Not gonna lie, I had a belly full of butterflies about going on American Family Radio, but “Living Life with Lauren” hostesses Lauren Kitchens Steward and Pat Montegue made me feel right at home. We had a good ole chat about keeping love central in our lives, parenting kids who love wearing Spiderman pj’s, and more. Ton of fun! Have a listen.
“Storytelling is one way couples bond when a relationship is young. But between long-term partners, the conversation often becomes mundane. Psychologists say it is important to keep telling and listening to each other’s stories,” according to a 7/4/2016 Wall Street Journal article by Elizabeth Bernstein.
So true. Also true – your stories can be told aloud or in a guided journal: What I Love About You and The Book of Us for love stories and appreciation; or Picture of Me and The Book of Myself for stories about you that maybe you’ve never told.
Wall Street Journal article: Why Good Storytellers are Happier in Life and in Love
Just in time for Valentine’s Day…
“It is impossible to truly tell someone, how much you love them, especially since it relates to the matters of the heart, and all of us aren’t linguists with long train of words to express our emotions. But if…you always find yourself at a loss of words, then this book is the perfect thing. It uses a simple fill in the blank approach to open the doors of expression. You can just fill in all the blanks and give it as a personal gift to remember you by.” Review on this site.
Most reviews of our books make me smile for one reason or another. This new review for What I Love About You made me smile so much this morning that I just had to share it:
“Probably my favorite product from amazon all-together! The book is so thorough, and is appropriate for any stage of a relationship. I love that there are questions that really apply to the specific couple – the way it’s written it encourages you to give a detailed, very personalized answer and it feels almost effortless to fill out! There are around 89-ish pages to fill out though, so leave a little time to do it. I love that there are all types of questions (check off, fill in the blank, paste a picture, etc.). This book expressed everything I’ve been feeling for the past 7 years with my significant other and I very, very highly recommend it. Of all the sentimental gifts I’ve given, this one got the biggest (positive) reaction, and is my absolute favorite.” – BrittanyN10
I just have to share part of an excellent article by Jason Lengstorf on his blog, Scrawny to Brawny. Here’s the general theme: “As simple as it seems, taking the time to recognize the good stuff can have a huge positive impact on your relationships with colleagues, significant others, friends, and clients.”
Excerpt from Jason’s article:
STOP GLOSSING OVER THE GOOD STUFF (How to Be Positive and Happy)
Positivity at Home
Every day I tell my girlfriend, Alison, what makes her special to me. Whether it’s her outfit, something cute she did that put a smile on my face, or just the fact that – to my bewilderment – she still hasn’t thrown all of my things out the window and changed the locks.
As a result, I can share my frustrations with her without it feeling like the relationship is ruined. We still fight, but those fights happen with the understanding that we don’t have each other, we’re just pissed that one of us was supposed to do the laundry and instead watched an entire season of The West Wing.
Yes! This is what at least two of our journals are all about…taking time to recognize the good stuff in your relationships. It may be simple, as Jason says, but not necessarily easy without some help, or a jumpstart from something like What I Love About You and What I Love About You, Mom.
Jason’s full article is here.
Do you have favorite book covers? Why do you like them? Four different teams put together covers for our eight guided journals. All the covers do the job, but these two just might be my favorites. Both of these books are intended as keepsake gifts, so they need to be appealing. I know nothing about design, so my thoughts are purely instinctive.
The first one, for What I Love About You, was designed by Donna Sinisgalli for Crown Archetype in the Random House family. It’s simple, clean and smart. The book is a fill-in journal for you to write in for a romantic partner, expressing the many things you love, admire and appreciate about him or her. The big heart quickly tells you what to expect. At first I wasn’t sure about the light blue, but now I appreciate that the cool color helps the cover avoid being overly sentimental or feminine. I was amused that the cover went through several rounds with design and marketing teams before being shown to my husband and me, and we were the first to notice the boobs and bottoms element to the heart and upside down heart. The team decided that if customers picked up on that image, even subliminally, that was okay. I also like the inside design – you can see that in the “peek inside” feature on Amazon.
My next favorite cover is for the sequel to this journal, this one to fill out for your mom – What I Love About You, Mom. It was championed by the same wonderful editor, but with a whole new design team at Plume in the Penguin family. Catherine Leonardo was the designer. I think she did a great job keeping the simple, clean look, this time choosing flowers to express love. It reminds me of the time when four-year-old me picked all my neighbors tulips as a gift for my mom on Mother’s Day. Surprise! The colors chosen for the cover are cheerful and inviting. I especially love the way the petals touch, as if holding hands or hugging. The inside design is also gorgeous, using a batik-like border. The back cover has the two flowers leaning outwards to show the descriptive text, peek-a-boo style. Cute.
Gary Chapman, author of bestselling book The Five Languages of Love, writes that “the need to feel loved by one’s spouse is at the heart of all marital desires.” He explains that when one person invests energy in filling his or her partner’s “emotional love tank,” the other person naturally reciprocates and that this sets the course for a long-lasting, loving relationship. According to Chapman, Love Language #1 is “Words of Affirmation…best expressed as simple, straightforward statements of affirmation.”
John Izzo, PhD, author of The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die, claims that the secret to a happy marriage is sincere, loving affirmations. He sites a study that claims that couples who express seven positive affirmations for every one negative criticism of each other have longer lasting marriages than those who do not.
Do you agree? Of course, staying loving and positive is not always easy to do. Sometimes we lose it – nobody’s perfect. But when one of us is mindful enough to change the channel and sing each other’s praises it feels indescribably good. That’s what our two couples’ journals – The Book of Us: A Journal of Your Love Story in 150 Questions and What I Love About You – are all about. The writing prompts and fill-in-the-blank format help you find the words to affirm your partner in a way that can be read over and over.
Post-Valentine’s Day reviews – from people who got or gave one of our couples journals for VDay – are popping up on Amazon now. These reviews convince me that we’re on the right track with these journals. It makes me happy that they’re making a difference in people’s relationships.
We knew it all the time….
I just re-read a July 1, 2007 issue of the Bottom Line Personal article that should warm the hearts of writers in relationships everywhere:
“Recent Study: Participants were told to write about either their relationships or everyday things. Three months later, 77% of those told to write about their relationships were still together. Among those who wrote about everyday activities, only 52% were still together. Theory: Writing about a relationship may help focus your attention on it, making it stronger.
James W. Pennebaker, PhD, professor and chair, department of psychology, University of Texas at Austin and leader of a study of 86 dating couples, reported in Psychological Science.”
Two easy ways to write about your sweetie:
– The Book of Us
– What I Love About You
David and I have heard from a number of military couples who have used What I Love About You as a way to stay connected during training and deployments. It gratifies us to think that this little journal is giving some comfort to military families serving our country. Last week we got a sweet letter from a new bride about to give What I Love About You to her new husband, as he departs for training. She included two photos or her and her new husband beaming at each other on their wedding day. With her permission, I’m posting parts of her letter here:
“Kate and David,
I really wanted to thank you so much for creating What I Love About You. Me and my husband just got married 9/11/12. He is currently a U.S. Marine. He is training to be on the front lines – an infantry man. I send a lot of letters to him during his 3 months of boot camp since they aren’t allowed to make any phone calls, but maybe 1 or 2 to talk about travel arrangements or to let you know that they made it to boot camp. I’m always trying to find a new way to tell him “I love you” or to show him. He’s such an amazing guy! I got really sick and he stuck by my side. So we have both been through a lot. I was at B&N and saw this book and just HAD to buy it. Now I’m filling it out. It was a great idea to have a place to put pictures.
What I Love About You is more than a book to me and to my husband. There are times where I can’t talk to him, times where he won’t be able to contact me. He will probably take it with him on a deployment, and re-read it every day. Your book is so helpful – a life saver. And it’s a way for J to always carry me with him. So when he’s sad, or down, or having a bad day on a 7-month deployment, he can open it up and know I’m always with him. That’s what this book means to me…
I hope that everyone gets the happiness with this book that I got.