As you may have noticed if you practice around other couples a lot, or if you yourself partake in this activity, partners often argue and fight with each other. In particular, this activity tends to increase as the big competition draws near, because once you both start to feel stressed, even though you do everything correctly, your partner begins to cause 100% of the problems in your dancing, and if they would just fix these few simple things everything would be better, because it is all their fault and your dancing is probably perfect. Today, you will hopefully gain some perspective on this phenomenon, and the next time you find yourself arguing with your partner, keep these things in mind.
1. The Problem is Probably Communication
According to a survey of mental health professionals, the number one factor leading to divorce is poor communication in a relationship (link). Let's look at it like this: unless you actually think your partner is trying to sabotage your practice, there's no reason to get into an argument. You both want a productive practice, and you both want to improve, so if you're arguing, the problem is probably that you aren't listening to each other.
Let's take this example. You feel a problem with the connection, and it's obviously your partner's fault, so you tell them. This results in your partner feeling attacked, and becoming defensive, which can escalate to a big argument. Instead, describe what you feel and ask your partner what they think can be done about it, and offer your own suggestions to try, as well. If your partner comes to you with a problem, realize they are just trying to fix something that feels weird, not reprimand you for doing something wrong.
2. Work on Yourself First
Have you ever had a lesson where you and your partner are unable to dance a figure properly, but when your teacher dances with either one of you it works? This is because both you and your partner are contributing to this problem. If your partner were perfect, the problem would be manageable, and if you were perfect, the problem would be manageable, but since neither of you is perfect, the problem is unmanageable. The next time you are having a problem with a figure and you feel your partner messing you up, realize that your partner probably wouldn't be messing a your teacher up. Since this means you both have room to improve, work on yourself first.
This proverb comes from the Book of Changes, the oldest of the Chinese Classics, written over 2000 years ago: "Work on yourself first. Take responsibility for your own progress." Are you really going to dispute ancient Chinese wisdom?
3. Remember You are not All Knowing
You have thought about it, and you have a good idea of what the right thing to do is, but your stupid partner thinks it's something else (which it obviously totally isn't). How can they not see what you're saying? Well, now that you think about it, you might realize that your partner has just as much a right to think the exact same thing about you, because your partner's opinion is just as valid as yours. If you have a disagreement, ask your teacher during your next lesson. Unless you've never been wrong in your life, you don't have the authority to put your foot down, and you wouldn't like it if your partner were to do that to you.
4. Clock Out after Practice
If you've never seen Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf on the Looney Tunes, you've clearly had a depraved childhood. Every day, Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf would clock into their jobs. Ralph would try to steal sheep, and Sam would protect them. They would fight all day until the whistle blew, signaling the end of the work day, at which point they would clock out, walk home, and be friends again. If you have an argument on the dance floor, make sure you clock out after practice and don't bring that off the floor with you. You're both trying your hardest to make practice productive, but bringing a fight off the dance floor will end up taking a toll on your relationship as people.
5. Your Partner is your Only Ally
If nothing else, remember this. When you step onto a competition floor, every single other person on that floor wants you to fail, except your partner. Your partner always has your back! Your partner wants you do dance your best, feel great, and kick some butt!
On the competition floor, your partner is your only ally, and if you're fighting with your partner, you're on your own.