In the month of February, I’m challenging myself to write more (everyday), share more, and risk more. Welcome to my A to Z series based on whatever came to my mind first. Enjoy the ride!
In college, Josh and I took ballroom dancing classes. As part of the class, we had to rotate partners with a bunch of strangers. It was really fun, for the most part. But, the times where we had to polka around in quick circles with a partner that had no idea what they were doing left us feeling jostled and dizzy.
The communication with your partner matters. Our instructors often talked about teamwork and communication between partners, learning to read the intent of your partner by paying attention to their movements and gestures.
There are so many analogies to draw between partner dances and a real relationship, so why not?
Here are some ways I think dancing has helped us IRL (in real life…am I relevant yet???) :
- Pay attention. While dancing, you have to pay attention to what the other person is feeling, thinking, and doing. If you don’t pay attention to the little signals, you don’t really know what to do. I think the most important thing that Josh and I have learned throughout our relationship is that it’s important to pay attention to each other. In giving the other your full attention, you don’t miss the little things. The little things add up to the big things and it’s a really easy way to remind the other of their worth.
- Don’t place blame, just take it. Both of you. When you get confused while ballroom dancing, it’s easy for the leader to place blame on the follower that they weren’t following well. Likely, it’s tempting to for the follower to imply that the leader wasn’t being very clear. Both instances place blame and point out a void in the other. It’s not a bad thing to help each other in certain weak points. But, we’ve realized the importance of each acknowledging our own responsibility and then communicating what could have helped. Obviously, we’re far from perfect at this and probably blame each other more often than not. Oops. We’re working on it.
- Have fun! Dancing is more fun if you’re trying to have fun! If we’re trying to be cool and fancy and “good at it,” it’s really not that fun. I feel like that’s the same thing as a couple. If I’m trying to think about how cool we look as a couple, or how much we don’t fight, or make sure everyone knows how much we are in love and support each other, I am way more easily perturbed with things that don’t matter. And, in the end, I’m not really having much fun. I think one of the greatest gifts of a friendship or relationship like this is that life’s experiences can be more deeply enjoyed because you’re with the other. Do it even if you’re not good at it, and have fun with it anyway!