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Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

Dancing in the Dark by Terry Kish

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With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, love is in the air. It’s a time to remember that romance surrounds us, if you take time to look.

Years ago, as my husband and I were returning to our home late one night, we noticed our neighbors on their back porch, dancing in the dark. Even though we knew they danced regularly, the beauty of this couple in their eighties moving as one literally took my breath away.

There is something so touching about watching a young – or perhaps, not so young – couple’s first dance as husband and wife. With all eyes on them, they’re typically they’re a little flustered as they begin, but as they relax in each other’s arms, it’s as if the rest of the world disappears.

And for some couples, that magic never disappears, even after decades together. Such was the case for my parents. Like most kids, I never gave much thought about them as anything other than mom and dad, until I would see them dancing. Whether it was a rowdy polka in the kitchen or a smooth waltz at a wedding reception, they moved with a grace and ease and twinkle in their eyes that showed how much they still loved each other.

Several years ago, my husband and I, and a few other couples, took ballroom dancing lessons together. In addition to it being a great workout, the weekly lessons proved to be a great date night. It was a brand-new activity for all of us, so there was a lot of laughter as we learned the various steps, some more successfully than others!

Intentionally or not, our instructor’s lessons also provided some great relationship insight. With ballroom dancing, you’re moving as a couple, so someone must navigate around the dance floor. The men had to learn to be strong leaders, while the women had to learn to follow their lead. For our group, learning to follow proved to be a little tougher for the women than learning to lead was for the men!

Our instructor told the men that their main job was to make the lady look good. To do that they had to plan where they were going on the dance floor, decide what steps they wanted to do, and all the while provide a strong frame for their partner. No pressure, right?

All the women had to do was follow their lead and trust that their partner was going to transport them safely around the room without bumping into anyone. Sounds easy, but inevitably, one of us ladies would anticipate a move, or try to “back lead” our partner into doing something or miss a cue our partner was giving us.

Because some of the cues to go from one move to another are subtle, dancing forces a couple to focus on each other. Both dancers must do their part to provide the tension and strength needed to feel those cues.

In life, as in dancing, we need to trust that our partner has a plan and wants to make us look good. Both partners need to be strong and focus on each other, reading the cues our partner gives us. And, we’re not going to be perfect! We need to remember to laugh and have fun, even when we step on each other’s toes.

While it’s been some years since our last dance lesson, periodically my husband and I will turn on the music and dust off the steps we learned in class. With any luck, we’ll still be swaying to the music for years to come!

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