I love my wife. She fills my life with art.

Back in my dating years (which lasted well into my 30’s, mind you) the various apartments I leased felt more like shelters than homes to me. A place to sleep, somewhere to keep a fridge. As I changed jobs (about once a year, most years) I would move within a five mile radius of the new company’s office to minimize commute time. First-time visitors to my place often jokingly commented on my lack of home decoration while secretly panicking about what sort of person doesn’t have a single item hung on any wall.

I just didn’t care. A painting on the wall didn’t bring me closer to my immediate life goals and making a statement through my home decor wasn’t important to me. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure how to showcase my disconnected interests in a way that made sense. Doctor Who and the Cleveland Browns don’t have a lot of overlap in their fan bases and a record collection would be creepy if it only contained Paul Simon albums. So I just left the walls the way they came and left most horizontal surfaces bare. If anyone wanted to know about me, they could spend time with me.

And then I started dating an artist. On an early date we went to a painting class and each painted a mermaid. Hers was of course quite a beautiful painting, and mine was hailed by critics as “recognizable as a mermaid”. I’ll admit I got a little carried away with some of her proportions- it was my first painting. After such a successful outing I found myself the proud owner of two works of art! Mine went in the closet and hers went up in my bathroom. Bam! Bathroom furnished.

The longer I dated an artist, the more of her paintings made their way onto my walls. A large mantelpiece canvas in the living room, some abstract color pops for the bedroom. Before long my apartment was looking like some humans lived in it. I eventually noticed the trap, but too late; I would have to marry this girl or start all the way over on my home decor. It was an easy choice.

The art in my home is vibrant and messy and colorful. It is sometimes dark and then suddenly bright. There are careless splotches and wide deliberate smears. It is complicated and compelling and graceful. It perfectly reflects everything I love in this world.