Marshall Eriksen, How I Met Your Mother
Most television husbands give real men a bad wrap. For decades, shows centered on lazy husbands getting laughs by mocking their "nagging" wives or ducking their responsibilities at a neighborhood bar. But, over the years, there have been a few good men who've stood out from the pack. Take a moment to honor the TV husbands we love, for better and for worse.
When we met Marshall Eriksen, as played by Jason Segel, in Season 1, he was the boyfriend we wanted to take home to Mom. Now, this lovable Minnesota "Marshmallow" is the husband every girl dreams of. He's been faithful to his college sweetheart, Lily, for more than 10 years, and he even forgave her for calling off their engagement during a fleeting quarter-life crisis.
Marshall isn't afraid to express his love for Lily…even when his guy friends are around. Plus, any man who can overlook his wife's shopping addiction scores extra points.
Photo: Gene Trindl, courtesy MPTV.net
Dr. Jason Seaver, Growing Pains
When his wife, Maggie, wants to go back to work as a reporter, Dr. Jason Seaver, as played by Alan Thicke, starts practicing psychiatry from home, making him one of television's first stay-at-home dads! Not only is he supportive of his wife's career, but he also manages to keep their three troublesome kids in line…most of the time.
Plus, this handsome sitcom doctor is progressive enough to let his wife keep her maiden name, Malone. Now that's a first!
Coach Eric Taylor, Friday Night Lights
He's a high school football coach who's married to the principal. What seems like a recipe for drama and divorce has turned into one of the most enviable marriages on television. Every week, fans of Friday Night Lights watch Coach Eric Taylor, played by Kyle Chandler, stand behind his wife's decisions…even when he disagrees.
These realistic, working parents also make time for romance. In one episode, Coach Taylor surprises his wife with a hotel room, chocolate and roses on her birthday. Maybe it's the Texas heat, but this onscreen couple has a spark.
Tom Scavo, Desperate Housewives
Sure, Lynette and Tom have their ups and downs. But Tom, as played by Doug Savant, is the only Housewives
husband who's stayed out of prison. These harried parents of five are also the only ones who've avoided divorce court.
Though Tom has gone through a midlife crisis, lied about an illegitimate child and lost more than one job over five seasons, he's still there to help his wife pick up the pieces once the dust settles. Even when things seem shaky, Tom and Lynette's marriage remains rock solid, built on strong communication, mutual respect and an active sex life.
Dan Conner, Roseanne
On Roseanne, John Goodman plays Dan Conner, a wise-cracking, working-class husband, to perfection. His television wife may be loud, bossy and brash, but that's how he likes her. Their relationship serves as a reminder of what a loving marriage could look like…even when times are tough and money is scarce.
Dan's sense of humor and realness reminds us of the dads we grew up with—not perfect, but not hopelessly clueless either.
Sandy Cohen, The O.C.
For four seasons of The O.C., Sandy Cohen is the voice of reason for many unreasonable, morally ambiguous characters. When his wife, Kirsten, develops a drinking problem, he won our hearts by staging an intervention and standing by her side.
Despite many temptations, Sandy also never strays. This salt-and-pepper surfer remains faithful to his wife, and when she became pregnant toward the end of the series, he embraces the unexpected blessing. Sandy also always seems to have fresh New York bagels on hand, which any woman can appreciate.
Jed Bartlet, The West Wing
When President Jed Bartlet, played by Martin Sheen, spars with his wife, Abbey, on West Wing, we say a little prayer that 30 years into our marriages, we'll be that engaged with our spouses. He may be president, but this TV husband also supports and respects his equally brilliant wife, a Harvard-educated surgeon.
President Bartlet trusts Abbey with state secrets—like his multiple sclerosis diagnosis—and as his health declines, their bond becomes stronger.
Bill Henrickson, Big Love
Any man who can juggle three wives and eight children deserves a spot on our list. On the HBO series Big Love
, Bill Henrickson, played by Bill Paxton, is a fictional fundamentalist Mormon
who practices polygamy. His three wives, Barb, Nicki and Marge, keep him running between their three homes—which are connected by a large backyard—and cause a few scandals along the way.
Bill may be breaking the law, but he remains loyal to "head wife" Barb, takes on Nicki's growing debt and cares for the youngest of the three, Marge.
Rev Run, Run's House
On the MTV reality show Run's House
, cameras capture the interactions between Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons
and his wife, Justine. When they're not chasing after their five children, this couple shows America that the family who prays together, stays together.
When times are tough, Rev Run always has words of wisdom to share with his family…but he's not always serious. He loves to laugh and playfully tease his wife. At the end of the day, they always find a way to spend quality time together. Sign up for our Screening Room newsletter!