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->"''Take my wife. '''Please!'''''"
-->-- '''Henny Youngman'''

A species of DomCom based on the premise that monogamous marriage is rather like a long, slow, exquisite torture by a sadistic god from whose maleficent clutches escape is impossible. Husbands are [[ParentingTheHusband child-like]] [[BumblingDad buffoons]] who watch too much football, leave the toilet seat up, [[AllMenArePerverts ogle hot women]], and forget anniversaries. Wives are frigid, nagging, [[{{Jerkass}} hateful shrews]] with [[AllWomenArePrudes zero interest in sex]]. [[ChildrenAreAWaste Chil]][[TeensAreMonsters dren]] destroy your home and what little peace of mind you have left, while waiting their turn to perpetuate the cycle. ObnoxiousInLaws serve to add to the misery. The audience may be left wondering, [[JustEatGilligan "Why don't they just get a divorce, if they're so miserable?"]]

''Series/MarriedWithChildren'' was probably the first time this trope was seen on American television, but it's been a mainstay of [[BritishTellyTropes British shows]] since TheFifties.

The name, for those who don't get it, is a reference to the line of the traditional wedding vows, "Lawful wedded wife".

Similar to NoAccountingForTaste, but you'll rarely (if ''ever'') see the AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther moments occasionally found in that trope. In the West, it's becoming a DiscreditedTrope due to the de-stigmatization of divorce, and the liberalization of divorce laws. Still used by many a comedian, to the point of being an UndeadHorseTrope.

Contrast HappilyMarried for the opposite and HappyMarriageCharade for when this trope pretends to be HappilyMarried.

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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Anak's parents from ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod''. Her being wed to a commoner away from the court of King Zahard certainly was a bit of a culture shock for her, so they tended to argue almost everyday. Why did they stick together? Because AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther of course.
* Wufei's marriage to Meiran in ''GundamWing'' was like this. They were actually bickering at their own wedding! Something of a JustifiedTrope in that a) the marriage was an ArrangedMarriage and b) both Wufei and Meiran were [[ValuesDissonance in their early teens]], a [[MoodSwinger moody]] time for ''anyone'' thanks to newly-raging hormones. [[spoiler: However, it is revealed that Wufei actually ''did'' learn to [[AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther love and care for her.]]]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comedy]]
* Too often a source of jokes in stand-up comedy.
** Creator/RodneyDangerfield was particularly big on this joke.
** Henny Youngman was also famous for his one-liners about his wife. (In real life, he was happily married for almost 60 years).
** Today, Jo Brand does the same thing from a woman's perspective--although she freely admits that jokes aside, her marriage is actually pretty good.
* A little boy runs into his parent's room crying that there's a monster under his bed. His father gives him these words of wisdom: "Enjoy it while you can, my son. When you grow up, the monster'll be ''in'' your bed!"
* "Daddy, why does the bride wear white on her wedding?" "Because it's the happiest day of her life." "Oh... So why does the groom wear black?"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/TheLockhorns'', though thankfully the eponymous couple apparently doesn't have kids.
* ''ComicStrip/ForBetterOrForWorse'' since going into reprints/new-runs seems to spend a lot of time dwelling on how John is an insensitive dolt and the children have nothing better to do than make Elly's life harder. Perversely, the strip ''also'' implies that anyone who doesn't settle down and live the same kind of life is irresponsible, childish and a bad person.
* ''ComicStrip/AndyCapp'' seems like this much of the time, although Andy and Flo definitely have their AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther moments. (No kids here either.)
* Stanley and Harriet Parker of ''The Better Half'' started out like this, but a change of cartoonists in the '80s brought a much more lighthearted tone to their relationship (as well as a rather dramatic ArtEvolution).
* ''TomTheDancingBug'' parodies this with "Marital Mirth", which is stylistically modeled after "The Lockhorns". Unlike other examples the thin veneer of jocularity is removed, with every strip featuring the two talking about how much they openly hate each-other.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/TheHangover'', Phil, who misses life before marriage and kids, tells Doug that once he gets married, he's going to start dying a little inside every day. He also discourages Stu from marrying his ControlFreak girlfriend.
* In ''Film/OldSchool'', Vince Vaughn's character, who is the best man at a wedding, reminds his friend that "you only gets one vagina for the rest of your life" just as he's about to get hitched.
* Rick from ''Film/BachelorParty'' gets this several times throughout the movie; his HenpeckedHusband older brother tells him that before long, the novelty of marriage wears off and it becomes a chore, and his friend [[CloudCuckoolander Brad]], who just went through a heart-wrenching divorce, tells him that "as soon as you get married, everything changes."
* The whole point of the movie ''Film/{{Tomcats}}''.
* ''Film/WaynesWorld'': "Garth, marriage is punishment for shoplifting in some countries."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Being forced to marry the foolish, irresponsible Lydia is essentially Wickham's punishment in ''Literature/PrideAndPrejudice''. It is also implied that, although she loves him now, marriage to Wickham will one day be this to Lydia as well. Many other couples in Jane Austen's works exemplify this as well, sometimes softened with moments of AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther. Justified in that divorce was not really an option in Regency England
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/MadAboutYou'' became this in the later years.
* ''Series/CurbYourEnthusiasm''
* The husband is the frigid one, but ''Series/MarriedWithChildren'' otherwise fits. They do nothing but snark at each other, one of their children is a DumbBlonde and the son is not much better.
* ''Series/HomeImprovement'' occasionally slipped into this.
* As did ''Series/FamilyMatters''.
* And ''Series/EverybodyLovesRaymond'', which increased over the years, though Ray and Debra weren't nearly as bad as Ray's parents.
* Same with ''Series/{{Reba}}'', although they spent more time dancing around it.
** Reba holds bitter feelings toward Brock and "other woman" Barbara Jean for the collapse of their marriage, despite constantly putting down Brock for other things and generally saying how the last few years of their marriage were miserable anyway before Barbara Jean entered the picture.
** Similarly, the last couple of seasons showed Brock and Barbara Jean entering this, constantly bickering and fighting, separating at one point, and teetering on the brink of divorce several times.
** Finally, back in the first season, Brock meets Barbara Jean's father, who acts morally superior to Brock since he has been married for over 50 years and would never divorce his wife... "mostly because she's too ugly to kiss goodbye." ''Reba'' showed that, while this is becoming a DeadHorseTrope in a lot of ways, in some conservative and religious communities (the show took place in Texas), [[DeliberateValuesDissonance a bad marriage is still preferable to a divorce]], especially amongst the older generations.
* ''Series/TilDeath'' is somewhat of a {{deconstruction}} in that the better you know Joy, the slobbier she seems, and the better a match for Eddie.
* ''Series/MyFamily''
* ''Series/KeepingUpAppearances''. Poor Richard deserves a sainthood for putting up with Hyacinth for all those years.
* About any time a married couple is seen in ''Series/TheBennyHillShow'', it falls square into this (the very rare exceptions being InsatiableNewlyweds).
* ''Series/FawltyTowers'' shows marriage as being a constant battle between Basil and Sybil.
* ''Series/{{Friends}}'': Rachel's parents before they got divorced and Joey's parents. Also Chandler's mom and dad when he was growing up, though they're seperated at the time of the show.
* Frances and Terry's marriage in ''Series/TheLibrarians''.
* Joe and Phyllis Britt in ''Series/TheTwilightZone'' episode [[Recap/TheTwilightZoneS5E144WhatsInTheBox "What's in the Box?"]].
* Stanley and Helen Roper, on ''Series/ThreesCompany'' and ''Series/TheRopers'' (and their UK counterparts in ''Series/ManAboutTheHouse'' and ''Series/GeorgeAndMildred'').
* ''Series/{{Frasier}}'': Niles and [[TheGhost Maris]], off-screen, though they eventually got divorced. He had a habit of choosing women who treated him badly.
* A married couple were recurring characters (Joseph and Mary) in ''Series/FatherTed'' where the gag was they loathed each other; with the husband verbally abusing the wife and the [[DoubleStandardAbuseFemaleOnMale wife constantly beating the husband]] until Ted appears. At which point they they would switch and become lovey-dovey towards each other. The joke works because the island is predominantly Catholic, were divorce is still highly frowned upon.
* Revenge has Victoria and Conrad. Not funny at all.
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[[folder:Radio]]
* ''The Bickersons'' - who, with 1949 origins, may be the UrExample, at least for the SitCom.
* On ''Radio/CabinPressure'', Mr. and Mrs. Birling openly hate each other, which is part of the reason Mr. Birling pays the protagonists to fly him far away from her.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Done in plenty of old cartoons -- examples include ''[[WesternAnimation/PorkyPig Porky's Romance]]'', ''[[WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck Donald's Diary]]'', and ''[[WesternAnimation/DaffyDuck His Bitter Half]]''.
* The premise of the ShowWithinAShow from ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife'', ''The Fatheads''. It's revealed that Ralph Bighead created the show that way as a TakeThat against his parents.
* Clay and Bloberta Puppington from ''WesternAnimation/MoralOrel'' are a [[PlayedForDrama decidedly unfunny]] example of this.
* Nearly happens to Mr. Peevly in the ''[[WesternAnimation/TheHairBearBunch Help! It's The Hair Bear Bunch!]]'' episode "Bridal Boo Boo". The bears send his name to a dating service, and his bride-to-be is a plus-sized, gung-ho battleaxe.
-->'''Peevly:''' Uh, Bertha, can't we talk this marriage thing over before we...?\\
'''Bertha:''' The only marriage talk I want out of you is "I do!"
[[/folder]]

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