Followed by very little narrative focus on their happy relationship/married lifenote They may be written out of the story, or the story will gloss over their marriage for far more interesting topics and adventures.
Followed by death/breakup/divorce/separation/infidelity/unhappy relationship.
Alternatively, in-universe or out-of-universe lampshading of the phenomenon is also acceptable.
Please remove any examples that do not qualify.
For a less depressing view, many of the couples on Happily Married are aversions of this trope.
Joe Quesada has actually stated that certain characters (particularly Ant-Man, Spider-Man, and Cyclops) are "more interesting" without their wives. You might want to check out the One More Day page for more information on how one was done.
Even before One More Day, writers and editors tried to break up, kill off, or otherwise end Peter and MJ's relationship time and time again.
Also one of the reasons Gwen Stacy was killed. Nobody at Marvel was ready for a married Spider-Man yet.
Hawkeye and Mockingbird. Not long after they were married "died", but that turned out to be Actually A Skrull. Since then, the couple has been reunited . . . and then promptly divorced.
Nova and Namorita. When they were on the New Warriors, they became mutually attracted to each other and eventually began to date. They broke after she turned blue and he couldn't deal with the new look. Then she died, and he later brought her back. Now he's dead.
Like their fellow New Warriors, Justice and Firestar also count. According to the writer who put them together in the first place, Fabian Nicieza, he had always intended for them to break up anyway. However, he left the book before that happened, and subsequent writers eventually married them just before they joined The Avengers as a Battle Couple. Kurt Busiek, in particular, tried his best to avert this trope. He liked to write them as an introspective of what it's like to be superhero newlyweds in the Marvel Universe. However, Nicieza later ended up writing the two again, and the first thing he promptly did was break them up. In fact, the story that finally sank their ship for good is a time-traveling story in which the newly-married Justice and Firestar are downrightterrified of how cold they've become to each other in the future.
Mostly averted with Sue and Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four (but NOT the Ultimate versions of them). Their marriage may be saved thanks to the Grandfather Clause: they were wedded in a Stan Lee-penned story not long after their original creation. They've split apart numerous times, but it's hard to be "Marvel's First Family" if they're not, y'know . . . a family.
Generally averted in ElfQuest, probably due to it being written by a happily married couple.
The Hulk once averted this trope for the same reason as above. (Peter David's wife said Betty Ross Banner was her favorite character, and he swore never to break them up or kill her off.) After a very messy divorce between the Real Life couple, guess what he did. He later regretted that decision. Furthermore, Betty has subsequently come Back from the Dead and become an Evil/Distaff for Hulk and She-Hulk. Their reunion is still ironing out some wrinkles.
There is also the matter of The Hulk's other wives and love interests. Caiera, Jarela, Kate Waynesboro, etc. Kate Waynesboro is the only one that hasn't died at least.
In the Batman Beyond sequel comic, a Time Skip showcases that Terry McGinnis and his girlfriend Dana, who had spent the entire series in a relationship, had broken up. Word of God flat out states that this was to introduce more mystery and tension into the book.
John McClane and Holly of Die Hard. Through the first three films, their breakups are a Running Gag with the two coming closer together at the end of their devastating experience. However, this trope is played morosely straight in the fourth film, where they're finally divorced.
The reason Ripley was the only survivor at the beginning of the third movie in the Alien series. Newt, Hicks and Bishop were all killed off in part 3 because it was feared the story would be boring otherwise.
In Wizard and Glass, when he tells the story of his first love, Roland says the name of the trope, explaining that "once the tale of encounter and discovery is told, kisses quickly grow stale and caresses tiresome" — except of course for the ones who exchange in them. Indeed, the focus of the story he's telling and thus the whole novel is a tricky courtship between Star-Crossed Lovers, and the happy part is rather glossed over.
In the season 1 finale of Rhoda she & Joe get married. This was one of the highest rated entertainment shows ever. But then they got divorced. Now it's considered to have been a bad idea to have them get married, purely from a business standpoint.
Happened in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation with Gil Grissom and Sarah Sidle - after several seasons of UST they finally got together, only for Sarah to eventually leave both Grissom, the department and Las Vegas and then for Grissom to go (she eventually returned without him).
Cheers: After five years of on-again/off-again UST they're about to get married, then Diane leaves Sam at the altar, only to come back 6 years later for the Grand Finale to almost marry him again.
Angel has Fred and Gunn as a couple. Joss then gives a nod to the shippers by letting Wes date Fred for all of a day before killing Fred off and changing her into another character because the love thing was boring.
Also on Angel we have Angel and Buffy in true love for a single day. He decides to turn back time to avoid keeping her because he wants to keep fighting evil, adding on later "so I won't risk hurting you" to let Buffy down softly.
Averted in some Dom Com s especially the older ones.
Infamously, the Roseanne series finale. Turns out, the series was a fictional story written by the eponymous star, after her husband died years ago. Things get worse from there.
Dialed Up to Eleven in Xena: Warrior Princess: over Seasons 1-2, Xena and Gabrielle get closer and closer until ... Seasons 3-4 wrench them apart, they get back together, wrenched apart, rinse, wash, repeat. In seasons 5-6, Xena and Gabrielle are always apart and Xena shags the Girl of the Week to emphasize the point.
Actually, played straight in those first three seasons, mainly by the protagonist and his sidekick, then completely inverted after Chuck and Sarah's engagement. Possibly because the show had at least three Series Fauxnales that completed the character arcs that were this trope.
Averted, Subverted, Inverted, and played straight in One Tree Hill. Averted with Nathan and Hailey, who have been a constant couple throughout the series, though twice have came close to a divorce due to a non-existant but assumed affair, both times (one from her, one from him), but the two never stopped loving each other. Subverted by Lucas and Brooke, as she originally started off as a Romantic False Lead, became popular with fans and writers, the two got back together when the two actors got married, then their real life counterparts got divorced and they broke up in-universe shortly thereafter. Inverted by Brooke and Jullian, who started off as a slowly developing Beta Couple, then after the second Time Skip are happily together and soon to be married. They break up for a little while, but mostly live happily. Played Straight by Lucas and Peton, who after four seasons of going back and fourth between love interests, Lucas and Peyton finally decide to get together forever...only to be broken up bitterly by the first timeskip, with Lucas now engaged to his editor. They get back together and marry by two seasons, only for their actors to leave soon after. At least they ended up happy, sorta.
In the Accel spin-off movie of Kamen Rider Double, Ryu Terui is forced to go on the run with a female thief, leaving his new wife Akiko to think that he has left her for another woman and threaten him with divorce. The trope is ultimately averted when Ryu and Akiko do stay together, but the writers clearly felt that conflict needed to be introduced into the relationship.
Friends: Played straight with Ross and Rachel. They have the classic Unrequited Love Switcheroo courtship but few storylines when they do get together. Then they break up over Ross's so-called "cheating" and spend the rest of the series arguing about it. They almost get back together several times, but only succeed in the final episode
Averted with the unwaveringly stable Monica and Chandler. Early seasons hint of attraction but they're portrayed as best friends who comfortably accept each other, averting the Will They or Won't They? drama. They Out have a one night stand, start a relationship and eventually get married with little drama. A lot of focus is given to their day to day problems, but they're ridiculously happy together and don't break up once while still managing interesting storylines.
Particular aversion as their relationship benefited the show hugely and opened up a ton of storylines. Them moving in together forever changed the living dynamics of the gang, their engagement gave a whole seasons worth of wedding story lines and the relationship helped their Character Development as well.
Flirted with but ultimately subverted in Doctor Who, when the first episode of a new series showed Rory and Amy about to get divorced. At first it appeared that Amy couldn't settle down to normal life after travelling in the TARDIS for so long, but eventually the breakup turned out to be down to a communication breakdown: since Amy can't have more children after the events of Demons Run she was nobly sacrificing the relationship because she knew that was important to Rory. It was, but not as important as she was.
Love Never Dies, set ten years after the events of The Phantom of the Opera, reveals that Christine and Raoul are now in an unhappy marriage thanks to the latter's gambling and drinking problems, which have turned him into an insensitive jerk towards both her and their son Gustave. All this is to set up the possibility of Christine and the Phantom getting together.
Total Drama, definitely. The first season ended happily, which included six couples having formed. In season two, however: Leshawna breaks up with Harold, and then becomes a Designated Villain so that he helps vote her off. Trent and Gwen break up when he suddenly develops an OCD obsession with the number nine. Geoff gets Acquired Situational Narcissism all season, straining his relationship with Bridgette. CourtneyTakes A Level In Jerkass and begins abusingDuncan. Then, in season three, Bridgette cheats on Geoff (they reconcile), Duncan cheats on Courtney with Gwen (they break up), and Izzy breaks up with Owen. Of course, Izzy is a few shades of special, so it's slightly ambiguous how "together" they were to start with.
Young Justice plays with this with its two Official Couples. The first season had Conner and M'gann together after the first ten episodes and Wally and Artemis get together at the end after a season of UST. Post five-year Time Skip, Wally and Artemis are still a couple, but Conner and M'gann broke up (and it was not pretty). At the very end, Conner and M'gann are implied to reconcile, and Wally and Artemis' relationship got shot to hell when he was disintegrated helping to save the world.
The Legend of Korra concluded its first season with Korra and Mako getting together. Five episodes into the second season, they broke up. By the season finale they make it clear they still love each other, but that their relationship doesn't work and decide to remain apart.
Similar to the Comic Book counterpart, Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon broke up during the two year Time Skip between Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures. Mostly Batman's fault, as a flashback episode shows. Dick and Bruce had a falling out that led to him quitting as Robin and returning as Nightwing. Barbara chose to stay with Bruce in Gotham.