Relationship-Salvaging Disaster

Two characters used to be friends or lovers, but now they aren't on speaking terms. The odds don't look good that they'll patch things up on their own. Fortunately, the plot is on their side: some external disaster happens and the characters get back together as a direct result.

Variants include:
  • Alice is ticked off at Bob, and then disaster strikes and Bob has to rescue Alice. This rescue convinces Alice that Bob isn't so bad after all.
  • Alice is ticked off at Bob, and then disaster strikes and Bob is in danger. Alice has to put aside her anger to rescue Bob.
  • Alice and Bob are ticked at each other. The disaster forces them to put their differences aside and work together.

Of course, shared disasters aren't exactly a great foundation for (re)building a relationship. Hopefully, in Bob and Alice's case, the disaster is simply a catalyst for spending more time together and genuinely reconciling; or it reminds them that life is short and their relationship is more important than whatever it was that drove them apart.

Very, very common in the Disaster Movie genre. May involve The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People.

Compare Fire-Forged Friends, Rescue Romance. If the two characters were divorced but get together again it can overlap with Divorce Is Temporary.


Anime and Manga
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!:
    • The Kyoto arc serves as this to Konoka and Setsuna. During several years, Setsuna distanced herself from Konoka due to feeling ashamed of her failure to save her from almost drowning when they were kids. In the Kyoto arc, Konoka is kidnapped and Setsuna helps to save her. After that and Konoka telling Setsuna that her wings are beautiful, they become close again.
    • In the Beach Episode, some of the girls from Negi's class try to pull this off to help Negi and Asuna make up after a fight. They throw Negi in the water and get him attacked by some fake sharks, played by Natsumi and Ku Fei, and have Asuna to go save him. The plan fails miserably.
  • In Mirai Nikki a few days after Yuki is released from Yuno's confinement, the attacks of the 7th force Yuki and Yuno to come back together to beat the 7th. It helps that after this Yuki was convinced by the 7th to reevaluate their relationship and give Yuno an important Armor-Piercing Question about her love for him.



  • Shaun of the Dead is billed as "a romantic comedy with zombies" for this reason.
  • The Abyss. In the Back Story, Bud and Lindsey Brigman broke up because they fought all the time. The deep sea rig they're in is cut off from the surface during a storm, and while they await rescue they fall in love again.
  • Twister. Bill Harding meets with his former wife Jo Harding to get her to sign their divorce papers. They end up going on a adventure together involving dangerous tornadoes and discover that they still love each other.
  • After being separated for a long time, it takes an explosive hostage situation to salvage John and Holly's marriage in the first Die Hard film. Unfortunately, they divorce in the later sequels.
  • 2012. Our lead starts as a divorcee, but gets back together with his wife despite her new fiancÚ being there for most of the film as well. It helps that her new fiancÚ got brutally killed in the last act of the film, as well.
  • Cloverfield starts with Rob and Beth having a fight. Then, Kaiju happens. A good half of the movie is about Rob & Co. looking for Beth. Naturally, they reconciled after they meet—for what little time they got left.
  • The Radioland Murders: The leads are on the brink of divorce, because the male lead (probably) had a one-night stand with Ms. Yo-Yo Knickers. A Locked Room Mystery Clear My Name plot somehow comes into being at the same time as Hilarity Ensues, during which the female lead realizes anew just how many common points the two share. (As she saves his butt repeatedly.)
  • The 2005 Film of the Book Poseidon Adventure has Richard Clarke, taking his family on a New Years cruise. It's shown at the beginning that Richard's marriage is on the rocks. His wife actually kicks him out of their room. He ends up having an affair with a female crewmember. After the ship flips over due to a bomb planted by a terrorist, the Clarke family and a few other survivors try to make it to safety. As the survivors climb a damaged catwalk, the female crewmember ends up falling to her death, leaving Richard to reconcile with his family.
  • More like relationship-beginning disaster, but lampshaded in Speed when Annie notes that relationships that begin under intense circumstances never work out. Turns out to be true - by the sequel, she and Jack have broken up.
  • John McClane and his wife Holly constantly alternate between reconciling and distancing from each other through the Die Hard films.
  • In Jurassic Park III, the divorced Paul and Amanda Kirby trick Alan Grant into accompanying them on an expedition to save their son Eric after he got stranded in the dinosaur-filled jungle on Isla Sorna with Amanda's new boyfriend Ben Hildebrand. Through the dangers on the island they reconcile their differences and reunite as a family after Paul is almost killed saving them from the Spinosaurus.
  • Zero Hour!!: Ted Stryker's Grew a Spine moment is what saves his marriage in the end.

  • Jake and Cassie in Animorphs may represent the flipside of this trope, as they break up after the war ends.
    • They played it straight(er) at first, given that they had mutual crushes at the start of the series but their relationship doesn't become (slightly more) official until mid-war.

Live-Action Television
  • Jax and Tara in Sons of Anarchy. After Abel gets kidnapped at the end of season 2, throughout season 3 Jax tries to push Tara away. But when she gets kidnapped and he saves her, and he finds out that she is pregnant with his child, things smooth out.
  • Amy and Rory on Doctor Who. It took being kidnapped by Daleks to get those two to work things out. Although the fact the the initial reason for the split was Amy's ill-advised case of I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy may have been a factor in their reconciliation.

Video Games
  • One of Ethan's possible epilogues in Heavy Rain implies that he's going to get back together with his estranged wife despite the fact she's responsible for getting Blake to think he is the Origami Killer.


Web Original
  • In Thalia's Musings, Thalia thinks Eros' disappearance will be this to Hephaestus and Aphrodite's troubled marriage. Averted when the resolution culminates in their long-overdue divorce.