by Kenneth Weene, PhD
“Do you like to dance?” It is a question that almost always comes up during the course of marriage counseling, at least marriage counseling that I provide. With this particular couple, newlyweds and already at each other’s throats, it seemed to pop up immediately.
Sandy responded immediately, “I love to dance. I always went to clubs and parties. Unfortunately Harris has two left feet and can’t balance on either one.” She laughed at her own nasty joke.
Harris wasn’t amused, but he bravely tried to smile. “I never learned,” he said. “I guess I don’t have much sense of rhythm, but I do like to listen to music.”
“That must be a problem for you, Sandy, not having a husband who can dance with you. How did that work at your wedding?”
“Lousy,” was her immediate response. “I tried to get him to take lessons, but it was no use. He just wouldn’t…”
“Hold on a second, I went. I just couldn’t get the hang of it. You know it isn’t like I don’t try. I just can’t measure up to her, Doc. I never measure up to what she wants.”
“It was embarrassing.”
“Our first song. I’d picked one of my favorites…”
“Which was?” I interrupted.
“Jump Around,” Harris answered for her.
“Kind of freestyle hip-hop if I recall.”
“Right, a real fun song,” Sandy picked up the thread. “Anyway, what does he do? He stands there like a lump. I mean I’m jumping all over the place, and he’s kind of moving side to side like he’s gonna fall over. Luckily Aaron was there; he’s like my best friend. He and Sharon got up and started dancing, so everyone joined in.”
“All relationships are like a dance.” That’s one of my counseling themes. “If you can’t agree on the music, if you can’t work together so you’re not struggling on the floor, then don’t expect to enjoy the party.” While I use this as a metaphor, in Sandy and Harris’s case it was quite literal.
Here’s a piece of advise for any couple. Dance. At a club, a party, or just at home: dance and see if it’s comfortable. Don’t just do one style of dancing; try different music and see how it works. Is it comfortable to be in each other’s arms or do you feel better with space? Is there a sense of who’s going to lead and is that comfortable? Or are you battling for control? Perhaps nobody is leading. Are you both comfortable with the same tempo?
You don’t have to dance well to relate well, but you do have to dance together.
By the way, I’m sure you want to know what happened to Harris and Sandy. I wish I could say that I helped them. I wish I could say that they found a dance they could do together. But they didn’t.
It was Sandy who left. She took off. Harris came to see me with his new girlfriend, with whom he now has two kids and a very happy marriage. He told me that Sandy had been cheating from the very first.
“Kind of Jumping Around,” I observed.
He laughed; this time a full laugh. “Yeah. Guess whom she ended up with?” he asked.
“Aaron!” I was pretty sure of my answer.
“Was it that obvious?”
“Do you think she’ll be happy?” he asked me.
“I doubt it. But one thing I do know for sure.”
“What’s that?” his girlfriend, Penny, asked me.
“She’ll never dance as well as she thinks she can.”
Kenneth Weene is a teacher, psychologist, and pastoral counselor by education. He is a writer by passion. Ken’s novels, Widow’s Walk and Memoirs From the Asylum are published by All Things That Matter Press.
To learn more about Ken and his writing visit: