Danceof the Rubber Band
Relationships function much like what I call the Dance of the Rubber Band. A healthy tension must be kept on the relationship for it to be effective. Much like tension must be kept on a rubber band for it to be effective and to fulfill its purpose.
Think about it. A rubber band is of benefit only when it holds tension around two or more things.
When I conducted private practice couples counseling, often I used a rubber band to demonstrate.
Put one end of the band around your left hand and the other end around your right.
If it is loose, pull both hands back and see what happens. Yes, the tension on the band grows more uncomfortable the further you pull.
Because of this discomfort, you move your left hand closer to the right. The tension eases. The band becomes slack and useless, so the right hand moves back further to regain the tension. And the left hand, uncomfortable, moves in on the right again.
So begins the Dance of the Rubber Band.
For the rubber band to be of any use, tension must be placed on both ends of it. But if it is pulled too tightly, the tension becomes uncomfortable and with increasing pressure, will break. To keep that from happening, often one hand moves forward to ease the tension and the other hand moves away–hence the dance.
But if both hands continue to pull back, what will happen? Yes, the band will eventually break.
Now, take this same example and use it as a metaphor in your relationships. This is where the Dance of the Rubber Band takes life. What happens when, say, a wife has control issues and tries to order the husband to her bidding. He jumps every time she gives an order, and the tension holds. But after a while, say the husband grows and learns
Then, say the husband one partner moves in too close to the other? Yep, the other becomes uncomfortable and takes a step back.
If, as a result, the first person steps forward again and the second person moves even further back.
On the other side of this metaphor, what happens when a person invades our space? Yep, again. We step back. If both people step back too far, the band (bond) is likely to break. And if they both step in too close to each other, the band–the comfortable, useful tension (purpose) of the band exists no longer.
When I did couples therapy several years ago, I often had each spouse wear a rubber band around their wrists as a reminder of the dance. Keep enough tension on the band to make it useful, but when one person steps away, don’t go forward. Instead, take a step back, and often the other will take a step forward.
The Dance of the Rubber Band.
What about you? Have you noticed how, if you step forward, your partner steps back? Have you been tempted to step in even closer? Keep the tension on your relationships
. Practice the dance and see if it improves your relationship.