Case in point would be Doctor Who, Once upon a Time, and Haven.
Die hard shipper over here. Hopelessly Team Waffles when it comes to Haven. And absolutely head over heels for Captain Swan. And Rose and the Doctor all the way.
All my ships have something in common, too. In each, the man may not be the best choice for the woman, but the woman is the best choice for the man.
By this I mean that the man's love for the woman is a motivation for the man to be better. He wants to be the kind of man she could love. The woman isn't trying to change him. He's trying to change to deserve her, in his mind.
On Once a upon a Time this season there's been a recurring theme that love is sacrifice. And these three ships embody that.
And living and breathing a ship? I feel in learning all sorts of things I could apply to my own writing.
And, show writers, please "Stop blowing holes in my ship!" (To quote another pirate.)