Published On: September 30, 2014

What goes around comes around! Who would believe that ball room dancing would make a come back?

When it comes to marital relationships, all couples dance. They might never jive on the dance floor but they do rumba in the bedroom, and salsa in the family room. Of course the dance I am referring to is the ‘emotional dance’ that takes place in every marriage relationship.

Dancers know instinctively as soon as they hear the first few beats of the music whether or not to use the Fox Trot or the Cha Cha. Couples also learn very quickly to be attuned to the emotional movement of their partners. As dancers, the man’s hand is on the small of the woman’s back and acts as a guide to where and when they will turn or spin. Tone and body language within our communications often acts as the beat of the music and a hand, signaling the kind of dance and the direction to go.

The most traditional dance steps for couples is the “ Distancer- Purser”. It only takes a look on the face of’ the purser’ to let the other know that the music has started and their verbal tones begin the steps of this dance.

Usually ‘the pursuer’ is leading the dance and ‘the distancer’ is responding to this person. ‘The pursuer’ often is an initiator who when hurt or afraid will respond in a ‘fight response’. ‘The distancer’ however responds to fear and emotional upset with a ‘flight response’. As you can see the old movie of one chasing the other around the table happens more often emotionally than we know.

One of the greatest challenges in marital dances is managing emotional intensity. This is key sorting out unhealthy dance patterns. It is imperative that ‘the pursuer’ learn to slow the process down and assure the distancer of their intent without emotional intensity. On the other hand it is imperative for ‘the distancer’ to learn to tolerate emotional upheaval and allow the issues to be dealt with in safety.

When it comes to dancing the risk of stepping on toes increases, so remember kids, safety comes first. Step gently!