On Marriage

photo by Petr Ovralov

“Your partner is your mirror…to think your partner is anything but a mirror of you is painful. When you see him flawed in any way, you can be sure that that’s where your own flaw is. The flaw has to be in your thinking, because you’re the one projecting it.”

Byron Katie

Katie tells a story in A Thousand Names for Joy about the time she came home, excited to eat her snack which she carefully placed “on the top shelf, to the right” in her fridge. But it was gone! Her reaction: she chuckled. “If I had believed stressful thoughts such as he’s so inconsiderate! He knew it was mine…he ruined it all, then I would have been annoyed, resentful and even angry with him.” Instead, Katie laughed at her plan gone awry. She chose to not believe those destructive thoughts. “…It turns out, I bought it for him.”

My marriage is a very good one.  My husband and I share plenty of laughs, but I can get into ruts where I am bothered by something he is doing (or not doing). We have four cars right now with only two drivers in the house (him and me). He can’t let go of his Alfa Romeo, which is beyond repair. I tried to think of what I could say to get him to get rid of it. I started to feel a bit resentful as I imagined an argument and then I stopped.

Just let it go.  Do not fall for these thoughts! He’ll release it when he’s ready.

The thought continues to intrude…we have a car outside in the 114⁰F heat, because we have a three car garage and FOUR cars!

So what?  

I decide to chuckle.

My husband is sentimental. He appreciates that car. He loves that car.

And I love him. I love this life.

Katie’s assertion that marriage is really your relationship with yourself is spot on.




20 Years is Platinum

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June 28, 1997 – We get married after a 2 ½ year courtship at the Frank Lloyd Wright Civic Center in Marin.

photo on Pinterest

The first year of marriage is traditionally themed “Paper” and this is quite apropos as we work to zero your credit card debt. Most of our income goes to MasterCard and Visa. We also make payments to my college loans.

In what will become the beginning of a pattern, you help me recover from adversity. I am in a car accident right before the wedding which requires orthoscopic ACL reattachment of my left knee, but you are there for me.

Year 2 = Cotton – 1998 – We walk down Sanchez Street to the corner market, cook dinner, dance and enjoy life. Cotton symbolizes the intertwining and flexibility a couple has for each other. We learn to give and bend.

2000 – We buy our first house on Mt. Vernon. It has the original electrical from the 1920’s. I can’t toast bread and blow dry my hair at the same time, but it’s ours, all ours!

Theme: Fruits and Flowers 2001 – Four years of marital bliss!  We take our first trip to Italy together to celebrate John’s 40th.  [We drink lots of delicious “grape juice” and take in all the gorgeous flowers of Italy.]

2002 – Our beloved Josephine Choonja Wipff is born!  Traditional Theme: Wood  – Like the deep roots of an old oak tree. We are a strong family.

2003 – Ava Oksoon Wipff is born!  Traditional Theme: Candy.  Our life is definitely sweet.

2006 – moved to AZ, against your wishes. If a marriage has ups and downs, this is our “down.” But we get through it. Theme: Pottery and Willow – Our marriage continues to be the product of our choices and experiences, fired in the “oven of adversity.”

2007 – The girls begin violin lessons with Mrs. Lia Taylor, violin teacher extraordinaire. It’s the beginning of a beautiful relationship. You are starting to like – maybe love? – Arizona’s deserts, natural beauty and space.

2010 – I am diagnosed with breast cancer. We are scared. But we weigh the options. I want the cancer OUT! So I opt for a radical bilateral mastectomy. 13 years of marriage and the theme is lace – beautiful, yet strong.

2011 – Ivory – represents fidelity and purity. We have a good taste of the part “for worse” in a marriage by now. And we stick together, help each other through job layoffs and my six surgeries for breast reconstruction. I cry tears of joy (yes, joy!) as I drive to a class to complete my Master’s degree with drains hanging from my chest, under my shirt. I know I am so fortunate to have you…..the girls…this life.

2014 – Furniture is the theme for the 17th year of marriage.  Furniture? We have plenty. We both have the uncanny talent for choosing furniture that is too large for our house.

2015 – Porcelain can be simple or complex. We are decidedly simple.  We eschew extravagant spending and luxuries. Wrinkles and gray hair are starting to form…our memories are starting to fade. Fortunately, when you say, “Oh, there’s that actress…you know…from that one movie….with that one guy….” I look at the screen and and I completely understand you. See? We no longer need words.

2016 – Our 19th, baby!  Bronze. A metal consisting of metal and tin, mixed together. It requires dedication to keep from corroding. Despite our longevity, we know marriage requires constant attention. We’re bronze with a patina of strength.

2017 –  Platinum. Credit card companies and airlines afford you platinum status when you’ve created an exceptional track record of responsibility. Twenty years, my love. I look forward to at least twenty more.

Health, Personal Success, relationships

Life Is Messy



I was getting uptight again. My husband cut his hair in the bathroom and left little bits of hair everywhere. Little bits of hair lined the tub, the counter top and some hairs made it into my contact lens case.

My frustration felt old and tired. I wanted a change.

The present moment. I’m in the present moment! I am here. But it’s not just being here that’s important. It’s enjoying the present. I decided to like what I see… the hairs belong to my husband. He left a mess. So what?

Life is a series of problems and messes. Living successfully means handling them mindfully. Getting upset over the same thing repeatedly is a waste of time. If you can’t change it, you can accept it and choose to see it differently.




Personal Success, relationships

Love in San Francisco


My husband emailed me this morning:


It was 20 years ago that I said, “We should get married.” And you said, “Duh.”
Happy Anniversary.
 – Homer Simpson/Bill Chung/Willey


I had my share of failed relationships before I met him. I shudder to think what would have happened if I had married any of the others I dated before he came along. It is not so much that those gentlemen were not “good enough,” but because I wasn’t evolved enough until I met William.

We met at a party. This is going to sound cheesy, but I promised myself – just hours before the party – that I would never put anyone before myself again.

Yes, this is intensely personal. But if my post can help just one person, then it’s worth it.

Our relationships with others can’t be good until we get straight with ourselves.

You should not seek a partner so that she or he can love you. You have to do that for yourself.







Health, Personal Success, relationships

How to Make Marriage Work


In three months, my husband and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage. We dated for 2 1/2 years before we tied the knot and I believe that is a factor for success: Don’t jump into a lifelong commitment!

But another key to making it work is translating what your spouse says. You see, we don’t always say what we actually mean.  There are more positive underlying meanings that we’re missing out on! I’ll give you an example:

My husband does not like going to the doctor. He does not get checkups, despite the fact that I – his wife – am a cancer survivor and that he has some serious cancer issues on his side of the family. Naturally, I look out for him.

Me: Honey, would you mind if I make a colonoscopy appointment for you, now that you’re 50? (Translation: I care about you and want you to be around for awhile).

Him: I guess there’s no stopping you. (Translation: Oh thank you so much! I really appreciate that you love me so much to do that).











Health, Personal Success, relationships

Why Our Partners Drive Us Mad


I like to create my own content, but tonight, I MUST share something with you. If you’re interested in emotional intelligence, you need to see this:

The School of Life

I love this website. There is so much to learn. Who is “The School of Life”?  They’re based in London.There is a psychotherapist on staff and many writers and researchers. They seem to know their stuff. I like their style.

Here is their Vision Statement:


We want people to have better relationships

To be better parents

To be more understanding children

To be less anxious

To be less scared

To be more self-aware

To be more appreciative

To be more forgiving

To be wiser consumers

To be more mature employees, entrepreneurs and leaders

To create businesses that more accurately satisfy the true emotional needs of consumers

To help work to be more meaningful

To be better at resisting certain noxious messages in society around happiness, success and status.

To have a good understanding of one’s place in history and the distinctive challenges of living in modern consumer capitalism, with its Romantic individualistic hedonistic philosophy.

To be more modest about what happiness is possible – and at the same time more hopeful and appreciative day to day.

To be at ease with culture, mining it for what is useful, using it to enhance one’s own life, not to pass an exam: to be consoled and enlightened by culture.



So check them out. They cover a wide spectrum of topics.