Keeping the sparks fly in a relationship/marriage takes intentional effort and sincerity. Hear from three incredible ladies on our team as they share their experiences.
How do you overcome obstacles together?
Grace: When conflict arises, there is one principle that grounds us again and again: We are on the same team. It’s never about me vs. you, but about how we’re able to get through this together. I have learned to be quick to stop judging and always willing to listen. If I listen carefully to his perspective, I am able to understand his thoughts better. This is how we navigate obstacles and challenges within marriage.
Shan: No marriage is perfect and how you navigate through the lowest points of your journey together will truly test your relationship. Patience and understanding are essential. We need to understand that each person will have their own perspective on things, and how you communicate and listen to one another will help you overcome obstacles.
Bin Bin: Disagreements are part of a healthy relationship as long as done in a respectful manner. Always take the time to see things from their perspective, communicate your feelings and needs (don’t expect your partner to read your mind), agree to disagree, take a time out if necessary and don’t go to bed angry!
How do you make things exciting in marriage?
Grace: We love spending time doing fun activities together. Not every activity needs to be adventurous (though we’ve done skydiving before!), but it should be something different that you are willing to explore together. It could be café hopping, watching a movie from a different location (a bathtub, perhaps?), or taking a walk around a park in a previously unexplored part of town.
Shan: Be spontaneous! Not everything has to be planned. Be willing to try new experiences as a couple.
Bin Bin: Be intentional and take action. Don’t wait for things to happen to you, make the things you want happen for yourselves.
What is your most memorable date night?
Grace: A surprise overnight camping trip to Bagan Lalang Beach!
Shan: I wanted to surprise my husband for his birthday. So I told him we were going for a business pitch with some clients (even prepared a proposal for him to take a look at). When we got to the hotel lobby the concierge gave him a note to say there was no meeting but a surprise dinner date instead. After the meal, we went down to the car park and in the trunk of the car, he found a packed bag for a surprise staycation.
Bin Bin: 4 months into our relationship, I had a work trip to Europe. I asked Lih Xiang if he wanted me to extend the trip and travel somewhere together. We ended up booking tickets to Spain. It was really spontaneous and looking back, kind of crazy as it was a new relationship! But I suppose sometimes the craziest things work out for the best. It was definitely a crash course in getting to know your partner.
If you could give one piece of advice to couples out there, what would it be?
Grace: Relationships take time to build. It is the accumulation of many little decisions that we make daily. In the same vein, broken relationships didn’t happen overnight. They are an accumulation of many years of wrong choices, cracks that were ignored, and voices that weren’t heard. Choose wisely what you accumulate and what you need to discard.
Shan: Pick your battles! Remember to cherish and affirm one another while making time to grow your relationship.
Bin Bin: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Learn to let the unimportant things go. Don’t take your partner for granted and make time for each other (especially after you have had kids!).
Grace has been on this journey called marriage for 17 years, together with her husband, Alex, and two children. Other than photographing families, she loves helping couples improve their relationships and reach their family goals through coaching.
Shan has been in a relationship for the past 22 years, of which being married 12 years. She has two kids and looks forward to spontaneous moments and weekly date nights with her husband, Segar.
Bin Bin met her husband, Lih Xiang while diving in the Philippines. They have been married for 6 years, recently welcomed their first child and look forward to more adventures around the world (diaper bag now in hand).