KEEPING LOVE ALIVE: I’ve seen beauty | columnists

Like you, I’ve been to several art museums over time and been completely bored to death. A bunch of old paintings of boring old things that people did in the old days; sitting by the lake with their umbrellas, or sitting in a park, or worse yet, multiple portraits of people I don’t even know, and none of them are even smiling.

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Mark Anderson is a mental health therapist specializing in couples therapy at Oregon Trail Mental Health in Scottsbluff. To contact him, he calls 308-635-2800 or visits the website online.


And that doesn’t include weird art. As a young man I had trouble in an art museum for trying to touch a pile of rocks that looked like they had just been dumped there. Before I could even get close, an overly concerned security guard jumped in front of me.

And then there is always the embarrassing painting and the statues of naked people that we all tried to avoid. We now have a combination of seemingly inappropriate, weird and uncomfortable works of art to hurry through, only to enter the next room and find more staring us in the face!

Yet just recently on a trip to Omaha we visited the Joslyn Art Museum, and loved it! And guess what it contained? All the boring art above!

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I even found myself staring at 19th century paintings of weird things like a bowl of overturned peaches, a peacock, and multiple paintings of old and everyday things to do, like a woman reading a book and two other women standing in a field talking while holding food baskets.

And I was enjoying this why? Because I realized that what makes art beautiful goes far beyond its color and shape. That if you slow down and look a little closer, there are surprising details that would otherwise be easily overlooked. And it is in these small details that true beauty lies.

For so long I ran through museums barely looking at a photo unless it immediately grabbed my attention with something extraordinary. And if not, I hurried to the next room in hopes of finding something more interesting and fun in the future.

While I think the Joslyn Art Museum is beautiful, I’m not sure it contains anything more impressive than any other museum I’ve been to. After all, I haven’t even seen a bunch of awkwardly placed pebbles!

So what has changed? I did it. I slowed down and started looking for beauty in the small details of what otherwise seemed boring and mediocre. And when I did, I saw amazing things.

And so it can go with our weddings. Day after day we see and do the same things. Eat the same meals. Watch the same shows. Do the same dishes and wear the same clothes. And with such a repetitive activity, it can get pretty boring.

So just like I slowed down, if you want to see true beauty in your relationship, slow down and start noticing the smallest details. Just like with art, beauty is in the details.

I am amazed and honored at all the fine details my wife puts into every meal. I can barely wait for a Poptart to come out of the toaster and she spends hours getting ready, shopping and preparing every single meal.

The amount of work and detail in each meal shows his love and concern for us. Yet if I quickly just eat each meal, without paying attention to the smallest details, I miss his expression of love and care and it becomes just another meal.

Our spouses do truly amazing things every day. From going to work to cleaning cars, laundry and childcare (those who live in the house and those who don’t). Then there is the tireless paying of bills, fixing the leaking sink, and even listening to our long and boring stories.

So, if your relationship is getting pretty bland, start slowing down and noticing the smallest details. Even if you end up going through the section with nudity, slowing down can help us see the beauty that has been there all along, but simply overlooked.

Beauty. It is beyond shape and size.

Remember, relationships are easier than you think, but more difficult than how you act.

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