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 "Take my wife. Please!"


A species of Dom Com 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 child-like buffoons who watch too much football, leave the toilet seat up, ogle hot women, and forget anniversaries. Wives are frigid, nagging, hateful shrews with zero interest in sex. Children destroy your home and what little peace of mind you have left, while waiting their turn to perpetuate the cycle. Obnoxious In-Laws serve to add to the misery. The audience may be left wondering, "Why don't they just get a divorce, if they're so miserable?"

Married... with Children was probably the first time this trope was seen on American television, but it's been a mainstay of British shows since The Fifties.

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

Examples of Awful Wedded Life include:


  • Too often a source of jokes in stand-up comedy.

Comic Strips

  • The Lockhorns, though thankfully the eponymous couple apparently doesn't have kids.
  • For Better or For Worse 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.

Live-Action TV

Western Animation

  • Done in plenty of old cartoons—examples include Porky's Romance, Donald's Diary, and His Bitter Half.
  • Family Guy didn't start out this way, but post-cancellation eventually turned into it. Peter is a sociopath, Lois is a bitch, and the only reason they stay together is because their infant son will never grow up and go to college.
  • Homer and Marge Simpson just barely manage to avoid this. Homer's a buffoon, but he at least tries to better himself despite his limited intelligence. Marge, meanwhile, is a fussy wet blanket, but she behaves this way out of love and concern as she tries to hold her wild family together.