The art of the matter

By Alice Inoue Posted in: Go Ask AliceImprove
July 5, 2015

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: My husband and I are having a major disagreement about a particular piece of artwork he recently brought home that he loves and I hate. It’s been quite a challenge, and this is an expensive painting that he is not able to get a refund on. Do you have any advice?

Yes, I do. Generally, when a difference of opinion exists as to whether or not something in a common area is energetically supportive, consider reassigning the meaning of the item in question to represent the love and respect you have for each other.

For example, rate your dislike of the art on a scale of 1-10, with 10 representing the highest level of dislike. Then, ask your husband to rate how much he likes the same piece of art, with 10 representing the highest level of like. If your level of dislike is lower than your husband’s level of like, compromise may be a little easier.

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Next, ask yourself if you love your husband enough to allow that art to represent your love for each other. If so, and you agree to let it grace your wall, you have the opportunity to transform how you see it — no longer an eyesore, but a gift of love.

Doing this exercise gives the art a new symbolic meaning. Each time you see it, it will remind you of the love you have for your husband and how important he is to you.

Every time he sees it, it will remind him of the love you have for him, and how lucky he is to have you. The art will have become a reminder of love instead of an instigator of disharmony.

I have used this method with dozens of couples successfully over the years, so I invite you both to try it and see if it can help you. Additionally, try to hang the artwork in an area that he frequents more than you, so you don’t have to see it as often.

The joys and challenges of living together

It never is easy to live with someone whose tastes or style are completely different from yours, but stepping out of our own comfort zone and letting go of our ego can be expansive and a sign of growth. In every situation that upsets you, ask yourself what truly is important and put your focus on the bigger picture, not the minutia. As the late stand-up comedian George Carlin once said, “Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things.” Good advice.

Alice Inoue is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer at Happiness U, a friendly educational establishment at Na Lama Kukui (formerly known as Gentry Pacific Design Center) on Nimitz Highway. At Happiness U you’ll find dozens of inspiring classes all geared toward personal growth, helping you live a more purposeful and ease-filled life. www.YourHappinessU.com