Despite what some of your friends might say, married life only gets better as the years tick on—provided you put in the proper work. It usually requires effort, like having meaningful talks and trying new moves in the bedroom, but sometimes it’s as easy as popping a squat on your couch and firing up Netflix.
Watch these 10 shows with your spouse to make your marriage stronger than ever.
Okay, so it’s a country music soap opera—not exactly Monday Night Football. Still, ABC’s hit series about cheating musicians in the titular town will make your nuptial bond seem all the more solid. Watching Connie Britton’s character weather a divorce from one man while raising kids fathered by another will drive home the importance of fidelity. Plus, the original songs totally rule.
2. Duck Dynasty
It looks like a ridiculous reality show about a duck-hunting empire on the outside, but dig deep, and you’ll find morsels that not even the best marriage counselor could dole out. At work here is the generational divide: Learn traditional tenets of monogamy from grandparents Phil and Kay Robertson, and touch up on your modern values with Phil’s son Willie and his wife Korie—a duo running strong since grade school. Shear away the beards, Southern accents, and hunting gear, and you have yourself a couples retreat.
Your wife will love everything about lead character Olivia Pope, played expertly by the stunning Kerry Washington: She’s a strong, highly intelligent, fast-talking woman who’s also a world-class problem solver. Pope’s in control of everything except one aspect of life: her romantic choices. (Bear with us: She has chosen both a super-spy and the President of the United States as lovers.) Scandal should empower your wife, and remind her that love is an unexplainable force that can render any soul powerless. That’s where you swoop in from the other side of the sofa.
4. Mad Men
Ad exec Don Draper may be great at what he does in the office, but outside of it, he’s a horrible father, serial adulterer, and messy drunk. Whether or not she’ll admit it, the Mrs. is subconsciously comparing you to Don. And though the actor who portrays him, Jon Hamm, is classically handsome, his actions on the small screen should render his looks irrelevant. Don’s a dashing womanizer, and you’re a dishes-doing romanticizer. Take pride.
Like a vacation, science fiction can transport you to some far-away place, disconnecting you from the doldrums of everyday life. You might not be able to talk your wife into watching Planet of the Apes, but she’ll likely love this addicting—and sometimes head-scratching—mystery that remains one of Netflix’s most binge-watched shows. Can’t afford more than a few trips a year? Sit through six seasons of Lost and experience a stay-at-home adventure that’s almost as awesome as a real island getaway.
6. Antiques Roadshow
This PBS staple is the forefather of knockoffs like Pawn Stars, American Pickers, and Storage Wars. Its premise is simple: A person brings a collectible on to the show, learns its back story, then discovers how much or little it’s worth. Regardless of the outcome, many of the items have personal significance to their owners and have been handed down from generation to generation. That should indirectly get you and your spouse thinking about your legacy—i.e. kids—and how you both would like to be remembered. Also: It’s always fun seeing some jerk who thinks he’s got an expensive painting find out it’s a fake.
7. Freaks and Geeks
You probably didn’t marry your high school sweetheart, so bingeing through Freaks and Geeks—which aired for a single season in 2000, and launched the careers of stars like James Franco and Seth Rogen—will be like reliving your teenage years with your wife. You may find yourself sharing hilarious, awkward memories with her within hours of cracking this can’t-miss series.
8. The Amazing Race
CBS’s Emmy-winning reality series is a chance for a married couple to see both the pitfalls and bonding agents of world travel, through the eyes of some of the show’s contestants. Co-plan your next vacation: There will be arguments, but the trip itself will be much more meaningful, given that you both booked it. For example, if she put you in charge of researching restaurants, she won’t be able to argue with the enormous beer hall you added to the itinerary.
9. Modern Family
Most modern families are Petri dishes of diversity, featuring a wide range of personalities, sexual orientations, and nationalities—like the characters on this smash ABC sitcom. With Thanksgiving fast approaching, think of the various couples who will be present around your dinner table, and compare them each to the show’s characters. Which duo do you align with the most: Jay and Gloria? Claire and Phil? Mitchell and Cameron? You’ll find aspects of each pair that you and your wife can identify with.
10. New Girl
If you’re not a fan of Zooey Deschanel, you might not have a heart. (She stole ours in Elf.) The FOX show New Girl, which features the actress as the lone female roommate in an apartment full of guys, should change that. Deschanel’s not married to any of her roomies, but the show smartly pokes fun at the dynamics of living with the opposite sex. In a sense, the two of you are roommates for the long haul. You’ll hopefully live together under the same roof forever, so steal a cue from the New Girl crew’s hijinks and have a little more fun around the house.