I adore his 5 o’clock shadow.

Even though the salt and pepper. Who am I kidding? BECAUSE of the salt and pepper. I’m purring right now just thinking about it.

He’s wild about my butt. Even though it fills his big, burly hands up more than ever before. He’s got zero problems with that.

Each time I see him from across a crowded room, my heart crawls up into my throat—as if it could get to him quicker from there. Still. Thousands of moons later, this happens.

When I touch him, anywhere, his audible sigh pleads please never stop.

Our private, inside jokes indelibly tether our souls. We have our own language you wouldn’t understand. There’s a look I give him that says everything he’s ever wanted to hear.

The list of ways we melt each other goes on for days. Miles. Oceans. Lifetimes. Always has. Always will.

And not one of the reasons we coo at each other ever held enough clout to keep us from growing apart. From unspooling at different ends of our marriage. From looking at each other like, “My God. What have we done.” From wondering how we’ll ever undo the done.

The hot, melty parts of being a couple are the jazz hands in marriage. The laughter and the linking of psyches are the exuberant kicklines in a relationship. The traditions we start and the happy moments are the attractions on the brightly lit marquees.

And none of that pomp and circumstance worked to sustain us through the pressures and letdowns of life and the challenge of living it with another.

Turns out none of the showy or shiny is actually love.

And only the antithesis of all that masquerades as love was ever going to help us stay together until death do us part—loving for no reason at all. Because that’s what love does and why it does it, both.

Love doesn’t say turn me on and I’ll stay true to you. Love doesn’t demand respect me or I’ll live elsewhere. Love doesn’t say look pretty and I won’t leave. Love doesn’t say you made a mistake and so I’m gone. Love doesn’t claim you hurt me and so I hate you.

Love doesn’t let anyone down; people who stop loving do.

Love says there’s no reason for me to exist and last. I just am and I just will. I’m a mission. I’m a solution. I’m the way, the truth, and the light. Love says I can always be accessed or returned to because I never go anywhere. I’ll make the first move. I’ll redeem. I’ll protect.

Love intones I don’t quit. I am all there is. I am in you. I am for you.

And because love is grace, it will remind the emptiest hearts in the loneliest places on the darkest of days—all you have to do is choose me. Still. Even though.

That’s what love did for us. The very same it will do for you.

Originally published on Utter Imperfection

Jodie Utter

Jodie Utter is a freelance writer & creator of the blog, Utter Imperfection. She calls the Pacific Northwest home and shares it with her husband and two children. As an awkward dancer who’s tired of making dinner and can’t stay awake past nine, she flings her life wide open and tells her stories to connect pain to pain and struggle to struggle in hopes others will feel less alone inside their own stories and more at home in their hearts, minds, and relationships. You can connect with her on her blog, Utter Imperfection and on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.