We had newlywed dinner guests a couple weeks ago. The husband is a Silicon Valley guy--he bikes to work, loves to read and is up on all the latest tech devices. The wife is from Orange County (a very wealthy subculture of LA). She's from three generations of fashion design and wealth. As they sat in our living room the husband exclaimed, "See, honey! A wall of books. That's what I would like to have." She looked at our bookshelves where we have every square inch filled with books. "Hmm...I could see that looking ok. If you had three books vertically and then three horizontally with a little pot or something on top of the horizontal books."
I looked at her in horror, "Jrex would KILL me if I tried to do that with the books." (I was minimizing the fact that I would hate it as well--poor Jrex, scapegoated again! He couldn't even defend himself since he was cooking at the time.)
"Why?" she asked in bewilderment. Her husband was staring at her in consternation at her confusion.
"Well, our books are meant to be read not just to be looked at and any pots would get in the way of functionality." Her husband nodded vigorously.
Last night we ate a dinner of crackers and sliced cheese as we read in bed. I kept thinking of this other couple, where books and reading were not viewed as sacred by the wife. I felt so happy that we could just spend an evening reading together in mutual contentment. I guess it turns out that in our core values our marriage isn't so cross-cultural after all.