When the heart turns away, even slightly, when one or both partners begin to question the soundness of their love, it can be very easy to lose a relationship to snowballing negativity. The truth is that once trouble starts, it can be nearly impossible to stop and/or reverse that kinetic energy. A prominent reason is that it can be very difficult to give emotionally to your partner when you feel they are withholding. And when you begin to withhold, your partner will too.

“You’re not being very giving to me!” You might say.

“But you’re not giving!”

“But you’re not giving!”

“But you’re not giving!”

And thus the cycle continues, feeding itself at every turn (1) until the relationship has entirely unraveled.

At Ballroom Dance Chicago, we focus on building solid habits of communication and intimacy so that when issues do arise, or if they have already begun to fester, we’re better prepared to handle them.

With dancing, couple’s “therapy” finds a new ease. And that’s simply built into the process (it has nothing to do with some supreme expertise on our part)! Before we discuss any issues, the couple spends time holding each other, touching, moving in sync. And this is the best place to start because, during this process, the chemical oxytocin is released. Oxytocin is called the “cuddle hormone,” and it gives us a sense of satisfaction and, often times, euphoria. In addition, and more importantly for what we do as dance/relationship teachers, oxytocin helps to create trust, empathy and longing for your partner. And all you have to do is be present and engaged.

Let me say that again, dancing with your partner, no matter your intent, puts you in a better relationship space without you having to try, outside of being physically present for the dance. And in our understanding, the ability to work through any issue depends on your starting place: are you starting from accusations and anger, or have you already established some form of connectedness?

I know this sounds almost like magic, but the fact is that it’s based in science. This is not opinion. This is not illusion. It is science. It’s also just a beginning. What happens next is the real work in couples therapy: establishing habits of building and maintaining fondness and appreciation - the two guards against contempt (the real grim reaper of relationships). Read more about that in an upcoming blog.

Our challenge to you is that the next time things get heated between you and your partner, spend some time silent, holding hands, touching, cuddling, etc. before you even try talking about it.

Notes:

(1) We’ve been taught to think about love in all the wrong ways. We have been taught to believe that love is a transaction, similar to money changing hands. Think about it: if you’re always giving money away, never receiving anything in return, you’ll eventually be broke. The same with love, most people think. The exact opposite is true actually. Love only grows when it is given freely. For more on this topic, stay tuned for our upcoming blog post.