In a culture that so often tears marriage down, calls it worthless, or simply ignores it, it’s refreshing to see examples of healthy, thriving marriages. They all have their problems (some more than others), but in the end, each relationship is defined by love, respect, and commitment. Today, we’ll be looking at my Crown Jewels of marriages in the movies and on television.
The rules are simple: we have to see a decent amount of interaction between the couple; if the husband or the wife dies early on and is never seen or heard from again, it doesn’t count (so that eliminates most Disney couples). Keep in mind, this list is purely opinion-based, so some of your favorite couples may not be on this list. These are the ones who stuck out to me the most. With that said, let’s take a look at my top ten fictional married couples.
10. Mr. & Mrs. Bucket (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
Tim Burton’s adaptation may be the first version of the story to contain a well-rounded, functional marriage. Mr. Bucket is both present and involved in his family life while still doing his best to provide for the struggling family. Mrs. Bucket, meanwhile, sticks by her husband even when he loses his job, encouraging and supporting him as he frets about the future. And together, they take care of both sets of bedridden grandparents without question or complaint. That’s what I call commitment.
9. George and Mary Bailey (It’s a Wonderful Life)
You can’t talk about marriages without mentioning the First Family of classic films. No one, and I mean no one, beats Jimmy Stuart and Donna Reed for chemistry in the black-and-whites. Throughout the movie, we see them at their best and at their worst, from their honeymoon in an abandoned building to the stress of financial ruin, but no matter what, the two always support each other and value each other more than themselves. Through it all, they maintain a passion that’s hard to mimic, especially with four kids in the house.
8. Wash & Zoe (Firefly/Serenity)
The tough girl and the comic relief are an unlikely pair at best, but these two pull off that pairing with a combination of respect, devotion, and sparks. Throughout the course of the show, we see their intimacy, Wash’s occasional jealousy and insecurity, their worries about potentially starting a family, and their loyalty to each other even when they disagree. In short, these two experience nearly every facet of married life in only fourteen episodes, and it’s so much fun to watch them at it.
7. Dom & Mal Cobb (Inception)
Okay, so Mal’s technically dead throughout the whole movie, and she keeps trying to ruin all of Dom’s plans. But hey, she just wants him to come back to reality. Whether she’s right, insane, or just a mixture of Dom’s memories and guilty conscience, she wants to be together with him and grow old with him. Dom, for his part, loves Mal so much that he can’t let her go, trying to keep her alive in his dreams even after her death. And the flashes of their lives we see in Limbo show contentment and devotion many married couples only wish they had. It’s a strange dynamic, but that only makes their marriage more interesting to watch.
6. Pacha & Chicha (The Emperor’s New Groove)
Chicha plays more of a supporting role than many of the wives on this list, but she’s far from secondary in her relationship with Pacha. She’s not afraid to make her opinions known, and her attitude makes her the perfect complement to Pacha’s quiet, easy-going nature. We don’t get to see much of them together, but the glimpses of their interaction that we do get make it easy to imagine their family life and how much fun it must be. They’re not always perfect, but they’re always loving and looking out for each other.
5. Cliff & Claire Huxtable (The Cosby Show)
When it comes to classic television, no one has quite as much romantic flair as Cliff and Clair. Their moments of passion range from tender dancing to bizarre apple-eating. Sometimes they argue, tease each other, or have breakdowns, but despite being married over twenty years with five children, they still maintain the spark of a newlywed couple. No matter how rough life gets, their romance stays smooth and stylish.
4. Bob & Helen Parr (The Incredibles)
When you’re juggling raising kids and fighting villains, it can be hard to maintain a loving relationship, but Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl pull it off. Oh, sure, they fight and misunderstand each other and sometimes assume the worst about each other, but in the end, they work through their differences (which occasionally involves Bob getting punched in the face) and come back together to fight for their family and for the free world.
3. Snow White & Prince Charming (Once Upon a Time)
Sometimes it seems as though every force in the universe is conspiring to pull these two apart, but their true love makes them inseparable. Whether evil queens, curses, dimensional barriers, or even death comes between them, they always find a way back to each other. Sometimes they argue or struggle with the problems of parenting (especially since their daughter is the same age as they are), but when they literally share the same heart, they can’t stay at odds for long.
2. John & Mary Watson (Sherlock)
These two haven’t been married long, only introducing Mary and tying the knot in the latest season. Already, however, they’ve shown extraordinary commitment and compatibility. Mary fits perfectly into John’s life, accepting Sherlock’s eccentricities and helping the two of them in some of their cases, proving herself useful and not just window dressing. John, meanwhile, proves his loyalty to her in a monumental way: when a dark secret about her past comes out, John ultimately tells her, “The problems of your past are your business. The problems of your future are my privilege.” That kind of devotion is hard to come by. And their onscreen chemistry no doubt comes from the fact that the two actors are partners in real life, making their marriage even more realistic and fun to watch.
1. Rory Williams & Amy Pond (Doctor Who)
This is the second consecutive Crown Jewels list in which these two have appeared, but really, how do you top choosing a nurse over a Time Lord? How do you top the loyalty of standing alone, protecting your wife, for two thousand years? How do you top bending the laws of time in order to grow old with your husband? How do you top risking death and giving up any chance of seeing your friends and family again so that you can spend the rest of your life with the person you love? These two are awesome characters in themselves, but when they come together, they really shine.
Do you agree with my choices? Who are some of your favorite couples? Let me know in the comments below!