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Come Dance with Me: Calm, Trust, Commitment

2022-04-27

Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): The Good Men Project

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2021/08/27

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. — Alan Watts

Marcus Aurelius spoke to life more as more akin to wrestling than dancing. If that’s so, and he may very well have been right, then love is more akin to dancing than to wrestling. Quite reasonably, I feel, love is more about flow, change, and movement – internally and externally, than rejiggering of rigged, uncomfortable positions while stuck inside a circle.

The dance of love in that wrestling of life is the one arena of constant motion, alteration, and change in you. Your personality changes while in love. Being open to change and adaptation by the man from the woman, etc., is profoundly important in the work of building a love for a lifetime, there comes a sense of giving (up) of oneself.

Changing to honour the other, so as with them, this represents a sense of trust. As in, a mutuality of the benefits of one for the other, or both. You have one another’s best interests at heart. The Gottman Institute speaks to trust, commitment, and calm as crucial to long-term intimate relational stability, marriages and so forth.

The trust of another person can be difficult in times of rapid, sharp change, but the bond between two people – a dyad – can be an important anchor when the rapids flow. Commitment reflects the actions behind trust.

Trust, in this sense, seems about an attitude, or better a feeling or even an instinct. Some internal process of security in the other person having your back, being mindful of you, gentle – kind, never harsh.

Commitment becomes a living out of this internal mode of being. You trust your partner to know about the busy day and that coming home and setting things in order later won’t be manageable with the chores on the dreaded To-Do list.

So, they set aside time and complete the tasks on the To-Do list and let the time home become easier, relaxed, stressless, and, maybe, leaving some room for intimate bonding with one another – as simple as a snuggle.

The commitment shown in such acts is a choice. Weddings represent a sacralization of individual lives coming together, akin to coming of age parties, sweet 16s, funerals, and the like. Psychologists might call this meaning making. An act of conscious recognition of a moment as important.

We build stories about our lives and our fortunes in them, as we make sense – so meaning – of our lives’ trajectories. “Meaning” here used in the sense of significance or some things have greater value than others to us, individually. Life is complex. Our experience and memory is a flawed patchwork. Stories give order to the unpleasant ordinary chaos of it.

A continual renewal of the narratives of a couple becomes a sense of meaning making, but a fundamental basis for this is commitment. Acts of commitment from the mundane, including coffee in bed, to the sacred, including weddings, represent making a conscious choice to exist interdependently. Your benefit is theirs, and vice versa. A living out of this trust is commitment.

You dance to the tune of one another, occasionally wrestling too. The Gottman Institute points to one final piece to this puzzle for a triplet: physiological calm. The couples with the worst outcomes – Disasters as opposed to Masters – live in a state of consistent physiological arousal. It’s hell rather than heaven.

A feeling of hypervigilance, the body is flooded in the presence of The Other, also known as the husband or the wife. The Masters or the couples with healthy relations and longevity live in this triplet of trust of one another, commitment to one another, and calm around one another. Life and love become a masterful artwork of beauty and romance as they dance the nights and days away.

This is why wrestling does not seem apt to describe love in life. Dancing is a joy. Life is joy and misery alike. The Masters know the path forward to a healthy plunge and know how to dance while in the rapids; Disasters don’t. They sink.

With calm, commitment, and trust, there is a stability, but it requires mindfulness, the right attitude, renewed commitment-based behaviours, and a sense of calm in the presence of your partner. And as with any dance, it requires practice to reach the point of finesse and grace.

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.in-sightpublishing.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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