The first two seasons, at least, the Underwood couple forms a ‘unit of identity’ in that they have literally established a ‘couple’s identity’. Indeed Frank’s and Claire’s ‘individual self’ needs also to be apprehended through the relationship they entertain with each other, as husband and wife, which would constitute what psycho-sociologists call their ‘relational selves’. Strongly united by a shared life goal, Claire’s and Francis’s ‘self-concept’ is partly derived from the connection they have established between themselves as ‘significant other’ for each other. … What is striking in the Underwoods’ interactions is that the tough and uncompromising attitude they assume with others also prevails inside the couple.
… Extremely complicit (they tell each other everything), they celebrate each other’s achievements, helping one another out towards the attainment of their life goal. However, unlike what could be expected within a couple, no vulnerability is allowed; pessimistic beliefs, feeling and negative self-attributes attributes are banned from their interactions.
… The self-image that Francis projects on her is ruthlessly assessed by Claire who allows him no show of weakness or discouragement. Self-worth must be constantly maintained and enhanced. She mercilessly refuses her husband to admit negative attributes or actions. In the first episode, when Francis learns he has been rules out as Secretary of State, he spends the afternoon along without warning Claire, which she deeply resents, for as a couple, they (should) share everything.
… Inside the ‘we-identity’ the couple constitutes, Claire and Francis have a fundamental desire to have their respective self-worth appreciated by the other. Therefore not showing the best of oneself is not an option. Self-flagellation can only bring on detrimental negativity.
… In the system of values and self-discipline that sustains their life objective, failure is unthinkable. Boosting each other’s ego can involve outdrawing the other when necessary.
– Sandrine Sorlin, Language and Manipulation in House of Cards (via luxe-pauvre)