10 Things I Have Learned About Love in a Decade of Marriage

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“Love is never wasted, for its value does not rest upon reciprocity.”
— C. S. Lewis

I know this is not a typical post for my blog here at Crystal Karges Nutrition, but today, my husband and I are celebrating 10 years of marriage, which is a milestone worth writing about.

In the past ten years, we have had our fair share of ups and downs. Together, we’ve experienced unimaginable joy and the deepest heartaches. We’ve brought five beautiful babies into the world and are navigating this parenting journey together. We’ve faced mental illness, starting our own businesses, and truly tested the “in plenty and want, in sickness and health” portion of our wedding vows.

While I know that this decade marks the beginning of a lifetime together, I am thankful for how far we’ve come on this journey thus far. Marriage has been the context from which I have learned so much about love. I am no expert by any means and am always learning, but far from where we’ve started, I am grateful to have received and been changed by the love I have been given in my marriage.

So in honor of this anniversary milestone, I’m sharing ten things I have learned from my husband about love in our decade of marriage:

1. Love Endures All Things

I will be the first to admit that I have had my own issues that undoubtedly made marriage hard, including being in recovery from an eating disorder and postpartum depression. On top of which, I was in a confusing transition with my career and trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with my life. My husband never swayed in his love for me and stuck with me, even in the darkest despairs of mental illness and constant switching between jobs and schools. His love has endured through it all.

2. Love Doesn’t Fear

There had been countless times where we didn’t know how we’d make ends meet or how we would keep up with the pace of our quickly, growing family. Starting our own businesses felt like a shot in the dark - we didn’t know what the outcome would be in so many scenarios. The one thing we could reliable trust was the love we had for each other, even at the end of the day when nothing seemed sure.

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3. Love Doesn’t Give Up

Don’t get me wrong. There have been times where we’ve had to walk away from one another in order to sort through our own emotions and thoughts. But what I’ve learned is that even in our differences and misunderstandings, love always circles back and brings us home. In trying times or situations where it felt unbearable to be with one another, love persevered through the discomfort. Love has always stayed.

4. Love is Action

Maybe it’s because we have five children, but there always seems to be something to be done for someone. From working tirelessly to provide for our growing family to giving selflessly to the needs of our children and myself, I’ve seen my husband’s love in action. Love may not always be a romantic gesture of flowers and chocolate (though those are nice, too). Love is rocking a crying baby to sleep in the middle of night, wiping noses, changing diapers, scrubbing toilets and comforting a sick child. Love acts selflessly, even when the feelings are not there, and shows kindness by doing things that are hard, uncomfortable, and unglamorous at times.

5. Love Forgives and Forgives, Again and Again

It’s painful to realize how much I have hurt the ones I love, even if unintentionally. When two people come together in a relationship, there will inevitably been mis-grievances against one another, and we have had our share of hurts. But love doesn’t hold grudges and gently wraps a loved one in grace - even when the pain is deep. Love is being willing to forgive again and again.

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6. Love Gives Quietly Behind the Scenes

By nature, I am the loud, boisterous one in our relationship. My husband is more steady and quiet. And with that, I’ve seen how love works quietly, hidden from the attention, recognition and applause of others. Like a seed that deepens its roots in the hidden darkness of the soil, so is love that grows steadily in the quiet places.  

7. Love Gives Wings to Fly

On top of being loud and boisterous, I am a creative and visionary at heart. I’m always learning, exploring, and wanting to try new things. I’ve learned how love allows ideas to blossom and grow - even if things don’t always make sense or seem plausible. Love has encouraged me to fly to new places I never thought possible and be the person I am. Love is a gentle nudge forward into the unknown with belief and hope that all things are within our reach.  

8. Love Acknowledges the Past

As I have shared before, mental illness was a dark part of my past that haunted me for the longest time. And as much as I wanted to run away from that part of my life, I needed to make peace with it to fully heal. It’s easy to want to sweep things around the rug and keep everything as tidy as possible, but the challenges in life often bring any unresolved issues to the surface, as it was with me. My husband has shown me that those parts of my past, though unwanted, are worth embracing, and in the acknowledgement of my past, I have found peace.

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9. Love Hopes in the Unknown

Just as there is healing in accepting the past, so is there life in hoping for the future. I’ve learned that love is an undying certainty that has carried us through to the unknown of our future as it unfolds before us, day after day. That even in the most uncertain situations of our present circumstances, love believes that we will be work through trial and tribulation with hopeful perseverance.

10. Love Never Fails

So many things have come and gone since we’ve been married: money, the place we’ve called home, material possessions, jobs and work. But through it all, love has been an ever-steady constant that hasn't wavered with the factors that are always changing in life. Even myself - I know I have changed significantly from the person I was when we first were married, and love has seen me through my own transformations. Love is a choice, a decision to give without expectation of reciprocity to another flawed person; but choosing to love is always the best decision. Easiest? No. But one that will never fail.

It is humbling to have been loved so deeply and to have experienced unconditional love throughout these past 10 years, and I am forever grateful for the man I am privileged to call my husband in this marriage adventure.

To you, my love - Happy Anniversary. Thank you for growing with me, never giving up on me, having a family with me, and for your unwavering commitment to loving me. I love you for always.

(And to my readers - thank you for letting me share this part of my life! My hope is that you too are also living, growing, and nurturing your family in love. Back to more helpful content for you soon!)