The first rule of both falling in love and putting permanent ink on your body is: Don’t tat the other person’s name onto your flesh. It might seem like a grand romantic gesture, but it often leads to regret, remorse, and money spent down the line to cover up that 6-month mistake that you thought was going to last a lifetime. That isn’t to say celebrating your love with a couples tattoo is a bad idea, it’s just a question of learning to do it in a way that is tasteful, enjoyable, and something that can work even if your partner should disappear from your life forever.
If you’re thinking about inking with your best beloved, here’s 21 couples tattoos that celebrate love and togetherness, while acknowledging that death might not be what parts you.
Animal tattoos are always a good choice because they allow partners to pick a representative of themselves that could be an inside joke, a mutual affection for the creatures, or a shared memory that can still bring up fondness for either party down the road.
Like animals, a pair of machines or characters that could be interacting when together – or shows off the personality of the individual when alone – creates a scene that is different depending on the circumstances but carries a cartoonish playfulness that’s light and fun, however it’s interpreted.
Symbols are very broad, but this has as many levels as you like. It could be each person pointing to their own optimistic or pessimistic nature, making a reference to the cliché, adding a scientific element to their affection, or just celebrating math.
Lock & Key
Touching and sentimental, tattoos like this one capture the sense of different components that work in concert, and only operate correctly when both parts are present. It implies incompleteness that is satisfied fully and wonderfully by the other party.
Final Piece of The Puzzle
Many of us have a sense of missing a part and needing that space to be filled, but only by the proper companion. Like the lock & key, the sense here is that only the other person, with their strange lumps and curves, could ever fulfill us accurately.
The dual Venn Diagrams go in the opposite direction of the puzzle piece, showing how two people with several massive differences can yet find common ground in the places where they overlap. Complete, yet part of each other in the mixture of their full selves.
Jack & Sally
Identifying with couples from media is always a light way of expressing profound feelings in a way that doesn’t attempt to be too deep. These can be equally good for seeking out a new mate, as they’re sure-fire conversation pieces with anyone who shares your passion for Halloween Town, or whatever characters you pick.
It’s been said that each of us has a child inside that only comes out with the person we trust the most. A pencil sketch captures this simplicity, as well as the childlike joy of love, through minimalism that is as wide and deep as it is plain.
Mickey & Minnie
The tattooed generation is not one to harken back to Casablanca or Romeo & Juliet. Rather, there’s something timeless about a pair of soulmates who share their affection in a way that is as pure as a wet smacking kiss. complete with Disney sound effects.
Beauty & The Beast
Probably one of the most heartwarming tales of redemption and the power of love to see beyond the surface, these particular tattoos go further in altering the script, style, and placement, giving them a sense of being counterpoints that somehow belong only together.
The message here is clear: Our hearts beat as one. The basic squiggle can be any number of things, making it easy to avoid awkward questions, but when mixed together, anyone who’s ever been in a hospital can instantly see what it is.
Wheel & Anchor
A good partnership is one where each person plays a role, but has their own needs and boundaries as well. Adding in script with the pictures can elucidate those aspects to each person, and be a mission statement for both companions.
As understated as you can get in the world of skin and ink, the basic act of keeping half a heart that can only be melded with the other person’s declares your love. Should they go, the message is just as obvious; Broken Hearted.
Russian Nesting Dolls
Not all couples tattoos need to go onto couples. With polyamorous relationships on the rise, this kind of tat offers a way of showing that the people are hollow without the others, need their protection, and are their own entity all at once. Also works for families, though we advise against getting your children inked until they’re old enough.
Though it appears as a simple homage to The Legend of Zelda on the surface, this actually encapsulates a whole breed of couple tattoos. One person plays one role, but they require the energy of the other to keep them alive. Its beautiful symbiosis intersected with geek culture.
A pair need not look too far afield to find a way to turn an instantly recognizable symbol into their own show of adulation. The Taoist Yin Yang symbol is two parts of a circular whole, carrying two energies, each with a part of the other to make up the pattern of all life.
A variation on the heartbeat that joins to show interconnectedness, these are stand-alone tattoos of the other person saying “I love you” as it appears on a decibel monitor. As esoteric as it gets, and a wonderful notion for any phrase you want secreted on your body.
Bird & Tree
Different in every way, right down to the style of work, yet identifiable to any child as belonging together, this style of tat works with any pair of conjoined items or ideas. Though we do worry about the couple who went with “bread” and “toaster.”
Longitude & Latitude
With each party bearing a set of coordinates on their wrist, this isn’t going to be as easily explained away as many should you split with your lovely love, but it’s also a sly way of thinking about the place you met, the place you proposed, or where you buried the cash from that casino heist.
Bow & Arrow
Like the bird & tree, the Bow & Arrow are two things that not only go together, but only operate when used in tandem. It expresses the kind of love that is fine alone, but becomes more than the sum of its parts when operated correctly; like the mechanics of a lasting relationship.
Buck & Doe
Completing the circle began by the lovebirds at the beginning, the Buck & Doe combine several elements expressed here, with only the artwork itself showing that the two are one. Different in every way, right down to the script, there’s still no question that these are meant to be.