Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Principled Commitment: An Adult Program on Building Strong Relationships

Activity 2: The Art Of Connection

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Drawing paper
  • Pens, pencils, crayons, and/or markers
  • Tables or hard surfaces for drawing

Preparation for Activity

  • Set up tables, or find books or other hard surfaces for drawing. Arrange chairs so that couples can sit together and draw. Try to provide enough space between couples so that they can speak privately to one another.

Description of Activity

Introduce the concept of connection using these or similar words:

Psychology describes at least four dimensions of human experience: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Couples can feel connection in any and all of these areas. They can work to maintain and enhance their physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual connections.

Sometimes our sense of connection can best be expressed in ways that have nothing to do with words. The way partners treat each other, the activities they enjoy together, and their shared goals or spirituality may say more about their relationship than an entire volume of love poetry or romantic stories.

Invite couples to sit together at the tables. Distribute one or two pieces of drawing paper to each couple, and let them select drawing implements. Explain:

You are going to make a drawing together. Here's how: One partner will think of an activity or situation that helps you two connect. Without saying anything, that partner will draw one element of the activity or situation. For example, if you enjoy the conversations you have while walking the dog together, you might draw just the dog or just one person walking.

When the first partner finishes drawing that one element, the second partner will draw another element - without asking what the first partner intended the picture to show.

You must complete the activity in silence. Words are not allowed - nothing written, signed, or spoken. The communication must happen entirely through the drawing.

Continue taking turns drawing one element at a time. It's okay if one partner doesn't understand what the other intended to draw. For example, if the first partner drew a dog, the second partner may think it's a horse and draw a saddle to represent horseback riding together. That's okay. Just keep going, without speaking, and see what your drawing becomes.

Allow the participants to draw for about ten minutes. Then invite partners to spend a few minutes talking with one another about the connections they were attempting to illustrate.

After allowing a suitable length of time for partner discussions, re-gather the large group. Invite volunteer couples to share some of the hits and misses they experienced in the activity. Ask:

  • How did it feel to draw something together without the benefit of words?
  • What did you learn about yourself or about the two of you as a couple?
  • Did you learn anything about nonverbal communication? If so, what?

Including All Participants

Encourage couples to adapt this activity to work with each partner's physical abilities.