When I think about the most awesome wedding receptions I’ve been to over the years, I most certainly think about the newlyweds hitting the dance floor for the first time as a married couple. Whether you slay funky fresh hip-hop moves, sway to a tear-jerking John Mayer song, or celebrate your heritage with a culturally traditional performance, your first dance as a couple is an endearing experience no one ever forgets. From serious and romantic to carefree and silly, the first dance is a clear display of your commitment and investment in each other. But this is the best part: the skills you master to pull off an epic performance at your wedding are the SAME skills you need to truly live a life of bliss with your boo. If you can conquer your wedding dance, then you are armed and ready with the tools you need to keep your marriage happy and healthy. The couple who dances together stays together, so without further ado, here are the top 12 reasons why a fierce wedding dance leads to a happy marriage!
1. Strong Communication (deep eye stares galore!)
What most people probably don’t realize going into their showstopping rehearsal is that partner dancing requires both verbal and nonverbal communication. In fact, the communication skills between you and your partner are responsible for 75% of your performance’s success! What this really means is that while you can use words to count music and learn choreography in rehearsal, when it comes to showtime, you will need to rely on other forms of nonverbal communication to get the job done. Sending those unspoken cues while deeply staring into your partner’s eyes for the duration of “At Last” by Etta James may be the only way to avoid stepping on each other’s and tangling up like a ball of yarn. It takes two to tango, my friend!
Now, let’s look at how communication skills apply to your life as a couple off the dance floor. Discussing who is responsible for paying the HBO upgrade on Hulu, deciding how to discipline your kid who won’t stop screaming and intentionally poured syrup on the floor of the restaurant, and choosing a paint color for the wall of your bedroom that doesn’t make you want to scream are all important decisions that require open and honest communication. Without strong communication, your wedding dance, and most likely your marriage, will be headed down a rocky path.
2. Have An Open Mind (aka don’t worry about your friends calling you The Dying Swan)
Chances are that neither of your resumes includes being a dancer in Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation video, so this unfamiliar territory is going to require an open mind and a little vulnerability. Putting yourself out there in front of hundreds of friends and family to potentially flop and fail is a huge risk, but could also be the most rewarding memory of your life. So is it worth the possible embarrassment? You bet it is! Your friends are just jealous anyway wish they could be out there getting their running man on!
In a relationship disagreements are inevitable, but the key is how you go about it. Keeping an open mind and considering your boo’s point of view will lead to fewer arguments and more happiness. Maybe that midlife crisis Harley Davidson is what he needs to let off steam and stress on the weekends? Maybe the $20 truffle burger she has to have on a Friday night really is better than In-N-Out? Taking a breath and a moment to consider your partner’s perspective will make you both much happier as you journey through life together.
3. Forgive, Forget, and Move On!
No human is perfect and neither is any marriage. Learning how to dance can be a complicated process that may take more time for some than others. If your partner is struggling with the waltz, can’t remember what comes after the twerk section, or gets extra winded after voguing, be patient and forgive him when he doesn’t get it the first time.
Everyone makes mistakes, right? Maybe she forgot to pick up the kids from karate or accidentally broke your grill while carmelizing peaches for her book club garden party? Sweating the small stuff causes drama and stress. Forgive her for trying to be Wolfgang Puck (she learned from her mistake, trust me!) and move on to the stuff that really matters!
4. Respect And Embrace Each Others Cultures
America is glorious because it’s diverse. Whether it’s Irish dancing, Mendhi dancing, contemporary dance or hip-hop, if your boo comes from a different culture and wants to incorporate his moves in your wedding dance, embrace it and dive in head first! Make your wedding reception a melting pot and a show that no one will ever forget!
Two people starting a life together with different beliefs can be challenging but is certainly doable with a little compromise. Deciding whether to celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, raising the kids vegetarian or not, or making a Sunday ritual of going to church are all choices that every couple faces. The key words here are respect and compromise. When you have both, you can work out anything in your journey through life together!
5. Commitment (like no backing out at the last minute)
Cold feet, last minute jitters, or fear of being called a baby deer can’t stop you now. This wedding dance is happening come hell or high water! A successful wedding dance requires you to commit fully to your performance…and your partner. Without full commitment, the audience will smell your fear a mile away! Tripping on your heel click or experiencing a wardrobe malfunction can’t stop you from jumping right back in and finishing it off the performance!
As you grow with bae, things like agreeing to go to her work holiday party will come along that you said you would do, but REALLY don’t want to do. Putting her needs first and following through with what you said you would do will show how committed you are to your mate and make for a very happy relationship.
6. You May Be A Dreamer But Try To Have Realistic Expectations
So you’re not Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but you don’t have two left feet, so you expect this to be a winning number straight from Dancing With The Stars, right? You might score a perfect 10, but if it falls short, go easy on yourself (and your partner) and accept that it’s all about fun, not perfection. Leave the overhead death drops to the pros!
Expecting your partner to perform beyond his capability is a recipe for disaster, both on and off the dance floor. Hoping your super smart SO will become the CEO of his company overnight or expecting bae to instantly transform into Martha Stuart when she’s never cooked anything but eggs isn’t exactly a formula for happiness. Patience combined with acceptance of reality is a sure way to stay happy with your spouse!
7. Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder, And Hopefully That’s Your Spouse
Whether you’re tush pushing to Shania Twain or taking a night off from the kids on a date at your favorite restaurant, physical chemistry is key to any couple’s performance. Pulling off a fierce wedding dance isn’t just about nailing every kick-ball-change. Killer performances have a certain je ne sais quoi – a chemistry that can’t be faked or taught. Looking hot AF is crucial to making the sparks fly between you and your partner on and off the dance floor.
Sure, it was easy to entice each other before you had kids and before your hubby started Rogaine. The same butterflies you got in your stomach while on your first date can still happen if you just put in a little work. Sweat a little every day, eat your veggies, and most importantly don’t stress over the small stuff! You will be twirling and toasting for years to come.
8. Be Emotionally Supportive (even if it means stretching the truth from time to time)
Look, dancing is hard. It requires coordination, a natural knack for rhythm, and full control over your limbs that can feel more like noodles at times. If your partner isn’t exactly Patrick Swayze from Dirty Dancing, try to look for what he’s doing well (or make something up) and cheer him on! You get it, boys are mean and he’s facing potential lifelong ridicule by attempting to dougie in front of his bros. So let him know how proud you are that he’s putting himself out there and encourage him to shine bright! Encouraging your spouse and supporting him through thick and thin will help you get through all of life’s ups and downs.
9. Trust That If You Fall, BAE Is There To Catch You
Remember the trust fall game where you close your eyes, fall backward and pray that the person standing behind you saves you from a concussion? Well, partner dancing is no different. Whether you’re jigging hand in hand or attempting an overhead lift, trusting that your partner will be there for you and won’t let you down is essential. It takes physical and emotional trust to make your performance shine!
Trust is what separates the people who deserve to be in your life from the ones who don’t. Trust is the foundation of every functioning relationship, and if you’ve got it, then you have what it takes to live happily together forever.
10. Realize That You Don’t Know Everything, And That’s Okay
This can be challenging especially for those of us who like to be in charge and don’t take negative feedback well. There are hundreds of dance styles out there, so just because you were the captain of your high school dance team doesn’t mean that you will be able to pull off a fierce foxtrot without some coaching and constructive criticism. Be coachable and be open to the advice of the experts, and you will surprise everyone with just how great of a performer you are!
Lost driving in a state you’ve never been to before? Stop and ask directions. Trying to help your kid with trigonometry homework? Hire a tutor. When you know what you don’t know, you will save time and money by asking for help from someone who does. This mentality is sure to create more fulfillment and less frustration in your relationship.
11. Dream Big Together!
Performing the wedding dance of your dreams takes practice and dedication. Set rehearsal goals with your partner and commit to a consistent schedule. If weekends are the only time that both of you are free to practice those chausses and high kicks, then decide where and when, and then DO IT. It’s very easy to procrastinate and find yourselves out of time and out of luck. Set those goals and hold each other accountable! This is your wedding dance, after all.
Dreaming big, like growing your savings or planning for that vacation you’ve been talking about for years, will bring the happiness in your relationship to another level.
12. Life Is Short, Keep It Funny!
If you can’t have fun in the process, it’s not worth your time or energy. Dance is all about expression and creativity. Your wedding dance isn’t a competition and it isn’t about perfecting every little flick and flap. It’s about what you’re communicating to your audience and to each other – that you’re in love, you’ve never been happier, and that you just want to be silly together at the end of the day. Whether you’re getting down with the funky chicken or whirling your partner in a sassy tango, having fun and enjoying the moment is all that matters.
Humor fixes just about anything in a relationship. Couples who can laugh off the small stuff and stay focused on the stuff that really matters will inevitably have a fulfilling life together.
Learning the quickstep and learning to sail through life together require the same skills for success and happiness. Working through everything it takes to execute a fierce wedding dance will prepare you and your SO to work through any challenge in life. What works? TEAMWORK! Make yourself the peanut butter to his jelly. The yin to his yang. Your differences can be so powerful when they compliment each other. It’s no wonder that so many retirees pick up ballroom dancing as a hobby later in life since they already have the skills from years of working at a successful marriage. Your wedding dance will not only be one of your most cherished memories, but it will also serve as a building block for a long and happy life together!