02/21/2014 12:02 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

These TV Couples Are Our Marriage Role Models

Washington D.C.'s most ruthless power couple is back on the small screen now that Netflix has released season 2 of "House of Cards," and like many of you, we spent Presidents' Day weekend binge-watching Frank and Claire Underwood wreak havoc on Capitol Hill.

We won't get into many details except to say that the Underwoods truly outdid themselves this year when it came to backstabbing, manipulation, slander and murder. Yet somehow, they also had time to listen each other, spice things up in the bedroom and help each other achieve lofty goals. In honor of their most unconventional and cold-blooded romance, we present a list of our favorite TV couples who double as marriage role models.

Frank and Claire Underwood of 'House Of Cards'
claire and francis

Why We Love Them: You don't have to be a sociopath to admit that there are some very enviable things about Frank -- or Francis, as Claire calls him -- and Claire's marriage. They're out to build an empire together as true equals, and nothing is going to stand in their way. Slate's Hanna Rosin classified their relationship as a "companionate marriage" between educated elites, and writes that such marriages are "the most stable, prosperous marriages the Western world has seen in decades." For us, it's a little simpler: Francis and Claire share a bond so deep that no one -- not even ex-lovers, cub reporters or secret service agents -- could even come close to understanding what they've spent decades building together.

What They Taught Us: There's something so valuable about creating a refuge for each other, built on the foundations of trust, honesty and transparency. The world can be a cold, dark and scary place, after all, and it's nice to come home to someone who will never judge you -- especially because they love you "more than sharks love blood."

Mitchell Pritchett and Cameron Tucker of 'Modern Family'

Gif credit: Modern Familys

Why We Love Them: Sorry-not-sorry, but Mitch and Cam are the best couple on "Modern Family," and we're so happy that they're getting hitched this season. The quintessential opposites-attract couple, Mitch and Cam know each other inside and out but can still surprise and delight each other when it counts. The show leans heavily on them for catty one-liners and gag jokes, but we'll never forget the time Mitch and Cam didn't get to adopt their baby boy back in 2012. The ending shot of the defeated couple, laying in a field and holding hands, was heartbreaking and heartening all at the same time.

What They Taught Us: If you walk into a marriage thinking you're just going to smooth over someone else's rough edges, you're going to be very, very disappointed. For one, it's a waste of time. Secondly, there's nothing wrong with having a clown in the family -- or a know-it-all.

Philip and Vivian Banks of 'The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air'

Why We Love Them: Uncle Phil and Aunt Viv inspired all the children in their home to do something good and meaningful with their lives, and they didn't do it by nagging or begging. Instead, they set examples with their own choices; Phil was a civil rights activist, lawyer and eventually became a judge, while Viv was a doctor and teacher. They had strong morals and could be ferocious when they teamed up, as seen in the video above when they rescue Will and Carlton from a racist policeman. The moment when Aunt Viv takes off her earrings before the fight shows that she's not to be messed with -- despite her perfectly put-together outfit and coiffed hairstyle.

What They Taught Us: Phil and Viv show that the effects of a good marriage can ripple out far beyond the couple itself. Not only were they strong enough to raise four children and do it well, but they also had enough room in their hearts to help raise their nephew, Will. They're an inspiration to couples who either want to raise children or who want to be a force for good in other people's lives.

Eric and Tami Taylor of 'Friday Night Lights'
friday night lights

Why We Love Them: Behind every great man is a great woman, and Mrs. Coach was happy being that woman -- until one day she wasn't. After years of helping Eric become the top high school football coach in Texas, Tami finally got her chance to shine professionally when a prestigious liberal arts college in Philadelphia offered her a job as Dean of Admissions. We've always suspected that the Taylors had a rock-solid romance, but we didn't have proof until Eric agreed to move away from Texas (forever!) so that Tami could pursue her dreams. It's her turn, babe.

What They Taught Us: If we're lucky, we're going to continue changing and growing as we get older. The best marriages adapt to those changes and are stronger for them.

Cliff and Clair Huxtable of 'The Cosby Show'

Gif credit: giphy

Why We Love Them: Cliff and Clair have high-stress careers and they're the parents of five children, which means they have to run a tight ship at home. But their number one priority is finding time to talk, play, dance and romance each other amidst all the usual chaos of family life. This "Let's Get It On" scene, in which Cliff and Clair run into problems in the bedroom, showcase the couple at their best: open, honest, humorous and amorous. Rawrrr.

What They Taught Us: No matter how many children and grandchildren come into your orbit, it pays to remember that the couple is the center of the family universe. Prioritize your romance over your children, and you'll be a better spouse and parent.

Dan and Roseanne Conner of 'Roseanne'
rosanne barr john goodman

Why We Love Them: Dan and Roseanne are the king and queen of keeping it real. This show wasn't glamorous, but the love between these two working stiffs was genuine and moving. Dan and Roseanne's relationship was tested by real-world issues like mental illness, poverty and abortion, but they faced every obstacle with grit and humor, and weren't afraid to laugh at each other.

What They Taught Us: The real world isn't perfect, and neither is your marriage. Luckily, you don't have to have it all to have unconditional love.

Ben Wyatt and Leslie Knope of 'Parks and Recreation'

Gif credit: murinal

Why We Love Them: It was hate at first sight for Ben, a state auditor, and Leslie, the head of the Parks & Recreation department. He was out to gut her budget, while she fought him every step of the way to protect her people. But the hate turned into respect, which then transformed into love -- which was then beset by numerous obstacles like no-dating policies, long-distance career opportunities and political scandal. Ben proves that he's true blue when the pair are caught in an illicit romance and have to answer to an ethics committee. Rather than let Leslie lose her job (and, let's face it, her life's purpose), Ben takes the fall for "bribing" a janitor to look the other way on their relationship, costing him his job.

What They Taught Us: Love is worth fighting for, so don't let obstacles (internal and external) tear you down. When you've had to overcome many barriers to be together, you're going to hold each other closer in the end.

Frank Lambert and Carol Foster Lambert of 'Step By Step'
step by step

Why We Love Them: They were a modern-day "Brady Bunch" back in the '90s, and we loved seeing the Foster-Lamberts transform from a bitterly divided and suspicious group of strangers into a tight-knit, loyal band after seven seasons. The arrival of baby Lily Foster-Lambert a few years into their marriage seems to permanently bond the family for good, but the birth episode shows that Frank and Carol's kids had been treating each other like good siblings for a long time.

What They Taught Us: Frank and Carol's marriage gives blended families hope that there can be genuine love underneath all that backbiting and sniping sarcasm. Stay calm and united as you continue to referee fights between step-siblings and have confidence in your new family's growing bond.

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