Dedicated to our children, Dana and Alexander
While we pray that God will grant us the blessing of long life to be around when YOU celebrate your own wedding anniversaries, this post is just in case we can’t be there.
We live in a world of constant changes. I can only imagine that when you two are adults, your world would be changing so much faster than ours. While some change is good, there are aspects of life that require a lot of work NOT to change. These are the areas that test your commitment, loyalty and dedication. Marriage is one of those.
Never for once believe that your parents’ marriage was a smooth-sailing bed of roses. No. Like many married couples, we have our disagreements, ‘fights’ and in fact, for your Mommy and Daddy, life itself threw us many tough challenges – childlessness, child losses, Mommy’s cancer etc.
We, like many others, have to work really hard at it. Often with tears, sometimes with angry words, sometimes in cold-war silence…but always with prayer and a belief that all of these are ‘small hurdles’ compared to keeping our marriage vows and love for each other.
We held an intimate 20th Wedding Anniversary celebration this month in front of a small group of trusted friends and you were there to witness us reaffirm our vows. Buddy had often asked why was he and JieJie not invited to our wedding so we thought this is an apt milestone to rededicate our marriage to the Lord.
Here are some tips Daddy and Mommy hope to leave with you on how we ‘survived’ 20 years of marriage, in the hope that yours will surpass ours.
- Never settle – Always work at your marriage. Accept that there are happy moments but there are trying moments as well. Each plays a part in strengthening and maturing your marriage.
- Be honest with each other –Work at being open and honest with each other. Learn to be accepting and forgiving when we hear the truth. Revealing the truth is tough, but accepting the truth can be harder. Once we hear the truth, accept it and work at it. Truth builds upon trust and trust is important in a marriage.
- Give each other space – As much as we love to be together, we are also individuals with our own God-given talents, interests and personalities. Give each other space to be who we are. Give each other space also when we are upset. BUT, always set a time to come back together.
- Listen more than you talk – This is tough but really necessary. We are always tempted to give opinions, solutions, and judgments. Unless it’s an emergency, suspend your judgments. Take time to listen thoughtfully. Manage your emotions and then offer your thoughts appropriately.
- Discover new experiences together, as often as you can – Mommy and Daddy didn’t do any couple trips as we believe in experiencing the world with our children and including you in the core family memories. Be it a new durian stall, a new movie or a new country. Take time to discover new experiences or relive them together. Even as we discover new places, we discover too about one another.
- Never blame – When things happen, and they will, never blame. With childlessness, childloss and illnesses etc…we accept that we live in a fallen world, our bodies will fail us, people will disappoint us (including each other.) Blaming doesn’t solve anything. Pray deeply, think thoughtfully, cling on to each other (and God) and go through it together.
- Hold each others’ hands more than your hand phones – It’s so easy to be distracted these days with so many legitimate demands but nothing can be as necessary as the relationships we have with each other. Put the devices down and hold the hands, hug and embrace your loved ones. Devices depreciate but relationships should appreciate if you nurture it well.
- Kiss and say ‘I love you’ daily – This cannot be implied and must be done explicitly. I’m not sure if you remember but Daddy would always says it to you both at least once a day, especially at bed time or in the morning before we all leave for work.
- ‘Momento Mori’ – Always remember that we will all die one day and we cannot take anything with us except the love we have experienced with each other. Strive to leave behind loving memories and a strong legacy for your loved ones to remember you by.
- Trust in God – Everyone starts off wanting their marriages to last for a long time. For something that ‘big’, you have to trust something or someone ‘bigger’ than yourself to bring you through the challenges within or beyond yourselves. Besides, our God is a God of love. He created love. He is love. Know Him. Trust Him. Worship Him.
Having being married for 20 years, Mommy and Daddy would still happily, willingly, say ‘We Still Do’ all over again in a heartbeat. On this point, this is our marriage verse which we hold close to our hearts all these years. Its truth has always comforted and assured us even in the darkest times. May it inspire and strengthen your own relationships too now and in the days to come.
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Eccl. 4:12 (NIV)
We would like to thank the following :
- Our trusted pastor and family friend, Reverend Philip Heng for officiating and blessing our vow reaffirmation.
- My trusted photog-friend, Koh Sze Kiat for the day’s photography. Check out Sze Kiat’s works at https://www.oddinary.com.sg/
Wedding Cake: https://www.sarahsloft.net/
Wedding Cake Topper: https://www.urbanlil.com/
Wedding Bouquet: http://helloflowers.sg/