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Grace Tan

Strengthening Marriages and Families

Over the past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about marriages, families and relationships. This is one topic that is close to my heart, and recently, Alex and I completed facilitating a 6 week course in our church on Strengthening your Marriage. It rejuvenated me, speaking to other couples and seeing how everyone had similar struggles in a way. One of the thoughts that I have been toying with is starting a video series related to these topics. Though we are primarily a photography and videography company, I feel as if my role could expand in its purpose… greater than what we are already doing in building a heritage of images for generations to come.

Despite talking about it with my team and of course my husband Alex, I struggle to actually get anything started. I guess because I worry a lot. Who would listen to me? Who am I, to speak authority in other people’s lives? What would the format look like? Can I actually finish something I start? (I have the tendency to start projects and end badly). But as the ideas begin to form in my head, I feel as if these questions shouldn’t matter. Let’s just start a discussion and get that going.

It clicked in my head today as I write this that we are already playing a part in strengthening relationships. One example would be when we photograph families, I sometimes ask elderly parents who might be in their 60s to do things like hug or kiss each other. Sometimes I get the incredulous look, sometimes I get brushed off, and sometimes I get the reluctant obligatory response. It tickles me but it also made me realise… Not many older married couples are comfortable with physical intimacy. 

I am not just talking about open displays of affection, but just the simple act of touching each other by holding hands or hugging. One of the topics that came up during our marriage course was intimacy, and how easily communication breakdowns lead to empty emotional tanks for both parties. With the arrival of young children, sexual and physical intimacy also suffers. One of the questionnaires we had to answer to review the state of our marriage stated, “How often do you touch each other on a scale of 1-10?” When I was honest with myself, I realised that even the goodnight and morning kisses and hugs were replaced with grunts of acknowledgment of each other’s existence.

These past 6 weeks, we made intentional time for each other, communicating to one another on a heart to heart level (conversations without kids) and in the process, filled up our emotional tanks. We felt happier.

Coming back to the elderly parents. Maybe just that simple act of asking a husband to give his wife a hug or kiss is enough to trigger a thought…“Have you done that lately?”

Church Wedding at DUMC – Ian & Michelle

As a couple, they have been together for 9 years, with almost 6 of those years being in different countries. But not many couples can say that they have gone through a life-threatening situation together at the tender age of 19. It was 2009 when Ian suddenly discovered a weird lump at the tip of his jawbone and underwent surgery to remove it. But everything came crashing down when the diagnosis revealed that Ian had cancer of the salivary gland. It was heartbreaking to find out about the cancer diagnosis at just the tender age of 19, when life seems to take off for most teenagers.

In 2010, Ian had to undergo another operation, and it took place on Michelle’s 20th birthday – on the 27th of February in Singapore. At that time, Michelle was undergoing internship with 1 of the most renowned airline in the world. It was a lesson on life’s priorities. She left her internship and headed for Singapore. Many condemned her, claiming it was a stupid mistake but she knew exactly what she needed to do at that point of time in such situation.

God saw them through the most difficult season of their relationship, to date. Ian later took the rest of the year off to recover from it.

On Michelle’s 25th birthday, Ian was officially CANCER FREE.

The journey was never smooth sailing, but it was necessary for them both to grow individually and in God’s perfect timing, all things were made beautiful. Hear more of their story in the 10 minute video highlight below.


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Proposal Video: Thomas & Chooi Ling

It was in March 2014 that Thomas first came to my office to meet me. He was planning his girlfriend’s proposal and wanted to get us to record a video for him. We discussed some ideas but then nothing materialised out of this till April 2016 when he suddenly picked up the conversation again, and we made the plans to go through with the proposal. We even followed him to buy the ring! From my interactions with Thomas, I can tell that he is a really meticulous and thoughtful person. He puts a lot of effort into what he does, and doesn’t just take things lightly, but plans far ahead of time!

We are so pleased to share with you his proposal video here. The fun part was getting Chi Yin and Delvin to ‘hide’ naturally in the restaurant where the proposal was going to take place. They were having a ‘meal’ there, at a specific table pre-arranged with the restaurant owner. We had also arranged for Thomas to sit at a specific table and chair! We had so much fun planning this proposal.

We’ll be photographing Thomas’ wedding to Chooi Ling this June 2017 after 9 years of being together. What an amazing journey! Congratulations, the both of you!

Credits:

Videographers: Chi Yin & Delvin
Location: Stories studio & Erawan Restaurant (previously at Kota Damansara)
Florist: Syarina
Special Thanks to DeGem

Maternity Portraits: Malisse & Azrul

We love it when our clients come up with interesting ideas for our shoot sessions, even if the idea involves a pregnant woman in a gym setting! It was quite timely too, since the shoot was due to happen in our studio, but coincidentally, we had just completed the set up of our very own company gym, that is shared with the Integricity Technology group. So we could do all the shots within our office space, and all within an hour. :)

Malisse has since delivered her baby girl, and we are so happy for them!

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