Couples looking for jobs in the same labor market may cause instabilities. We determine a natural preference domain, the domain of weakly responsive preferences, that guarantees stability. Under a restricted unemployment aversion condition we show that this domain is maximal for the existence of stable matchings. We illustrate how small deviations from (weak) responsiveness, that model the wish of couples to be closer together, cause instability, even when we use a weaker stability notion that excludes myopic blocking. Our remaining results deal with various properties of the set of stable matchings for "responsive couples markets", viz., optimality, filled positions, and manipulation. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.