I recently celebrated my first wedding anniversary, and I am so grateful to have my husband in my life.

Was it love at first sight? No.

Did I know right away? No.

Did I have strong chemistry with him that it brought butterflies to my stomach or gave me that exciting feeling in my heart before we married? No.

Was he coming into the relationship with a stable job? No.

Did he share all the same hobbies as I did? No.

Did I feel like I was "in love"? No.

Did my husband feel like he was "in love" with me? No.

Did I even know what love was? No!

But if I focused on all those things he didn't have, then I was left with fear. I would have left the relationship, I would have not married...

So how did I move forward?

I was able to recognize my fear and decide that despite my fear I knew I had someone extraordinary by my side.

Although I didn't feel that head-over-heels attraction before getting married, I did know that I had a certain level of attraction with him.

I saw his heart of gold.

I saw how we worked well together as a team.

I saw that I looked up to him for his wisdom, his values, his character and his essence.

I trusted him, I cared for him, I respected him.

I believed in him as he believed in me.

I loved all the wonderful qualities he shined. I saw that I could talk to him about anything without feeling nervous or afraid. I was able to be myself around him.

I saw his determination and motivation and based on that I trusted that he will get his work situation situated.

I saw his giving character.

I saw we communicated well together.

I saw that he was able to listen and understand me.

I saw how he respected me and cared for me.

I saw that he believed in me.

I saw that he was committed to me!

But there were also things that I had to let go of. I had to choose to let go of that "in love feeling" I attached love to. I decided to let go of expecting that "feeling" because although I felt that in past relationships, none of them ever lead to healthy relationships.

I decided not to rely on that "feeling" as a measuring tool for a good relationship. I realized that there is also the feeling of caring, admiring, valuing, appreciating and looking up to someone... it's a different feeling, but a reliable secure feeling I wanted to have with someone.

I chose to let go of unrealistic expectations I was expecting from a person or from a relationship and instead take notice of what is.

I let go of certain hobbies I treasured when I was single that he couldn't share with me and decided that I will build new hobbies and new experiences together with my husband.

Our relationship had a strong foundation and we saw that together we can grow even stronger.

Before marriage I didn't really know what love was about. It was only when I let go of all my attachments that I was able to move forward. And moving forward without those attachments made me scared and fearful, fearful of the unknown, fearful of what will be, fear from not feeling 100% without those attachments.

But despite all that fear, I walked nervously down that aisle.

Now after a year of being married I am so grateful I did not listen to all those fears. My attraction for my husband has only been growing stronger and stronger. The things that we had to overcome together until now brought us closer emotionally. Seeing how committed and loving he is toward me makes me feel so close to him.

Being able to communicate openly with each other allows for us to build on our relationship in a healthy way and understand each other better. It feels so good to know that he always has my back and I have him to rely on.

I am so proud of him starting his own business, studying and working so hard.
I love the new hobbies we share together, photography, nature trips, cookouts on campfires, kick boxing and I am sure there will be more.

The feeling I have with him now is love, care, admiration, respect, trust, appreciation and feeling safe. Safe to be my imperfect self with another imperfect person where we fully accept one another for who we are, with all our strengths and weaknesses.

I learned that there are different types of love out there, and the "strong passionate feeling" we expect before marriage isn't always necessary.

Marriage is about building, creating and igniting love as well as learning together how to maintain that flame.

Love must be based on values, trust, communication, appreciation, commitment, devotion and fun - with that love can grow. Without that, I can’t imagine how any flame of passion could last.

When looking for someone to marry look at the qualities you admire in that person rather than what is missing.

Look at what you can give, not what you can get out of the relationship.

When we look for what is missing in people we will keep finding what is missing in people.

Work on attaining the qualities you're looking to find in another. Don't limit yourself to age, size, money, height or specifics.

Be open to all possibilities and allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised.

Love is a verb; it's in the doing. I saw all the beautiful qualities in my husband that made me choose to love him. It was not based on a feeling that could come and go with a list of expectations attached to it. It was based on the extraordinary person he is and the qualities he radiates. It was about letting go of attachments and building new experiences together.

And now, having been married a year now, I see we are better people together. We look up to each other, we create fun together, we learn from one another, we choose to love unconditionally and look forward to growing stronger as the years go by.

Shmuel, I love you so much and am so grateful to God that we are married, loving and building together. Happy first anniversary!