15 Fictional Couples That Accurately Depict Married Life

I can vividly remember the first time I watched Judd Apatow’s, This Is 40, my husband of just over one month had bought it home from Video EZY with some Thai takeaway and a bottle of red. The film follows married couple Pete and Deb (who you may recognise from Knocked Up) as they both enter their 40th year of life. Once the movie finished we looked at each other and laughed, a smug little pitiful laugh, for these two people had clearly gone so wrong at some point in their marriage and had ended up with all sorts of issues. We laughed and laughed and I felt sorry for them both but at the same time happy for myself, that I had obviously been wise enough to choose a far better-suited life partner.

Fast forward to five years later when I find myself lying dead on the couch on a Friday night after I’d finally gotten both of my kids to sleep and my husband had gone to bed when I saw that the movie had just been added to Netflix, so I put it on…. and here we are hours later with 15 Fictional Couples That Accurately Depict Married Life.

Pete and Debbie – ‘This Is 40’

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“Let me clarify first by saying that I think the first time I watched this movie as a newlywed I was totally delusional about what marriage would actually be like. Years of devouring every romcom in existence had me convinced that it was going to be like a Norah Efron movie, and sometimes it is but a lot of the time it’s not and This Is 40 takes place in one of those times when it’s not. Pete and Debbie fight a lot, about very realistic things; money, kids, Pete taking forever on the toilet because he’s actually playing games on his iPhone. There’s miscommunication, they hide things from each other in order to not stress the other one out, they argue about whose music taste is better… it’s a stressful year with a lot of challenges and really what you see is two people who are just trying to do their best to survive. What annoyed me most the first time *SPOILER ALERT* was the ending. After they spent the whole movie fighting they just made up so easily, it seemed so unrealistic. Now I’ve realised it’s not, they love each other and they want to stay together and be happy again so they choose to get over it and move on.” Alex, 30, married 5 years.

Phil and Claire – ‘Modern Family’

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“I would definitely say Claire and Phil Dunphy from Modern Family! I’ve always said they represent Josh and myself! Claire is the bad cop and Phil’s the good cop in their parenting styles which is so realistic! Plus he’s the dad that constantly tries to be cool and impress his kids when Claire is the stern mother that mostly looks at her husband like he’s a big kid himself. They love each other, they love their family and are constantly in situations that truly reflect what family life is like! Well, at least what Josh and my life is like anyway haha.” Sharday, Channel 9’s The Last Resort, in a relationship for 6 years.

“Growing up I imagined that my marriage would be like the relationship between Seth and Summer on the O.C. As a married adult, I would say that it is much more like Claire and Phil from Modern Family. Claire and Phil always seem really real and relatable. I can be a stresshead and want to control things and my husband is a comedian and can be like one of the kids sometimes, but he makes me laugh every day and together we get through what life throws at us.” Cassie, 28, married 6 years.

Jim and Pam – ‘The Office’ 

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“I think Jim and Pam seem the most realistic because they are portrayed as a regular couple who work 9 to 5 jobs and fight about real things. They had a regular wedding and aren’t like the other ‘perfect’ couples on tv. Also, the way they began their relationship seems the most realistic as they were friends first and showed their awkwardness when they realised that they liked each other” Eilish, 17, single.

“Jim and Pam are a great example of a really good marriage, they always have each other’s backs, they care so much about the other person being as happy as they possibly can be. They have a few problems in the later series but they do everything possible to make it work and when Jim holds Pam in the carpark before heading back to Philidelphia and it flashes back to there wedding… I can’t write anymore because I am crying now, there’s just so much love there.” Alex, 30, married 5 years. 

Bob and Helen Parr – ‘The Incredibles’

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“I think Bob and Helen portray a realistic marriage in The Incredibles. From the start, it is clear they have chemistry and love each other. Even though they fight over things like kids, jobs and life. They still love each other and work through there issues while saving the world.” Kevin, 31, married 5 years. 

John and Jenny – ‘Marley & Me’

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“When I was growing up I thought that marriage would be like The Walsh’s relationship on Beverly Hills 90210. Now I think that Marley & Me is a more accurate description as it shows the different stages of a relationship, a loved-up couple in the beginning and then babies. It’s not always perfect. I remember there’s a scene when the husband comes home from work. From his car, he can hear the kids crying and see that the mum is tired and cranky. He turns the music up and doesn’t want to get out of the car. I think that scene is really funny, my husband has done that.” Chantal, 43, married 20 years. 

Monica and Chandler – ‘Friends’

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“I’m going to go with Monica and Chandler from friends because I love the development of their relationship, starting from strangers, becoming friends and then falling for each other. In an ideal world, I think that is the most perfect way to end up together. Plus they have arguments and learn about each other every time through the process of fixing what they’ve done wrong to one another.” Ashleigh, 23, in a relationship.

“Monica and Chandler were always so good to each other, even during their fertility issues, financial problems, and other big things that could break up a marriage, they always stuck by each other and got through it.” Jasmine, 24, separated.

“Monica and Chandler love each other so much, they’re friends as well as a couple, he’s always making her laugh and they work well as a team to get through life.” Cassie, 28, married 6 years.

Cindy and Dean – ‘Blue Valentine’

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“I think Cindy and Dean in Blue Valentine had a realistic marriage until it all went downhill. The couple from Up have a pretty realistic marriage as well.” Zac, 25, single.

Allie and Noah – ‘The Notebook’

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“The Notebook celebrates the depth of their love in its portrayal of the couple as they age together in the nursing home, with Noah keeping by her side even when she can’t remember their many years together.” Danielle, 28, single.

Amy and Jake – ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’

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“I think Amy Santiago and Jake Peralta have a realistic relationship and they are friends for a long time before they get married which I think is really important.” Amber, 22, in a  relationship for 6 years. 

Ben and Katie – ‘The Story Of Us’

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“When I first got married at 20 I thought marriage was going to be like The Young And The Restless or maybe The Bold And The Beautiful! After almost 30 years and two marriages, I would say it is definitely more like The Story Of Us, sometimes happy, sometimes trying, exhausting and definitely a work in progress!” Kelly, 50, married 20 years.

“The Story Of Us is heartbreaking and I cry every time I watch it but I love it so much. It is such a realistic depiction of a marriage. Ben and Katie are so in love and have so much chemistry, you just want them to work so badly, but they have so many arguments about, well pretty much everything that you question whether or not love is enough of a reason to stay together.” Alex, 30, married 5 years. 

Eric and Tami – ‘Friday Night Lights’

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“I think that Coach Taylor and his wife Tami represent marriage well on Friday Night Lights because they have their struggles and but they always get through it together.” Christopher, 30, married 6 years.

“Coach Taylor and Tami Taylor are an accurate portrayal of a realistic happy marriage. They share a deep love but both make mistakes. They sometimes act stubborn, pigheaded and even selfish (ok that’s mostly Coach) but they are willing to admit when they are wrong and put the required effort into making their marriage work. They aren’t the perfect TV couple; they fight and get mad but when they kiss and makeup they make you believe in true love.” Lauren, 31, married.

Frankie and Mike -‘The Middle’

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“Before I was married I thought it would be like Ray and Deb from Everybody loves Raymond but after 20 years I’d say it’s more like Frankie and Mike from The Middle. It is just so true to real life, the house is not perfect, the kids have 3 different quirky personalities, even their dining table has a missing chair and they never bothered getting another one and just use a lawn chair instead.” Brett, 45, married 20 years. 

“The Middle is realistic. Frankie and Mike are a real example of two supporting parents trying to raise a family, living within their means, having the things they need but also with some of the wants. Through the bad and good times, they really are true best friends first and then husband and wife, that honestly shows their strength as they take on things TOGETHER!! It’s raw and real.” Rebecca, 35, married 10 years.

Molly and Arthur Weasley – ‘Harry Potter’

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“I grew up with Harry Potter so from a young age I was able to understand their relationships dynamic, they were who I saw as ‘true love’.  I’ve always modelled my parenting around Molly, and my husband and I have a very similar dynamic to them. My biggest dream in life has always been to be a stay-at-home-mum to a big family, I guess that’s the biggest thing that I identify to Molly with.” Jayde, 23, newly-wed. 

Dave and Julie – ‘Packed To The Rafters’

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“The issues they faced on the show were always realistic to that a non-fiction couple would face. But it was the way they dealt with them. Sometimes they communicated with each other well to solve their issues, other times they turned to their friends first for advice before going to each other. This sometimes caused more problems than the original problem! They fought on the show, they showed their vulnerabilities. They showed how relationships are not perfect all the time and that there can be elements of doubt.” Paula, 34, married 5 years.

Deb and Ray – ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’

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“I think Ray and Debra show what married life is really like, they love each other but clearly get frustrated with each other. Plus they deal with real-life issues like the in-laws.” Dawn, 59, separated. 

“Everybody Loves Raymond shows a really good example of marriage with Ray and Deb. They bicker about relatable things like kids and money but there are a lot of nice moments between them when you get to see just how much they love each other.” Kevin, 31, married 5 years.

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“My Tinder Romance Almost Ended In Tragedy”

Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Lucy had just decided to rejoin Tinder, the 29-year-old single mother had been taking a break from dating to focus on her study and was now ready to get back out there.

It didn’t take long for her to find a match. Ben was a 30-year-old salesman and like most guys Lucy matched with, he was attractive, he surfed, he appeared to have a lot of friends and had just bought his first home.

“I was so excited when we matched! He was so cute and he looked like he had his life together. I am really picky when it comes to choosing guys. I have to think about what is best for my daughter Eva, I was looking for someone who could provide stability and Ben looked like he had that.”

Ben asked Lucy to coffee on the first weekend she had free. The date went well, Ben was smart and funny, he spoke a lot about his family and even footed the bill. Lucy was impressed by him and he was very taken with her, messaging her to ask for a second date as soon as she left.

“I was happy when I got the text. So many guys play games, even if they like you they will wait to text you. After that first date, Ben messaged me all the time. He’d just ask how my day was going and how Eva was, he seemed to be genuinely interested in our life. I have dated so many players in the past so honestly, the attention from Ben was refreshing.”

The relationship developed quickly, Ben wanted to see Lucy all the time and she made it happen as often as she could, considering she had joint custody of her daughter.

“It had only been two months but I felt a real connection with him.”

“Ben was keen to meet Eva, but I was in no hurry. I’ve only introduced her to one guy in the past and when it didn’t work out I decided I wouldn’t do it again until it was really serious with someone.”

Ben opened up to Lucy in a way that no other guy ever had. He told her about his recently deceased sister and his strained relationship with his father.

“It had only been two months but I felt a real connection with him, he was so into me. He even told me that he liked me so much that he hoped he’d never do anything wrong by me. At the time I thought that was really sweet.”

On the night of his birthday, Ben invited Lucy out to dinner with his closest friends and colleges. She figured it was a big deal and dressed accordingly.

“I had a new red dress that I’d been saving for a special occasion. I got ready, dropped Eva off with her Dad and then caught an Uber to the restaurant. The dinner was lovely, his boss talked to Me for most of the night and told me that I was all Ben talked about at work.”

Ben was acting strange but as Lucy had never seen him drink before she assumed that he was just tipsy. They headed to a bar after dinner.

“We were at the bar for about an hour when I left the group to go to the bathroom, on the way back I bumped into an ex-boyfriend at the bar. Things had ended amicably with him so we had a quick chat. While he was talking I heard a loud crash from outside where my group were sitting. I left my ex and went outside to see what had happened.”

Ben had seen Lucy talking to her ex and assumed she was flirting with a stranger. The loud crash was a chair that he had thrown at a wall in a fit of anger. Security arrived shortly after and escorted the group out.

“I was trying to talk to Ben but he wasn’t making any sense. He was just mumbling and seemed distraught. I was really worried about him, I hadn’t seen him act that way and I was afraid something was wrong with him. I thought if I could just get him home safely, he’d feel better and we could talk properly.”

Alarm bells began to ring in Lucy’s head in the Uber on the way back to Ben’s house.

“We were almost back to his place when he offered our Uber driver ice. I was so disgusted and confused, I didn’t actually know if he had any ice on him or if he was just making a sick joke. I asked him if he had taken something and he said no but at that point, I started to feel pretty uneasy.”

Things started to get worse when they made it back to Ben’s house and that’s when Lucy made the decision to message his roommate.

“I didn’t want to leave Ben alone at the house. He was talking about his dead sister and pacing back and forth. I decided that I would just wait with him until his roommate got home.”

Lucy got her phone out to check the time and that’s when Ben lost his temper again.

“He threw his phone at me and started screaming at me, swearing and calling me awful names. I called him an idiot and went into the lounge room to get my bag. I was getting scared then and just wanted to go home straight away.”

She was almost at the door when she heard the sound of glass shattering in the kitchen.

“I went to walk out but then I thought that he’d hurt himself and I couldn’t just leave him there. I felt a bit sick in the stomach going back in there but I needed to see if he was okay.”

“When I walked into the kitchen I found Ben surrounded by glass, he looked at me and then threw another glass on the floor. I was so scared, he looked like a different person, he definitely was not the guy that I had started to fall for. I could see that he wasn’t hurt so I turned to leave again but he grabbed me. He picked up some detergent and sprayed it all over his hand, I was so confused, I had no idea what he was doing. He pulled at my arm again, this time tighter, I kept trying to pull away but he wouldn’t let me go. By this stage I was terrified and shaking, he let go of my arm for a second to pick up his lighter. At first, he pretended to try to light his hand on fire and then he grabbed me again. I just kept thinking the whole time that I wish I had of left when I had the chance. He pulled me closer and then yanked at the bottom of my dress, he pulled the lighter to it and it started to burn. He was trying to get it to light up but the detergent that he’d spilt on it earlier had made it damp.”

At that moment Ben’s housemate arrived home. She ran into the kitchen and pulled Lucy free from Ben’s grip. She held her hand and took her straight to the Uber that she had caught home.

“It all happened so quickly, the next thing I knew I was safe in the Uber. I cried the whole way to my Mum’s house. I couldn’t believe what had just happened to me. When I got there it was 2 am and I was a mess but I felt so relieved to be away from Ben.”

Lucy’s Mum encouraged her to go to the police and report Ben.

“My Mum wanted me to press charges then and there but all I wanted was to have a shower and go to sleep, I told her I’d think about it and went home.”

“I knew it was wrong and against everything that my family wanted me to do.”

Over the next week, Lucy went back and forth with what she should do.

“On one hand I had my mum and sister wanting me to press charges, but on the other hand, I had Ben messaging me constantly, asking for another chance. He was acting so sweet again like he was when we met and I started to feel crazy like I’d dreamt that night. He really had me starting to think that I was overreacting. He even had his roommate message me and tell me that it wasn’t normal for him to act that way. In all honesty, all I wanted to do was go back to him, and pretend it never happened. I knew it was wrong and against everything that my family wanted me to do but they didn’t know him the way I did.”

“It wasn’t until the following weekend that I made my decision and cut off all contact with Ben. I spent days thinking about it and going over everything that had happened, I knew that I wasn’t overreacting and that Ben was trying to manipulate me. I blocked him on social media and asked him to never call or message me again. I didn’t press charges because I didn’t want to put myself through all of that, I just wanted to focus on my daughter and move on.”

Six months have passed since Lucy met Ben and she is yet to return to the dating scene.

“To be honest I am pretty hesitant to date again. I have Eva to think about and it is just so hard to know if I can trust someone. You read all of these stories about other women in dangerous situations with men and you think to yourself, ’that would never happen to me’ or ’I would have done this differently’ but I’ve come to realise that you can’t judge a situation until you’ve been in it yourself.”

If you need support or advice regarding a situation that has left you feeling unsafe call 1800RESPECT to speak to a trained counselling.