open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Byakuya Kuchiki was a noble who fell in love with the commoner Hisana. His clan did not approve, but he fought for her and gained the right for them to marry.
- In a flashback arc, it's revealed that Masaki was originally adopted into the Ishida family as part of the matriarch's plan to set up an Arranged Marriage between Masaki and her son Ryuuken. A confession is made to the family's maid, Katagiri, that the reason the Arranged Marriage will never work as the matriarch hopes is because they will never be Happily Married and the best future for the Quincies is to marry for love instead of blood purity or status. While it's clear that Masaki is unhappy with the situation, the twist is that the desire to marry for love is not her confession, it's Ryuuken's. Eventually, the Arranged Marriage falls through. Masaki and Isshin marry for love, and so do Ryuuken and Katagiri.
- Downplayed in Ojojojo. Haru rejected the list of potential husbands that her father had given her so she could confess to Tsurezure, and he accepted her answer without question since her happiness is more important to him than seeing that she gets married. Bonus points for the fact that it was also the trigger for her Love Epiphany. A newspaper article in Komori-san Can't Decline! hints that they got married about four years later.
- The plot to Coming to America is Eddie Murphy's prince looking for love to marry.
- The Princess Bride
- Subverted in Corpse Bride. In their Arranged Marriage, Victor and his bride-to-be hit it off immediately, while her parents are only marrying into the family because they have nothing.
- Marrying for love is Jaya's and Lalita's goal in Bride and Prejudice.
- Referenced in Bend It Like Beckham when Jess tells her teammates that her sister has a "love match" as opposed to an arranged marriage.
- In the Star Trek reboot, Sarek eventually reveals this is the reason he married Amanda Grayson, after insisting it was for mostly political reasons. The Prime timeline simply has him claim that "it seemed logical at the time", which is probably the closest to an on-screen declaration of love.
- Played for Laughs in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Prince Herbert doesn't care if his proposed mate is beautiful, rich, has huuuuge... tracts of land, if he doesn't like her, he won't marry her. He wants someone that he'd marry to have... (cue music) a certain... special... something... (which must be love) (music dies down) CUT THAT OUT! CUT THAT OUT!
- The Princess Diaries: The main conflict of the sequel, when an obscure law forces Mia to marry before her twenty-first birthday or lose her claim to the throne. Her chosen fiance, Andrew, is a nice enough man, and they do hit it off, but they come to the realization that they are Better as Friends. Ironically, Mia's main love interest, Nicholas, would've also been a suitable fiance for her — Nicholas even suggests the possibility, only for it to be shot down by his power-hungry uncle, who wants Nicholas to become a King himself rather than marry a Queen (since Nicholas is also a viable blood heir for the throne through a long-distance relation with the Renaldis).
- Every Jane Austen heroine:
- Emma Woodhouse from Emma states that she will only marry for love.
Emma: My being charming, Harriet, is not quite enough to induce me to marry; I must find other people charming — one other person at least. And I am not only not going to be married at present, but have very little intention of ever marrying at all. [...] I have none of the usual inducements of women to marry. Were I to fall in love, indeed, it would be a different thing! but I never have been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall. And, without love, I am sure I should be a fool to change such a situation as mine. Fortune I do not want; employment I do not want; consequence I do not want: I believe few married women are half as much mistress of their husband's house, as I am of Hartfield; and never, never could I expect to be so truly beloved and important; so always first and always right in any man's eyes as I am in my father's.
- Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice says she won't marry anyone unless it's for love. This causes her to turn down two marriage proposals, one from a well-off (but insufferable) pastor and one from a filthy rich but incredibly snobby gentleman. She eventually marries the rich guy anyway, after a great deal of Character Development on both their parts results in genuine love between them. Lizzie does have her doubts about holding out for love instead of accepting the overtures of the insufferable pastor, and evinces some sympathy when her best friend snaps him up instead. This is worth noting because the novel came out only 200 years ago, showing just how recently the idea of marrying for love was still a risky venture.
- Catherine Morland of Northanger Abbey makes it clear she has no intention of marrying John Thorpe before he can propose; she's already falling in love with Henry Tilney.
- Anne Elliot of Persuasion realizes she can't even entertain the thought of marrying her rich cousin because she is in love with Captain Wentworth, and as far as she is concerned, whether they ever marry or not, she is forever separated from other men.
- Mansfield Park:
- Fanny Price in her first major act of independence and defiance refuses to marry the despicable Henry Crawford because she does not love him and knows his True Colors. He is rich and charming, and everybody expects her to accept him.
- Inverted by Romantic False Lead Mary Crawford who has Gold Digger tendencies, despite being a wealthy heiress with huge dowry. Mary genuinely falls in love with Edmund but refuses to marry him unless he's richer. He should abandon his dream of being a clergyman for some better profession (better in Mary's eyes). She later wishes his ill older brother dies so that he could get the family estate. That is about when Edmund truly sees her colours.
- Sense and Sensibility:
- The Dashwood sisters Elinor and Marianne only want to marry for love, eventhough for them marriage is a case of necessity because their father died fairly young and his heir didn't leave them enough fortune to be independent and comfortable.
- This trope actually most concerns Elinor's intended Edward, who has to face his mother's wrath for refusing an Arranged Marriage to a rich woman he's never even met.
- Emma Woodhouse from Emma states that she will only marry for love.
- In Deltora Quest, Lief states that "when the time comes, [he] will follow Adin's example and marry for love."
- In Bread Givers, Sara declares that she will do this after she sees her father marry off her sisters to wealthy men who were cads and in at least one case, lied about his wealth.
- In a book from The Royal Diaries, Isabella I of Castile went behind her brother's back to marry the young, handsome, kind and intelligent heir of Aragon after he stole her heart.
- Codex Alera:
- It is said the nobility and Citizenry of Alera rarely, if ever, wed for anything romantic. Only the commoners can have this luxury.
- Princeps Septimus, son of Gaius, sole heir to the throne, rejected an arranged marriage and chose to marry a common girl because he truly fell in love with her.
- In Cursor's Fury Lord Placidus gives this as his reasoning for complying with the villain's ransom demands when the villain reveals he kidnapped Placidus's wife. This leads him to immediately get his armies into fighting position, on the logic that either his wife will be freed soon by the First Lord's agents, or killed, and in either case there would be nothing holding him back from kicking the guy's arse up between his ears.
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- Zigzagged by Aegon the Conqueror, who got his way by marrying both women in question. Targaryen Royal Inbreeding customs prescribed that Aegon marry his older sister Visenya, but his younger sister Rhaenys was his preference. He married one for duty, the other for love.
- Aegon V broke with the Targaryen dynastic tradition of BrotherĖSister Incest and married for love. At the time, this was allowed because he was the thirteenth Spare to the Throne; when he, the fourth son of a fourth son, somehow ended up with the crown, he was immediately dubbed "Aegon the Unlikely." Even worse, all three of his sons did the same, against his wishes. Crown Prince Duncan abdicated the throne to wed a commoner, Jenny of Oldstones; his youngest son Daeron died in battle, unwed, alongside his close personal friend Ser Jeremy Norridge; and the middle son, Jaehaerys, eloped with his beloved... his sister, Princess Shaera. And, just to add insult to injury, Jaehaerys didn't follow his father's example with his own children and forced his son Aerys II and daughter Rhaella to marry, to their great displeasure. Mad King Aerys's general unhappiness resulted in a civil war that set the stage for the Song of Ice and Fire series as a whole.
- Harshly deconstructed in the case of Robb Stark. The Young Wolf breaks off a politically-important Arranged Marriage when he falls for the Florence Nightingale Effect after he's wounded in battle. He hastily arranges for his uncle to marry his fiancée in his place in an effort to uphold the alliance... but at the wedding feast, he, his mother and many of his high command are murdered by their hosts, who took the snub as an excuse to change allegiance. This is the famous "Red Wedding" which you may have heard many readers and Game of Thrones viewers lamenting recently.
- Tywin Lannister married his cousin Joanna for love. Hypocritically, he wants his own children to marry for political advantage. Tywin also never re-married; those closest to him described Joanna's death as his Cynicism Catalyst.
- In Hurog, a surprising number (considering the setting, and the predominance of arranged marriages) of people marry for love, although none marry beneath their station. Ward gets to marry the noblewoman Tisala whom he deeply admires, and who also likes him, his sister Ciarra marries one of her cousins, informing Ward (her eldest male relative) of the fact only after the engagement, and, surprisingly Garranon, who was Mistaken for Gay by some, because he was the king's concubine for the past fifteen years, loves his wife very much, and she him.
- An issue in the film and miniseries of The Feast Of All Saints. The patriarchs/matriarchs of both the wealthy white families and the Colored gentry insist on marriages/relationships based on status and wealth, not love. This leads to loveless marriages, cold and distant wives, and white men participating in placage as an escape.
- Most of Georgette Heyer's heroines will only marry for love. But even those who don't find a happily ever after somehow.
- Comes up in A Brother's Price. Jerin wants wives he can come to love instead of enduring. His family, fairly enlightened, lets men choose their new families and said men are happier for it. Ultimately his protective older sisters let him marry into the family containing the woman he loves (and he does grow to love his other wives as well).
- When Alaric in The Quest of the Unaligned is informed that he has to pick a bride from among the noble ladies of Caederan, we get this great line "Alaric had always planned on getting married eventually, of course. But his criteria for potential spouses had always included things like being... someone he actually knew and liked, for starters."
- Tommy and Tuppence Beresford ... notable in that Tuppence was of the practical order and fully intended to marry as rich as possible until being faced with the opportunity to do so led her to realize that she had in fact loved Tommy all along.
- Der Stechlin: Ermyntrude Katzler was born as a Princess of Ippe-Büchsenstein, but became a commoner to marry Wladimir Katzler, the head forester of the Stechlin region. Fontane treats this marriage fairly realistically, showing that there is some stress between the still somewhat exalted former princess and her more down-to-earth husband.
- Heralds of Valdemar:
- In the first book of the Mage Winds trilogy, Princess Elspeth is resigned to participating in Altar Diplomacy as part of her duties as Heir. Then she thinks about it, and realizes that all of Valdemar's neighbors are either solid allies or sworn enemies, neither of which are likely to change because of a marriage or lack thereof in her lifetime, and so perhaps she can find a love-match as some of her fellow Heralds have. In the second book, while on an unrelated quest, she does, and in the third, they marry.
- Unless they luck into circumstances like Elspeth's (and being a Herald helps), marrying for love isn't a realistic option for most Valdemaran nobility, which is explored in Closer to Home. While her older sisters scheme to marry wealth, Violetta is In Love with Love, which nearly gets her whole family killed when the son of a rival family seduces her and plots to obtain both family fortunes via mass murder. Violetta, having declared her intention to marry for love and seen it seemingly fulfilled, doesn't realize what's happening until it's far too late. The main characters, members of the more sexually liberated Heralds, decide that something ought to be done about a culture that raises girls to aspire to no more than a good match.
- Wolf Hall
- Thomas Cromwell's daughter Anne asks him if she can choose who she marries (having overheard a lot of talk about Henry VIII's woes in this matter). Cromwell says yes, mentally adding "within reason." He's relieved when she says she would choose to marry his ward Rafe, though she dies of illness soon after.
- After becoming well and truly fed up with being denigrated by her family and used as Henry's bedwarmer during Anne's pregnancy, Mary Boleyn marries the poor but kind knight William Stafford. She is banished from court as a result, but when she later writes to Cromwell asking for monetary help says she'd rather be begging her bread with William than a rich queen.
- Rafe secretly marries Helen Barre, a poor probably-a-widow Cromwell had hired into his household (she had previously been attracted to Cromwell, but he didn't notice), only revealing it when her pregnancy will start to show. Cromwell scolds him for marrying without any attention to practicality, but he comes around soon enough and talks Rafe's father round to it as well. (Rafe and Helen did remain married for the rest of their lives, but he had to get an Act of Parliament to legitimize their union and children when her husband reappeared ten years later.)
- In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge asks Fred why he got married, and a bewildered Fred replies "Because I fell in love". Scrooge considers this to be the only thing more ridiculous than a merry Christmas.
- In The Spine of the World, this trope is played with. Meralda's lord catches sight of her and falls in love with her, and sends his steward to propose to her. Meralda does not love him - she'd rather be with the local Emo Teen bard - but her father gives her no choice in the matter.
Live Action Television
- Prince Arthur from Merlin defies his father and breaks off an Arranged Marriage due to the importance he places of marrying for love, stating that: "I'll be a much better king for the strength and support of a woman I love."
- The "Beauty and the Beast" episode of Faerie Tale Theatre has Beauty telling her suitor that when she does marry it will be out of love, not need.
- Once Upon a Time: Prince Charming started out as a Farm Boy who insisted that he wanted to marry for love. Despite an Arranged Marriage, he does end up marrying his True Love, Snow White.
- Downton Abbey:
- Lady Mary refuses to marry Matthew when he becomes the heir (even though she had been willing to marry the previous heir without love). Ironically, she does end up marrying for love, to Matthew. They slowly developed feelings for each other.
- Mary's younger sister Sybil is a more straightforward version of this trope, when she marries Tom, the family chauffeur, for love, and repeatedly citing that love whenever she is questioned on her choice in husband by the rest of her family.
- Mary and Sybil's cousin Rose declares she will only marry for love and doesn't want to be pressured into a marriage just for the sake of it now that she's "out" in society. Shortly afterwards she falls for and marries Atticus Aldridge.
- Game of Thrones, the televised adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire: The fate of Robb Stark, who forgoes his betrothal to a Frey girl in order to marry Talisa. The Freys are understandably insulted. They even kill him over it. The major differences between the show and the books is that that his new bride is a field medic, who he meets in the aftermath of a battle. Additionally, while book!Robb bade Jeyne Westerling stay home during the massacre that killed him, TV!Robb brought Talisa with him, and was pleased to learn that she had quickened and was carrying his child. At the Red Wedding, she too was slain.
- Rachel leaves her fiancee at the altar because she wants to marry for love and almost immediately meets Ross. Of course thanks to her rather fickle nature this turns out to be a complicated journey. She and Ross do eventually get together and its implied they do get married.
- Monica also shows shades of this, determined to have a happy family and loving husband, but resisting her mother's pressurising. When Rachel encourages her to date and marry a billionaire, Monica refuses because she doesn't have feelings for him. She succeeds in her quest a lot quicker than Rachel and marries her best friend Chandler.
- In Fiddler on the Roof the daughters want to marry the men of their choice: a poor tailor, a revolutionary, and worst of all, a gentile, rather than have Yenta the matchmaker choose.
- The musical Call Me Madam had the song "Marrying For Love." In it the Silver Fox describes how arranged marriages have been unhappy in his aristocratic family. He won't make the same mistake they did, even if he's getting up there in years.
- In Cole Porter's Musical The Pirate, Serafin tells Manuela (who has been engaged to the Mayor of her tiny Caribbean village in an arranged marriage), "In England and America, they have a different custom. There the women marry for love," to which Manuela replies, "I know. That's a very stupid custom."
- In the Cinderella movie musical The Slipper and the Rose, Prince Edward objects to having to choose from an array of loathsome princesses for a political match, and wishes he could Marry for Love.
- In the unabridged version, the king and queen answer him with the song "What Has Love Got to Do With Getting Married?"
- With the song "Position and Positioning", the Edward's valet and friend John explains that all people are limited to marrying within their own social stratum, and so lack freedom to Marry for Love. After hearing this, the prince knights John, granting him the status he needs to marry the noblewoman he loves.
- Doubly Subverted: Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie declares that she will marry a rich man rather than for love, since marriage is a business arrangement. Her beau Jimmy turns out to be filthy rich anyway.
- Dragon Quest V: While Nera is usually the model of daughterly obedience, when her father sets up an Engagement Challenge to determine who will win the right to marry her, she protests and states that she wants to marry for love. This is somewhat undercut, however, when she notices that The Hero is among the candidates, as she had developed a crush on him the moment she met.
- George in Umineko: When They Cry is one rare male example, and even has an exchange about this with his mother Eva. He says that it makes no sense to marry someone you don't love; she replies that it makes even less sense to marry someone just because of love, and that love is something that comes after you're married.
- Gilgamesh Wulfenbach from Girl Genius isnít happy when his father announces itís time for him to get married and that he will arrange for a suitable match. Gil even admits to his manservant that for a long time he dreamed about a girl who could understand him and be his partner. Itís one of the reasons for his Wacky Marriage Proposal to Agatha later on.
- Sleipnir abandons the political marriage waiting for her, even though she wasn't particularly dreading it, in favour of eloping with Theo Du Medd.
- Julie and Lenny in Our Little Adventure. There are a lot of hints that Theodore (Julie's father) was not happy about it.
- Princess Jasmine in Disney's Aladdin, quoted above.
- Don Bluth's Thumbelina.
- Fox on Gargoyles. Xanatos, the richest (and probably most handsome) man in the world asks her to marry him, and her response is, "What about ... love?" He responds with a fairly clinical evaluation of their mutual compatibility. Part of that episode was Xanatos learning he really did love Fox; he asks for Goliath's help on that basis.
Xanatos: And now you know my one weakness.Goliath: Only you would regard love as a weakness.
- In Winx Club, when Nabu reveals his true identity to Aisha in episode 23 of the third season, he explains that he had always believed that a person should only marry someone they truly love, which is why he was against the idea of an Arranged Marriage.
- As illustrated in the non-fiction book Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage, this trope is Newer Than They Think, only entering the picture around the 1600s; even in Jane Austen's time it was still fighting for acceptance. This is not to say that love was not a desired part of a marriage; but it was felt to be a product of a matter that had its real origins in matters of church, state and wealth.
- Surprisingly for someone with such a maligned reputation, Richard III apparently married his wife, Anne Neville, out of love. At the time, she was the widow of Henry VI's son and the daughter of the disgraced Earl of Warwick; Richard didn't have a lot to gain from marrying her. Also counts as Childhood Friend Romance; the two of them were distant cousins and grew up together.
- The Habsburgs have a number of notable examples.
- Archduke Ferdinand (1529-1595), the son of Emperor Ferdinand I, secretly married Philippine Welser, the daughter of a merchant from Augsburg. In order to get his father to accept this, Ferdinand not only had to give up his claim to succession, but to make doubly sure he and his wife had to sign a declaration that their children weren't their own, but foundlings. The story has been adapted into a story arc of the adventures of Anna, Bella, and Caramella, the distaff spin-off of Die Abrafaxe.
- Archduke John (Johann) (1782-1859), who during the Revolution of 1848 was briefly appointed German regent (Reichsverweser), married Anna Plochl (1804-1885), the daughter of a postmaster.
- The Austro-Hungarian heir apparent Archduke Franz Ferdinand married Sophie Countess Chotek with the consequence that she was often humiliated by protocol and that their children were excluded from the Imperial and Royal succession. Both were assassinated in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914.
- Tsar Nicholas II of Russia married the minor German royal Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine (later Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna) in an example of this that dropped the collective jaws of most of Western Europe. It didn't end well... but there is no doubt whatsoever that "Nicky and Alix" loved each other desperately and truly all their lives long.