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Alexa and Carlos PenaVega's Dancing with the Stars Blog: What It's Like Competing Against Your Spouse

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Alexa and Carlos PenaVega are the first married contestants ever to compete on Dancing with the Stars, and they are chronicling their experiences on the show’s 21st season exclusively for PEOPLE.com. Follow Alexa and Carlos on Twitter!

Alexa’s Take

When Carlos and I got the call that we were being offered the chance to be on Dancing with the Stars, we immediately said yes. We thought it would be an awesome adventure and also an opportunity for us be a positive light for people.

We were super excited but because rehearsals didn’t start until a few weeks ago, there was this lull where it seemed like it was something that was still really far off. That feeling definitely went away when we met our partners three weeks ago. Immediately we were thrown into this dance world that we knew very little about and began eating, breathing and living dance.

I’ve always loved working out to instrumental music and pretending I was a dancer – not a ballroom dancer, but maybe a ballerina or something – so I was thrilled to get to start to tell stories through dance. My partner is Mark Ballas, and he is just the best partner and teacher. At heart, we’re both just two dorky people who don’t mind making fun of ourselves and that’s coming through in our dancing.

Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas of Dancing with the Stars
Craig Sjodin/ABC
For this first week, Carlos and I both are doing jives. I didn’t really realize how competitive my husband was until we started doing this show. He kept trying to compare our dances, and I had to keep reminding him that every teacher and every song is going to make the dances different. His jive has a very classical feel to it, and mine is a lot more edgy.

I know I’ll never feel prepared for tonight’s live show, but we’ve been working really hard in rehearsal so I just have to trust that we are prepared. I’m hoping both Carlos and I will do well. There’s no way to really form an alliance – and there wouldn’t be any reason to – but I really do feel as though I’m on a team of four with Mark, Carlos and Carlos’ partner Witney Carson. I love watching Carlos dance. He’s so charming and adorable. You can’t help but smile when you watch him.

Carlos’ Take

Lex and I are both really hard workers, but nothing prepared us – or our bodies – for what we’ve been through during the last three weeks of rehearsals. That being said, I wouldn’t trade my sore muscles for anything.

We jumped at the opportunity to do this show because we wanted to do something that could brighten up people’s day. There is so much darkness going on in the world today. We can’t even watch the news without getting depressed, and this show is something that makes people happy.

I have found that I am more competitive than I thought, but I wasn’t worried about having to compete against my wife. The main thing that concerned me was the fact that Lex was going to potentially have another guy groping her on the dance floor for the next three months. I wasn’t sure I could handle that.

But I learned very quickly that just because dance is a very intimate sport, it doesn’t mean anything once the song is over. It wasn’t until we started rehearsal and I was grabbing Witney that I realized that. Your mind doesn’t even go there. You’re just focused on getting the steps right and doing well.

Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson of Dancing with the Stars
Craig Sjodin/ABC
Witney and I are both really hard workers and have been practicing our first dance non-stop for the past three weeks. We both love putting in the work, but we also get distracted easily. Ooh, something shiny! So we have been working on striking the right balance between working hard and having fun.

I’m eager to get to tonight’s live show, but I know my heart is going to be beating out of my chest when I’m on stage waiting for my music to start. I’m also looking forward to cheering Lex on. But I’m also a little nervous she’s going to kick me out of the competition. She’s a freaking good dancer. I saw her rehearsing the other day, and I was blown away.

Dancing with the Stars‘ 21st season premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.