There has been some talk about gaming couples in recent weeks. I think most of it was spawned by Matticus's somewhat negative article about raiding couples. I got the sense that he doesn't care much for them. Yet, I can't help but think he's only speaking about one very specific type of couple. One very narrow-minded view.
My guild was founded based on couples. Most of the founding members were part of a gaming couple. It's why we took the joking name: Lothar Swingers Club. And it worked really well for us. We had very low drama. We succeed in progressing at our own pace. And we have a wide variety of couple types. Some of us talk... a lot. Some of us are quiet. Some of us, you can't even count on to have spoken to their spouse more recently than you have.
To be fair, I've know couples like the ones Matticus describes, but we just didn't have anyone like that. I would say we have everything but that. In fact, it was probably more often 2 on 1 against one member of the couple, causing more marital strife than in-game strife. It was not uncommon for a couple to go silent for an uncommon amount of time on vent, only to key in five minutes later saying: "Sorry, was yelling at my spouse across the room. He/she was being an idiot again."
Which brings up what I believe to be the biggest benefit of gaming couples, mechanics-wise: they're in the same room. When my wife is tanking, it's like she has a built in bonus camera in the form of the pew-pewing warlock. While she's watching the All Crotch All The Time channel, I can warn her of adds or other impending doom. Basically, two heads are better than one. And this sort of thing extends to a lot of other areas, but in-game doesn't really cover it for me.
Honestly, I think the biggest benefit is been the support network you get. Any married person can tell you that having other married friends is comforting. It's nice to know that all the yelling is normal, and that you're not the only one annoyed by who did/didn't do the dishes. And when one of you gets sick - really sick - you have a whole bunch of folks that are there for you and understand.
The support I've gotten from my guildies in the past few months has been unquantifiable. You cannot min/max it. It will never show up on a meter in-game.
I guess I just wanted to go on record with that. No way in hell would I avoid gaming couples just on principle. No, I just try to avoid unreasonable asshats based on individual experience. After all, you don't have to be a couple to be one of those. Does it surprise anyone that they might come in pairs? Just saying: don't throw out the baby with the bathwater here.
All in all, I think this: "On the other hand, you could just auto decline couples entirely and
sidestep any potential drama problems that might happen later" is terrible advice. You could miss out on so much, and MMO gaming isn't just about raiding.
(Note: I don't think Matticus was really meaning to "hate" on couples, though it kind of came off that way. Instead, I think he was merely stressing that as a good GM/RL, you need to take someone's entire situation into account when deciding if they're right for your group or not. And that is not bad advice.)