the end of a love affair


“He wants stark simplicity. She dreams of sumptuous plenty. Increase the odds of achieving conflict resolution with the spare but sensual look of luxe minimalism”

A couple of weeks ago, I almost quit subscribing to the Wall Street Journal.

Regular readers know I love the Journal, and quote or refer to it often. It’s one of my guilty pleasures, to come home after work and sit in the easy chair under the stairs by the window. After I’ve fixed dinner and washed the dishes, of course. Ok, maybe that’s a stretch.

But I do enjoy relaxing with the political insights of Peggy Noonan, the technology coverage by Walt Mossberg, and movie reviews by Joe Morgenstern. And quite frankly, I enjoy the feel of the paper itself—the tactile interaction with paper and ink that encourages reflection and even action.

I’m a journalist at heart. I was just quoted in an article about the role of Christian journalists in our culture. And in our newsrooms. And while I get most of my news on the internet, the WSJ serves a different role for me—a source of informed commentary on things that interest me, long form writing that creates more context than a 200 word brief or a 140 character tweet.

But a couple of weeks ago, January 26 to be exact, the entire front page of the Off Duty section was given over to a lavishly illustrated and mostly meaningless article entitled “Can Décor Save a Marriage?”

Well, no.

But apparently “luxurious minimalism” that blends “Puritan plainness and cozy sensuality” will help you live happily ever after. Leave aside for a moment the Puritan sensuality thing. Actually, don’t leave it aside. Perhaps my Puritan heritage recoiled at the idea. However, a marriage that could be saved by redecorating is a marriage that was already lost.

In the article romance novelist Jackie Collins tells how she lives alone because her two ex-husbands couldn’t deal with her numerous sculptures of leopards and other predatory animals. I would think being married to a romance novelist would have more serious challenges.

Marriage is a covenant after all, not a compromise between drapes and blinds, or white walls and eggplant colored throws. It is not about the art; it’s about the heart. When I read the article I felt like a stranger in a foreign land, and that may be the biggest benefit of all.

I didn’t cancel my subscription in the end. But I was awakened to a stranger world than I know. This world is not my home. Really.

So I didn’t give much thought to the collection of $4000 purses on the cover of the Off Duty section a couple of weeks later, but I did keep the omelet recipe on page 3.

I’m pretty sure it won’t save my marriage, though.

Thank God.

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