This week I've been participating in the Love Your Spouse Challenge on Facebook. I was challenged my one of my best friends to post a photo of Kurt and I every day for seven days while sharing a bit about why I love him. It's been a really fun way to begin each morning, and I've enjoyed sharing with my friends and family bits and pieces of our relationship!
Something that I've shared during this challenge is that I love Kurt's spontaneous spirit and desire to try new things. A great example is the surprise date night he planned for us earlier this week - taking a ballroom dance class! Neither one of us had ever taken a ballroom dance class before, but it wasn't too difficult to quickly learn the steps and follow along with the instructor. And at the end of the 45 minute class, we had learned three different dances - the rumba, the waltz and the bachata!
As we practiced the steps to each of the three dances, we had to rotate around the room switching partners every few counts. What I noticed as I moved through each partner were the differences in their styles including what they seemed to feel very confident about and what they were more unsure of. Those differences in each partner reminded me of my relationship with Kurt - the unsure, early days of first dates and getting to know one another, to now being married and feeling much more confident about our relationship and partnership. That progression played out over and over with each dance we learned Kurt and I would start partnered together, very unsure of the steps and how to move. But by the time the rotation had completed and we were back dancing with one another, a sense of confidence had arrived!
In the days following the class, I've also reflected quite a bit about the roles each of us had to play during the dances and how I see that being exhibited in our everyday lives. In dance, it's traditional for the man to lead and for the woman to follow, and that was true for all of the dances we learned. Now I will be the first one to admit that I don't necessarily believe that the man has to be the leader in a relationship. As a woman who can be rather stubbornly independent, I know that I can exist completely without Kurt and he knows it too.
When placed in those very traditional leader-follower roles during the dances, it was hard for me at times to not correct Kurt when he stepped incorrectly or went to turn me in the wrong direction. I often had to remind myself that it was my role to follow his lead. What helped was a comment made by one of my other dance partners during the rotation. They said to me that even though Kurt and I were new dancers, we were going to do really well because I was a great follower. When I asked what they meant they shared that a great follower gives the leader the confidence they need in order to do well. And it felt completely true for my relationship with Kurt!
When I correct him or remind him to do something, it frustrates him and, in turn, it frustrates me as well. My stubborn nature appears and I often make a big deal about just doing it myself. But when I work with him to do something together, we are both much happier and more successful. Taking over to correct Kurt during those dance steps would have ruined the fun we were having during the class. By following his lead, even if we were a little incorrect at times, he and I both had more fun.
I don't know how often we'll return for dance classes, but I am so glad that Kurt's spontaneity took us there for a date night!
I'd love to know - what different types of date nights do you have with your partner? How do you see the leader-follower dynamics within your own relationships? Share your thoughts in the comments below!