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Valentine’s Day Bonus: Marriage is an Adventure

This Valentine’s Day we want to think about celebrating marriage for more than just one day. A marriage is ongoing. It’s a collaboration, an adventure. This week we have two bonus love stories, a collaboration and an adventure. We have a couple who met in Antarctica and has spent the majority of their marriage traveling to one of the most hostile environments on Earth...we’ll meet Jimmy Chin and Chai Vasarehli who collaborated on one of this year’s most lauded Academy Award winning documentaries, Free Solo. Their stories are incredible examples of partnerships that continue through the ups and the downs of creating something beautiful together.

Three Minute Love Stories

Some of the very best love stories come in small packages. Last year we asked all of you to tell us your own stories in three minutes or less, and let me tell you a lot can happen in three minutes. You can fall in love with someone in three minutes. You can fall out of love in three minutes. While we're working on Season Two we wanted to share a few of these three-minute love stories with you. In them, you are going to meet Colleen and Sam who fell for each other when they were just 15 years old, got married, and figured out how to fall in love again after Sam had an affair. You’ll meet Shannon, who talks about what it's like to support your spouse when they decide to do one of the most challenging things in the world. And finally we'll hear from Christie, on how her marriage has evolved and persevered through her daughter’s special needs diagnoses. All of these stories could have been full episodes, but there is something special about boiling them down to their essence. The essence of a marriage. So, take about 15 minutes, settle back, and enjoy!

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BONUS EPISODE: A New Kind of Cinderella Story

The actor Nico Tortorella plays a sexy heartthrob on the romantic comedy television show Younger. Nico's real life love story with fitness star Bethany Meyers is so much more interesting. Bethany and Nico are both non-binary, queer and in a polyamorous marriage. This special bonus episode will have you questioning everything you think you know about how we define a marriage, why we choose monogamy and how we build our own families. Nico and Bethany are so open and honest about how they got where they are today after twelve years of on and off dating and sexual exploration. We could have held onto this one for season two, but it was just too good for us to wait!

I Love You Buddy

Buddy Woodall is serving three life sentences for murder. In January he'll celebrate his 22nd wedding anniversary to his wife Kristy.When Buddy was sentenced he asked Kristy to divorce him, he begged her to divorce him. She refused. She says she will stay with him until the very end. This is their love story. It starts when they were 15 years old and Kristy hit Buddy in the head with a volleyball in gym class. It takes them through the difficult early days of their marriage when they were just trying to make ends meet and it follows them through Buddy's arrest, his trial, his sentencing and now his time in Telfair State Prison. Buddy and Kristy believe they have a love that transcends the prison walls. 

What the Cancer Stole

Carol is 25. Her husband John is 51. They got married when she was just 21 and had plans to travel, buy a house, start a family. Four months after their wedding John was diagnosed with stage four gastrointestinal cancer. Carol quit college and started working full-time to pay John’s medical bills. They struggle every month to take care of all the expenses. She went from being a newlywed to being a caretaker in the blink of an eye. John’s doctors have told him that he has less than a year to live. For now, they’re trying to make every moment count.

He’s 25 years older

Natalie was in junior high when she first met Brandon. He was the father of one of her friends. Fast forward 15 years, Natalie and Brandon become a couple and they’re forced to consider how this might devastate their families and their entire lives. Today, as they plan their wedding, they’re dealing with the realities of their age difference—all of the judgements and stereotypes that come when a younger woman is married to a much older man. People ask Brandon if Natalie is his daughter. They judge her, silently and out loud about her motives for marrying someone who is older, but is also wealthier. They’re both still figuring it out. This is their story.

When a Democrat Meets a Republican (A Love Story)

What happens when a liberal falls in love with a conservative..... On the eve of this wildly contentious election day we wanted to bring you a short episode that proves love can cross the aisle. When Rick and Jeanne met in the seventies Jeanne was a liberal psychoanalyst and Rick was a writer for the National Review and William F. Buckley. Over the past forty years they've learned how to live with the other side. Their marriage and love story offers us advice for how we can all cross the aisle.

Just Do The Next Right Thing

Ryan sold Brittany some bad heroin. Then they reconnected in rehab and it was love at...second sight. But both of them put their relationship ahead of their recovery. They imagined that doing drugs together would be the best high they'd ever had. So they bought $500 of dope and checked into a motel outside of Augusta. Within days they'd both overdosed. Ryan couldn't believe he had nearly killed the person he loved most in the entire world. In order to ever be together again, they had to give one another up.






We're Both So Lucky

Kaitlyn Kiely hates it when people tell her that her fiancé Matt Wetherbee is so lucky to have her. "I'm lucky to have him," she says. Matt was in an accident just two days before he planned to propose. It left him completely paralyzed from the shoulders down. He vowed that he wouldn't propose to Kaitlyn until he could do it on his own.

Jerry

Most marriages don’t survive more than a few years after losing a child to violence. Fred and Maria Wright have had dark days since their son Jerry was murdered in the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in 2016. Two years later there are days when they still can’t even leave the house.  This is the story of two people forced to confront the worst thing that can happen to parents and finding a way through the darkness together. 

Just Kids

Mickey was 14 when she found out she was pregnant. She was 15 and Matt was 17 when they had their first baby. A year later, Mickey's parents emancipated her so she could marry Matt. Over the next few years, they had two more kids, got jobs and lost jobs, bought a house and lost a house, and then divorced in their early twenties.

They sowed their wild oats. They did all the things they couldn't do because they got married when they were just babies. 

Then, three years later, after Mickey had a health scare and Matt stepped in to help, they both ended up falling in love again...with each other. Mickey and Matt's story is unique because of how young they were when they first got married, but their story speaks to a larger universal truth: marriage is tough and sometimes you have to grow into yourself as a person before you can have a successful marriage. While interviewing them, it was easy to see that Mickey and Matt always cared for one another, even when they were apart. They just had to grow up a little to make the marriage part work. 








A Modern Southern Romance

Abbott Jones fell for a mystery woman who called herself Lauren the first time she tried online dating. Her friends told her that Lauren was probably a “shady lady.” It turns out Lauren did have a secret. She was Miss. America. When Deidre Downs Gunn walked down the aisle to marry Abbott Jones 13 months later she would be the first Miss. America in history to marry a woman.

Don't Give Up Love

Tami Oldham and Richard Sharp got engaged in Tahiti before they set off to sail across the Pacific Ocean. Only one of them made it to land. This is a story of bravery and survival and a love than transcends life and death.

The Shop Around the Corner

Every couple has a career fantasy. Bestselling novelist Emma Straub and her husband Mike made theirs happen when they opened their bookstore Books Are Magic. Opening a bookstore after being together for 16 years was like having another baby and it has completely changed their marriage. This is how they made it happen.

We’re All In This Together

Mark’s lovely wife Giulia has been in the psych ward three times since they got married right after college. You wouldn’t know it to look at her or to talk to her. When Mark first saw Giulia when they were freshman at Georgetown he thought of her as the exotic Italian girl he would be in love with for the rest of his life. Now it’s 18 years, three hospitalizations and two children later and their family’s motto is “We’re all in this together.” This is a story about hope as much as it’s about the ways mental illness can shape and shift a marriage. 

You Are My Safe Place

The pastors Vanessa Brown and Twanna Gause met as choir girls when they were teenagers. They became best friends. Both of them considered marrying men they didn’t love just to make other people happy. It took 30 years for these two women to find their way back to each other. 

When Lightning Strikes Twice

When Nora’s husband died of a brain tumor she had a plan. She’d adopt more kids. She’d date. But she wouldn’t fall in love again. She wouldn’t have another grand love story. But then lightning struck. Along came Matthew, a handsome divorcee who made her snort wine through her nose when he fell out of his chair at a bonfire. Finding someone new was easier than she thought, figuring out how to make it all work...that was a lot harder. This is the episode for everyone who has asked us whether they can love again after losing love. Sometimes the answer is yes.

He Was the Brave One

When Nora found out her boyfriend Aaron had a brain tumor she told him they were getting married. They lived their lives like Aaron wasn’t dying. They had a baby, binge watched Netflix, had lazy Sunday barbecues with friends. This is a story of how you love when you know the person you love won’t always be around.

Hope is a Dangerous Thing

Matt and Doree (of the podcast Matt and Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure) are on their fifth round of fertility treatments and they’re both wearing a little thin. Getting pregnant isn’t always easy, but no one ever talks about that. Matt and Doree do talk about it. They’re open and honest and raw about the challenges infertility place on a marriage. But they’re also hilarious. It’s important to note that they have stayed hilarious through this entire insane journey of trying to make a small human. 

Reformed by a Good Woman

Duke believes he was one of the most evil men on the planet. He was the co-leader of the largest Neo-Nazi organization in the world. He was also the bodyguard for a black woman named Catherine who loved him despite all of it. Duke says that Catherine's love is what rescued him. Their story - and their marriage - is raw and powerful and romantic. It was one of the most difficult stories we've reported and produced to date. Too many people have been harmed by the noxious things the National Socialist Movement represents. We had a difficult time reckoning with that. But we also believe that Duke and Catherine have a beautiful love story, one that is worth telling.