About the book
After thirteen years of marriage, Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn have found, “We’re just not that into us.”
Instead of giving up, they’ve held their relationship together by ignoring conventional wisdom and fostering a lack of intimacy, using parenting as a competitive sport, and dropping out of couples therapy. The books includes their moving yet unsentimental account of the medical odyssey that their family embarked upon after their infant son was diagnosed with V A C T E R L, a rare series of birth defects. Annabelle and Jeff’s unforgivingly raw, uproariously funny martial memoir proves that in marriage, all you need is love—and a healthy dose of complaining, co-dependence, and Pinot Noir.
Serving up equal parts sincerity and cynicism, their he said, she said memoir is sure to strike both laughter and terror into the hearts of any couple (not to mention every single man or woman who is contemplating the connubial state).
Jeff on marriage:
For me, marriage must go beyond the mundane and reach for the romantic.
I yearn for a marriage that is a romantic inspiration, a celebration of passions and a terrific long-term opportunity to try out some really kinky Kama Sutra type stuff. Annabelle craves a probing intellectual discourse of ideas with an academic who's willing to change the cat litter.
Annabelle on marriage:
I would never dream of telling anyone they should get, stay, or stop being married. Unless they were attached to the idea that they were going live “happily ever after.” Then I’d tell them they were out of their minds. Wouldn’t just “ever after” make more sense?
Jeff on sex:
I would like to have sex once a day. Annabelle would be happy to have sex once a week. So we compromise, we have sex once a week.
Annabelle on sex:
Jeff says that talking about money before sex is a turn off. I have to remind him that talking about money is only a turn off if you’re talking about not having money, talking about money before sex when you have money is actually a turn on.
Jeff on moving in together:
Within days of Annabelle’s arrival, I became very aware that she demanded solitude and had the housekeeping habits of a feral animal.
Annabelle on moving in together:
The guy had some sort of nudity radar, if I would even take my clothes off for a second he’d be in front of me cheering like he’d scored box seats at Fenway Park.
Jeff on pregnancy:
I thought, that getting a high-strung neurotic like Annabelle pregnant could take months even years and by that time, I’d be ready to be a father. Then a crazy thing happened; I put it in, I take it out, bang, it’s a boy!
Annabelle on pregnancy:
My ass was expanding faster than a Starbucks franchise, on every corner of my ass there was another branch of ass opening up.
Annabelle wanted to go to couples therapy:
There is a saying that’s bandied about a lot- would you rather be happy or would you rather be right? Right, of course! Being right is what makes me happy.
Jeff on going to therapy:
Unless there’s a guy in a stripped shirt and a whistle that can follow our marriage around and calls us on our shit when and where it happens, I’m not interested.
Annabelle and Jeff on flunking out of therapy:
We have a suggestion for couples that are thinking of sinking all of their hard earned money on therapy: Go to Paris instead. Get drunk and eat great food. You might eventually get divorced, but at least you’ll have the memory of harping at each other in front of Notre Dame instead of in some cramped, windowless therapist’s office.
Annabelle on parenting:
I’ve been striving to provide our with a solid foundation on which to build an orderly life. There’s only one thing standing in my way. My husband.
I’ll come home and find them settled in front of the screen on a school night because according to Jeff, “Sports is not TV.” Nor is “House,” “It’s a medical drama.” Nor is “The Simpsons,” “It’s the Halloween episode.” Nor is “Family Guy.” Why? “Because…. Because… it’s so funny!”
Every time the phone rings, I imagine it’s a social worker who wants to know why children are being greeted at our house by a stuffed animal saying, “Hey, bitches!” He’s the carnival cruise director of Fun.
Jeff’s view of parenting:
Who knew that fun was so bad? Bad, fun, bad! Fun, you and your buddies Silly, Goofy and Laugh Riot are not welcome in Ms. Gurwitch’s House of Super Structured Seriousness. So, fuck you Fun, and the horse you rode in on!
She lectures me about the dangers of video games, sent me emails, cut out articles, gave sermons to all our friends who had gaming systems that they were raising a generation of warlike kids desensitized to violence, addicted to immediate gratification and incapable of sustained focus. I had no idea I married an Amish.
Annabelle on being married to “Coach Kahn”:
Like our Russian ancestors who trudged from shtettle to shtettle, Coach Kahn schleps our kid from team to team and league to league like they are escaping a pogrom.
Jeff on sports:
Annabelle doesn’t get it, sports and being a really good athlete was the most crucial and important aspect of my life right up until the exact second a girl touched my penis.
Jeff on Judaism:
As soon as I walk into the party, I see her at the stove cooking potato latkes. I’m immediately hit with an overwhelming sensation that I’m looking at my future wife. Armed with the confidence of this prophetic vision, I charge over and commence flirtation with Latke Lady. She loved Bob Dylan, Isaac Bashevis Singer and the Tao Te Ching-- the holy Trinity of things I also love.
Annabelle on Judaism:
Jeff Kahn seemed like just the kind of nice guy I had avoided my whole dating life-- nice to talk to, totally into me. Turn off. And he was Jewish. Since high school, I had stuck to my rule; one Jew per bed is enough! My teenage years were spent getting felt up by members of BESHTY, the Temple Beth Shalom youth group. After leaving Miami, I was anxious to expand my horizons, I only dated men of varying religious and cultural backgrounds. I hadn’t even seen a circumcised penis in years.