Musings + Essays

11 Years.

By: Jen Shoop

Oui, vous serez ensemble jusque dans la silencieuse mémoire de Dieu.
Mais qu’il y ait des espaces dans votre communion,
Et que les vents du ciel dansent entre vous.

Aimez-vous l’un l’autre, mais ne faites pas de l’amour une entrave;
Qu’il soit plutôt une mer mouvante entre les rivages de vos âmes.

–Kahlil Gibran, “Le Mariage”*


Last Saturday, Mr. Magpie and I celebrated eleven years of marriage together. Eleven years (plus the seven years of dating prior) of an easy kind of love, borne of a high school hunch, and nothing but moondance since. Eleven years and though I know him like the back of my hand — can pick him out from a crowd several hundred feet away just by his posture and the distinctive way he holds his head; can intuit the specific words that will upset him in an overheard correspondence with another person; can understand the order and volume of information to offer him at a given time; can read his private reaction even when he appears stoic in a public setting — he is a constant surprise to me. Conversation with him is a wild ride. Here is a man who will bluster through the tough stuff when he must (“she was pretty banged up,” he explained euphemistically after I fell very ill with COVID) and who will also turn tender-hearted over the spectacle of two old people standing in line for ice cream together. A man who is both the most exacting, detail-oriented, motivated-by-excellence person I have ever met and who will also on occasion shrug to himself: “KISS. Keep it simple, stupid” and, say, pick up Martin’s hamburger buns rather than making the brioche ones himself. I am routinely arrested and delighted by these inconsistencies, by the slim and thrilling spaces between us. In short, I love that he continues to be himself in our marriage — just as he is in any setting. The same unflappable, occasionally stubborn boy who was “a GDI” at Greek-centric UVA, who wore velvet tuxedo shoes to the dismay and confusion of his ring of (how to put it?) unimpressed-by-fashion friends, who will sit through an unbearable evening of one kind or another and rest, unprovoked, behind those placid hazel eyes, as he did recently when we found ourselves party to a discourteous acquaintance spilling all kinds of strange and impertinent things, and I watched him quietly observe the unpleasantness and then choose not to engage, clipping into his own universe of thought, occasionally commenting on the lightening bugs around us or a topic he did find of interest. It was the most attractive of rebuffs: nothing confrontational or flashy, just self-assured disengagement. That is not worth my time or energy, was the subtext. No offense. He is that way: solid, straight-through. He could be in the cheap seats at Yankees stadium or at a black tie gala with celebrities (both venues in which he has found himself in recent history) and he is him, no airs or put-upons or contortions to oblige different personalities or settings. And yet that him continues to startle me, even after all this time, and so I know on a profound level what Gibran meant when he advised that marriage should be like a sea moving between two souls — that is, liquid in its accommodations. Shared but not in a constraining way. Complementary rather than conforming.

Cheers to not only eleven years of marriage, but to “des especes dans notre communion” that continuously bless it new.

*English translation from here reprinted below, but the language is far more lissome and prismatic in its original French. I specifically dislike the translation of “une entrave,” which I understand to mean something more like “hindrance” than “bond” in French:

Ay, 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.


+The thrill of the chase back when I was first dating Mr. Magpie.

+Mr. Magpie’s Jeep played a prominent role in our early courtship.

+A country song of personal importance to our story.

+3 a.m. parties have a different vibe these days.

+Words my Dad has read at the weddings of all five of his children.

Shopping Break.

+I wore this Agua Bendita dress (almost sold out, similar here, and Agua Bendita vibes for $150 here — swoon! LOVE) and these earrings to mark our eleven year anniversary.

+I wish I could have been carrying this clutch, or this one!

+A few other blue and white dresses I adore: this LSF, this $20 steal, this Evi Grintela, this ric-rac trim En Saison, and this Vampire’s Wife.

+This sweater and shorts set is not the type of thing that’s normally my vibe but…it is so chic! I like it in the khaki color for at home lounge.

+I love this Etsy stationery boutique because she prints on cool textured paper that adds a little interest to your note cards. Hill has this handsome set.

+These $10 swim trunks have been a great buy for us this summer. I actually usually keep them in my diaper bag because we have been out at playgrounds with water features, at my parents’-in-law who have sprinklers, etc!

+Love a toile headband.

+Love toile in general — check out this gorgeous tablecloth, on sale!

+A chic pair of clogs, on sale!

+This denim top is in my cart.

+Cute for nearly any earl fall occasion.

+Such a cool lamp.

+Sweetest juice glasses.

+Lots of clothes to celebrate in.

+OK, I just added this foot measuring tool to my cart. Do you know how often I have no idea what size my children should be wearing in shoes?!

+We have been getting so much use out of these great cabana striped towels — the children are always playing in our little pool or sprinkler, or running over to swim at the neighbors’.

+This dress is only $20?!

+WOW this caned picture sconce!!!

+I love the fit of this long-sleeved tee. It’s marketed for exercise but totally works with jeans, too — it’s not a performance fabric. I like the cut of the top styled with bike shorts.

+OMG this ruffle denim jacket for a little. (Look for less.)

+I love this customizable four-poster bed.

+More bedroom refresh ideas.

+New bedding for everyone!

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2 thoughts on “11 Years.

  1. Happy anniversary! The Prophet is one of my father’s favorite books — it’s very meaningful to our family, especially “On Children”. I had no idea that it was originally written in French, though! I had always assumed that Gibran wrote it in English after emigrating to the U.S. I love how “Le Mariage” reads in French!

    Those Ancient Greek clogs are so cute, too … wish they were still avail in my size 🙂 Also, I’ve been eyeing that OV long-sleeve top for a while now and I’m glad you can vouch for it. I love that it’s more versatile (in cotton) than your average athleisure piece!


    1. I need to read more Gibran — he seems so wise! Will visit that “On Children” piece next. Thank you!


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