Filed under: catalyst
As always, thank you to all of our visitors and all the encouraging comments you left for us. For those of you who did, thank you for playing along with us.
Ok! Here’s catalyst number one hundred and four:
What advice do you have for other couples?
We’re delighted to have Jenni Bowlin as this week’s Guest Artist.
Here’s a quickie self-bio for Jenni:
Jenni Bowlin resides in Nashville, TN with her husband and two young sons. She is the owner and the creative force behind Jenni Bowlin Studio – a boutique papercrafting manufacturer with a “Vintage Fresh” attitude. Everything she creates has a vintage edge and a general “re-invention” theme. She is also the owner of Mercantile, a web-based company offering monthly papercrafting, project and jewelry kits. A published designer, Jenni’s work has landed on the pages of Creating Keepsakes, Autumn Leaves Publications, Family Circle, Country Living and Mary Engelbreit Home Companion. Jenni is also an accomplished teacher, offering classes at stores and conventions across the country and the web.
Here is Jenni’s art with this week’s catalyst. You can click on it to see a larger version and more detail.
My husband and I both feel as though we have a responsibility to share our story with, well, anyone that will listen! When I saw the “what advice . ..” option I knew it was the perfect catalyst for me. So here goes, my short story and my advice (without writing a book):
I spent almost 9 years in a marriage full of anger, sadness and frustration. Frustration because I knew he was my soulmate, sadness because I couldn’t figure out how to make it work. Truth is, although it took a lot of counseling and a lot of tears, it came down to one simple principle: be humble. When I stopped keeping score and holding on to anger over the third night of doing the dishes alone it caused a chain reaction. The “big” things didn’t seem so big anymore and the small things are just that, small. I realize it’s not always this simple and you certainly have to have two willing parties, but over time wounds can heal. We now work together every day, side by side, and do so brilliantly (with a few strong “discussions” here and there)! I miss him if he goes out to lunch. He is my best friend and the greatest father. Truly a dream and one I had to be dragged through the mud to realize (but isn’t that when you appreciate something even more)?
(and P.S. – he is actually the one doing the dishes and always the laundry. I can always pick the place to eat dinner though)!
Here are some interpretations of the catalyst from members of our team.
Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. – John Quincy Adams
The photo I used here is one that I snapped on a recent weekend trip to the beach with my husband. It was impossible to snap a photo of the two of us, and I don’t have any recent ones, so I decided to use this one for this project. To me, patience is the number one key to a relationship. You have to be patient with each other… with the obstacles.. the hardships.. and all the things that life throws at you. Be patient. That’s the best advice I know to give.
There are so many pointers on keeping a relationship that I receive from couples and so many that I can pass on as well. Among these are : 1. Get away from it all a few times a month and enjoy yourselves as a couple 2. Get involved in at least one activity or sport you both enjoy. 3. Never never let a fight or argument go unsettled. 4. Give little gifts and surprises every now and then. 5. Be the girlfriend or boyfriend you were to your partner. The list goes on and on… but there is ONE advice that my husband and I both hold on to – and that is to keep our focus on God. Our family and our marriage stands strong on his promise and his love. That alone will strengthen any relationship.
My advice : “Keep the Spark”
Mon conseil : “Garder l’étincelle” …
I am a firm believer that if you want to be with some one and have a solid, growing relationship it’s best not to play any games. You need to be straightforward and be your true self. Only then can you see if this person is a good fit for you, for who you really are. I’ve always found games to be deceiving, childish and detrimental to the health of the relationship. So that’s my biggest advice: Be yourself.
My best advice is…. Listen to each other!! Learn more about the other lovely person….by listening…
In thinking about the catalyst, I found myself looking at the triangles in a Here2There quilt pattern. Triangles are considered the strongest of shapes, and as I considered the way the triangles “grow” in this design, I saw my response. It struck me that the concentric triangles which grow larger ring by ring by ring symbolize and summarize the ways in which you have to be prepared to hold on to the essence and the core of a relationship even as you each grow (together and independently, in ways expected and in ways unforeseen). Change and growth are inevitable. For a relationship to be strong and healthy and lasting, there has to be room to grow, respect for growth, and the awareness, always, of what remains at the center.
1.) Make the decision to fall in love all over again every day.
2.) Go on adventures together.
3.) Respect and value each others passions.
4.) Be each others best friend.
5.) Speak with kindness and honesty.
I decided to make a mini album with the tips and secrets that I have learned work after 11 years of being married to my husband Drew. We are often told what a great couple and a family we are and when I think about it, these 5 simple statements are our secret. They are what makes us work and what will keep us working for years and years to come.
Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “What advice do you have for other couples?” I urge you to give it a try. It can be any form of art as long as it speaks to you.
Leave us comments with your work so we can share in your creative therapy, too. If you don’t have a community or blog where you upload photos, you can upload them on our flickr group.
Remember, this is not a competition. If your art makes you feel even a bit better at the end, you’ve won.
Until next week, enjoy each and every moment.
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