A Beautiful Escape via the French word échapper belle
Une Escroquerie: our daughter got scammed and is returning to France

Celebrating today! + French for gentle, pleasant, sweet & Reader tips for a good relationship

French American marriage eglise church Marseilles wedding noces
Flying rice at our noces de mariage

Today, Jean-Marc and I celebrate 27 years of marriage. Help us mark the occasion by sharing your best tip for relationships in the comments below.

soft, sweet, gentle, pleasant, mellow

Practice your French Listening Skills. Click to hear Jean-Marc read in French and English:

Le mariage est comme le vin : doux, amer, intense, moelleux, acide ou plat. Mais un couple comme le nôtre sait apprécier toutes ces saveurs. Bon anniversaire de mariage, Chéri!
Marriage is like wine: sweet, bitter, intense, mellow, sour or flat. But a couple like ours knows how to appreciate all these flavors. Happy wedding anniversary, Honey!

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse 

What makes you happy? I think it is a good and healthy habitude to ask the question. One thing that makes me heureuse is when a relationship is going well--especially after a conflict. Never do we feel more grateful than when we are back on track with someone we love. We know we must never prendre pour acquis, never take for granted those we share life with, but life itself can trip us up!  This reminds me of the verb trébucher - to cause to stumble.... 

There are snags in every day. Did you wake to a broken coffee machine, une panne? Or, having made it all the way to the post office (early, to avoid la foule) you realize you left your mask at home...Pulling your shirt up over your face won't cut it--il faut faire un demi-tour... Big or small it's sometimes these dérangements that leave us deranged! If we're not careful l'énervement can carry over onto our entourage.

Having weathered moods, BROODS, and 'tudes, I'd say it is by the grace of God we've made it this far.  (Jean-Marc might give credit to another entity!) And 27 years later, nous y voilà here we are. Hallelujah! (My husband might say Allez L'OM! Go team!)

I am tempted to rewrite these last paragraphs which sort of veered off track from the original plan. Or maybe it's time to trust that "this is all leading somewhere!" Oui! Whether in an essay or in a marriage, have faith your efforts are leading somewhere... Just keep on trucking, and believe in a good future! 

*    *    *
Jackie Jean-Marc Max Kristi June 2021
This summer with our daughter, Jackie (24) and our son, Max (26)

Listen to Jean-Marc prounce these words, then check your comprehension via the list below

Click here for the audio clip

les noces = wedding, nuptials
une habitude
= custom, habit, practice
heureuse/heureux = happy
prendre pour acquis = to take for granted
trébucher = to stumble, trip
la foule = crowd, mob; multitude
faire un demi-tour = turn back, make a U-turn
la panne
= failure, breakdown, out-of-order
le dérangement = inconvenience, trouble, bother
l'énervement = irritation, annoyance, frayed nerves
l'entourage = family, relatives, relations
nous y voilà = here we are
Allez L'OM = go team (go Olympique de Marseille!)

Jean-Marc Kristi Jens Gary Lou at Le Vin Sobre cave wine shop La Ciotat France
Jean-Marc, Kristi, Jens, Gary and Lou at Le Vin Sobre Wine shop in La Ciotat. Thank you, Jean-Marc, for creating the sound files for this journal, and for organizing wine tastings, which began in 2007--these have led to a lot of friendships...which reminds me, please remember to submit your relationship tips in the comments, below. 
Mediterranean sea and Port of St Tropez France
End photo from St. Tropez, known for its popular fall braderie.

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

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


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Christine Graham

Listening to the other person is essential in a relationship. Patience also helps. Sometimes we only hear own voice or our own opinion.

Congrats on your anniversary!

Love your blogs and love France!

Wish that this Covid would end and soon!





Congratulations you two!

Tips mhmm… honouring each others’ freedom. Gratitude and appreciation. Looking to oneself when conflicts arise.

Beautiful celebration to you!


Congratulations! Have a lovely day. I always remember my mum telling me to ‘never let the sun go down on an argument’. There will always be times we disagree with each other (we’ve been married for 40 years next May) and we don’t always get it right but it is worth trying to keep in mind. Be happy and love each other as much as you can xx


Hearty congrats. You both look so young and vibrant. I think if a couple can still make each other LAUGH after many years together..... it's half the picnic. We've been married 37 years and in our mid-seventies still cackle together. Also: little notes of appreciation to each other occasionally..... that is so wonderful! xx

Tim Averill

Never go to bed angry! And as I learned sadly when my wife Lauren died on 12/27/2019 after 50 years of marriage , take each additional day as a blessing and an adventure!


Separate sinks in the bathroom. We've been married 58 years. Seems like yesterday when we were wed.


How beautiful to listen to Jean-Marc. Congratulations on 27 years of marriage Kristi. You are both good friends and this, I think, is the mainstay in a good marriage. Sadly, this is something I didn't have but the couples I know with the happiest marriages are also best friends.

Lynn McBride

Félicitations to you both! And merci for les astuces. Mine is, say I love you, say it again! Also, my daughter gave me a tip: forgive your spouse three things that make you crazy (sometimes more may be needed).

Susan Toye Ferguson

Your children are just beautiful! And happy and successful - the mark of great parenting. Congratulations to both you and Jean-Marc as its not an easy job.

My marriage advice: separate bathrooms and separate checkbooks. It works!

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi,
Congratulations to you and Jean-Marc and hope you have many more happy years together! Love the family photo!
Have a lovely weekend!

Larry Mason

Remember: it’s not about you, it’s about us.


Congratulations! We are 28 years on Sunday! Hard to believe, really. I agree with others--separate bank accounts, separate bathroom sinks, and giving each other freedom to be themselves. Humor is most important as well. Even though mon mari grew up in rural France, and I in California , we see things in life the same way, and that is important! We enjoy each other's company! Now France here we come on Sat!

Sue J.

Joyeux Anniversaire! Wishing you both the very best.

John Newman

Not original to me but to Sir Harold Nicolson (husband of Vita Sackville-West):

Treat all disasters as incidents and no incidents as disasters.

I find that this approach works well in most contexts of life, especially professionally, as well.

Felicitations on your anniversary!

Teresa Schirmer

Kristen ,
As i read your beautiful & wise comments from your readers… it made me rethink… yes…celebrate the now & the person who has lasted (almost 49 yrs) by my side…
We must step away, rethink before speaking out.. and always, but always be considerate of one another.. that’s the key!
Happy anniversary to a lovely couple! ♥️
The strongest steel must go through the hottest fire!
Et, voilà !❤️

Cynthia Lewis

Happy Anniversary to you both!

My off the cuff "tip" after sixth-three years of marriage would be: always be thankful for and considerate of each other. My very best wishes.


Our dear Kristi and Jean Marc,
Please know that we are sharing your joy and
wishing you every blessing of health and happiness always!!
Rod and I just celebrated our 56th.
Straight from the heart words: each other and family first.And even if you're pissed off( pardon,pardon!, no other description fits) sky high, stick around and talk it out.
When you reach the troisieme age(and even well before) you realize how every day is a gift and how much you cherish each other.
Arms around you both.
Natalia. Xo


Celebrating our 60th
anniversary today!
Advice: Don’t make assumptions.
You can never read someone’s mind,
no matter how well you know them.
It’s only by ASKING what your spouse
is thinking that you will find out.


Bon anniversaire de mariage!! Vingt-sept ans!!

Sir Harold Nicholson's advice is great especially considering marriage to
Vita Sackville-West.


Suzanne Dennis

Congratulations and how fortunate to have two anniversaries! What makes me happy is glancing over at my spouse and knowing I made the right decision all those years ago.

Tips for a good relationship:

Laughter/sense of humor
Realizing you are not always right
Shared goals
Enjoying one another's company
Always having something interesting to discuss

Carolyn R Chase

54 years later this summer, I would completely agree with your assessment of a marriage. It's what you create together. Accepting that neither is perfect, and that you're a team to manage the impact of what comes along, with basically shared values and goals, you can move forward. Like a rocket in space, when there are variations in the path, you correct and continue, moving on from where you are. For me, my faith in God has been indispensable in weathering a few disasters, as well.

Jerry Wood

I hope you have as long and happy a marriage as my wife and I had. My mother always preached that trust is the main glue that holds a marriage together. My wife never had a jealous bone in her body and told our kids that there is nothing you can say or do that will make a jealous person trust you.
Life is full of ups and downs, however love, kindness and trust was our glue.
Have a wonderful love filled day. Jerry


Listen with your heart, ask questions when you don’t understand & be willing to admit you are wrong when appropriate. Congratulations and best wishes for continued happiness. Jo-Anne


Congratulations and best wishes for the next 27 years. Please keep writing - they are greatly enjoyed.


On rare occasion, it's sometimes best to go to bed angry, rather than say words that can never be taken back. The morning sunshine usually diminishes our distress and we realize that our disagreement was really pretty minor. Felicitations!

Susan Stafford

Bonne fête de mariage ! Patience snd the idea of working together as a team have worked during 39 years of marriage for me and my husband.

Edna L Meza-Aguirre

Congratulations! A relationship is strengthened (and also weakened) upon the little things. The small, everyday attentions matter much more than an occasional grand gesture.

Judi Miller

Congratulations on your anniversary! I think bumps in the road are little (sometimes big) wake-up calls to be careful, mindful and reminders to slow down and come together again. talking things through is always good even if loud and painful to start. Eventually each other can really hear the other and the bumps flatten out and the road is lovely again!

Little misspell at intro to vocabulary, Listen to Jean-Marc “prounce”… :).

Ned Harris

Always remember to say "I was wrong; please forgive me" when it's appropriate. And - "I forgive you and love you."


Love one another with pure hearts (tenderness, forgiveness, kindness, compassion, passion, excitement, intentionality, creativity, sacrificially, graciously)
Bon anniversaire de mariage ! ♥♥


Happy anniversary. You have had your ups and downs, but have survived all of them and they brought you closer together.
Everyone looks fantastic. Jackie and Max have grown up so quickly.
Peace, Kathleen


27 years of marriage is a big reason to congratulate both of you! You are both dear to me as I have followed your blog for many years now. You've been able to be generous with your lives in allowing your readers to live alongside you, giving us get a true sense of the French culture. Vive votre mariage!


Félicitations, Kristi et J-M,
Évidemment, vous avez fait ce qui compte pour rester
liées l’un à l’autre. Si votre recette pour le mariage n’est pas cassée, ne changez rien.

Steve Christensen

My personal suggestion, after 55 years of same wife marriage is to always respond with “Yes Dear”. All other reply’s pale in comparison.


This is Ruth Bader Ginsburg's advice:

Another often-asked question when I speak in public: “Do you have a some good advice you might share with us?” Yes, I do. It comes from my savvy mother-in-law, advice she gave me on my wedding day. “In every good marriage, it helps to be a little deaf.” I have followed that advice assiduously, and not only at home through 56 years of marital partnership. I have employed it as well in every workplace, including the Supreme Court. When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best to tune it out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.

Lisa Harquail Sierveld

we just celebrated our 32nd on september 10, and my marriage-wisom has grown with each decade.. i like to consider marriage like a lasagne : if there are any less-than-perfect spots, i know that that's only the top layer, and all those other layers are as special now as they always have been. with a different viewpoint, my husband greg will say the most important thing is to "just do whatever she says".....😆😆😆..... congratulations and best wishes for many more !


You have reached the balance in life with each other. C'est bon. Felicitations.

Karen Brown


Joyeux 27e anniversaire de mariage...

You two are a beautiful couple.....and you have a beautiful family.....

Hoping you have many more happy years together....

Marianne Rankin

Agree from the beginning that divorce is not an option.
All of the points mentioned above are valuable keys to a long and happy marriage.
Be willing to compromise, on things large and small. And overlook trifles which don't matter in the great scheme of things. Remind yourself every day how fortunate you are to have your wonderful spouse in your life.

Sharon Marchisello

Joyeux anniversaire !

Celestine N.

Dear Kristi & Jean-Marc,
C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S!!! I'm so happy for you both and for your lovely family. It is great to hear of married couples who are letting love win. So many of your readers have many years of marriage doing just that. What a joy to learn! May your years ahead be so much sweeter,richer and incredibly satisfying each and every day ahead. I have you two and your family in my prayers.

I have been reading French-Word-A-Day since my son told me about it when he learned of it from his high school French teacher, back around 2014, I think. I discovered we have much in common and your writing really inspires me to write.

Before my marriage advice, here is some worthy background info to hi-light my forthcoming advice: My husband is Asian, I'm Caucasian. We have four biological children together. We met in college and fell in love and got married. We just celebrated our 28th Wedding Anniversary. We're going for the gold!!! ;D

Now, my best advice is Christian, for marriage is a sacrament instituted by God so only His Way of doing things with Him apart of the union will work:
1. God must be 1st -- He must be who our souls love and serve first (1st Commandment). Selfishness always breaks apart a marriage.
It is really important for women (wives or single ladies) to let Jesus be the lover of their souls and not to expect that from anyone else. No one else can fulfill that for which our souls were made. It has been said that it is a God shaped hole that only God can fill. Husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25) which is the harder calling. Women are called to submit to their husbands. If husbands are loving their wives as Christ loves the church, wives will naturally submit to their husband's love. It's designed by God himself, so it works, and is a perfect design.

2. The Holy Spirit is a married couple's advocate and will counsel them individually to love each other unconditionally. He'll plant loving thoughts and those will encourage loving action if the couple chooses Agape style love over self-love. We don't have to figure out how to Love on our own, we have an ever-present Guide.

3. Being content to bring things to the Lord in prayer and let Him take over instead of having to fix things by ourselves keeps us from making impatient and narcissistic decisions. Sometimes the answer is NO and we need to patiently pray and seek the Lord's Will, which is perfect, so we'll be OK if we don't get our way.

4. Cut one's spouse some mercy and forgive quickly for we will be forgiven based on how we forgive. If we choose to forgive, we immediately create an environment of life.

5. When a couple fights, they do not just hurt each other, they hurt countless others: all those in the family, work places, friend circles and even complete strangers should they learn because the fighting brings a legal separation or divorce. It leaves a very bad poison that lingers forever.

6. Marriage is a sacred calling. Loving one's spouse is divine living that honors God. The first person we should volunteer to show the Love of Christ to is our spouse and our family -- Mother Teresa said it best (paraphrased) -- love and serve your families -- don't fly to India to volunteer in the Home for the Dying -- take care of your families.

I hope this is helpful to get you to the golden 50 years and beyond.

God bless you two and your family.


My warmest congratulations to you both! I'm probably not equipped to give marital advice, my marriage was but 20 years, but it was good to read what has helped marriages to last.

I'm pleased you retained your last paragraphs Kristin it was a blessing to me, merci.

Suzanne Dunaway

Giving up being right to being thoughtful and kind.


Chère Kristin -- I have nothing to add to this great list of suggestions. Kindness, gratitude, patience, listening, laughter, shared interests and DIFFERENT interests, remembering to say thank you, forgiveness --- all make a difference. Grandchildren have been an unexpected gift to our marriage of 47 years as well. Playing with our two-year-old granddaughter during the pandemic has been pure joy.

Agree will everyone, too, that you have a beautiful family and your children seem to be happy and thriving. It's impossible not to smile when I look at that photo. Congratulations on the wonderful life you have created together!


Marriage is the unconditional commitment of two imperfect people. Its success is most attainable with a 90/10 relationship where each spouse gives 90% and expects 10%. Another essential component - a loving husband should enable his wife to feel cherished, and a loving wife should make her husband feel respected. I was blessed for over 51 years by a marriage with these goals in mind and, although my husband is now with the Lord, I am encouraged by the faith that we will meet again. Congratulations, Kristi - good things come to those who persevere with a joyful heart in all circumstances. - Janet

betsy foree

Jules arranging your veil doux.
My favorite quote these days is from Eugene Onegin (puskin)
"Heaven send us habit in place of happiness"

Lanny Henoch

Mes pensées:
Ma femme est morte il y a deux ans, après nous étions ensemble pendant 39 ans. Chérissez votre relation; comme Joni Mitchell a dit, “…You don’tknow what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone…”
Seattle, WA

Jeanine R Wagner-Woods

Felicitations Kristi et Jean-Marc! My husband and I have been married 34 years, mostly very happily! I've realized over the years that we have some wonderful similar interests and also in some ways we are very different. I love the comments about allowing your spouse the freedom to pursue his/her interests. Also, I've learned to bite my tongue (sometimes literally) with sharp retorts or criticisms, always be respectful and freely forgive. But I think you know all this based on your book and comments in your posts. You've got it down. Aussi felicitations- tu as deux beaux enfants!

Joan L Linneman

Great advice, Celeste. Thanks for taking the time to write it....


Happy anniversary dear Kristi and hubby. We are new at this ourselves ( a mere 44 years) but my sweet guy leaves me a hand picked flower and love note every morning.

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,

So wonderful…27 years. You and Jean-Marc have shared your ups and downs and have shown your readers how both can strengthen a marriage. Yours is an amazing story.

After 51 years of marriage I have little more to add to the insightful words of your other readers. Being married is truly a blessing in one’s life.

Thank you for sharing your life in France with us. You keep so many connected to a country we love.

PS…Jules had and still has absolutely gorgeous hair!

Diane Covington-Carter

Wow, so many readers commented with such long marriages! I agree with all that they said, listening, giving up being right, working it through, even when it is hard. My husband and I, were 60 and 66 when we got together, but now are 12 years on and going strong. So grateful for each amazing day that we share and the joy that we feel from finding each other later in life.

Alice Shupe

We just celebrated our 40th! When asked how we do it I say it's like the stock market - you stay in it and sit tight weathering the ups and downs. And it pays off in the end! Also grace, grace, generous grace towards one another.
Felicitations, Kristi et Jean-Marc!

Carmen Clarke

Felicitations, tous les deux! We also never go to bed mad, never call names or curse each other, and always be willing to 'start over' when one of you suggests it. Let things go, and things will go better!
I have learned innumerable relationship astuces from you, Kristi! Keep them coming!


The day my husband and I married, his aunt gave us a card with this advice:

"Never yell at each other unless the house is on fire".

This advice has served us well. No one at all likes to be yelled at and you can't unring that bell. It's all about treating your beloved the way you'd like to be treated.

Marti Hinman

Dear Kristi,

happy anniversary to you and Marc. You have created a beautiful family.

The foundation for a good marriage, is love , respect for one another and patience.

My husband and I celebrated our 50th in Provence in 2019.

May you and Marc, have many more to celebrate.

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