My Marriage My Masterpiece

I always thought that abstract art was an excuse for an untalented want to be artist to feel justified in their mismatched passion. Let’s be honest, a lot of abstract art is nothing more than an inspired mess of color. It reminds me of the non-musician my kids were laughing at on YouTube who claimed to be playing “free style.” In reality he plucked and strummed as he randomly moved his fingers around the fret board with ZERO musical integrity. I guess he could be called an “abstract” musician.

Ok now, before I offend the true abstract artist, I have been converted. Today I believe that abstract art can be beautiful. It’s all about perspective. Sometimes you have to tilt your head a little in order to “get it.” It requires the willingness to seek out the beauty. From one angle a painting may look like a black funnel emptying into a mess of fiery reds. But if you turn that same painting around you might see a mountain that touches the colorful sunset sky. Wassily Kandinsky, the original abstract artist was ahead of his time when he said that abstract art should portray the spiritual realm and not just the visual world. Beyond the examination of form and color, is a journey waiting to be experienced. Marriage, I have decided is much like abstract art.

I would like to persuade more people to look at their marriages like a piece of art. However, it seems to me, that marriage in my culture often resembles a game show rather than a Pollock. There is a roll of the dice, a spin of the wheel, and great expectations that the prize behind door number three will be the perfect spouse happily waiting to fulfill my every dream!

I think the expectation behind door number three is half the problem.

If marriage were a game show, I have an idea of what a lucky lady might hope to find behind door number three; let’s see, how about tall, dark, handsome, and faithful. Standing there would be Mr. Right who never leaves underwear on the floor, nor dishes by the couch. He always puts his toothbrush back in the holder and replaces the toilet paper when it runs out. Mr. Right never grows weary in expressing his appreciation for a good home cooked meal, and even loves to take turns cooking. He is a man who can bring home the bacon and then likes to unwind by helping with the laundry. Mr. Right is a man who likes chick flicks and a salad with raspberry vinaigrette. This guy is meticulous about keeping his car and garage clean but doesn’t mind if the house happens to be out of sorts. He has perfected the balance between love and discipline in child rearing. He always notices when his wife has made a change in hairstyle or color, and approves. Window-shopping with his wife, just for fun, is a great date. He can read his wife’s mind WHEN she wants him too, and offer the appropriate comfort for whatever mood she might be in at the moment. He is not interested in knowing her weight but should be able to pick out just her size when buying a clothing gift. He should be understanding of how tired she is at the end of the day, and not focused on his own desires. This man is a God fearing man who is well respected in the community. He should always have a kind word to say, and his white horse should be ready at all times should his bride need a weekend “off in the sunset.”

Now if it were a man awaiting my prize behind door number three, he’d have a few expectations too for married life. Let’s see, how shall we draw this curtain…what he would find behind door number three, is a wife who knows what a man needs…“respex.” That’s right, the spelling, and clever rhyme are quite intentional; Respect and sex. This was at the top of his list the day he said, “I do,” and surprise, surprise, it hasn’t moved. Now if I were of the male gender I would probably add a few other things, but I think most of the male species will not be offended with my all-inclusive word, “respex.” After all, it is not just sex, it is respect too.

The problem with those game shows is that what is behind door number three is often times the booby prize, not at all what the contestant had hoped for. The regret and disappointment begins to set in. “Oh, I should have picked door number two!” Oh sure every once in a while someone wins a new car. But you know, they have to pay the taxes and insurance on that car for years to come. Eventually, that car gets dents and scratches too. Silly putty get’s smashed into the carpet and eventually the kids spill their sippy cup of milk in the back. It never really smells like a new car ever again.

Some couples are silently wishing they had picked differently in their marriage. They have become dissatisfied because the bumps and scratches along the years have left them disillusioned. The sweet smell of new love is long gone in fact there is now the lingering smell of sour milk.

Those moments are the perfect time to head to the art gallery. Let’s stand before some of those abstract paintings together. Looks like a mess you say? Tilt your head a little. Tilt it more. SQUINT! Heck, take your glasses off if it looks better that way. Find the beauty. I didn’t say try and look for it, I said FIND IT! It’s there, I promise.

I’ve so grown to love abstract art that I now have a masterpiece in my own home. The man who’s underwear and dishes I’ve been picking up for twenty one years is the same man who has worked three jobs at times so that I could stay home and be a mother to our kids. The man who hate’s shopping is the same man who will endure a chick flick and patiently wait on a bench in the mall if I insist he be my shopping buddy for the day. He’s the same man who has what it takes to raise my teenage boys into men even when I have to bite my mama bear tongue in the face of his toughness. He’s the daddy who paints the nails of his little princess. The man who rarely cleans a tub or toilet bowl is the same man who prays and seeks heaven’s direction in leading this family. The man who has a hopeless habit of emptying his pockets making an ever growing mess on top of the refrigerator every day, is the same man who will go without so that his growing boys can buy new cleats every baseball season and his daughter can feel like a princess in a new Christmas dress every year. He is the man that bought me pajamas that were too small because he hadn’t noticed that I don’t wear the same size as I did the day we wed. He’s the one who will skip the raspberry vinaigrette but will drive back to the drive through to get my favorite special sauce that neglected to make it in the sack. He’s the one who still cant read my mind, but has mastered the art of an agreeable nod when tensions rise. He’s my masterpiece of abstract art.

Together, we are learning the art of beholding, one another that is. We look for the sunset instead of the mess in one another. And you know, it works. I will admit however, that on some days in my house I can be caught squinting at the man standing on his head, glasses removed, looking back at me.

My Marriage My Masterpiece

11 Responses to “My Marriage My Masterpiece”
  1. Gloria Wlasiuk says:

    Just wonderful insight with that smacks with wisdom, tenderness, and love.

  2. jojo says:

    Oh my Lord. The tear falling from my eye is bound to have another one follow.
    Lor, that was beautiful. Absoluetly amazing. You have so much to share in word and song. Don’t stop.

    Thank you

  3. jojo says:

    I had to come back and read it again today. Thank you!

  4. Nora says:

    What a great article! I think you should submit this to Reader’s Digest! You are so talented. You made me laugh (since I’ve known Van for years) and you made me cry (since some of what you wrote reminded me of Ted’s and my marriage); but most of all, you made me glad that Van is lucky enough to have found you!
    Love you lots,

  5. scott says:

    love the writing style, so easy to keep reading… also, it was a great perspective check for me 🙂

    hope you guys are doing well in spokane!

  6. dawn rowe says:

    Laughing and crying… keep up the great work. What a great way to end the weekend- get inspired by God through you. 🙂

  7. Jannena carothers says:

    Amazing,the girl who never emails is now reading your blog and loving it!!You are truly gifted
    Dear One! I agree with Nora you should submit this article to Readers Digest..It is truly a fresh perspective and a masterpiece in every way! Van and you are a painting in the making by the greatest artist of all..My guess is He’s smiling even now enjoying HIS work from the best seat in the house! Love you tons!!

  8. Gina Graham says:

    love it! love it! wonderful writing 🙂

  9. Lori,

    Today is my wedding anniversary. Lynn referred me to this article, and I am so incredibly grateful. This is the best gift I will get today. I read your words first as myself and then as my husband. I am definitely an ‘abstract painting’ and always will be. I have accepted myself in the exact definition you describe. Knowing my husband and the amazing qualities he has, it makes me wonder how I was so lucky to have found a ‘masterpiece’ like him to love and for him to choose me. He would say I am the perfect for him; following the ‘the beauty of art is in the eye of the beholder’ mentality. Lucky me. I love your blog and will be a regular reader. Love, Tonja

  10. Sande Hahn says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your wise perspective on marriage. I subscribe to Smartmarriages and I believe that your blog would make a great article for their Christian readership. They also offer marriage classes in person and out of the box. You have a wonderful talent for writing.
    I would love to submit your article if you don’t mind or feel free to do so yourself @

    Say Hello to Van Allen.

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