Created By: kjnoren on July 1, 2012 Last Edited By: spasticgoldfish on May 30, 2013
Troped

Marriage Then Romance

A couple gets married first, and have their romance later

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Trope

Notes

Rolled in examples. Would like some elaboration on some of them, especially those under live action tv that only list the marriage type.

Will probably launch this evening.

Description

So…how does a fellow ask his own wife to marry him…?

Maybe it is an Arranged Marriage, maybe an Accidental Marriage, maybe it is a marriage of convenience like a Citizenship Marriage or a Mail-Order Bride. Our couple has been married, and they see it as a temporary thing, or a thing to get over with and avoid as quickly as possible.

However, instead they start to fall in love.

This can easily form the basis of romantic comedy, making it very easy for the people around the newly wedded couple to have, form, and get all sorts of mistaken impressions. Or impressions that are correct when formed, but invalid a few days later. Or receiving mixed messages from the married couple.

Compare Perfectly Arranged Marriage, which is focused on just one type of marriage and on the result, not on the romantic process. Also compare It Meant Something to Me, Becoming the Mask and Mail-Order Bride.

Examples

Anime and Manga

  • San and Nagasumi's marriage in My Bride Is a Mermaid... either they got married, or one of them would have to die.
  • In Ranma ˝ the title character is betrothed to Akane while they are both teenagers, however subsequent romance is constantly derailed by, Akane's hatred of men, the frequent appearance of other fiancees as well as Ranma's curse that causes him to change into a woman whenever he is splashed with water.
  • In Please Teacher! high school student Kei Kusanagi marries the alien who is posing as his home room teacher in order to protect her secret identity. They move in together and quickly fall in love with each other.
  • In Ah! My Goddess franchise the main character, Keiichi Morisato encounters a goddess who will grant one wish to him. He wishes that she stay with him forever. As far as the universe is concerned from that point on, the two are effectively married. They couldn't leave one another if they tried. In the process of finding a place to live and domestic life they fall in love with one another. (I'm not sure if they ever actually have a wedding.)

Film

  • In Green Card Bronte and Georges join in a sham marriage to get a green card to the US and a good apartment. They can't stand each other, and are hunted by the INS, before they realise they love each other.
  • In Fools Rush In the couple Isabel & Alex have a one night stand in Las Vegas which results in pregnancy. They decide to get married, move in together and then actually get to know each other.
  • Raise the Red Lantern could be an example of how this sort of trope does not necessarily result in a happy ending. Songlian marries Chen as his fourth wife. Although she is initially indifferent to him, she soon becomes embroiled in the competition between the wives to seduce him and gain his undivided attention.
  • In Seven Brides for Seven Brothers a mountain man named Adam convinces a townswoman named Milly to marry him, promising an idealistic life in the woods. But when he gets her home she discovers that he failed to mention his six rowdy adult brothers who would also be living under the same roof. Despite her initial anger, she starts to fall in love with him, but their romance is derailed when he decides that since kidnapping one woman worked so well, they might as well head into town and grab themselves six more. Snowed in over winter, all of the girls warm to their captors and when spring arrives and their menfolk come to rescue them, they all manage to finagle shot-gun weddings instead.
  • In Shadowlands, the Bio Pic about C. S. Lewis, he marries Joy in a civil ceremony so that she can live and work in the UK. Then he falls in love with her, and after she develops bone cancer, they get married for real. This was Truth in Television.
  • Columbia Pictures 2006 biodrama Marie Antoinette starts with the marriage of King Louis XVI of France to Princess Marie of Austria. The two had never met until their wedding, which was made to solidify a treaty between France and Austria.

Literature

  • In Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold the marriage was meant to be temporary, to get her out of a deportation and him out of a kidnapping charge.
  • Zane and Danica in Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. It's a political match -- their peoples have been at war for generations, they're the royal heirs, and they decide that they can make peace via a marriage alliance. It works, and they fall in love later.
  • In the short novel Islands by Eric Flint, Calopidius leaves for war shortly after his Arranged Marriage with Anna.
  • In Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber, Random is forced to marry a woman, to lend her some status even after he deserts her. However, when Corwin sees him later, he has brought his wife with him to the courts. He explains that they had actually fallen in love.
  • Moonraker's Bride by Madeleine Brent: The heroine enters a marriage of convenience with a man who's about to be executed; complications (and eventually romance) ensue when he's not executed after all.
  • Sarah Plain and Tall, a children's book published in 1985, later made into a movie and stage play, is about Sarah. a mail order bride who a widower named Caleb who has two young children. Their courtship happens after they are already living as man and wife.
  • In the novel Promised Land by Connie Willis and Cynthia Felice the main character, Delanna, returns to her home planet to inherit a large tract of land, but finds out that according to the planet's backward property laws, she has been legally married to her neighbor, and before she can divorce him, she must live together with him for one year. Rom-com ensues.
  • In the novel Cold Sassy Tree, the protagonist's grandfather, Enoch Rucker Blakeslee, marries his young, pretty employee Miss Love Simpson only weeks after the death of his wife. Blakeslee initially only wants to have a woman to cook and clean for him without burdening his adult daughters, but later admits to having feelings for Miss Love. The novel focuses on the impact of their relationship on the small Georgia town of Cold Sassy.
  • This is a common trope in pulp romance novels, like this one [1].

Live Action TV

Theater

  • In Fiddler on the Roof the marriage of Tevye and Golde was arranged and they have been together for years, having already raised all their children to adulthood, but it isn't until one of their daughters wants to marry for love that they start thinking about romance with one another. Their duet 'Do You Love Me?' lampshades, describes and plays out the trope.
  • Averted in Anne of the Thousand Days. The marriage of Henry VIII and Katharine of Aragorn was thorny from the outset, and deteriorated thereafter. One scene shows Henry VIII grousing about this: "I do not love that woman. That was a marriage of state: England married Spain."

Video Games

Web Comic

  • Marry Me. Pop-idol who doesn't want to go back into the dating scene impuslively accepts a marraige proposal by sign and gets married to him on stage that minute. But the guy who was holding the sign didn't especially want to get married to her - it wasn't even his sign. Eventually they fall in love.
Community Feedback Replies: 44
  • July 1, 2012
    AP
    There is Perfectly Arranged Marriage which is very similar.
  • July 1, 2012
    kjnoren
    Not that similar, really, though the two tropes are related. Neither of my two examples fit into Perfectly Arranged Marriage. The first one isn't arranged at all, and the second required quite a bit of growing up and change for the protagonists, in quite a different way than what the families would expect or want.
  • July 1, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    At the end of Juno the plot of the film is explained as a variant of this: Juno has a baby before she has a relationship with the boy who fathered it.

    I think that the movie Green Card is based around this but I haven't seen the whole thing.
  • July 2, 2012
    Rognik
    ^^Since they're related, it should be mentioned as a compare or contrast to this trope. I don't think AP was saying this trope was redundant with that comment.

    • The basis of Dharma And Greg was basically this. They have a one-night fling, end up married, and then get adjusted to living with each other, as well as their parents getting along.
  • July 2, 2012
    kjnoren
    Given the description of Green Card it's precisely the trope I'm after. Juno I'm less sure of.

    Dharma And Greg seems to use another two other wedding-and-marriage tropes: the first is getting married very soon after meething each other; the other seems similar to Foolish Sibling Responsible Sibling. I think both tropes would be quite valid to add.

    ETA: The second Dharma And Greg trope is of course oddCouple.
  • July 2, 2012
    surgoshan
    • Implied for the Earl and Countess of Downton Abbey. He was from an old, land-rich-cash-poor English family, while she was from a nouveau-riche family in New York. Thirty years later, they're very proper but very much in love.
  • July 7, 2012
    kjnoren
    Bump
  • July 7, 2012
    jatay3
  • July 7, 2012
    kjnoren
    ^ Please provide some context for the example.
  • July 7, 2012
    Waterlily
    This has happened a lot on soap operas but the first that comes to mind is Simon and Katie from As The World Turns

    Tony and Shelly from Blossom is an accidental marriage example.
  • July 7, 2012
    Sackett
    This is a supertrope to Perfectly Arranged Marriage isn't it?

    I don't know how many examples we can get though that don't fit under Perfectly Arranged Marriage
  • July 7, 2012
    kjnoren
    No, there are examples of a Perfectly Arranged Marriage that don't fit into Marriage Then Romance, so it's not a case of a supertrope.

    The two tropes are different in the following ways:

    Perfectly Arranged Marriage describes a result: an arranged marriage that ends as a very good marriage.

    Marriage Then Romance describes a process: a marriage for some reason that is not love, and then a romance follows. The marriage may still fail in the end.
  • July 7, 2012
    Goldfritha
    • In Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber, Random is forced to marry a woman, to lend her some status even after he deserts her. However, when Corwin sees him later, he has brought his wife with him to the courts. He explains that they had actually fallen in love.
  • July 7, 2012
    JonnyB
    In Fiddler On The Roof, Tevye and Golde have had a long arranged marriage, but when his daughters all start marrying for love, Tevye asks Golde, "do you love me?" which leads to a romantic song.
  • July 7, 2012
    bwburke94
    The title Marriage Before Romance might work better.
  • July 8, 2012
    kjnoren
    Maybe. Anyone else who thinks the same?
  • July 8, 2012
    MichaelKatsuro
    I agree. Marriage then romance isn't as nice-sounding, for some reason.

    Oh, and in old Indian movies this was very common. (At least I'm pretty sure it was India.) A couple would enter an arranged marriage, and then the movie would show them falling in love.
  • July 8, 2012
    GeminiSparkSP
    Suggesting new name: Marry First Love Later?
  • July 8, 2012
    PaulA
    • Moonraker's Bride by Madeleine Brent: The heroine enters a marriage of convenience with a man who's about to be executed; complications (and eventually romance) ensue when he's not executed after all.
  • July 9, 2012
    kjnoren
    ^ Thanks!

    ^^ I prefer using romance, I think. This is a plot, not a result.

    ^^^ Do you have any specific works that you can mention?
  • July 10, 2012
    nitrokitty
  • July 10, 2012
    Karalora
  • July 10, 2012
    Sheliak
    • Zane and Danica in Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. It's a political match- their peoples have been at war for generations, they're the royal heirs, and they decide that they can make peace via a marriage alliance. It works, and they fall in love later.
  • July 11, 2012
    kjnoren
    ^ Thanks!

    I think this is getting close to ready for launch. I will probably launch as Marriage Before Romance, as proposed and seconded earlier. I'd be glad to get some hints or paragraphs on how to improve the description, though.
  • July 11, 2012
    Perey
    Film: In Shadowlands, CS Lewis marries Joy in a civil ceremony so that she can live and work in the UK. Then he falls in love with her, and after she develops bone cancer, they get married for real.

    Real life: The exact same thing.
  • July 11, 2012
    kjnoren
    Doing some digging in Perfectly Arranged Marriage. I'm only noting the works here:

  • July 12, 2012
    Waterlily
    More soap opera examples:

    Marriages of Convenience:

    Accidental Marriages:

  • July 12, 2012
    Waterlily
    I think this is actually fairly different from Perfectly Arranged Marriage. Arranged marriages are common with many people and that trope reflects a belief that many people have: that arranged marriages lead to happy marriages. That trope is probably often used to justify it while stories of marriages of convenience or accidental marriages turning out happy are probably just simple love stories.

    Another difference is that arranged marriages are decided by other people and that trope implies that they knew what they were doing. The other two may not be done for love but they are generally done on the terms of those getting married.

    I hope that makes sense.
  • July 13, 2012
    kjnoren
    ^^ Thanks!
  • July 13, 2012
    MorganWick
  • July 13, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • Marry Me: Pop-idol who doesn't want to go back into the dating scene impuslively accepts a marraige proposal by sign and gets married to him on stage that minute. But the guy who was holding the sign didn't especially want to get married to her - it wasn't even his sign. Eventually they fall in love.
  • July 16, 2012
    kjnoren
    Edited in example, with bonus bump.
  • July 23, 2012
    kjnoren
    Bump.
  • May 26, 2013
    kjnoren
    Time to get this rolling again.
  • May 26, 2013
    surgoshan
    • Said to be the case for the Earl and Countess of Downton Abbey. He was rich in titles, poor in cash, she was a wealthy heiress from New York. Purely a business arrangement. Then they fell in love. The love is shown on screen, but not the falling-in-love part.
  • May 26, 2013
    kjnoren
    ^ Having thought about it, I'm not sure that example fits. It fits under Perfectly Arranged Marriage (since that focus on the result) but not under Marriage Then Romance (since that focuses on the romance itself).

    I might have too narrow a view of my own proposal, so can be persuaded, but I think the trope should focus on a romance under a certain circumstance.
  • May 26, 2013
    AgProv
    Literature:

    In James Herriot's Vet books, James marries Helen Alderson. Instead of a honeymoon, they stay in a remote inn and spend a fortnight performing TB tests on outlying herds of cows. in Yorkshire, romance is where you find it.
  • May 26, 2013
    katiek
    The surprisingly non-schmaltzy Loving Leah, a Hallmark Hall Of Fame presentation, has a couple who marry based on Orthodox Jewish levirate marriage and who fall for each other after the wedding.
  • May 26, 2013
    herbides
    Movies
    • "Fools Rush In" (1997) - the couple Isabel & Alex have a one night stand in Las Vegas which results in pregnancy. They decide to get married, move in together and then actually get to know each other.
    • "Fiddler on the Roof" (1971) - There are several marriages in this movie but the one that would fit this trope is the marriage of the parents, Tevye & Golde. Their marriage was arranged and they have been together for years, having already raised all their children to adulthood, but it isn't until one of their daughters wants to marry for love that they start thinking about romance with one another. Their duet 'Do You Love Me?' pretty much describes this trope.
    • "Raise the Red Lantern" (1991, Chinese) could be an example of how this sort of trope does not necessarily result in a happy ending. Songlian marries Chen as his fourth wife. Although she is initially indifferent to him, she soon becomes embroiled in the competition between the wives to seduce him and gain his undivided attention.
    • In "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (1954) A mountain man named Adam convinces a townswoman named Milly to marry him, promising an idealistic life in the woods. But when he gets her home she discovers that he failed to mention his six rowdy adult brothers who would also be living under the same roof. Despite her initial anger, she starts to fall in love with him, but their romance is derailed when he decides that since kidnapping one woman worked so well, they might as well head into town and grab themselves six more. Snowed in over winter, all of the girls warm to their captors and when spring arrives and their menfolk come to rescue them, they all manage to finagle shot-gun weddings instead.

    Anime & Manga
    • In "Ranma 1/2" the title character is betrothed to Akane while they are both teenagers, however subsequent romance is constantly derailed by, Akane's hatred of men, the frequent appearance of other fiancees as well as Ranma's curse that causes him to change into a woman whenever he is splashed with water.
    • In "Onegai Tichaa" or "Please Teacher" high school student Kei Kusanagi marries the alien who is posing as his home room teacher in order to protect her secret identity. They move in together and quickly fall in love with each other.
    • In the "Aa megami-sama" or "Oh My Goddess!" franchise (Manga, light novels, 3 different anime, movie and video games) The main character, Keiichi Morisato encounters a goddess who will grant one wish to him. He wishes that she stay with him forever. As far as the universe is concerned from that point on, the two are effectively married. They couldn't leave one another if they tried. In the process of finding a place to live and domestic life they fall in love with one another. (I'm not sure if they ever actually have a wedding.)
    • In "Futari no ecchi" or "They're both perverted" (Manga only, "H") follows the story of a couple, Yura and Makoto Onota who are married though the traditional Japanese miai matchmaking process. After they are married, they have to learn how to be a couple first in terms of sex, then in terms of living together and then eventually love. But because they were both lack experience with the opposite sex when they got married and both too shy to ask friends and family about relationship issues, they encounter many challenges.

    TV Miniseries
    • In "Sarah, Plain and Tall" the title character is a mail order bride who for a widower named Caleb who has two young children. I think the wedding actually doesn't happen until later in the story, but their courtship happens after they are already living as man and wife.

    Books
    • In the novel, "Promised Land" by Connie Willis & Cynthia Felice, the main character, Delanna, returns to her home planet to inherit a large track of land, but finds out that according to the planet's backward property laws, she has been legally married to her neighbor, and before she can divorce him, she must live together with him for 1 year. Rom-com ensues.
  • May 26, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • Columbia Pictures 2006 biodrama Marie Antoinette explores the marriage of King Louis XVI of France to Princess Marie of Austria. The two had never met until their wedding, which was made to solidify a treaty between France and Austria.

    Actually, arranged marriages were a routine occurrence among Europe's monarchies, made to cement treaties between nations. This tactic didn't always work, however.

    • Subverted with Anne Of The Thousand Days starring Richard Burton as King Henry VIII and Irene Papas as Queen Catherine. Their wedding was thorny from the outset, and deteriorated thereafter. One scene shows Henry VIII grousing about this: "I do not love that woman. That was a marriage of state: England married Spain."
  • May 26, 2013
    IsaacSapphire
    This is a common trope in pulp romance novels, like this one http://www.amazon.com/Married-Mistake-Harlequin-Super-Romance/dp/0373714149 I actually thought Harlequin might have a line based on this trope, but I'm having no luck finding it if it does exist.
  • May 27, 2013
    Arivne
    Added Namespaces and italization to work names in the examples section.
  • May 27, 2013
    KingZeal
    Real Life: Marrying whom you love is a relatively new concept in human society. For a large segment of our civilization, an Arranged Marriage was the norm, with romance either coming later, or being found outside the marriage proper. Thus, this trope is Older Than Dirt.
  • May 27, 2013
    kjnoren
    One can just as easily say that Marriage Before Romance as a trope requires a modern and romantic view of marriage. Prior to that, Marriage Before Romance (or at least Marriage Before Love) was the expected state, and thus a case of People Sit On Chairs.

    That said, we should probably move the CS Lewis example to Real Life.

    (To draw a comparison, fantastic literature is Older Than Dirt, but Fantasy in the modern meaning of the word couldn't evolve until the realistic and naturalistic movements of writing had taken over and claimed how a novel should look and be constructed.)

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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