Does “high performance” describe your marriage?

“Dancing with you is like driving a Porsche.”

I recognized this as a generous compliment from my dance partner, even though I’m not a sports car enthusiast.

Yet to satisfy my curiosity, I searched online to find out what people had to say about driving a Porsche. Here are some findings I believe reflect the intent of the leader’s comment:

“Quick and responsive steering”

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Sharing Dancers’ Insights

There are times when I wonder if I’m off-base on this metaphorical comparison of dancing and marriage. But I was reassured when I discovered a couple of dancers’ blogs recently. I am posting some of the comments I found reassuring so you can decide for yourself.


The BEST leaders … are the ones who are highly skilled and pay attention to their follower. And the BEST followers are those who can respond to the slightest movement and share in the creativity of the dance.

Every dance you have, the person you are dancing with should be your top priority. Connecting to the music initiates a common rhythm. Then what the dancers bring to the floor and share with each other creates the completely indescribable, inspirational, temporary piece of moving art.

Although social dancing is lead-follow, the percentage that each person contributes to the success of a dance is about 51% leader to 49% follower. The leader decides what move to do, but the follower has to respond. In order to have a decent dance, the leader needs to understand his partner, know what her skill level is and listen to her. Followers can send signals if she has a good idea or if she’s not happy. The follower has to give up some of her own control and trust the leader. Trust brings some amazing surprises and delight.


… as a leader you have to take care of your follower. You are dancing for her, she is not dancing for you. I’ve found that when I think this, when I approach a dance and make it about her and her enjoyment I have a lot better dance, I am much more creative, I connect much better, regardless of her level. But when I approach a dance with an expectation that I’m going to get something from the dance, and look to her to connect with me the way I want to, when I expect, or worse, demand that she follow me a specific way, the dance is usually crap; it becomes wholly unfulfilling.

I expect the reverse holds true too. If I were a follower I would have much better dances if each time I worked to connect with my leader exclusively and regardless of my leaders efforts to connect at my level.

And then the theory holds true, if the leader strives to reach the follower where she is, and the follower reciprocates, but each independent of the other, that’s when there is magic on the (dance) floor.

What marriage advice could be drawn from these comments about dancing? Click on the “responses” link below to add your thoughts.

Copr 2009 MarriageDance

Thoughts On Leading

Men dance with their brain, women dance from a kinesthetic feeling, explains Peter DiFalco, a Master Instructor whose entire career was devoted to performing and instructing dance. His insistent word to followers: Never chat with the leader on the dance floor because he has enough things to think about without having to socialize with you.

It is true on the dance floor as in life, the leader has great responsibility. In dancing, he must lead the follower through the current step at the same time as deciding the next step and preparing to lead it. He must also navigate the couple around the dance floor which at a social dance means avoiding potential collisions with other couples on the floor.

I frequently tell leaders I dance with that they have the more difficult job; as a follower, all I have to do is follow. (They usually disagree with me, thinking that following would be more difficult. I wonder how many of them have ever actually tried it!)

In order that I not discourage potential new dancers here (particularly leaders), I understand that some of these responsibilities become “second nature” over time. Do leadership skills in life and marriage become “second nature” when practiced consistently over time?

In Take the Lead, the 2006 movie starring Antonio Banderas, the instructor explains to the student leader: The lead is an invitation not a command.

A dance lead is not pushing, pulling or dragging; the lead must be communicated clearly so the follower can execute the move by her own effort.

How do these dance principles correlate to marriage? According to Biblical principles, a leader is a servant not a dictator. Godly leadership encourages and empowers followers. It does not belittle or threaten. A Godly husband recognizes and values the individuality of his wife. Without this, the dance analogy breaks down. There is no grace in coercion and intimidation.

Copr. 2009 MarriageDance