Marriage can be beautiful one day and extremely ugly the next. A couple is raw — bared open before each other where no blemish is covered. We try to patch and cover up for community and family. But both, in this union of one, see. We know the raw.

We stay together and work through even when we walk the same path over and over and never find the solution to the problem. When we have the same discussion and we listen to find no solution. We make amends without solution. And this is love…

We admit failure, fear, dread, longings, wishes, dreams, burdens, and disappointments. We forgive, for the same offense, over and over. We try to remember what grace and mercy look like in a relationship. It’s hard to see it when we’ve not shared it, experienced it together, given grace and mercy to one another. When bitterness, strife, and disrespect take center stage we pull apart. And this, still, is love…

How could that be love? It hurts. Yes, it hurts to the core. Loneliness is love? Where did we go? What happened to the love and intimacy of our first days? When we feel we are no longer attached and attracted physically, we are attached and attracted emotionally and spiritually. Yet this gets in the way. The emotion, our spirits, or own physical self gets in the way of our being physical. We work through, we dislike each other, we scream, yell, and fight to find the way back. We don’t give up. It looks ugly, feels ugly, is lonesome, and polarizing. And, yes again, this is love…

The path that never finds the solution, the way you continue to say goodnight, the decision to not walk out, knowing love is not roses, candy, and long walks on the beach. Things are not love. Actions are love. Movement that keeps you from giving up. Love is carrying a dream, a hope, a burden with someone. Admitting and forgiving for the numbered times of which you’ve lost track and more.

Love is raw, pure, ugly, hard, and beautiful. It is worth the work, the sorrow, the grief, the anger, the disappointment. We are worth the work of love.