It’s Week 5 of the One Room Challenge (if you’re new here, that means we only have one week left! Catch up here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4) and over the last week Lindy and I closed the books on most of the major projects (sorry babe, I know you’re still working on that painting and that for sure qualifies as a “major project” but most of what I’m responsible for is done). 😬
With most of the heavy lifting out of the way I’ve had the headspace to do some reflecting about this experience. So today, I’m going to pull back the curtain and talk about the impact this One Room Challenge has had on our marriage.
We Do, I Do, To-Do
Two years ago I pushed Lindy to launch Home As Art because I really believe in her art, both on the canvas and in our home, and wanted a way to use my skills and energy to help platform her work in this world. The whole point of Home As Art has been to create a connection point for the two of us. From the projects we’ve tackled together, to the experiences we’ve shared here on the blog, and the community of encouragement following us on Instagram I think it’s been a success. But the One Room Challenge has been different.
This challenge has motivated both Lindy and I to stretch ourselves past our normal comfort zones with home projects. The fit and finish our new tabletop requires made it the most ambitious woodworking project I’ve ever tackled. Lindy has never been as bold with her art as she’s about to be by placing such a large painting of her own right at the entry to our home. Being stretched like this has been good for sure, but I don’t think that’s the best thing we’ve picked up from this experience.
The massive to-do list has meant we’ve spent the last month and a half with a very practical awareness of what each other is working on and being challenged by. This has been a great tool for us to be aware of ways we can serve each other.
I’m not a painter, but I’m married to one, and I know that Lindy does her best work when she is feeling relaxed and free. Because we have the task to “Paint Large Painting” on the To-Do list hanging in the middle of our living room I’ve been aware that one of the ways I can serve Lindy is to help create the space in her life to paint. During this six-week challenge I’ve made sure to give her two full weekends where I’ve taken 100% responsibility of all four kids so she has the freedom to let whatever is inside of her spill out on the canvas.
The Challenge of the Challenge
While it’s called the One Room Challenge, participating actually comes with two major challenges: a definite transformation and a tight deadline. The best part of this whole project is that Lindy and I simply could not have done it well without strengthening our emotional connection during the process.
I spent one evening a week and a half ago grumpy and frustrated by how imperfect my dining room tabletop was turning out. Lindy could have received my quips and complaints as problems to solve (which is usually how I receive her) but she didn’t. Lindy had the wisdom to see that I was looking for connection. She listened to me complain, asked me questions that helped me vent, and connected with me. It was some straight Brené Brown business and it worked. By just receiving me and not trying to fix me she helped me bust through a key obstacle.
Living With Imperfection
So here’s the last thing (and then we’ve got to get back to work). A few years ago we ripped out all the carpet, linoleum, and brick floors in our house and laid vinyl wood planks on top of our cement floors. It’s been almost entirely awesome.
Once we had the dining room cleared out, empty and ready to paint, a giant bulge under one of the vinyl planks just glared at us from the middle of the room. We’ve been living with it for years. I came home from work a few nights ago and Lindy had had enough, she’d grabbed a screwdriver and pried up the plank only to reveal a small scrap piece of flooring causing the disruption. We still haven’t put the floor back together yet (I have no idea how to do that), but it already feels better just not having that junk under there.
It’s so easy to just get into a rut in marriage, or any relationship really, where we accept, get used to, and then live with things we could pretty easily fix if we just took the time to do some dirty work.
I’ve been really loving the One Room Challenge, and not just because our new dining room is turning out to be pretty beautiful. But because Lindy and I have been in this together for each other, and that is beautiful.
We are just one of a couple hundred guest participants and designers doing the One Room Challenge. Check out all the talented people who are making over one room in their home too!
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