor, it also applies to daily life.
Let me explain: I met my fiance at 30 and didn’t live with him until 35. Before I met him, and even while were were dating long-distance, I thrived. I made good choices, moved up the corporate ladder, and lived a full life. So I successfully lived independently for most my adult life, and I’ve only been living interdependently for a couple of years.
That means I have been taking the lead on my own life a lot longer than I have been deferring to him. And while I’m not planning on making our dance-floor arrangement my new default, it does shed light on some interesting relationship dynamics.
For example, I’ve almost always been ready to take the big steps in life before he has; I waited to hear from him for two weeks after our first date. I knew I’d say “yes” long before he popped the question. I was ready to pick up and move long before he packed up the U Haul. I’ve been impatiently waiting to get married. And I will be ready to have children before he will.
It’s a waiting game I bet I’m not the only modern lady playing.
With this background, you’ll understand why it’s hard for me to stop, wait for his cues, and follow him when I know better than he does. (And let’s face it, I always know better than he does.)
In fact, I’d venture to say learning to lead isn’t as easy to him as one might think. He finds it a little difficult to lead because it isn’t our norm. (Oh, and because it requires nonverbal communication, which is a skill we can all work on, don’t you think?)
What our dance class has taught me is to appreciate my fiance’s deliberate nature, to give him the time and space he needs to see what I so quickly envision. I’ve learned that although I usually know where I want us to go first and am likely ready to make the move first, our dance is sweetest when we are in sync.