cool fictional married couples?

In my post “Maggie and Kate Can’t Get Married After All,” I talked about how, particularly in genre fiction* (and in genre movies and television shows) there is a feeling that stories get boring when characters get married.

(I guess it goes without saying anything that I think married couples can be very interesting and entertaining, since everything I write includes a very well-dressed amateur detective and her assistant, and now their adopted daughter as well. I also wrote about this topic in an earlier post.)

So, I decided to poll some of my favorite bloggers about their favorite fictional married couples. I’ve edited some contributions – both for length and because some entries almost disqualified themselves in how they were written (for example, if a couple is together throughout a book but only gets married at the end, that doesn’t count)..

The winners were Worf and Jadzia Dax from Star Trek (because they were the only couple mentioned more than once).

Barbara Ann Wright modestly declined to write about her own books (until I prodded her), though part of my original inquiry (the entire thing is reproduced below) was written specifically for her. Her characters Princess Katya and Starbride aren’t technically married (there are stages to these things when you’re royalty), but the transition between the first book (The Pyramid Waltz) and the second (For Want of a Fiend) was, in general terms, the transition from courtship to official commitment.

Her comments were:

I enjoyed writing Katya and Star as a couple more than two people who were just dating. With dating, there’s always that idea that things could suddenly end. After they were engaged, I knew I could have them fight without either of them wondering if this was the end. Of course, since I like to keep my characters in the trenches, I could still write Katya and Star in the midst of stolen moments, just more relaxed than in the first book.

Here are her other comments:

Jadzia and Worf from DS9 are one of my favorite couples from sci-fi. I liked the glimpse of Starfleet from a married perspective. Their relationship was only possible because they were of the same rank, but it was interesting to see the ways in which serving together while married DIDN’T work. After a while, they were forbidden from going on missions together because they cared about each other more than the objective. And in desperate situations, they had to put any personal problems aside, though that didn’t always work as planned.

My other favorite is Amy and Rory from Doctor Who. For the show, I liked that Amy and Rory took romance with the Doctor out of the equation. I also really liked their relationship. They joked with each other, and seemed very natural together. I never doubted that the character were in love, even when they were going through some very believable rough patches. Even with all the sci-fi ups and downs, their marriage itself had depth. And the plot line with the Roman soldier waiting for thousands of years, protecting Amy from different catastrophes, still gives me goosebumps. Amy and Rory are heroes together, far stronger together than each could be on her or his own.

Kristan Hoffman said:

Coach and Mrs. Coach from Friday Night Lights. They are the best EVER. I plan to blog about them (and that show) in the future. 🙂

Meredith and Derek on Grey’s Anatomy. Arguably some people think they’re boring now, but hey, the show has been going strong for several years since their marriage, so it’s obviously not THAT boring. There’s also a lesbian married couple on the show, Callie and Arizona.

Scandal (also a Shonda Rhimes creation) features a wonderful married gay couple, Cyrus and James, as well as a NOT good but very interesting marriage between President Grant (“Fitz”) and Mellie.

Jadzia Dax and Worf get married late in DS9 (that’s vaguely spoiler-ish, although 10+ years after the fact, I feel like it should be okay).

Maggie from Maggie Madly Writing said:

1. Lisey and Scott Landon from Stephen King’s novel Lisey’s Story. (It’s not true horror; more like horror-romance.) Scott, the husband, is dead during the course of the novel, but Lisey remains very much married to him in her mind and in her memories – the story has a lot of flashbacks to their married life, and it reveals the couple’s devotion to each other as Lisey recalls Scott’s past and his life. Their strong marriage bond is the entire focus of the book.

2. Jenny Waynest (a mage) and John Aversin (a dragon slayer) from Barbara Hambly’s Dragonsbane series (typical fantasy). Despite the different last names, they are a married couple, and they manage to go on many awesome adventures (totally not boring!) together throughout the series, defeating demons and mastering dragons. The dangers they face only strengthen their marriage, even when a seductive demon queen threatens to tear them apart.

Laura Stanfill said:

What comes to mind first is The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler. I love her. Love her. And this might be my favorite book of hers. We go from them meeting each other all the way to their children growing up. It’s a phenomenal portrait of two ordinary people who became swept up in their own lives, and living them out together, which brought all sorts of heartache, joy, sweetness, and misery. It’s really a well-plotted out story with the main theme as marriage.

OOOH–Gone Girl. How did I not think of that sick, twisted, brilliantly insane book about a married couple? The whole story is about their relationship, and it’s commercial, i.e. sort of genre that way, but also well written. It details all the ways people can hurt each other when they know each other intimately, but in this truly brilliant and insane way, using a diary and other POV tricks.

T.S. Bazelli from Ink Stained said:

I do love Claire and Jamie Fraser from the Outlander series of books. You can really tell how complementary they would be if they were real people. Their personalities are different, but are equal in passion and stubbornness. And in the books you can tell how devoted they are to one another.

Duncan Ellis from Identity Function/ said:

Charles Stross’s books Singularity Sky and Iron Sunrise feature a couple who are married for the whole of the second book (having met in the first): Rachel Mansour and Martin Springfield. They are both full of agency and capability, and the fact that they are married is only relevant in the care they take of each other.

Greg Bear’s books Darwin’s Radio and Darwin’s Children have a married couple as primary characters: Mitch Rafelson and Kaye Lang. Their marriage and subsequent pregnancy is central to the story.

* Accepting, for the purposes of this post, the idea that writing is either “literary” or “genre,” as opposed to the idea that “literary” is just another genre.

Here is the original email I sent out:

This is a question for my blog buddies.

In my last blog post, I talked about (as I have talked about before) the theory in various genres that when characters get married things get boring. In my comment, I mentioned some married couples who were certainly not boring. My examples, off the top of my head, were (of course) Nick & Nora Charles, Zoe and Wash (from Firefly and Serenity), and Sam & Suzy from Moonrise Kingdom.

But I want more examples. Who are the fictional married couples that you admire, enjoy, and maybe want to be like?

Here are the guidelines:

1) They have to actually be married (obviously I’m a little flexible since I included Sam and Suzy, but they got the best wedding which was available to them at the time and they considered themselves married for the rest of the picture).

2) Same-sex, opposite-sex, polygamous — I’m very flexible about this. If you want to name the Davis family (a “line marriage”) from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, that’s fine.

3) The marriage can’t be at the end of the story. The story, or a significant chunk of it, needs to be while the characters are married.

4) I’m tending toward genre fiction (mystery, sci-fi, horror, supernatural), but I’m flexible on that. Historical fiction would be fine, too. Movies, TV, comic books, prose fiction, drama –all are fine.

5) It is absolutely fine to name your own characters, as long as they are in a work which is published in some form so people can read it.

So, let me know who, and obviously something about why. Please get me your suggestions by the end of this week, and I’ll post them next weekend. I’ll link to your blog, of course.

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