I've found that social dancing provides glimpses into how relationships should work. My latest ah-ha relates to the contradance swing. This swing is very similar to a ballroom swing, with the shoulders parallel with your partner and the arms held firm but not rigid. When swinging, the partners move as one. This sounds simple, but the rest of the story speaks to how relationships are handled.
Swings can include extra moves, with the twirl being the most common addition. The gent typically leads the lady into a twirl when starting or ending a swing. The time allowed for the overall swing dictates the amount of time taken up by these optional twirls. While the twirls come in several forms, the purpose is twofold: showing mastery of the dance by the gent and providing the lady with some spice in the swing.
So, we have a swing and we have the flourishes before and / or after the swing. What does this have to do with relationships? The swing is the mainstay of a dance relationship. It is the period of time that you are most connected to your partner. A typical set of moves is 64 beast long. Lots of things can happen during this 64 beats, with partner swing is only going to last 8 or 16 beats of this time. In the end, a swing with a dance partner you really enjoy is only a small part of the entire dance sequence. A swing is meant to be treasured, just as relationships. The time allocated to this is only a fraction of all the time available.
My realization was that the flourishes are a distraction. A swing only lasts for 8 or 16 beats of the available 64 beats, and then your dance partner leaves your arms. A twirl before and after a swing can reduce the swing to 8 or even 4 beats of music. This unwanted reduction of quality time with a partner is executed for the sake of twirls that are motivated by vanity or habit. Ah! Here is the heart of my thoughts. I was glad to learn how to do decent twirls, adding flourishes to my dance, but now I know they come at a price.
An informal poll of accomplished female dancers has informed me that the ladies would prefer to have a solid, well executed swing, over a series of dizzying flourishes. I agree with the poll results. I've come to treasure a swing that is smoothly executed by both parties. The smooth swing is a result of a mutual effort between the dancers. The swing is a dance relationship, and just as the flourishes can jar or shorten a swing, the flashy distractions of life can impact a social relationship.
Now I minimize the twirls I perform, especially if I very much enjoy being with a dance partner. I want to enjoy the heart of the swing and not rob myself of the moment by the unnecessary twirling about. A social relation should be given the same treatment. Every relationship has a place in which the partners are synchronized in their actions. The flourishes of life, as flashy as they may be, take away from the connection. A smooth swing is effortless. It appears simple, but the ease originates from a lot of cooperation and understanding on the part of the partners. Relationships are like this too. Appreciate the times that relationships are working well. Don't distract yourself with social equivalents of twirls.
The time you have available with your partner, be it in dance or elsewhere, is short relative to the rest of life. I've cut back on the twirls and the reward has been wonderful. Look to your personal life and see where you can focus on simplifying the flourishes while you focus on the magic of relationships.