After 25 years of marriage, Joe and I have a good rhythm going. I take care of him in ways he deeply appreciates and he supports my interests and passions with his unique gifts and patience. We make a good team and have each other’s back.

Like most couples Joe and I disagree and fight occasionally. I used to get so mad at him that I refused to look at him or acknowledge his presence for days. It killed me inside but I couldn’t let go. Then I figured it was simply foolish because I was actually torturing myself. Why not just tell him how I feel, why, have a conversation about the issue and move on with life? With this new insight and strategy, I can’t remember the last time we had a cold war until a couple of days ago …

Joe and I have been taking private ballroom dance lessons for almost 2 years. We aren’t great but the improvement we’ve made together is quite impressive. In December we performed Bachta and it has been our best so far. We’ve developed a nice rhythm dancing together. Instead of focusing on each other’s weakness, we started to work on being in sync and graceful as a unit. In the past week, we’ve been working hard on the new dance Salsa to get ready for the Star of the Night Showcase last night. It’s been a busy week and therefore stress level was slightly elevated. On Thursday evening I asked Joe if we could dance when he was working on tax filing documents. He said he’d be able to in half an hour. The Salsa music is fast and noisy with the drum playing on top of it. Joe and I struggled with on which beat to start our entrance routine we just learned a week ago. I thought he was lecturing me and pointing out all the things I wasn’t doing right.

“How about we identify the beat to start and move simultaneously?” I suggested.

“But which beat? You have to listen to the music. Can you hear the underlying rhythm?”

“Of course I can hear it. I am not deaf!”

Joe stared at me. “I don’t feel like dancing anymore today.”

“Fine!” I took off my dance shoes.

Later Joe fell asleep the minute his head hit the pillow and I dozed off shortly. We didn’t say anything to each other for the rest of the night. Early next morning, my husband made his usual gestures to offer peace and I accepted. Then I got on the bus and the train to work. In the office, I dawned on me that I owed him an apology. Joe is losing hearing in one ear, and my comment was meant to hurt him. That wasn’t nice, period.

“I was being mean last night. Sorry!” I texted him.

“Don’t worry about it ☺” He replied.

For some reason I find it easier to apologize electronically than personally. I’d have no problem saying “I am sorry” if it were totally my fault, but that’s usually not the case. When removed from the situation, I sometimes can see more clearly the part I did wrong and claim responsibility.

We spent some of Friday and yesterday practicing Salsa and delivered another solid performance that made our dance instructor Peggy very proud. A handful of our friends went to watch us. When they saw the sweet and elegant 83-year-old Rose waltzing and tangoing on the dance floor, Jenny said to me, “If aging looks like this, it’s not bad at all.” My other friend Kim commented, “I want to be like her when I am old!” It’s always great to connect with old friends and make new ones. We sure had fun in another freezing snowy day like yesterday in Chicago!