Our New Puppy & Dog Commands in French

ame soeur

Soulmates (c) Kristin EspinasseSoul mates

l'âme soeur (lam sur) noun, feminine

    : soul mate


Audio file and example sentence: Listen to my daughter (then me, with a bit of difficulty...) pronounce these French words:

Download Wav or Download MP3

Pourquoi cette difficulté de trouver la véritable "âme sœur"? Peut être parce qu’il n’y en a qu’une sur Terre. Why is it so difficult to find one's true "soulmate"? Perhaps because there is only one of them on earth.


A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

My brother-in-law Jacques is in love. Love, love, love.

With Mariem.

They met two months ago in Avignon. Amour, amour, amour.


I met Mariem last week and she is everything I could wish for my beautiful beau-frère.* Mariem is lovely from the inside out.  She glows.

And so does Jacques: il rayonne.* It must be love. Heaven knows.


We all deserve love, every one of us, but Jacques and Mariem especially so. Ils le méritent.* If I could I would compose a list of one hundred reasons why Jacques and Mariem especially deserve each other's love, but the list might turn into an epic novel. Besides, if I know you, you don't need convincing: you simply trust in the healing power of love....

Love covers a multitude of sins.


I do have a picture of our lovely Mariem... but because I have not asked permission to post it, and because Mariem is one to shun the spotlight, we'll have to settle on this one instead (thanks go to one of our puppies, "Sugar," who graciously offered to be a stand-in for the lovely Mariem):


To Jacques and Mariem: I think and I feel, I hope and I appeal that this love will endure à jamais*: forever.

Especially, I pray that it will. I know others do, too (Maman Jules, for example. Happy September 23rd birthday, Mom! I love you! And I will call you soon...). 


One question I love to ask couples is: What is your secret to staying together?


Would you please, dear reader, share yours? Would you tell us your secrets to a love that lasts? I will share them with my brother-in-law and his lovely bride-to-be. Tee-hee!

...and I promise to read your comments, each and every one, to my own husband, just as soon as he wakes up tomorrow morning... to 15 years of marriage with me. God bless him!

So please share with us now your own relationship wisdom. What works for you? Whether you have been together 5 months or 50 years, please tell us your tips for a long-lasting love or simply give us one word that represents relationship endurance.

Click here to see reader-submitted tips or to share your own. Mille mercis!




~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~
le beau-frère
(m) = brother-in-law; il rayonne = he is radiant, he shines; ils le méritent = they deserve it; à jamais = forever



CecileExcerpt photos from the most recent edition of Cinéma Vérité.


In Gifts & more...
Staub Oval Cocotte: The French oven is a timeless standby for stews, roasts, soups, casseroles and other one-pot classics.

Eiffel Tower Paris Tea Light Candle Holder

The Ultimate French Review and Practice (Book+ CD-ROM)

Bonsoir Lune / Goodnight Moon (French Edition)

Navigation Paquet, Art Poster

P.S.: I will be joining two authors at the American Library in Paris, to talk about "fish-out-of-water experiences" living in la belle France. If, by chance, you are in Paris on Oct. 7th, we would love to see you at this meet-up.

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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Jacqui McCargar

Joyeaux Anniversaire to you and Jean-Marc and many more! But I'll see you in the morning and tell you again when we come to harvest the grapes.

Jacqui McCargar

TRUST is the most important part of a relationship, you have to trust in the other person and not be jealous and mistrustful of their friendships with others


I knew it was love with my husband when it was just EASY! That's not to say that marriage is a breeze, but there is a soul-deep calmness that centers us and makes the tough times manageable. That, and he rubs my feet every night! ;)
Joyeux anniversaire!


Who knows how a marriage endures? One way, certainly, is to remember to be thankful, either to God or one's partner, that (miraculously) you found each other. That sense of fate, destiny or divine intervention should translate into gratitude: in turn being thankful brings forth a sense of understanding, respect and delight toward one's spouse. I've found it's worked for nearly 30 years. Giving thanks for a spouse and a happy marriage, a bountiful grape harvest or a litter of new puppies only brings more reasons to offer further thanks.

Christine Dashper

Happy Birthday to Jules, and Jacqui (for the other day). May you both have a wonderful year full of fun, health and happiness.

Dear Kristin, Joyeux anniversaire to you and Jean-Marc! Have a wonderful day and I hope you find some time to enjoy the day amongst the Harvest Happenings.

I am a lucky girl to have a happy marriage, it will be 29 years in December. What makes it happy? All sorts of things, but the fact that we are very very good friends to one another underpins all the rest that goes along with us.

Chris xxxxx

Kim Renzetti

Is Jacques wearing a Boston Red Sox insignia on his hat? Awesome!

My husband and I have been married for almost 18 years. It's not always an easy road, but one I would not trade for anything else.

Joyeaux anniversaire to you and Jean-Marc!

Bon chance to Jacques and Miriem.


The word I would choose is a French one, ensemble, but not in the usual definition of just together. Think of a musical ensemble playing beautiful music together, perfectly in tune because of conscious efforts on the part of the musicians. They constantly listen to each other to achieve this and have a common goal. Life with my husband of twenty-six years has been a voyage ensemble, through the years of raising children, pursuing careers, and now enjoying partial retirement. It isn't easy and requires constant retuning, and sometimes the music you must play together isn't what you would choose, but you find a way.


My husband (of 11 years) likes to say that all relationships (but especially marriage) are about *knowing and being known.* You must be a student of your spouse, seeking to increase your knowledge of them--what pleases them, excites them, saddens or aggravates them, what makes them who they are. And you must allow yourself to be known: be willing to share your thoughts, dreams, hurts, hopes--reveal yourself. We have embraced this dynamic as we have pondered the fact that the Bible uses the word "to know" to speak of a husband-wife relationship, even as a way of representing sexual love (see Genesis 4:1). Thanks, Kristin, for sharing your excitement for your loved ones and encouragement to them. And many congratulations on your anniversary; I hope you can steal a few minutes together!

Madonna Meagher

A sense of humor goes a long, long way in a marriage.


My husband and I make time to listen to each other and spend time together, even though we are quite different.We encourage each other often. We are open to growing and learning new things. Also, he is CRAZY and very funny sometimes which is helpful when I take myself or life too seriously. He makes a lot of jokes. We are pretty tolerant of each other's hobbies and need for time to do them. Also Chris grills and cooks a lot and we cooperate on a lot of things including parenting our son who's now 13. Sometimes we just turn on the music and dance ! It's hard to describe, but we are pretty compatible and have been married 23 22 ? -I forget-years !

Beth in Alsace

I think the key to a good marriage is talking. About everything. If there seems to be a particularly hard subject to bring up, you probably really need to talk about it. Everything else -- trust, intimacy, accord -- comes from simply talking. Though, sometimes a nice bottle of wine can be a good conversation lubricant. :)


a good sense of humor! (married 33 yrs, dated 5 before that)


I have been reading your postings and even though I do not speak French, I love to read about your French living experiences, so thank you for sharing (love the puppy photos). I have been to France on three occasions and feel some kind of a connection there and now I feel a connection to you and your husband because we share an anniversary date - September 24th my Fred and I will be married 27 years. Tips for a long-lasting love? Work at it. I can tell you that marriage is not for the weak - it takes a lot of work to keep it strong and healthy - like anything worth having, you must take care of it. Fred and I have been through a lot together - both joyful and heartbreaking events and throughout each one we have been there for one another as husband and wife. Happy Anniversary to you and your husband - keep up the good work!

Fred Caswell

Sometimes Nancy or I annoy the other somewhat deeply but I have grown to stop to think of my own shortcommings and Nancy's awesome character and abilities. Then there comes the realization that it was and is the whole package that I fell in love with.

Some words come to mind -- acceptance strong enough that forgiveness is not needed, replacing efforts to change the other with working on self maturation, real frienship and finding time to enjoy each other, honesty, and giving your mate wings to be and grow .

Gotta go! Love to all from Fred


Don't leave.

(... deeply married for 29 years.)

Eileen deCamp

We just marked our 27th anniversary on August, 28th and it really doesn't seem like we have been married that long. I think a sense of humor is important and also keeping the relationship fun, playful and spontaneous.

Erin Pooley

Kristy, there is a great moment in the documentary 'Mondovino'... maybe you have seen it...
An old vigneron couple are talking about how they are still together for so many years (must be over 30-40 years). They made the joke that if it had been easy, they probably wouldn't be together anymore. Challenging each other has kept them in love all these years!


I love my husband, but I think maybe he loves me even more.. even after 32 years, he still tells me I'm beautiful and smart and makes me feel like I can do almost anything. I know he can. I think that when you are working together for a common goal, your soulmate becomes your teammate, and a bond of both love and purpose grow strong. Joyeaux Anniversaire, Kristin and Jean-Marc!


The secret to a good marriage must be different for each couple. We were each married prior with no kids; now together over 30 years through incredible health problems, family deaths, and hilarious trips through Europe. For us; humor, earned trust, learning to choose battles and when to hold your tongue are up there in the front. Listening even when it is boring (he is a systems engineer) (she was a computer networking tech, now a chefs assistant) Good wine will help! Learn NOT to take yourself too seriously and see their side before making any judgment. Do a small special thing for each other every day. (don't expect anything in return) OH- and always confer when spending more than $50.00


Boy what a good-looking family. Both sides - and dogs too!

A few single words to include in your recipe for enduring love:



Consistently tend to your love like a garden needs tending. Weeding out the bad before it takes over and feeding it for life and growth.

Many blessings to you all.

Diana Taylor, Pug At The Beach

Ah, to be in love. Sometimes the most important element in a relationship is to know fully who you are. It's only in this way can we walk the path with another.

Diana Taylor
Pug At The Beach
Delray Beach, Florida, USA

Shannon, Alexandria, VA

Happy Anniversary, Kristin!! It is so refreshing to see/read about your successful, long-lasting, happy marriage!

You might not realize it, but I (and I'm sure others) look to people like you, who have years under their belt, for healthy examples of what makes a good relationship!

I feel like such a newbie to the married world compared to the posts above, having recently celebrated 2 years with my beloved in July. Perhaps though, my observations in these short years are just as welcome due to the unexpected trials my husband and I have faced so early in our relationship that most don't experience until the autumn of their lives - the death of my dear brother (from a hit-and-run). He was 26.

I have found that communication, supporting and encouraging each other in all aspects of life, patience, humor, and sound resolve to overcome all obstacles together - are the secrets (so far!) to my successful marriage.

God knows we have so many adventures yet to begin, especially children, but knowing that we are both committed to enjoying and appreciating each other's love and friendship, à jamais, makes the future exciting!

Again, Happy 15th Anniversary to you both! Aside from enjoying life together, you and Jean-Marc are setting Max and Jackie up for incredible success in their future love lives every day they see you happy and working on your marriage together!

Carol Wayne

Always give each other the benefit of the has worked for us for 29 years...


Laughter!!! My husband and I, 18 years into this, are truly best friends and to this day he can completely crack me up.

Oh, and I see Jacques is still sporting his Boston Redsox hat. Who knew?!?!


Thank you so much. I am enjoying each and every bit of wisdom.

Shannon: I am so sorry to hear about your dear brother. Thank you for your thoughtful note.

RE Jacques' Boston Red sox cap... I am not sure that he knows what the "B" on the cap means (it could just as well stand for "(B)oules" (petanque) in his mind...). I'll have to ask him. PS: it was a gift from friends Tim and Phyllis of French Country Wines.

Jeff Perez

The secret to staying together: A good sense of humor, cooking dinner together, wine every night and knowing when to shut up and say "you know honey, you are right".

P.S. Please give me your mailing address to I can send your brother in law a Yankees hat!!


Ha ha, I think Jeff has it right! I just got married this April, but have been reading Kristin's blog for many years ... always full of good bits of wisdom. I do believe that at the heart of a marriage there must be gratefulness that this person chose you. I think that goes a long way to not taking them for granted (which is easy to slide in to with the day in day out living).

Elizabeth Jones

To listen and be heard
To remind and be reminded
To accept and be accepted
To laugh and be laughed with
To cry and be hugged
To give space and to get it
To meet needs and have needs met
To do with and do without
To forgive and be forgiven
To love and be loved...

Mary Lou Fritts

I think every post so far has contained part of the truth. We come up with "rules" all the time but only two that we consistently remember and that are truly rules (the rest - with apologies to Barbarossa - are "more like guidelines"): Keep short accounts; and no dead bodies in the Winnebago. The last one should be taken at exactly face value - there are no hidden meanings here. It came into being during our honeymoon from a murder mystery my husband was reading at the time in which, yes, there were dead bodies in the Winnebago! The short accounts rule is critical!


Everyone had such fabulous comments and I doubt I can add much, but after 42 years of marriage I can add that it's not such hard work if you truly love your partner. There is still a spark in our marriage because we each work at keeping our love current and alive. Afterall, this is the guy who took a job in Paris for two years, pretty much just for me!
Jeanne in Ohio but wishing she were still in Paris!

Renee Convers

Congrats to one & all love-birds....
My husband & I have been together 30 plus years. It's important (and easy) to learn to see the innocent child in you partner's eyes. Love the changes, the ups & downs of this roller-coaster ride. Hold on tight, and laugh're together in that seat..and that itself is the gift.
Renee Convers

Kris Hendrickson

We were both married before but this time we have lasted 28 years. I would say that through all our ups and downs. Law School and bringing up a step daughter were real tests. So I would say perseverance is a major factor. That and a sense of the ridiculous.


One word? R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

More words - I married my best friend. Respect, affection, attraction, and the ability to laugh together will get you through so much (15 years and counting for us as well - bonne anniversaire de mariage!).

Ned Harris



Happy Birthday Jules and Happy Anniversary JeanMarc and Kristin! Hope you can post a photo of Jacques' beloved soon.


A faith that comes even before your relationship is crucial, and humbling. If you both put it first, then your relationship falls second. Which in my book is perfect.

Marianne Rankin

All of these comments capture the numerous facets of a happy marriage.

Make it a priority; make time for love. Let your spouse know that nothing matters more.


Hi Kristin, I have been enjoying your website and learning my French word a day for almost a year now. My husband and I took French lessons at the local university for three years. Then, we went to France last May and had a wonderful time. (Though he is better at it than I am, perhaps because he studies and does his homework?)
Anyway, happy anniversary to you and Jean Marc and best wishes to Jacques and Miriem.
As for secrets to a long marriage: Gary and I have been married for 31 years next month. I would say first of all, you have to be willing to work at a marriage. Don't give up too easily. Next, choose your battles wisely. Some things are just not worth fighting over. Third, when she says "fine!", he had better be prepared to bring flowers. Fourth, watch out for traps, like if she says "Do I look fat in this dress?" DO NOT say "I don't think it's the dress." LOL. Humour is also important. Over the years, it gets easier. You grow a history together that you share with no one else. Your friendship grows and deepens. But you have to constantly make time for each other - no matter how busy you are. Date night (DN) is still a feature in our lives after all these years.

Anne Brixner

Congratulations Krisin, Jean-Marc and Jacques! How wonderful!

Secret to a happy marriage? Find something to laugh about daily,
always, always see the good and ignore the "bad" in the other person and never allow the passion (even passionately just "hangin'
out together) to go out of your marriage. Love, Anne and Mike


So many comments on this one!
I think some of the factors for our very happy almost 5-year marriage include noticing and thanking each other for what we do- chores, cooking, considering the others wants, and saying I love you every day... Also, telling him he is the best guy in the world, because he really is, for me!


Love is a combination of many giving things, but commitment and considerations of the other person are my most important in my marriage of 33 years.

An aside: Kristen have you and your mother checked out SKYPE? It is the next best thing to being there.


Chere Kristin,

I love Sugar! What an appropriate name for this sweet little pup! Love, O love. I believe frankly that love is a topic for sciences, as in physics and math and chemistry but since you asked I will share this passage which I try to remember for my own life. I personally do not believe in soulmates, I think one can love dearly and sincerely more than one although it does seem surprising that some couple look more like siblings than distant couples. Here's the passage:

The love which exists between hearts ... is prompted by the ideal of the unity of spirits... Each sees in the other the Beauty of God reflected in the soul, and finding this point of similarity, they are attracted to one another in love. This love will make all men the waves of one sea, this love will make them all the stars of one heaven and the fruits of one tree. This love will bring the realization of true accord, the foundation of real unity. (Paris Talks)

The other poem which I believe to be containing secrets for enduring love (in my life) is the marriage poem of Khalil Gibran.

Then Almitra spoke again and said, 'And what of Marriage, master?'
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

Khalil Gibran

One can write scrolls and scrolls about love and the power of love. May the spark of love grow stronger and stronger between Jacques and Miriem.

Love to you et famille!


Vicki Fitzgerald

After 34 years of marriage I can honestly say humor is such a big factor. We really do make each other laugh every day. And as my dear husband told me the other day, "It's easy---we look at life in the same direction."
Also, neither one of us wanted custody of the kids!


My sweetheart Brian and I are a commuter couple. During the week we are apart and I think this keeps our relationship fresh, new and exciting. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Stacy


My wife and I experienced "love at a sight" when we first met 24 years ago: we got engaged to each other the day we met, and got married the same day one year later!
Since then, confidence and tenderness are (some of) the key words of our life.
Also, as Stacy and Brian, we are apart 5 days a week since 9 years. And I agree, this reinforce our love every day...


First, Happy Birthday to Mama Jules! What a pleasure to know of you through this blog! Happy Anniversary to our hosts! May your happiness and contentment flow richly like your fine wines!

On to the important question.

You must marry another who has the same core ethics and values.

Do not marry one who has chemical addictions, because their mind will be permanently rewired, to faulty risk perception, to low esteem, to impaired pleasure feeling and stress tolerance. These people will always be emotionally need and are not to be counted on when times are very difficult, for they will always look to themselves first, you second.

Marry a person who thinks Big Picture, and has long term goals that they work hard at to achieve. Short-term thinkers rarely have the capacity for longterm endeavors that are part and parcel of marriage success. Short-term thinkers are outcome, not process-oriented, and thus will have low tolerance for the everyday strife and difficulties of shared space and resources.

Choose a person who sees their life as half full without you and full cup, with you. Choose a person who lives mindfully, aware of the little pleasures of each day and who will gladly share these pearls with you. Choose a person who cares for and takes care of themselves physically, mentally and spiritually. These people will be healthy and happy in old age because they care enough to work at being their best, every day.

There is very good chance that many of us will never really have the opportunity to retire; if you are in good shape when you are older, you will not need that retirement so much, but you will still need a loving, cooperative and emotionally mature partner to savor life to its fullest.

Shun the person who is averse to spiritual investment, for it is the key to stress tolerance, contentment with what you have, where you are, and who you are with. It is our best offense when one hits life's many major speedbumps.

Every morning, believe that it is a good day to die, if that is what happens. Every night, revere the day that was, for it was a good day to be alive, too.

Moderation, discretion, hard work, trust, modesty, mindful living, shed regrets, giving from the heart, spiritual investment, regular play, recognizing and rejoicing in pearl pleasures in each day, little rewards and less expectations - all these things, make for healthy living, long life and enduring steadfast relationships, the all-important social network, bulwark against the unexpected.

Your spouse should be your best friend, and you, theirs.


A lot of comments and a lot of wisdom coming from experience... won´t add more because I feel like Fred Caswell just stole the words from my mouth... "acceptance strong enough that forgiveness is not needed, replacing efforts to change the other with working on self maturation, real frienship and finding time to enjoy each other, honesty, and giving your mate wings to be and grow." he make them sound way much better than I intended(?) to explain them. Merci Fred!

FELIZ ANIVERSARIO Kristin & Jean-Marc!
and bon chance to Jacques & Miriem!


valerie lester


Colleen Martin

If required to select only one word of advice for a long marriage, I choose laughter. On one of our early anniversaries, when we had been through a very rough year, we were dining out and as we raised our wine glasses for a toast neither of us could think of anything positive. I finally said, "Well, it hasn't been dull". We immediately burst into laughter, and that has been our toast on every anniversary since. We have been married 57 years and it still isn't dull!


Kindness, forgiveness, love and a lot of determination to make thinks work when it is hard.

Nancy from Mass

Communication! I think that is the most important thing.

Nancy from Mass

I just realized that beau-frere has a Red Sox hat on! He really must have good taste. Go Sox!

Nan Morrissette

Remember that you are both human and, therefore, prone to mistakes and misunderstandings. LET THEM GO! Don't hold grudges. If you get angry, look at your watch and make yourself wait 30 minutes before saying anything about it. For me, always, after 30 minutes the situation is resolved or forgotten. And have one subject you can discuss with no opportunity for bad feelings. We can always talk about our dog, Theo. (Your Charles' best friend.) Then you have time to cool down. In 18 years of marriage we have had only ONE major argument. Honest!


happy anniversary!
and cute pictures- frenchman and golden retrievor puppies!

But I think you just jinxed the new couple...

Lynette Simser

Everyone has such lovely thoughts and I agree with them all. I would say that terms of endearment have been part of our glue for the past 17 years. We've called each other Pookie, Poopsie, Love, Baby, Baby Cakes, and numerous others. My husband travels often and our phone calls always begin with "Hello Lover" or "Hello Baby Cakes". Two nights ago he called me Baby Cakes of Love at the dinner table and our teenage sons just shook their heads.

Sometimes these terms are endearments and sometimes they are uttered in exasperation - as in "Baby Cakes, you're killing me here..." when he has been waiting for me in the car while I brush my hair one last time.

It may seem kind of cheesy, but during the most difficult time in our marriage, I knew we would make it through because even during our most heated arguments we called each other "Honey".

Happy Anniversary Kristen and Jean-Marc, Happy Birthday Jackie and Jules, and Happy Love and Happy Life to Jaques and Miriam.

Cindy Gooch

My husband, Bob, and I have been married for 26 years. I can tell you our secret without hesitation. We both have faith in the Lord Jesus. His will is more important to each of us than anything else. So whenever we have been challenged in our relationship, we fix our eyes on "the Rock" who is higher than we are. He has, and continues to be, our salvation - in so many ways.


My perfect guy stumbled after 50 years of marriage. It was a wonderful adventure with 4 great kids, dogs, yes-puppies, cats, trips and all the ups and downs that go with it. Everyone who reads your wonderful blog before me has added parts of the ingredients that make it all work. A good sense of humor was always our agreement as the most important thing. Life is drole! I can't find the accents. But thank you for your thrice daily visit to my inbox!!..


Joyeaux anniversaire to you and Jean-Marc!
Bon chance to Jacques and Miriem - I hope we get to see her photo soon.
And Happy Birthday Jules.

I'm married for 18 years. The secret? Patience and trust, and the realization that no man is perfect! LOL!

Karen Hadley

Make a commitment to never stop growing and learning and then share your growth. As the two of you grow together, there is more shared understanding and fewer foibles we have to be patient with. I'm 58 years old, have been with my fiance for 5 years, on and off. I even took off for Oklahoma for a couple of years so we could both "grow" some and it is better now than it ever was.

Phyllis Morton

It was 60 years this past January. Many have said it, love, patience, CARE, responsibility by both partners, children, realizing money is not worth trouble, independence-each is an individual, CARE for your partner through all.
Thanks Kristin for years of YOU!

Lorena Meunier

Dear Kristin,
How can I add anything to these beautiful comments about the secrets to a lasting, loving relationship? It's all been said so well by all the others.
After 16 years of marriage, I still remind myself each day to be considerate, be a good friend and companion, be understanding, be open, and to listen. - The latter is the hardest because I am often distracted by my thoughts.

Happy anniversary to you and Jean-Marc!


After 34 years of marriage we still occasionally go to sleep mad at each other but EVERY MORNING is always a clean slate, a new day and a beginning in love.

Carol Folino

Best wishes to Jacques and Mariem!I love his baseball cap(since I'm from Boston!)Haven't seen Jules on Facebook-hope she is okay....Carol

Montimarie Horton

My husband and I are young professionals and have been married 2 years. We have known each other for 5 years and have a lot in common. With new experiences of getting new jobs and moving to Minnesota (I'm a Portland, OR girl) has at times been challenging, but keeping a humorous spirit and stepping back and resorting to common courtesy has really made our relationship stronger. Courtesy oils the wheels and love makes everything better! We also have a strict once a week date night and last night we went out to watch Julie&Julia. I'm excited about French cooking and just make Quiche aux epinards! French food and love and getting out a bottle or wine, even if we really shouldn't afford it, makes the week and love so much better!

Marti Hinman

Every day I look forward to French Word a Day!! On marriage, the best advise my mother gave me was; "Admire the qualities and tolerate the shortcomings" a translation from Spanish,"Admira las cualidades y tolera los defectos", Love and mutual respect and good sense of humor is also the foundation for a lasting marriage. Bruce and I have been married for 40 years.
I am from South America and he is from the U.S. we both learned from each others culture. Cheers!!! and never stop this wonderful site. Marti Hinman

Sandy Maberly

Kristi, May you and JM be blessed with many more happy years together. Looks like you've got the "recipe" right. Don't mess with the ingredients!

May Jacques and Mariem enjoy a wonderful life together and benefit from the love and experiences of those around them. We should all be as lucky!

My one piece of advise would be: "don't sweat the small stuff" (now translate THAT into French!) Always put "that complaint" into perspective and realize that there are more important things in life than wasting precious moments on minor issues. Yes, I know it takes practice and it sometimes isn't easy but like a fine (Rouge-Bleu) wine, a little maturity goes a long way.

Traci from MN

"Support" and "encouragement". Over the past 18 years my husband has pushed me to be the best person I can be - taking chances when I would rather play it safe. He believes in me when I don't, and I do the same for him. You can only grow as a couple when each of you grows to your full potential! WONDERFUL poem by Khalil Gibran!


We are heading for 15 years, too. Love what Nan said, but will add our two rules:
1) Never go to bed mad.
2) Be willing to call off a fight and 'Start Over' without being right or triumphant.
We are so blessed with a close relationship. Many years of happiness to you both!

Christine Oace

We too were married 15 years ago tomorrow ... a beautiful warm autumn day. A second marriage for both of us, our five children were included in our ceremony.
Behind all our interactions is a shared belief in the "nourishment loop": your wants, needs and desires are as important as mine, my wants, needs and desires are as important as yours. Believing this, we help each other get what we want, need and desire. And so we are happy!

Pat Cargill

Happy Birthday, Jules. Enjoyed reading all the thoughts on love and successful marriage. Both must be willing to work hard, to take the steps to grow and understand themselves first and then put one's all into making it work. One person cannot do it alone I hope that Jacques and Mariem will find happiness together.

I am a little confused, though, as I thought your anniversary was back in July? There was a photo of you and J-M having dinner at a very special place, peut etre a birthday celebration. Anyway, happy 15 years to you and your beloved. And many, many more!

Love the puppies! Thanks for the pictures--so cute seeing Jacques holding and coo-cooing the fluffy sweet thing.


Wishing you both a Joyous celebration in honor of the Love and Beauty your beloved brings to your life and therefore, to this world (and to your wine and your words). Enjoy!

Teri Winton

Benjamin Franklin said it best "Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half-shut afterwards"! It works.


When I was about 22 I went laughingly with a friend to see a "fortune teller". My fortune was that I was soon to meet my "ame soeur" at which I thought was standard soothsaying practice. I was at the time starting to be friends with an amusing young fellow at uni who used to ask ALL the girls out and as a bit of a lark I finally said "yes" just to humor him along. After a evening out dining on dessert (we were only poor uni students ;-)) and talk I knew I had found my "ame soeur" and love. We have been married now for 20 odd years (the time is unimportant now) and I think for us some of the words are be "cosy" in your sameness, to "relish" your differences and to "cherish" the special gift of each other.


Je partage une histoire de mon enfance. Sir Francis avait vécu avec Edith plus de 40 ans,,,je les visitais un dimanche. C''était normal que lón ne parle pas au petit déjeuner... on lisait les journaux et prenait du thé ou du café. Mais Francis et Edith venait de se marier, et Francis faisait de bruits et évidemment se sentait irriter. "Qu'est ce que tu as?" lui a demandé edith. "C,est drôle chérie, apres 40 ans ensemble, mais je me sens pris au piège (I feel trapped).
He explained to me "You see, I feel grumpy achy and irritable. Now that Edith has vowed to stay with me till death do us part, I could take it out on her and she would have to stay,, before we respected each other's feelings more because the other could always leave. The secret to living together is to do so day by day in the present, and not let past events condemn the future! I feel trapped because I can now be more tempted to take the negative out on her'.

alex suede

when I was young I would reve about finding the one ame soeur mais c'est difficle a trouver la veritable ame soeur et peut etre l'avenir...........

alex suede

The most sincere relationship from my life experience began with childhood, when we knew that our parents were always there ame soeur was my childhood friend why? she always made me realise that a conversation between us was not necessary as the unspoken was already understood... as an adult, I hoped to find the same ame soeur who shared mes reves ......most of all trust, profound friendship will eventually lead us to peut etre l'ame soeur.

alex suede

The most sincere relationship from my life experience began with childhood, when we knew that our parents were always there ame soeur was my childhood friend why? she always made me realise that a conversation between us was not necessary as the unspoken was already understood... as an adult, I hoped to find the same ame soeur who shared mes reves ......most of all trust, profound friendship will eventually lead us to peut etre l'ame soeur.

Kim Kath

29 years married in March 2010 and 30 together all up. We are 48 and 52 so not too old hey. Never let the word divorce be uttered in your home. Choose to love each other every day even when the feelings don't always line up choose to love. Be kind, and as gentle as you can with each others hearts always. Remember that love covers all. Cover each other always, protect each other from anything that may wound and change. Enjoy each others compnay and enjoy your own company. Remember we are complete in ourselves we shouldn't be hoping for that other one to make us happy if we are happy with and in ourselves together we will be happy.

Cynthia in Missouri, USA

Acceptance - Accept that the person you love has properties that will not change and know that you can not fix all their flaws.


Joyeux anniversaire de mariage a toi et Jean-Marc, et joyeux anniversaire a Jules !!!


Thanks again for these wise and helpful words. I wish I had had them, in book form, even before we married. Mom says they should be printed out and read time and again. I agree! Please keep these "happily ever after" tips coming!

Pat: you remembered right: Jean-Marc and I celebrated our July 4th (Town Hall) marriage this summer. We mark both occasions : town hall and Sept 24th church wedding (though Jean-Marc considers the church wedding "LE Mariage" as most of our friends and family were present).

Devra Long

Joyeaux anniversaire Kristin and Jean-Marc!
Walter and I have been married 28+ years and have never spent a night apart; it was a vow we made to each other just before we married. It has been a challenge at times but we always made it our priority.
Wishing you many wonderful love filled years ensemble!

JeanMarc (l'autre)

These are all fantastic. Merci bien a chaque et tous. I have one to add that I had to learn early in life. Treat each moment together as if it is your last moment together. Because it might be. When anger and discord rear their ugly heads, put it in that perspective and see if it is really how you want to remember (or be remembered).

Kristin: Lara and I have the two anniversaries, too. One in December and one in July.


For a man to be successful, the first thing is to learn the "five magic words".......

"Yes dear, you were right".

After saying those words, all is forgiven and you don't need to escalate any disagreements.
In order to succeed through the years, you must be friends and take an interest in each other..


Joyeaux anniversaire Kristin and Jean-Marc!

Your word of the day is so fitting... l'ame soeur. I met my best friend and have been so happily married to her almost two years (Sept 30th). It was love at first sight for me, something I had really though was a lot of bunk. This is my second and her third go-around and we practice a strict policy of NO DRAMA. We talk about everything and one of the best parts of our union is our love of working jointly on projects together. The ablility to collaborate without ego is a great joy. Our motto is Ancora Imparo..."I am still learning." And so we are!

Best wishes to Jacques from "Red Sox Nation".

I am picking grapes from my arbor this weekend and wondered if you have any French recipes for Grape Jam? :)

Peggy Baker

About to celebrate our 27th Annv., so many of the previous posts can be said again, however I believe it's crucial to always think 'full-circle' with respect to what you may say to your sweetheart. With communication some times getting lost with the best of us, always think of the ramnifications of what you are about to say. Are you criticizing in your own little way, offerring a better suggestion to whatever task is about?? Feelings can get hurt due to mis-communicating, and respect for the others feelings is always paramount. God Bless


Ben and I have been together for over 30 years---and a second marriage for both of us. Quite simply, we are each other's best friend. We come home from work interested in how the other's day went. We both read a lot, and are curious to hear what the other thinks. We've weathered crises in child-rearing, and were grateful for the insights of each other. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the best partner is someone whose insights one values, whose point of view is always of interest, and whose sense of humor is perennial.

Jaclyn Wesolowski

I think any relationship that can stand the test of time will always have one think: A ritual that only you and your partner do together or share...apart of yourselves that only you two know about. For my boyfriend and I, it’s always showering together. It started out as something we did during that “honeymoon” stage of our relationship, but after a while it grew into quality time one on one time for us. It was the one part of the day that we were forced to be in tune with each other, and it actually helped us communicate better with each other. I really would have never thought that some of my best conversation would be in the shower! So other than long showers and higher water bills, it has improved of our life and relationship. Now we almost feel hurt if the other takes a shower without us…like “hey, why didn’t you wait for me?” I think it reminds us to think and act like a team, like an “us”…considering your loved one before you do something will stop many problems before they begin. It keeps you grounded; it keeps you from being selfish.

Joyeaux anniversaire!

As a quick side note I had a friend recommend this blog, which is why this is my first comment…I promise I am not spam☺!! She told me about you after I mentioned that my love for Paris has prompted me to start a blog of my own. I included the link if you ever wanted to check it out!

Ophelia Paine

Hi Kristin -- What an amazing list of thoughts and advice. I cannot add a note that would not be redundant. We've been married almost 35 years and feel enormously lucky to be happy and enjoying life and each other -- for however long it lasts!

My warmest congratulations to you and Jean-Marc. You are a beautiful couple, a beautiful family. And what great news about Jacques and Miriem. How happy to think of their finding each other and for you to have a great new sister-in-law, too.

Bonne journee et bon anniversaire!

Warren Plauche

Secret of one 60 year love and 55 year marriage - tolerance. One need not criticize every little misstep or gaffe. Never revisit and argue over joint big decisions - where to live, where to work, etc and don't nag or whine over them. On the other hand, frequent praise of little triumphs smooths the way. Otherwise, love is not explainable, it just is, and thank your God for it if you have it! Warren Plauche

Cynthia in the French Alps

Where do I begin? I love the photos of the puppies. I enjoy following their growth. And I love to hear of new blossoming loves -my French husband and I also met in Avignon (or at least on the train to Avignon) so it's a good start. My husband and I are just celebrating our 4 years of meeting, and our 5 months of marriage so I'm not sure I'm the one to give good advice about longevity yet. Ysterday we went out and filmed a Savoie harvest for my blog and got lucky and were invited to taste the juice pressed that morning by the vineyard owner's son. It was a lovely afternoon but I have a better understanding of how difficult the work is now after watching. You have my respect! Cynthia in the French Alps


It’s been demonstrated above that one word alone cannot describe or define “relationship endurance” but allow me to offer up a recipe that combines some of what my husband and I consider the best ingredients:

One small packet of Passion and Lust
1 Tablespoon Common Interests
1 Tablespoon Common Ethics
1 Tablespoon Common Values
4 cups of Friendship
2 cups of Respect
6 Fluid Ounces of Consideration
A dollop of Honesty
A sprinkling of Laughter

Start with a small packet of Passion and Lust, the starry-eyed kind. Sprinkle it over a bowl filled with a tablespoon each of common interests, ethics and values and watch the foundations of Love grow. Set aside.

Vigorously mix the next three ingredients (Friendship, Respect and Consideration) with lots of Communication, both the listening and talking kinds. Add a dollop of Honesty being sure not to over do it or the mixture could turn acerbic and tough. Add the Love foundation and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Cover with a blanket of Fairness and set aside to rise. Once double in size punch the mixture, releasing the air to allow it to rise. Note it may fall on its own as well, not to worry it will rise time and again given the combination and strength of the ingredients. Be encouraging, supportive and tolerant throughout the process to develop the best results.

Place in an oval baking dish (avoiding sharp edges). Sprinkle liberally with Laughter, daily. Place in a warm oven and bake to near perfection. It will turn a lovely golden color. Remove it when it satisfies the two of you.

Mark each step in the process with Please and Thank You and you’re nearly guaranteed “relationship endurance”, this has been one key to the success of our 20 year journey together.


Happy Anniversary to you both and Happy Birthday to Jules. The secret to marriage lasting is, of course, love combined with trust and communication. I've always believed it's 90/10 on both sides.


Absolutely luv yr blog and these were such wonderful comments, much to take in and learn from!
My 11 year rship has been through tough times this year but we have come through, we sought counselling with an Imago therapist (look it up, easier than explaining!) and truly our rship is better than when we first met.
We have more love through openness to each other, honesty, warmth, safety, support, humour & a willingness to learn & make mistakes.
Luckily having heaps in common is a great glue that bonds us together, our values being similar or the same means we're pretty much on the first page.
But like many people commenting above, we feel like soul mates, as if we are hand in glove, but soul mate or not, it does take dedication to work on us and the rship!
Bonne chance to all!

Diane Stanley

Dear Kristin,

Not long ago my husband and I shared our 40th anniversary with our children. It’s hard to believe that we've been married for forty years and have known each other for forty-two years.

My husband and I are committed to our faith in Jesus Christ and to His teachings. Even when we have disagreements, we know that we have to work them out. Forgiveness is so important. Also, try not to go to bed angry with each other and hopefully settle problems quickly. Forgiveness is essential.

A little spice in one’s marriage never hurts either. We have had a “date night” every week of our forty years. We have also enjoyed travelling, sometimes with our children, and sometimes, when we needed a bit of honeymoon time, we have travelled without them. We love our children second only to the health of our own marriage relationship, which needs to be given first priority. If our marriage is working well, then our children and their children will have solid roots to support them.

Respect and honoring each other is another essential quality for a successful marriage. No one is perfect, so if at all possible, do not be critical of your mate, but try to encourage one another as often as possible. Laugh and cherish each day that you have with your spouse. Never take a day with your loved ones for granted.

Lastly, open your bibles and read them as often as possible (select one that has many life application commentaries) and discuss what you have read with your marriage partner. Biblical messages, when put into practice, work like glue to keep two souls on the right path.

Diane, from Oak Ridge, New Jersey


Humor, humor, humor.
You can't fight while you're laughing.

Robyn Daniels

I don't know about marriage but I met my soul-mate and we were together for 5 years, but I had to let him go because his family opposed our marriage because of cultural differences (he was muslim) and I had a 13-year old daughter from a previous marriage. If you love someone I believe you have to set them free and not make them choose between their family and yourself - Dolly Parton's song "I will always love you" expresses this perfectly for me. I tried marrying someone else and it didn't work as he was not my true love. Some people don't even get 5 years with someone they love competely.

Robyn Daniels

The puppies are so 'mignones'! Such boundless energy I am sure is exhausting for Blaise and yourself Kirstin and you will miss them when they are gone! I have never been mobbed by puppies but I have been mobbed by a flock of voracious ducks who clambered all over my legs and lap to get at a morsel of sandwich which I was eating at a picnic! I laughed so much with both surprise and delight that I gladly relinquished the bread to gabbling beaks and they went on their way to steam-roller another 'insouciant' picnicker. LOL!

Linda Collison

Third time's a charm.
We met skydiving, over 25 years ago. Lot's of passion, oh yeah. Now we're like two cats...
He put my kids through college. And brings me coffee in bed in the morning. I gave him one of my kidneys, when he needed it.
We give each other space, but remain connected.
Know what I mean?

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