About Chuck and Eileen Rife

Chuck Rife is a licensed professional counselor and marriage/family therapist who's worked with Total Life Counseling, Inc. of Roanoke, Virginia since 1988. Eileen Rife, a veteran homeschool mom of twenty years, works as a freelance writer, author, and speaker. Together, they conduct marriage seminars designed to grow godly marriages that last a lifetime! Chuck and Eileen are also certified to administer and evaluate the Prepare-Enrich assessment tool for couples.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Dancing through the Second Half of Marriage

The second half of life can be a challenge with kids leaving home, parents aging, and physical changes. Instead of sitting around and lamenting our sore lot in life, Chuck and I decided to get off the couch and do something new and fun, something just for the two of us.

I'll admit my "happy-to-stay-in-a-rut" husband was somewhat reluctant when the new and fun thing I suggested was ballroom dancing. We started by checking out dance videos from our local library. I convinced him there was little threat to dancing by ourselves on the living room floor for our Friday night date. He agreed. I knew he had graduated in his thinking when, to my surprise, he purchased me a dance video for a Christmas present.

Later, a couple at church told us about a dance studio that offered Friday night lessons for only $15.00 a couple. Making ourselves vulnerable in front of other dancers was intimidating at first. Now it's just plain fun. We realize that other couples are struggling to learn the steps too.

We even took our dancing to the ball field during our city's July 4th celebration. With big band music for a backdrop, I coaxed my still somewhat reluctant husband to join me for a few rounds. The darker the sky got the easier it was for him to dance. Now he says he's cured of his reticence and could dance almost anywhere.

Dancing has pointed out some needed areas of growth in our marriage, like who leads and who follows, for instance! My tendency is to harp on Chuck whenever he misses a step. I want to take control and pull him around the floor. When I relax and let him lead, even if it means making a few mistakes, we are happier. Dancing has also added a new spark to our relationship. We spend more time gazing into each other’s eyes as we glide around the floor, which promotes an exciting intimacy between us. The belly laughter we experience when we step on each other’s toes breeds good feelings that carry us throughout the week and help us take life less seriously.

Sure, we look downright silly at times. We're still learning. But I wouldn't trade the joy and laughter dancing has brought our marriage for anything in the world! It truly is that thing we do that feels so uniquely us.

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