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Act One: What Really Happens In Marriage

Ira visits marital researcher John Gottman, who's part of a generation of researchers that have revolutionized the way we see marriage by observing successful and unsuccessful marriages and trying to figure out what the successful happy ones are doing that the ones who end up in divorce are not. Marriage research and links to marriage education programs for couples are online at www.smartmarriages.com.

Act Two: The Defense Of Marriage Act

Adam Felber explains how legalized gay marriage are ruining his marriage with his wife. (His comments first appeared on his blog felbers.net.) And Ira talks about legal strategies with Matt Staver, the head of the group defending traditional marriage in the California lawsuits; and with David Cruz, a law professor at the University of Southern California.

Act Three: I Want To Be A Statistic

Starlee Kine gets answers about her parents marriage from her dad...after a lifetime of mystery. She and her sister had wanted her parents to divorce since they were little.

Prologue

We hear Billie Holliday, Keely Smith and Leo Reisman (with Anita Boyer) asking the musical question, "What Is This Thing Called Love?" And, reporter Sean Cole talks about love with Joe and Helen Garland, who fell in love during World War II, but married other people. Thirty years later they met again, felt the same love they felt when they were young, divorced their respective spouses, and finally married each other.

Act Two: Pen Pal Husband

When Janice Powell's husband went to prison, he wrote her a letter every day for eight years. When he was at home, he'd drink and get violent, but Janice said that the years in prison were the best of their relationship.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks with This American Life producer Julie Snyder about a personal regime change that happened when she was a kid, after her parents got divorced and her stepdad came on the scene. She says that by the time her parents separated, literature on what to tell the children was everywhere, and the kids took it relatively well.

Act Two: Marriage As Rerun

Many couples eventually encounter this problem: One person in the couple trots out the same story over and over, and the other person has to just listen. But what do the stories we tell in front of our significant others mean, and what do the significant others really think of them? Ira talks to three couples about the stories they've each told and heard countless times, and why.

Act One: Kiss

So what if you held onto a high-school crush? Under what conditions would it never go away? Tobias Wolff reads a short story called "Kiss." (38 minutes)

Act One: The Disappearance

Genevieve Jurgensen and her husband Laurent lost their two daughters, Elise and Mathilde, at the ages of 4 and 7. Actress Felicity Jones reads from Jurgensen's book, The Disappearance: A Memoir of Loss, in which Jurgensen tries to explain her children's lives and their deaths to a friend through a series of letters.

Act Three: Drawl

What does it mean to talk like a real Southerner—and why a multimillion industry can't seem to figure it out. Southern expatriate Mark Schone dissects Southern accents as they're portrayed in movies and TV shows.

Prologue

The tendency toward self-reinvention is so deep in American culture that we have an entire industry, a self-help industry, telling us how to transform ourselves into someone new. And usually, we see this as a positive thing.

Act One

Over the course of his life, Keith Aldrich was a child of the Depression in Oklahoma; a preacher-in-training in booming California; an aspiring Hollywood actor; in the 1950s, a self-styled Beat writer, and then a man in a gray flannel suit; in the 1960s, a member of the New York literati, and then a hippie; in the 1970s, a denizen of the suburbs with a partying, Ice Storm kind of life. Then in the 80's, when the moral majority helped put Ronald Reagan in office, he became a born-again Christian. Today we're devoting our entire show to story of Keith's life, as told by one of his nine children, Gillian Aldrich.

Act Three: Money Is Good

How one woman learned to stop worrying and start spending. Liz Gilbert and her husband Michael Cooper explain how their different ideas about handling money always divided them—until they stumbled into a $10,000 windfall.

Prologue

We ask 18-year-old Chana Wiliford and her father in Texas if they'd be willing to have a conversation on tape in which each of them gets to ask the other the questions they've never asked before. In the conversation, Chana is half his child, half his peer.