I am not the best dancer, but I can move. I can do the hustle, the wobble, the electric slide, and most dances from the 70’s. I can even do some of the newer dances, with the exception of “twerking”. All of that jerking and gyrating is bad on my 50+ year-old knees.
But even though I can’t do the newest dances or “drop it like it’s hot”, I refuse to leave the dance floor. I stay on the dance floor and I do what I can do; I dance.
In many ways, relationships are like dancing. They both require coordination, rhythm, leadership, decision-making and movement. And, just like good dancing requires a willing partner and good music, so does a loving relationship. How are they similar? I am glad you asked.
In the Netherlands, the Dutch believe that “every couple has a rhythm”, a way of functioning that makes the relationship work. And the more I observe couples, that more I believe that statement is true. If you don’t believe me, just observe happy couples who have been together for a while. If you watch them closely, you can see that they have found their pace, their beat, their speed. They have somehow synchronized their lives in a way that supports and sustains their union.
If you spend time with successful couples, you will also notice that they have coordinated their lives in a way that helps them share space, time, and most importantly, share themselves. They have organized and orchestrated their wake-times, sleep times, meal times, sex times, quiet times, chore times and other times in a way that allows them to experience harmony, synergy and sometimes, ecstasy. Whatever the activity, a happy couple’s rhythm produces happiness, cooperation, efficiency, interdependence and great companionship. They have what I have coined as good “relationship rhythm”. In other words, they flow.
Good dancers and happy couples have another thing in common: versatility. Good dancers are flexible; they can adjust to the beat and adapt to the genre. They can wiggle, do the Harlem shake, and then go to the country western club and dosey doe. They can stiffen up and dazzle us with the robot, and then they can loosen up and do the running man down the Soul Train line. They can jiggle their legs to do the “stanky leg”, and then slow it down and groove to the tunes of Smokey Robinson. Good dancers adjust and modify to engage the music. In other words, they adapt to their environment.
Healthy relationships are the same; they are flexible. They adjust to hard times and celebrate the good times. They adapt to prosperity and restructure in poverty. They revel in success, and then bounce back from failure. They deal with sickness and appreciate health. They accommodate family, while protecting “couple time”. Whatever the situation and whatever the circumstance, successful couples adapt.
Successful couples accept that situations may change, but never their love. So like good dancers who keep dancing despite the genre, despite the tempo, despite the crowd, despite the music, despite not knowing how to do the most current dances, despite the pain in their bodies – so do successful couples continue to dance and love despite the vicissitudes of life. Successful couples keep dancing! For better or worse, they ride the waves of life.
Finally, good dancers and healthy couples both do another thing well; they manage space. Have you ever watched good dancers when they are really getting down? I may be aging myself with that terminology, but have you observed really good dancers when they are “jamming”? Somehow they instinctively know when to dance closely, and when it would easier and better to dance farther apart. They know when to pull back so that they can do a certain move, and then they know when to grab their partner’s hand or waist to twist and turn. In other words, they effectively manage distance and space.
One of the ways that successful couples effectively manage distance and space is by developing and honoring healthy boundaries. Together they set limits which allow each partner to be independent, while at the same time, interdependent. Together they establish mutually beneficial guidelines and relationship rules that ensure that they love, support, respect, protect, honor and value each other. Together, is the operative word.
Happy couples get it right, or at least they work on trying to get it right. They realize the need to be close enough to nurture intimacy, and at the same time, be far enough away to preserve their own identity. In addition, successful couples manage distance and space by understanding that contexts, circumstances and growth may/could affect how they relate to each other. And most importantly, they talk about it. They don’t hide their feelings, play mind games or expect their partners to read their minds. They talk!!!! But above all, they realize that despite changes in space and distance, they will always find their way back to each other’s arms – literally and figuratively.
Can you dance? Are you able to glide down the floor of life with a wonderful partner? Can your relationship withstand changes, or do transitions stop you dead in your tracks? Do you know how to step sideways or away without losing your partner’s hand, head or heart? Can you deal with closeness, and occasional distance, while still moving to the music? Are you open to different genres – modern dance, waltzing, salsa, line dancing and just good ole’ busting a move? Can you dance to the music in your head if there is no music being played in the room? Do you have relationship rhythm? Can you dance?
If you can’t dance, I hope you will just keep moving on the dance floor, love floor, until you are able to experience all of the joy that you can stand. I hope you don’t let one wrong song, one wrong move, one wrong experience or one wrong partner, stop you from dancing or loving.
If you are single, dance! If you are in a relationship, dance! Just keep moving, keep growing, keep seeking, and keep loving. And, eventually, you will create the song, the love, the routine, the life and the experience that you are looking for.
It is time to dance……so get moving….get your groove on! Turn, twist and tootsie roll. Shuffle, shake and slide. It is your life and your love. You deserve the best! ( excerpt from my upcoming book I Learned A Few Things About Love!)
Blessings to you always!
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