Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is carrying your beloved along a 278-yard obstacle course.

That pretty much sums up the North American Wife Carrying Championship, an annual competition returning this Saturday (for the 14th time, no less) to the Sunday River Ski Resort in Maine.

Competitors don't actually have to be married or even romantically involved (and considering one obstacle is christened the "widow maker," maybe that's a good thing). And — hey, progress! — "wives" can also opt to heave their hopefully svelte "husbands" through the obstacle course as well.

Still, if a competition based on a man being able to carry his lady up hills, through water, and across logs sounds like the impetus for every "in the doghouse" story ever, well, consider the swag:

The winning couple takes home the wife's weight in beer, five times her weight in cash, and an entry into the World Championship, which takes place in Finland the following summer. [Sunday River]

Before you get too excited: This year's competition is already full, so you'll have to settle for these photos of participants past.

(All Photos courtesy of Sunday River Resort)