She is the least beautiful of three sisters legendary for their beauty, and he falls in love with the clean straight lines of her back, the curve of her arm, the fall of her long straight hair, across a crowded room before he ever sees her face.
He proposes for the first time ten days after they meet. She doesn't accept until the third time, when she thinks he's going to be killed. She is not the wife the Dark Lord chose for him, though her name is ancient and her blood is pure. She is not one of them and she never will be.
She hates the Mark on his arm and she hates the war he's fighting, and every time he goes away she swears it's over, and every time, she takes him back. And every time he's a grateful, as surprised, as he was the first time.
He breaks with his father for her, because she is the daughter of a madman, because there is bad blood in the most ancient, honorable, and unchancy House of Black. He gets her with child because he thinks it will force her hand.
She is four months pregnant when she elopes with him, and the ring he buys for her will not fit on her finger. She cries when she takes his hand, and while she says her vows, and when he kisses her. They are not tears of happiness. She loves him despite his lack of principles, but she does not like herself for it.
He is not there when she gives birth to his son, and he does not come for three days after, and by then she has had all the locks and all the passwords changed, and will not let him in. She names her child for stars that never set, in the manner of her line.
She does not speak to him again until the war is over, and they are in his father's house, protected by his father's name. She has no gentleness left for him, and very little patience. He does not ask either of her.
He is so obviously broken, by her, by the war, by his father, that she cannot help putting him back together. It makes her remember why she loved him, that once he had been kind, and made her laugh, and she had liked the way his hands felt on her body.
She takes him back, because to do otherwise would destroy him. She lets him kiss her, lets him hold their son. She fights with his father when he will not. She sleeps in his bed. She tells him she loves him again, and learns to mean it.
Improbably, they are happy together.