The longtime New Yorker writer Veronica Geng titled one of her funniest books “Love Trouble Is My Business.” It wasn’t her business alone: over time, love and love trouble, marriage and marital trouble have been at the center of some fascinating pieces in the magazine.

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In “Fixed,” the scholar and staff writer Jill Lepore chronicles the history, and the complexities, of couples therapy. (“Campaigns to defend, protect, and improve marriage have been around for a long time. They’re usually tangled together.”) In “A Modest Proposal,” David Sedaris recounts the multiple times he proposed to his boyfriend, Hugh, before getting a yes. In “A Couple in Chicago,” Mariana Cook interviews Barack and Michelle Obama near the beginning of their lives together. In “The Perfect Wife,” Ariel Levy explores how Edith Windsor achieved a groundbreaking victory for same-sex marriage. Finally, in “You’re Getting Married,” from 2003, Rebecca Mead examines the booming bridal industry and how it has reshaped popular ideas about weddings and matrimony. “The average American bride and groom together spend twenty-two thousand dollars on the day that sees them transformed into man and wife,” Mead writes, “and each new union is filled not just with cordial hope but with the promise of profit.”

David Remnick


You’re Getting Married

The Wal-Martization of the bridal business.

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Barack and Michelle Obama, sitting on a couch.

A Couple in Chicago

At home with the Obamas, in 1996.

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An illustrated figure jumping out of a ring box

A Modest Proposal

Just when you thought you’d never get married.

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Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer

The Perfect Wife

How Edith Windsor fell in love, got married, and won a landmark case for gay marriage.

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An illustration of a couple in bed—with their therapists.

Fixed

The rise of marriage therapy, and other dreams of human betterment.

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An earlier version of this post misspelled the name of photographer Mariana Cook.

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