Miriam and her husband were development workers in Afghanistan. They'd had a whirlwind romance themselves, so when they heard that their driver was in love, but didn't have enough money to propose to the girl, they made a grand romantic gesture: They gave him $10,000 to pay for the dowry and the wedding.
Host Ira Glass talks with Lauren Waterman, who's in the middle of a break-up right now and grappling with totally contradictory feelings. She wants her boyfriend to call, but also—maybe a little bit—doesn't want him to call.
In the wake of a break-up, writer Starlee Kine finds so much comfort in break-up songs that she decides to try and write one herself—even though she has no musical ability whatsoever. For some help, she goes to a rather surprising expert on the subject: Phil Collins.
Ira talks with divorce mediator Barry Berkman about why it's bad when the justice system gets involved in a break-up. Barry specializes in matrimonial law and is a member of The New York Association of Collaborative Professionals, which he helped found.
What divorce looks like from the dog's point of view. This monologue was performed by Merrill Markoe and recorded at Un-Cabaret in Los Angeles.
A friend tells Jonathan Goldstein how a trip with a pot-bellied pig ended up revealing his character and making his girlfriend leave. Jonathan Goldstein is the host of the radio show Wiretap on the CBC, where a version of this story originally aired.
When Gene Cheek was ten years old, his mother began dating a black man. It was 1961, in North Carolina.
Shant Kenderian reads from his memoir 1001 Nights In the Iraqi Army: The True Story of a Chicago Student Held as a POW By the Americans During Desert Storm. During the first Persian Gulf war, Shant (reluctantly) fought for Saddam Hussein.
The story of an Iranian couple who were unhappily married for 27 years. He had a temper.
Our program ends with a story of knowing your enemy in a more domestic setting: In a marriage. Actor Matt Malloy reads the story by Etgar Keret. "Eight Percent of Nothing" is from a collection of stories called The Nimrod Flip-Out.
"Fatso," a short story by Etgar Keret from his collection The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God. A woman reveals to her boyfriend that she's not always what she seems, especially at night.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chuck Klosterman talks about the time he MacGyvered his way out of one of the worst situations a boyfriend can find himself in.
A short story, "Fatso," by Etgar Keret. A woman reveals to her boyfriend that she's not always what she seems.
Jeffrey Brown wrote a comic novel called Clumsy, a beautiful and intimate account of his relationship with his ex-girlfriend. He talks with Ira about the relationship and why he chose to draw cartoons about it after it ended.
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.
The classifieds are populated by people in flux. People selling stuff from old lives in transition new ones.
Jonathan Goldstein and Heather O'Neill tell the true story of what happens when a person tries to intrude on a idyllic family of two, one of whom loves him, one of whom does not. For the first few years Jonathan knew Heather, her daughter Arizona was not very fond of him.
When it comes to political fighting, there's no more intimate a space than a marriage, where you have to get along. Where you have to figure out how to move on and get over disagreement.
Heather and her girlfriend lived with a cat named Sid. The girlfriend showed all sorts of affection toward Sid that she never showed toward Heather.
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)