This year's valentine's day marks the 15th year we have been a couple (of which 10 are as husband and wife).
We aren't always the happy couple, and we sometimes say the meanest things to each other. We don't see eye to eye on many things and we definitely have our fair share of horror stories of wanting to end it there and then.
There were so many times when I needed so much grace from the man and vice versa.
Despite all the imperfections, our 15 years have made us stronger as a unit and this to me is my perfect relationship.
In the spirit of the season of love (despite being really super late), here's what keeps us grounded in this perfectly imperfect relationship:
1) Our values
We came from very similar family background where hardship, hard work and independence is something we had to learn from a very young age.
Being able to see things from the same lens helps in building a future together. It also helps with agreeing in the way we want to bring up our kid(s) and other decisions necessary to have a happy marriage.
2) Open communication
I try not to hide what I feel or think about things especially when it concerns things at home.
I didn't learn this overnight neither did I adopt this right from the start. Most of you would know I live with the mom-in-law (or rather she lives with us). Not my choice to be honest. Hence, I had to learn to voice my displeasure to the man ever so often so that my anger does not fester. The initial years were tough. Whenever I felt upset about what she has done or said, I will swallow it in and they usually end in petty quarrels with the man.
It was only after we had J that I realised the easiest way to solve something is to say it. Even if the truth hurts, it just needs to be said. And it's been a blessing that the man never held what I said against me or get offended because I was whining about his mum. We sometimes disagree, but at least we know how we truly felt.
3) The kid
If not already mentioned, the kid brought us closer than before, especially so after he was diagnosed with JDM.
Coming to an agreement on how to bring up a child involves important discussions in every family and this is more so in Singapore where kids are subjected to constant (unnecessary) competition and also stress.
Very early into J's life, we agreed to keep his childhood as stress free as possible. We will do what's within our means to nurture him, at the same time, let him choose his own areas of interest.
I am glad at this point, after almost 5 years, we still stand by letting J choose his own path (with guidance and not control from us) and our focus is more on teaching him the right values. I am glad that the kid bonded rather than divided us and he will definitely continue to because our life decisions these days will always have him as a major consideration.
4) Shared future
I remembered earlier on in our marriage, we told each other that we will purchase our first private property by the time we turn 35 years old, and we did. Now, we have talked about how we will start our first real sustainable business by 40 and move out of Singapore when we retire. We set goals for our future, and realistic ones.
With these shared goals, even when we go about our own work each day, we come home knowing we are both going to end up at the same place at the same time.
5) Time without the kid
To be honest, we don't do very well in this area. Unlike many couples we know, we hardly go for dates, neither do we have #couplegoals. But we used to always drop J at Granny Day Care every Sunday for half a day so we can just head home to laze in front of the telly with each other, with no exchange of words, but just enjoying the company of each other. While we don't that as often now, we will be starting having more meals together. Just 2 of us.
This year's valentine's day (as with other years), there was no fanfare, no extra special celebrations. But he stayed up despite being exhausted while waiting for me to finish some work so we can go to bed at he same time.
Such is his acts of love for me. Insignificant to some, but means so much to me.
What are your secret recipes for marriage success?