Marko and Alana (Saga)
My inspiration! These two had me from the first page - I will never again accept the idea that a story of romance ends with the couple's first baby. This is the Romeo and Juliet who have the brains and the courage to run away with their love. They'll die for each other if they must, but they know they can live for each other instead, and their devotion to their daughter amplifies their devotion to each other rather than diminishing it. To them, she's her own answer to the question of why someone would bring a child into a cruel world. They're also adorable, funny, confused and unprepared, and routinely badass.
Molly and Arthur Weasley (Harry Potter)
Everyone loves a Weasley. I'm a Harry Potter fan but I wouldn't call it one of my fandoms - for the most part I just like the stuff that everyone likes. Large, stable families aren't that common in fiction, but they're not unheard of either - what makes Molly and Arthur exceptional is the way their characters are crafted individually, but not at the expense of their complementary natures. They love each other and their children, and that never falters, nor do they resent the limitations that their big family and low income has put on their lives. When it comes to domestic happiness, they win.
Eddie and Rose Darko (Donnie Darko)
I've watched this movie more times than is probably healthy, and each time, the characters of Donnie's parents touch me more and more. It's all of the little moments, from his father masking a chuckle at the humor in Donnie's misbehavior, to his mother holding herself together when she learns that her son is showing signs of paranoid schizophrenia. They're not only terrified but helpless, trying to give him a chance even when he's deliberately making it harder on them. They make their mistakes, lean on each other, and ultimately can't save their son. Was it all for nothing? Of course not: they raised a superhero.
Eddard and Catelyn Stark (A Song of Ice and Fire)
This is probably the hardest one for me to defend, if I have to. Hopefully I can buy some time by clarifying that I'm more about the book version than the TV version (but isn't that screencap irresistible?). Ned and Cat are tied to a culture far removed from ours, and some of their choices and beliefs are influenced by that culture in a bad way. Both of them end up hurting their family through their own fault - but oh, how they try. How they sacrifice. By the time they had Robb, they had still just barely met in person, but Robb was enough to make their love bloom, because they suddenly had the most important thing in their lives in common. Four more most important things follow, and each one benefits from how much their parents truly cared about them.
Mother and the Old Man (A Christmas Story)
Okay so of course this one is mostly about making me laugh. How great are these two? They have a cold war over a lamp! Their family dynamics are rather manipulative, actually. Everyone exploits Mom, and Mom uses her own subtle powers to redirect attention and enforce arbitrary rules. Thing is, though, everyone benefits. She takes care of three crazy people so well that they don't even know how crazy they are. The Old Man seems a lout beside her, but then, behold, he's been paying attention all along; he wants an active part in raising his son. What I love about the ending is that both parents are right - Ralphie does misuse his BB gun, but it's worth it for the experience. And absolutely nothing is going to stop them from having a happy Christmas dinner together.
Pongo and Perdita/Misses (101 Dalmatians)
Surprised? I didn't want to rank these, but if I did, these dogs might actually come in first. 101 Dalmatians, both the book and the movie, were my childhood obsession. I'm fairly convinced I had awesome taste as a child, because I remember a lot from the book, and now I can appreciate it on a whole new level. It's not just an animal adventure, it's a husband and wife setting out together to save their children. Pongo and Misses are written brilliantly, driven and single-minded but showing distinctive character traits. He's a genius among dogs; she isn't, but there's no sign of condescension from him or any suggestion that she's of lesser importance than him in their quest. In fact, she has a wisdom and instinct that he doesn't. All kinds of gentle lessons are woven into the story, like when Misses tells Pongo not to bite a child that threw a rock at her, reminding him that their own children have hurt her in their ignorance too. There's a sophisticated look at law and obedience - the dogs are loyal to their human masters, but they know when they have to break the rules and take care of business themselves.
And all plausibility aside, what could be a better ending than the rescue and adoption of all 82-84 puppies in addition to the recovery of their own? Good parents have a love that extends beyond their own blood relations. They know that everyone had a mother and father and everyone deserves a home.
Preferably a botanical rocketship.