DEAR ROCKY LOVE: Married to an artist
Dear Rocky Love,
I’m guessing I’m not the only person in Jackson married to an artist. Being with an artist brings many amazing things, but also some frustration. I find that many of the characteristics that make my partner an incredible artist can sometimes make me a frustrated artist’s wife. Namely, he seems to have a process that to me often doesn’t seem as efficient as it could be. This means that he spends more time on his art than I think he needs to in order to create an impressive piece. Do you have any advice for us left-brain folks married to artists?
Signed, The Artist’s Wife
Dear Artist’s Wife,
According to a recent travel story on The Huffington Post, Jackson Hole is bursting with creative types. So much so that, “You can practically throw a snowball in any direction and hit an artist,” the travel writer claims.
Which is to say that you are correct, Artist’s Wife, you are not the only person here married to an artist. If The Huff Post is correct, you and your husband could wage a snowball fight of epic proportions with others in your same exquisite predicament. (Though the artists might decide instead to construct a post-modern snow sculpture, leaving the left-brained spouses to staying on task and beaning the opposition.)
It sounds like your main frustration with your husband is about efficiency. Let me stop us right there and declare: May that long be the worst that ever frustrates you! In the history of artists – and artists’ spouses – time management is comparatively an easy issue to deal with in light of the demons and quirks that often accompany artists’ lives.
Efficiency and making art don’t have to be mutually exclusive. However, it’s also true that art rarely follows a predictable timeline. Famous case in point: La Sagrada Familia, the famous church in Barcelona designed by Antoni Gaudí, begun in 1882 and still isn’t finished.
Here’s my relationship advice, which applies to any couple: Avoid micromanaging one another’s individual pursuits. Yes, it’s vital that you each make enough time in your day/week/year to do the things that make your relationship fulfilling. But at the same time, I’m a firm believer that the success of any relationship is directly related to the individual happiness of each person.
In other words, your husband gets to manage his own art projects his own way. If it takes him 15 years to finish a piece, and the whole while he is aggravated by the fact that it’s taking him so long, then really, that’s his journey and his struggle. He’ll be learning the lessons he needs to learn. You telling him to hurry it up probably won’t affect the speed that any project comes to completion and may risk your role as his art confidante. Instead, aim for loving detachment: “Oh honey, I see how frustrating it is to you that you haven’t finished that painting yet.”
Does being married to an artist take patience, and a superior understanding that not everyone’s mind ticks the same way? Yes. Honing equanimity and people skills in yourself will only serve you well in other situations, enabling you to be all the more versatile in efficiently and effectively juggling projects, work, and personal relationships. So thank your artist hubby for being such a good teacher to you!
XO, Rocky Love
Dear Rocky Love is an advice column on dating, sex and relationships in the Tetons. Send your letters c/o JH Weekly, PO Box 3249, Jackson, WY 83001 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.