We’re Idiots! – marriage and the Simple Life


sam and lisa

When I out of the blue mentioned to Sam that I wanted to go to Australia and see my Mum he blurted out ‘Oh are you going back to work out how to divorce me?’

…. you could say that we’ve been having some marriage problems!

Rather than loving the simple life we’re creating together it’s become a daily ‘just get through it today’ battle, little or no communication between us in our marriage.

It’s been affecting me everyday, I was even medicating (for depression caused by menopause) but I know part of what we are dealing with is contributing.

I went off the medication about a month ago without telling Sam and lashed back with ‘well I don’t want to have to medicate to be able to stay in my marriage’. It just got worse from there with hurtful things flung about, lots of swearing, crying and door slamming.

All this in front of our children.


F@# we’re idiots!


So here I am in Australia spending time with my mum, and NO not looking to divorce my husband (who I LOVE very much).

We’ll work this out, we always do, absence is certainly making my heart grow fonder, ahhh communication is the key in a marriage and I am one who keeps my feelings close to my chest. I find it excruciating to have to say ‘I’m Sorry, or even I love You’….Sam on the other hand says them both and often to me, he’s always the first to make the peace.


F%$k I’m an idiot!


He thinks I want to leave him, take the kids and go back to Australia…..


Well f#@k… he’s an idiot!


I love our life in Italy, I love our life together good and bad, I love YOU Sam, I’m not going anywhere!

Just thought I’d let you know…..

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28 replies
  1. Alan
    Alan says:

    A wise therapist once told me that the real bonds in marriage aren’t forged during the good times. They’re forged during the hard times, in the thick of battle, when you come to trust that your partner in arms isn’t going to abandon his or her post and leave you to the enemy.

    I admire your site and that you’re sharing your adventure with those of us who dream of one day being able to do what you’re doing. Stay strong, and fight on…together.

  2. Rob
    Rob says:

    Lisa and Sam – I’ve been married for nearly 40 years to the same person and I’m sure we’ve divorced at least 6 times 😁

  3. Dennis
    Dennis says:

    Way way back, end of the 1960s, when I was several years in Rome in the Australian embassy my young marriage did break up. In those days this was more rare than now, in Australia. Two things of relevance.

    First, when you are far away, very dependent on each other, working together all the time, lacking wider network, it is more difficult than idyllic imagination imagines.

    Second, to go from Australia to Italy is to shift from a world where people tend to live ‘outwards’ to a world where people live more ‘inwards’ or so it seemed back then in Rome and may possibly be in your relatively traditional remote circumstance.

    Back then for us was the unevenness of my having the connection of the office which my wife did not. Now, inescapably, you have the difference of one with deeper Italian roots than the other.

    I have just discovered your blog and site, it reflects so much about your shared sense of wonder. Life has moved on of course from those days of mine in Rome. Italy’s imprint indelible.

    Both my partner and I have experience owner building and farm building in the bush in Australia, we know how much exhausting work is involved in even modest measures of self-sufficiency. Many years ago the Owner Builder magazine in Australia did a survey of marriage problems among owner builders. Most risky phase was when the job was pretty much done and partners looked across the table at each other and said “oh no, not without a project!” There are huge phase shifts to figure out. I speak as an unintentional serial monogamist. Disaster and death in the mix.

    My partner since 2009 and I were a month in Italy in 2010, two months 2011, five scrounged weeks next March April. We were planning to wande Le Marche but the terremoto has cast a shadow over that, so in looking around for other less visited places found your site and your ferociously honest blog.

    It’s not easy for you being everyone else’s dream…you must somehow wall that off and live for yourselves. An energy budget essential : a Chinese doctor once said to me “you must save half your chi for yourself “.

    Every good wish for Christmas and the new year. And for happy personal outcomes for the family.


    • Lisa Chiodo
      Lisa Chiodo says:

      Dennis thank you so much, you made me tear up!!
      I love the energy budget thought, much needed. My husband and I have been working together for years now, renovating around a dozen houses in Australia together. Now the dream here is on hold while we find ways to create an income. Think I need to get my husband to push the reset button as well and get back to his original dream for life here.

      Maybe we’ll see you next year!
      Have a wonderful Christmas and thanks again, much love lisa and the gang x

  4. Arlene Miller
    Arlene Miller says:

    Menopause is a life onto its own. Doug Kaufman has a television/internet program called, Know the Cause. His experience and expertise will put you on course, with natural remedies! Blessings xx

    • Lisa Chiodo
      Lisa Chiodo says:

      Oh so true Arlene, it really hit me hard, I saw something on line detailing the 30 symptoms of menopause and I had 28 lol. I’ll look at Know the Cause, all ideas welcome xxx

      thanks so much for the kind thoughts
      love lisa x

  5. Sophia
    Sophia says:

    Well, I am happy to read that you are a normal family, with normal problems like pushing shit up hill, stress with household, children and bills, and with all the normal things that we say and react to when emotionally drained (in front of our children). But hey, they have to learn how to put a fight in a normal marriage, don’t they!
    So, I can only presume that when you get back, the kisses will be sweeter and the hugs will be longer 🙂
    Love is all around! Kisses and hugs, Lisa, to all of you!

  6. Vanessa
    Vanessa says:

    I listen to this podcast on iTunes and maybe you might like it? It’s an American therapist who deals with negotiations in relationships. Her name is Dr Pat Allen. She’s also written a few books that are really good and explain things easily. She’s 83 I think and has been doing this work for over 40 years.
    i don’t know if you’d like it, but while your in Australia and have some time, you could plug in your headphones and tune out for a bit. Big hug to you.

  7. Dee
    Dee says:

    I think its very brave of you to voice what youre going through. Im not one to give advice because its never received well even when asked for, but Inwill say I have lived through what you are going through. Living in exile in Italy puts huge strains on the people involved and the marriage. Once the house is renovated and you look around at the quality of yoyr life miles away from your family it can be a WTF moment. Its not easy for the over 40 s to simply start over with a new life, its tough anwhere and Gid knows doing it with children in a country that is know for its red tape and frustrating business environment can be hell at times. There are lots of upsides to liv
    ing in Italy I know I live here, but it takes its toll. My marriage was eroded day by day by the culture gap and the mountain of crap you have to deal with day by day. Its incredibly tiring. All my friends in the 13 years Ive been here have either divorced ( if they married an Italian as I did) or gone back as a couple to whence they came from. Its not easy. Its not just you. Marriage is tough anywhere, but doing it in a culture that will never accept you and your culture and struggling financially here in Italy breaks the back of any couple eventually. Its not you, and its not menopause. Its just the adventure has become a pain in the ass. As you get older youll want the kids to be around grandparents and cousins , indeed you yourself and your spouse will need a soft place to fall. Those friends who unfriended you are not worth sixpence. When you come back reevaluate with your spouse where you want to retire and get old and you need to be honest with each other on that. The stress of living in exile takes its toll.

  8. Carrie Myers
    Carrie Myers says:

    Aloha dear. Love is a choice.
    Choose to love each other. You won’t always like each other but we all have to make a conscious effort to love each other. It is an action word. It’s not feelings. Oh yes, feelings can come from it but it is a verb. Don’t hesitate to say I love you. And definitely don’t hesitate to say I’m sorry. Say I’m sorry to your children. You two are hurting and so are your children. God can heal all of this. You can do this. God can heal all of this. I’m praying for all of you.

    • liz
      liz says:

      Carrie said it beautifully. ‘Love is a choice.’
      And i so undèrstand the crazy feeling you will go through in menopause, but don’t medicate. If anything the way to a healthier mind and body is pràyer. All things are possible through God! Run to Him. He is the great physician and healer of our mind, body and soul.

  9. Anne
    Anne says:

    Hang in there. Awareness is everything, isn’t it? I don’t know how to write this without sounding strange – please don’t think I’m enjoying the tough patch you’re going through – but it was refreshing to hear that you and Sam are “normal” people and that things aren’t always rosy in the land of my ancestors. Holding you all in love and light!

  10. peggy hayden adelaide SA
    peggy hayden adelaide SA says:

    Hi Lisa I have been following your fb posts for some time, I save some of your great photos thinking one day I will paint them [I am an artist] you will get over your fuzzed brain menopausal nightmares we all have challenges as we head through our history,not one person gets away with the perfect journey, you will face it all because you are a strong woman, we all have to work at our marriage,lets face it men are from a different planet to us [they say we are] GO HOME and keep on posting photos of that beautiful place you live in, oh and say hi to Sam and the kids from me x

  11. Matt
    Matt says:

    Hi Guys, hang in there and be nice to yourselves. We finished our adventure went back to Adelaide then NZ for a look at a different lifestyle. Would you believe we’ve ended up in Brisbane and enjoying it. We have been here 4 months, nice area, great school and incredible weather. I certainly miss Italy in fact the whole feel of Europe. We are now planning a trip next year to Italy and maybe Canada. We made such nice friends and Australia feels different to us…. who knows but we need to earn some ‘soldi’ and reload. Take care of yourselves whichever way the wind blows just don’t throw any pots or pans. Ciao Matt, Danielle, Zach and Xavier… baci baci

  12. Henriette
    Henriette says:

    As Val says…both do the ‘value exercise’ and see where you can find eachother on common ground, where you can’t but are willing to accept and where you can compromise. Because you love eachother.
    And you’re not idiots. Stay true to yourself. Love the what is. x

  13. Jen
    Jen says:

    oh lovelies – look at all the heart-felt understanding from everyone – and it’s all what you would say to someone in your situation.
    Coming off depression/anxiety medication is a really tough thing – and should be done slowly and with medical supervision – they are addictive substances that create a withdrawal when coming off – sending you into a depression/anxiety state when you try to come off them. Definitely could have been a good idea to tell Sam you were coming off them though so he might understand your moods – but he does now, so that’s good.
    Give yourself a break, love yourself as much as you love your husband and kids, relax, be with your mum, be with you. Breathe.

  14. Wynne
    Wynne says:

    Oh, my dear friends…you are NOT idiots! I mean, think about what you, as a family, have undertaken: leaving everything familiar and easy(ier) behind, to begin a new life in a foreign country without the modern infrastructure (at least in your area) and systems and familiar routines that makes the day-to-day easier elsewhere. It’s a LOT to deal with, and you’re only three years in. It may seem like a long time, but in the duration of your entire adult lives, it’s really not that long. Give it more time, and don’t be so hard on yourselves.

    And Lisa, you’re not “medicating to stay in your marriage” – you’re temporarily taking medications to stay YOU. We women are sometimes cursed with the raging hormonal ebb and flow, and taking care of ourselves so that we may take care of others, is just a part of it. A crappy part to be sure, but a part nonetheless.

    Just remember, one of my mottos: At some point THIS (whatever “this” may be at any given time) will someday not be happening.

    Enjoy every moment with your mum, rejuvenate with your friends and homeland, and come back refreshed and ready to celebrate the new school year and begin the slide into the holidays.

    You got this.

    Much love to you all,

  15. Diane Kosmalski
    Diane Kosmalski says:

    Hang in there, Lisa and Sam. You’ll get through this tough period. You’re not idiots; you’re humans trying to live as real and genuine a life as possible. You are so admired. You’ll get through these growing pains. Your commitment to each other and your lives together will see you through. Take the time you need; it’s all part of the journey of living a long life together.

  16. Val Smith
    Val Smith says:

    Never call yourselves an idiot. I think I am qualified to make a comment here Lisa and Sam. Neither one of you is an idiot. You both have dreams and I think and believe that your dreams are both valid but entirely different. First thing is to define what it is in life that you both really want. Fred made me sit down once and put on a sheet of paper two columns. One for what I wanted in our lives and the other for the not wants. Then on another sheet how we intended to make the things that we wanted happen. Lisa and Sam this was not easy, but it made it easier to see where we were both going, and how to compromise. I believe that your move to Italy has been life changing for you all, and a fantastic thing for Luca. For you Lisa and Sam I think that you dream is wonderful, but you can both only do so much to make it happen. You are a dreamer Lisa and Sam is also a dreamer, but the dreams are not converging. I saw when I was with you that you are both in a kind of Limbo. There is more to life than struggling through everyday. You both work incredibly hard. Sam you are a wonderful father and tireless worker. Lisa you are an amazing and patient mother especially in your parenting of Luca, who is delightful by the way . Carina also suffers here as well. She is a teenager now growing into a young woman. I hope you don’t feel I have overstepped the mark here, but I lived with a driven workaholic man for 38 years, and yes there were many times I thought. Fuck This, I’m out of here, but like you I was not one to give up. Lisa I hope you have taken care of your health while in Oz and Sam I hope you too will take your health in hand with diet. The juice walk is pie in the sky, and to leave your family for that long is not conducive to happy marriage. I want to say a lot more about all of this but feel that for now I should shut up. I want you to know just how much I love you all and that if I can ever be of any help I am always there for you all. Hang in there and talk to each other without yelling. And finally if you believe you are an idiot you are an idiot. So don’t do that anymore.xxxxx

  17. Melanie Murrish
    Melanie Murrish says:

    Ah guys-wishing you a smooth ride through this. Lisa, I am peri-menopausal….do not underestimate the power that this period in life brings (read:I am like a maniac-Jekyll and Hyde from hour to hour) Thanks for being so open and honest; i truly helps others. <3

  18. Melinda
    Melinda says:

    Marriage is so hard, no matter where you live or how busy your life is, that constant negotiating with someone just gets bloody boring.
    We have a wedding anniversary coming up and youngest asked how long have we been married…my response…thousands of years!! Ha, I always consider it a miracle of we make it to Christmas and we’ve had a few of them now!
    Hang in there you two xx

  19. Angie B
    Angie B says:

    Life is like that, when you are married! Enjoy your time in Aus, and then head back home, happy and rested.
    I love your Renovating Italy stories!

  20. Maria Virgilio
    Maria Virgilio says:

    just keepin it real…good for you. I so appreciate your transparency…Most people are not gutsy enough to say it like it is…Everything is an Instagram selfie of perfection, edited and enhanced…Reall Life isn’t always editable…..life happens, struggles happen, mistakes happen, words we can’t take back happen…..the key is when you think about not being with someone through life, whether bad or good and knowing you would be incomplete without that person, then you JUST KNOW…it’s not all fabulous….it takes a lot of communication, laughter, failure, triumphs, tears…enjoy your journey and thanks for taking us along..

  21. Michael Bonato
    Michael Bonato says:

    After 33 years of marriage, deciding we would begin our life together with a 2 yo and a baby in a 30 ft Bus that we lived in as we converted it. Yeah ” Fuck this ” came into the equation a lot, being torn between reality and emotions and staying together against all odds makes us better people, and the children more understanding about life, as they say, fore warned is fore armed.

    Our experience together as difficult as it has been countless times, made us more determined to get it right, after all we only get one shot at this, and there’s no gain in walking away, if you have already pledged your life to a commitment you truly believe in with all your mind, heart, body and soul.
    Stay strong Lisa, you and Sam have a good thing going, just as family and friends admired the life we chose, you and Sam are being admired worldwide for making a life ” Against all Odds “.


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