Une vue de l'esprit - what a great term in French!
s'emparer & seizing the mystery of communication from 'beyond'

Oreilles, ecouter & 25 years ago tomorrow....

Town hall marriage
July 4th 1994 - For our civil ceremony, 25 years ago, we were surrounded by close friends. More about marriage, in today's chronique.... 

Two words for you today: oreilles & écouter...
(look for the translation in the quote below)

Ouvrez grand les oreilles. La meilleure chose que vous puissiez faire pour renforcer votre relation c’est de parler moins et d’écouter plus.

Open your ears. The best thing you can do to strengthen your relationship is to talk less and listen more.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

"25 Ears"

Setting out to write about our 25th marriage anniversary, I was wondering how to distill a quarter of a century into a neat and tidy blog entry...when I absentmindedly typed a title to this essay. A moment later, I noticed the coquille, or typo. Well isn't that the truth! I thought. 25 Ears is what every person needs in order for a relationship to succeed.

I don't know that success is the right word for this, either. This commitment. This partnership. This union. Success can be fleeting and nobody anticipates that when they walk down the aisle. Endurance is a better word. The verb is even more poignant: to endure.  I wonder what to endure is in French? Hang on--let me go look....

Here it is. The French word is supporter:

support, bear, endure, stand, carry, sustain....

Oh, yes! I like that for marriage! Especially the word sustain. But just what does that mean? I asked the same question, recently, in our memoir-in-progress, The Lost Gardens.  I leave you with an excerpt, below. As for distilling 25 years of marriage into a tidy post. No! It may take hundreds of pages....
I sometimes wonder what is the glue holding us together? Surely it is the wedding vows we took so seriously. Or could it be our insecurities? Our need for family? Or our fears? (Of what? Loneliness? Of making a mistake? Disappointing others?) Or is there...deep down in the depths of our souls...a Holy Grail answer? 

Perhaps as important as what keeps us together is what threatens to drive us apart. And though I have an idea or two, what if, after all, I am wrong? We are such complex things, we humans. And yet among the intertangled fibers of our hearts we all long for one and the same thing: unconditional love.

Is this why we behave so unlovably at times? Are we only testing Love's infinite waters? 

*   *   *
I spoke to my father on the telephone last night. He told me he will be happy to read our memoir when it is finished. I told him I completely understand his preference to read it straight through, and not in installments

For those of you who prefer the finished manuscript, remember just that, it will be 'finished': the finishing touches will have gone in and certain material may be taken out (like chapter 2. What was I thinking?!).

I was telling my Mom just the other day, 'Who knows, perhaps after the chapters are written we will remove my entries and let Jean-Marc's story stand alone.' One thing's sure: his chapters are flowing beautifully! Jean-Marc is gradually telling the story of what led up to his crash: the fiasco that led to this decision to sell our dream vineyard.

For those who want the unedited grits-and-all version, do not miss our book-in-progress which you can begin reading immediately. Every book sale that comes in sustains ( supports, bears, endures, stands, carries) our writing project. Mille mercis for the strength  you have given us!

Kristin and Jean-Marc Espinasse by Cynthia Gillespie-Smith
photo by Cynthia Gyllespie-Smith


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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Brenda Prowse

Bon anniversaire de mariage Kristin et Jean Marc!!! Keep on enduring. Bisous


Happy anniversary!


If my soul mate was alive on the 21st it would be our 57th anniversary. The glue in our marriage, with all our faults, was trust.
Like your dad I too want to read your story when it’s finished.
que ton anniversaire soit plein de joie


Bon anniversaire Kristi & Jean-Marc!

Leslie NYC

I am in the finished book camp but send my encouragement along the way. I hope you will leave in some vulnerable passages! That is the eager reader in me speaking.
I have to leave all decisions to you two. Your writing and Jean Marc's have moved me over many years. Bonne continuation!

Hank Sweet

Lovely photo of you two there. Happy Anniversary and here's to the next 25 years.

Marti Schmidt

Bon anniversaire de mariage Kristin et Jean Marc!!!
When I was first married in 1967~
I once met a couple in their 80's ,who were married for 50 years and were so kind to one another, holding hands and obviously still so in love.
"What's the formula for a long, strong and loving marriage'?

She said..." a consistent loss of hearing"
He said..." separate vacations" . and then both broke into laughter and hugged.
I never forgot that encounter or those words of wisdom.
Here's to another 25 to you!!


From a 52 year survivor bon anniversaire à vous deux.
Avec félicitations.


Happy Anniversary!
I remember 20 yrs ago on my 25th a friend at the time..(I thought she was a friend) said:"That's no big deal 25 yrs....
Broke my heart.
I thought it was stellar.:)
Congratulations..it IS a big DEAL.
Everything you said and more♥


How could I forget to mention how beautiful you both were and still are.


My parents also were married on the Fourth of July. In Canada. Neither are Americans but we always had something to celebrate on the fourth.

May the “fourth” be with you! 😀


Happy Anniversary to a beautiful couple -inside and out!


I met you in Phoenix with Karen Cafarella and have read your posts and books for many years and enjoyed them immensely. I’ve just returned to Arizona after living in Oregon for the past 8 years. Over a lovely meal at Nordstrom’s with Karen, we spoke affectionately about you. I sent you an anniversary gift. Thanks, Susan Arzani Burman


Bon Anniversaire!! I think it’s amazing you two are writing your book together. I’m not sure Chris and I could have done that - I’m sure we probably remembered different times, words, reactions, well, differently at times. I’m sure that’s true for a lot of memories for people in relationships-time and new memories sometimes change old ones. I admire both of you and your strengths to create and share this loving “tribute” for yourselves both as a couple and as individuals! I think I too want to see all of it-the struggles, the joys, the support. It will show the ‘real and normal’!! Much praise to you both on your enduring voyage!


Happy Anniversary!


Happy Anniversary!! Hope it has cooled off a bit for you and that you are enjoying the sea.

R. Roll

Happy Anniversary!
People sometimes ask, "What is your secret for staying married?" Ina Garten of cookbook fame answered,"I want Jeffrey to be happy, and he wants me to be happy." That says a lot about what makes a marraige work.
A friend once told me that contentment is more enduring than happiness. When I thought about it, I realized she was right.

I wish you and Jean-Marc a long and happy life together. There's an ancient Chinese wish, "May you grow old together to a hundred years."

Cheryl in STL

Joyeux 25e anniversaire de mariage!

Judith Dunn

........CONGRATULATIONS upon your 25th Wedding Anniversary! We celebratedour 58th,,, oh my! last February. A happy marriage is a test of courage, love, kindness, generosity , forgiveness, and diplomacy! Each facet as important as the other.... and not easy to harmonize all of them all the time. I wish you both 25 more years of life filled with love and adventure! J. Dunn., Tallahassee, Fl.


Our dear Kristi and Jean Marc,
Felicitations on your 25th anniversary!
(They say 25 is the new 50!)
What a milestone!One so well deserved to an incredible couple who fill all of us with inspiration and the joy we share with you!
Kristi,your beautiful words give us sunshine and pleasure to be walking down life's path with you.
God brought you together and gave you grace to stay together,just as He graced Rod and me (we celebrate our 54th in September!)
How blessed we are!
Natalia Xo

Alice Shupe

Every year of marriage is a milestone! It certainly takes commitment and endurance, as you say. I might add that God's grace flowing through us to one another is a key ingredient as well. We are celebrating 38 this year, and already planning a long stay in France for our 40th in 2021 with visits from our children and their families. Felicitations!!


Happy Quarter Century, Kristin and Jean-Marc! Anxious to read your book, but in its entirety. Reading today's post on your thoughts on marriage and its sustenance got me thinking as we approach forty years. Not that I have the answer! I am proud/thankful/amazed/weepy that my husband has loved me through all my junk. Call me blessed. I believe you are, as well.


Happy Anniversary! Joyeux Anniversaire de Mariage! Que Dieu vous benissent tous les deux et qu'Il vous donne encore 25 annees en plus! Bisous de la Floride…
Mary Jeanne, The Villages, Florida

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Bon anniversaire de mariage!

Sharron and I have 56 years together so far. It helps if each has his/her "space".



Bonjour Kristi,
I so admire couples who stay together through thick and thin. I have no wisdom to offer on what makes for a long and happy relationship so I will just add my congratulations. Bon anniversaire! I hope you and Jean-Marc celebrate many more
years of love and happy adventures!


Bon anniversaire! I love reading your post and I am always in awe of people who have been married for many years and have stayed married.
My input on what makes a marriage last: trust is number one, then communication and yes those EARS are very important.
Wishng you many more years of halppiness.

Cate Salenger

Bon anniversaire, Kris et Jean-Marc! Vous êtes adorables!! xoxo


Bon anniversaire de mariage!

Gabrielle Tsabag

Bon Anniversaire to you both, Kristi et Jean-Marc!
May you share many more years of joy, laughter and love.
Los Angeles

Patricia Sands

Joyeux anniversaire et beaucoup, beaucoup plus!

Julia Hamel

Happy anniversary to you both: you have given us all so much joy over the years: it's your turn!

Barbara Blizzard

Thanks for taking time on your special day to share your thoughts. Enjoyed our bottle of Ephemera last night - very refreshing. Joy to you and Jean Marc.


Shared goals and trust sustain a marriage. I wish you the best on your anniversary and hope to see you again when we are in France. I still need to sign up for the book and will do that before it is finished. I love installments.

Eileen Burns

Happy 25th!25 EARS...yes....and by your 40th (which we will celebrate in October) you will need 40 EARS each, because the hearing starts to go! Love sustains a marriage...I just love my husband...Oh, the mysteries of love...Why him and not any of the other boys I met? Who knows? NOBODY! Continue to love one another and you will be happy. LOVE to you both, Eileen

Karen Cafarella

Happy Anniversary and many more.



Beautiful couple and beautiful words.


Happy Anniversary to both of you, for success takes two! Our pastor defines marriage as, “the unconditional commitment of two imperfect people.” That perspective has been helpful to us, Another includes the realization that a strong rope is not made of just two strands, which unwind, but three. The third for us is a common spiritual belief in a being greater than ourselves, and He unites us in a common purpose. Finally, whereas some couples always seem to be in competition with each other, we have found more success is trying to remain on the same team - that makes for a satisfying division of labor and, when we do it right, general peace and contentment. As I said, we are both imperfect but we are committed, and have enjoyed 50 years together. And in 25 more years, may you say the same! Many blessings both today and in the years ahead, Janet


Really beautiful, Kristi. Thank you for that. My husband and I celebrated 27 years of marriage last week, only the celebration part was a bit weak for all of our busy-ness at the moment. (Yay to the upcoming long weekend!) Your words make me reflect in a way that I hadn't yet taken the time to do. Love that you don't make it simply sugary and easy...it's complicated and hefty, this much life lived together, isn't it? And lovely.

Sending affection,

Los Angeles

Kathleen Bidney

Bon anniversaire Kristi et Jean Marc. May the next 25 get even better.


Beautifully said Kristi! Ralph and I will have been married 42 yrs this October. Support and endurance AND listening are indeed the key. Also a great deal of love and communication. God bless you both and continue to follow you dreams wherever they lead! Happy Anniversary! XoNancy

sheryl Wells

Congratulations and Happy Anniversary!
Jim and I have been married 44 years! It has been a journey and always an adventure! Love and respect will keep a couple together through all adversity. It is best to keep smiling and take a deep breath once in awhile!


Congratulations Kristin. In an era of short term gratification and shortsightedness, your anniversary is a testament to your devotion and the dedication you have to your vows, your husband and your children.

30 years ago, some told me that marriage is not a sprint but a marathon. I've observed your trials and successes over the years (I've received your newsletter since 2004) and I've marveled at the resilience both you and Jean Marc have shown regardless of what life thrusts at you.

I wish you continued success and a long, happy marriage.

I look forward to reading the completed memoir.

Christopher Ross
San Diego, California

Alastair Grant

Congratulations to you both. How time flies ! Thank you for all your posts Kristi - there are many of us who appreciate your sincerity, your good humor, and your love for sharing good things without reserve. You have such a positive view of life and it is inspirational to your readers. This come to you from a follower in Cape Town who, incidentally, has been married for 53 years.


Bon anniversaire de mariage, Kristi et Jean-Marc.A quarter of a century together and two beautiful, mature children--quite an accomplishment. I love what you said about ears. I used to tell my students that God gave us two ears but only one mouth because He wanted us to listen twice as much as we talk! D'accord?

Jennifer Taylor

Happy anniversary! I think you are on to something! Writing your memories together will remind you of how and why it all happened in the first place. Why you fell in love, and how exciting it was in the beginning. Marriage counselors should recommend it! Bisou!


Bon anniversaire, Kristi et Jean-Marc! # 25, c'est impressionnant!!

Cynthia Lewis

Dear Kristi and Jean-Marc,

I'm a few days late wishing you a very happy 25th anniversary! I hope you had a lovely day ... LOVE being the key word here.
May you have many, many more happy years together.
Best wishes always.

Diane Heinecke

Congratulations! 25 years is such a wonderful witness to your covenant in this broken world. "For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health..." So proud of you two. Your professional photo couldn't be more perfect--loved it. P.S. I'm enjoying FIFA 2019 in France and now the Tour de France. Wish I were there.

Marianne Rankin

Kristi and Jean-Marc,

As hard as you've both worked, you have done well not to let jobs or other labor interfere with your marriage. I think work, especially my father's job, is what caused my parents' marriage to end.

I have been married twice and widowed twice, not a lot of total years compared to many of you. In both cases, my husband and I determined not only that we'd never raise our voices to each other, but that divorce was not an option - we would work things out somehow. All of the other things mentioned, such as trust, being on the same team, caring about the other's happiness, etc. also help make a marriage happy and enduring.

Kristi et Jean-Marc, felicitations lors de votre 25ieme anniversaire! Je vous souhaite des annees pleines de joie.

Delilah Smith

All the happiness to both of you and I will try to use my ears more.


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