by Kenneth Weene, PhD
â€œDo you like to dance?â€ 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 otherâ€™s throats, it seemed to pop up immediately.
Sandy responded immediately, â€œI love to dance. I always went to clubs and parties. Unfortunately Harris has two left feet and canâ€™t balance on either one.â€ She laughed at her own nasty joke.
Harris wasnâ€™t amused, but he bravely tried to smile. â€œI never learned,â€ he said. â€œI guess I donâ€™t have much sense of rhythm, but I do like to listen to music.â€
â€œThat must be a problem for you, Sandy, not having a husband who can dance with you. How did that work at your wedding?â€
â€œLousy,â€ was her immediate response. â€œI tried to get him to take lessons, but it was no use. He just wouldnâ€™tâ€¦â€
â€œHold on a second, I went. I just couldnâ€™t get the hang of it. You know it isnâ€™t like I donâ€™t try. I just canâ€™t measure up to her, Doc. I never measure up to what she wants.â€
â€œIt was embarrassing.â€
â€œOur first song. Iâ€™d picked one of my favoritesâ€¦â€
â€œWhich was?â€ I interrupted.
â€œJump Around,â€ Harris answered for her.
â€œKind of freestyle hip-hop if I recall.â€
â€œRight, a real fun song,â€ Sandy picked up the thread. â€œAnyway, what does he do? He stands there like a lump. I mean Iâ€™m jumping all over the place, and heâ€™s kind of moving side to side like heâ€™s gonna fall over. Luckily Aaron was there; heâ€™s like my best friend. He and Sharon got up and started dancing, so everyone joined in.â€
â€œAll relationships are like a dance.â€ Thatâ€™s one of my counseling themes. â€œIf you canâ€™t agree on the music, if you canâ€™t work together so youâ€™re not struggling on the floor, then donâ€™t expect to enjoy the party.â€ While I use this as a metaphor, in Sandy and Harrisâ€™s case it was quite literal.
Hereâ€™s a piece of advise for any couple. Dance. At a club, a party, or just at home: dance and see if itâ€™s comfortable. Donâ€™t just do one style of dancing; try different music and see how it works. Is it comfortable to be in each otherâ€™s arms or do you feel better with space? Is there a sense of whoâ€™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 donâ€™t have to dance well to relate well, but you do have to dance together.
By the way, Iâ€™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 didnâ€™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.
â€œKind of Jumping Around,â€ I observed.
He laughed; this time a full laugh. â€œYeah. Guess whom she ended up with?â€ he asked.
â€œAaron!â€ I was pretty sure of my answer.
â€œWas it that obvious?â€
â€œDo you think sheâ€™ll be happy?â€ he asked me.
â€œI doubt it. But one thing I do know for sure.â€
â€œWhatâ€™s that?â€ his girlfriend, Penny, asked me.
â€œSheâ€™ll never dance as well as she thinks she can.â€
Kenneth Weene is a teacher, psychologist, and pastoral counselor by education. He is a writer by passion. Kenâ€™s novels, Widowâ€™s Walk and Memoirs From the Asylum are published by All Things That Matter Press.
To learn more about Ken and his writing visit: