Marriage is a big decision, and one that normally shouldn't be entered into lightly, because it will affect you for the rest of your life. However, long term planning goes out the window when Your Days Are Numbered
. Many people want to get married at some point (or experience sex, and their morals demand marriage)
, and when you're terminally ill or headed off into a battle where your odds of survival are slim, it's now or never. A result of this is that the people in question may have never even considered marrying each other under any other circumstances, but instead are just two terminally ill patients who don't want to die alone or an otherwise platonic friend volunteering to marry the patient because he/she is not long for this world. Alternatively, the two could be High School Sweethearts
who are still in high school. Very much Truth in Television
Subtrope of Altar the Speed
Anime and Manga
- Kanon pulls this off with the end of Makoto's route as she declines in both health and intelligence. Though she indeed doesn't last much longer, the 2006 anime does hint that she may return next spring.
- At the end of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Simon marries Nia just before she Goes Out With A Smile.
- Played with in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. In case 2, Alita Tiala wants to marry Wocky Kitaki because she knew that his heart could stop at any time, and when that happened, Wocky's fortune would become hers.
- In Angel Beats!, would Hinata proposing marriage to Yui in order to fulfill her final wish and allow her to move on from Purgatory count as an example of this trope?
- The Lois and Clark fic A Gift for Life has Clark getting Leukemia from Kryptonite exposure. He marries Lois...because she's agreed to have a baby for him, and even though actual sex will not be involved, he wants the child to be legitimate and have a "real" family. (The theme of the story is the controversy of conceiving a child to use as a donor).
Film Live Action
- In V3 of the Legion of Super Heroes comics Shadow Lass married Mon-El when he was dying (and he died an issue later). In this case Shadow Lass initiated the marriage. Whether this is still in continuity is uncertain.
- Independence Day. Just before Steven Hiller goes on his incredibly dangerous mission to implant the computer virus in the alien mothership, he finally marries his girlfriend.
- Happens to the main character and his girlfiend in Deep Impact. Despite being very young teenagers, they want to (and are allowed to) get married due to the possibility that they might die soon anyway because of the meteor.
- In Forrest Gump, Jenny marries Forrest because she knows she's dying.
- In the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie, during the final battle, Will proposes to Elizabeth. Knowing that there's a good chance they could die, Elizabeth asks Barbossa to perform the marriage ceremony right then and there (as he's a ship's captain and is legally able to), which he does - while sword-fighting with Davy Jones' minions the whole time.
- Not exactly this, but Anakin and Padme from Star Wars first expressed their love and wish to marry when they were scheduled for execution by the Separatists. The actual marriage took place after they were rescued, that's why it's not quite this trope.
- In Love and Death, Sonya agrees to marry her nebbish cousin Boris because he's been challenged to a duel and fully expects that he'd be killed, and she figures that she can do him a simple kindness. She's a bit taken aback when he actually survives and she actually has to live with him.
- In The African Queen Rose Sayer and Charlie Allnut are captured during their attempted bombing of the German warship. The German captain asks if they have a Last Request before they're hanged, and they ask the captain to marry them.
- In both the book and film versions of A Walk to Remember, a teenage boy discovers that his girlfriend is terminally ill so he proposes to her. They get married at the end of the story.
- In In the King's Service, Lord Ahern de Corwyn is engaged to Zoe Morgan when he becomes ill from a ruptured bowel. The couple exchange wedding vows at Ahern's insistence (he refuses the Last Rites until this is done), and he dies a bout an hour later.
- In The Shadow Rising, Perrin and Faile are married in Emond's Field as a demand from Faile to leave the village, which is due to be assaulted and overrun by Trollocs. She returns with The Cavalry, in the form of villagers from the neighbouring villages that she recruited.
- In Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, the protagonist is rushed through a marriage (to a woman he almost certainly intended to marry anyway) because the following day, he's going to do something potentially suicidal but necessary.
- In Cry, the Beloved Country, Absalom marries his pregnant girlfriend after he is sentenced to death.
- In When Darkness Falls Idalia accepts Jermayan's marriage proposal after she's already learned she must willingly sacrifice herself to foil the demons' plot. Shortly thereafter, however, she's reincarnated as the daughter of the elven king, and as Jermayan is an elf as well a Jailbait Wait isn't a problem.
- In Tomek wśród łowców głów (Tom among the headhunters) from Polish novel cycle by Alfred Szklarski, Tomek's love interest from Australia, Sally, marries him when she is seriously injured. It was penultimate chapter Sally's last wish and she said that when he is hers, she can die, but nobody wanted do believe it and she really recovered soon.
Mythology and Religion
- Buffy and Charmed both pulled this in the face of their respective supernatural apocalypses. With Charmed it was Cole and Phoebe but after killing the Big Bad he Came Back Wrong and their relationship was doomed. On Buffy Xander proposed to Anya who was hurt because she thought he was only proposing for this reason, and he'd never have to go through with it.
- William and Daisy are married in Downton Abbey Series 2, with William on his death bed after his war wounds. It is Played for Drama since Daisy didn't move William, but she is pushed to the marriage by the rest of the staff.
- Cameron on House once married a man that had been diagnosed terminally ill with thyroid cancer. He made it six more months after their wedding before he died.
- A possible variation in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Matthew and Ingrid, convinced the world is going to end, want to get married. They were already boyfriend and girlfriend, but they hadn't been planning to do it quite so soon. It doesn't happen because the preacher is too busy hearing last-minute confessions.
- Hindu Mythology: A folktale tells of the Mahabharata hero Aravan (who becomes the Tamil god Kuttantavar), who was married to Mohini, before his self-sacrifice. Aravan agrees to become the sacrificial victim for the Kalappali ("sacrifice to the battlefield") to ensure the victory of the Pandavas, his father, and his uncles. Before being sacrificed to goddess Kali, Aravan asks three boons from Krishna, the guide of the Pandavas. The third boon was that Aravan should be married before the sacrifice so that he could get the right of cremation and funerary offerings (bachelors were buried). To fulfill this wish in the Kuttantavar cult myth, Krishna turns into Mohini, marries Aravan, and spends the night with him.
- In one episode of The Amazing World of Gumball, Gumball and Darwin believe the world is going end. Gumball then asks Penny to marry him. After her rejection he immediately proposes to the nearest girl.
- In an episode of Family Guy Brian falls in love with an old woman. As she is in the hospital dying he brings a virtual reality helmet for her to wear so she can see a long life married to him before she dies.
- An inspiring Real Life example is the charity Wish Upon A Wedding. It grants terminally ill people weddings and vow renewals.
- Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun. Incredibly, in a Berlin that was 80% over-run by the Red Army, they still found a civil registrar from the Berlin local government (such as was left)who was brought to the Bunker to officiate and make it legal and write out a formal marriage certificate. Mr and Mrs Hitler both required death certificates the following day.
- The US Government takes this trope into consideration with survivor benefits. For the spouse to qualify for survivor benefits, the marriage must have lasted at least nine months or produced a child, unless the death was in the line of duty.