In the year before our wedding, our sixth year together, David and I took dancing lessons. These were weekly private ballroom lessons with the occasional local swing or salsa night thrown in for practice. Our instructor helped us choreograph two dances for our wedding–a fox trot and a hustle. We spun and dipped and generally wowed our wedding guests. And to this day, we’re still able to bust out these moves learned long ago when the occasion calls for it (mainly other people’s weddings).
While we touched on it in our year of dance lessons, we never really learned how to tango–something I came to regret this summer when we found ourselves on the sidelines of tango nights by the Seine in Paris. I’d long associated tango with sexiness but hadn’t appreciated how much so until I witnessed dozens of French people dancing it simultaneously. There’s a closeness to it–the physical proximity between two people–and then there’s a stillness to it–pauses in the music where two dancers are just holding each other.
There was one pair I observed at the Seine who danced together all night. The woman, dressed in a short white dress and heels, clung closely to the man leading her, who was dressed in black pants and a black t-shirt. Through all their dancing, the woman’s eyes remained shut so tight lines formed at the corners. I’m not sure if they were married, but their movements seemed to me to embody marriage. Moving together through a familiar pattern, holding close, leading and following (sometimes blindly)–hoping you’ll be able sustain each other with what’s between you.
I hope David and I will have the opportunity to learn to tango someday (and return to Paris), but I know now is not the time for it. I’ve found there are seasons to our marriage and some are for having new experiences together (traveling through Europe) and some are for cultivating and maintaining what we already have (a house with a yard). Some seasons we are close together working toward a common goal (learning to dance) and others we spend more apart building individual skills (comedy, competitive gaming).
Growth has been a common theme throughout our marriage, and I’m proud of the ways that we’ve grown and changed together over these past eight years. And I’m excited for what’s to come.