Tag Archives: commitment

How my Dad Changed my Perspective on Love and Marriage Without Knowing It

I always wondered how Dad put up with Mum’s perpetual lateness (and why he married her when he hates being late) … and when I found out by chance, it changed my life.

It was a Saturday afternoon; I was running late to meet a friend (as usual) so Dad offered to drop me off. Ever thankful, I dashed into the car while he calmly started the car and got onto the road.

As he lamented and questioned why all his kids inherited Mum’s trait of being late and zilch of his love for punctuality, it made me pause.

“Dad,” I asked slowly, “You get mad whenever mum is late. So what made you choose to marry her despite knowing that she will always be late when you absolutely abhor lateness?”

Photo Credit: Deannster via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Deannster via Compfight cc

He stared ahead at the road, and then answered quietly, “Because I love your mother more than I love being punctual.”

That one quiet sentence changed my life; it reframed my perspective of love and marriage, and I never looked at love and marriage (or at them) the same way ever again.

Out of curiosity, I asked Mum why she married Dad.

“Because he loves me for who I am. You can see how much your Dad loves me, right? I knew he loved me and would be a good father to the children. Sweetheart, you need to marry a man who loves you as you are, a man who will put you (and the children) first, giving his all to take care of you.”

Speechless. I couldn’t say more.

Tears welling up in my eyes, I squeaked out some excuse about needing the toilet and ran there to have a good cry.

My parents have always told me to look out for a good man, and so on … but nothing could have spoken to me more than their life example. The way Dad loves Mum (and all of us, to be honest) is a real inspiration.

Truth be told, Dad telling me why he married Mum is one of the most precious memories that I have of my time with him. And when my kids ask how I decided to marry their father, I’ll tell them this:

“When your Grandpa told me why he loved Grandma, and how I should choose my future husband… that’s how I decided.”

And then I’ll share with them this same story in the hopes that they will learn the greatest lesson of all: that loving someone is about loving them beyond their flaws and weaknesses.

This guest post comes courtesy of Xin W., a happily married post-graduate student.

2 Funerals and a Darn Good Movie: Reflections of a Regular Dad

In many ways, this is not the kind of December I’m used to – my wife and I just returned from a funeral, our second this ‘festive’ month. It was a child’s funeral – a 14 month-old baby girl, who died suddenly in her sleep, leaving behind two very distraught parents.

The first funeral was held in honour of our dear friend’s father who suffered a stroke from a medical complication and within a week, passed on. The funeral, although somber, had a mood akin to that of an alumni gathering where friends gathered and shared the life stories of the dearly departed. My friend and his family were blessed with so many anecdotes of his father from all who came. For the grieving family, these meaningful recounts concretized the great legacy he has left behind.

TheSims-BWI turn 44 next year, and if all goes well, I hope to outlive my own father who passed away at 44 due to cancer. As a young teenager who lost his Dad prematurely, I strive daily to be the best husband, the best Daddy and the best employee – very tall order for just a regular bloke. Even tougher as my wife and I are standing at some major crossroads in our lives – having just adopted a newborn son in June this year; our daughter entering Primary One in Jan 2015 and both of us having increased responsibilities at work. These add to the stresses of life and we all know stress does not augment well for one’s health.

The second funeral – the death of the baby girl was more tragic. Children and caskets should never be in the same frame, ever. Having been through child bereavement (a path less travelled), we knew how important it is to have someone there to offer condolence and support. And we did. We met up twice with this well-mannered young Christian couple who had to bear the tragic loss of their beautiful 14 month-old girl.

Children are a blessing; they are precious and entrusted by God for us to love, for a season. Children are not a ‘status symbol’ nor should they be part of our ‘marriage life’ that can be conveniently ‘taken out’ and put back when it suits our convenience.

In Singapore, it is easy to confuse being a busy parent with being an engaged, effective parent. Enrichment classes, camps, parties, performances are all legitimate pursuits but do not be fooled into thinking that we are engaging our children. I’m very much guilty of that.

In this regard, there were moments, too frequent to even recall that I have failed as a Dad. Too busy or tired from work to answer my curious 6 year-old’s questions, and getting easily impatient with the crying newborn. It is tempting to let my daughter do her own thing since she is now more independent. It is tempting to let someone else care for the newborn after a hectic workday. But each moment I don’t engage my children is a moment lost forever. We only have so much time to make precious connections with the precious children God has entrusted to us. Every moment spent with them are opportunities to forge memories that matter. Quoting the movie ‘Interstellar’, “We are here… to be the memories for our kids.” But first, to be in their memories, we need to be present.

I hope to engage my children and my wife more. Anything… to just enjoy their presence and engage them intentionally. For without engagement, there can’t be a relationship. And without it, it would be tough to be an effective parent in this modern, messed-up world.

‘We’re all travelling through time, together, everyday of our lives… All we can do is do is our best to relish this remarkable life.’ – About Time

‘About Time’ stars award-winning actor Bill Nighy and is a fictitious story about a father and son who have the ability to travel through time. Due to the biological randomness of conception, to go back in time and return again would mean the son having a different baby each time he returns. The challenge arrives when the father is dying of cancer and the son is about to welcome his newborn. They have to choose a moment where they would relish it for one last time. The moment they picked was when the son was much younger, playing at the beach with his Dad – a simple moment where a powerful connection was made – just a tender moment between father and son.

I wonder what moments my children and wife would pick to remember me by. I hope for those to be positive moments – simple, meaningful and yet powerful enough to make that all-so-important connection which stand the tests of time. One that leaves many good stories for them to tell and one that sums up a good legacy I’ve left behind.

This is my hope as I continue my journey into 2015 and beyond.

This guest post is an extract with permission of David Sim. Together with his wife Angie, they blog at Life’s Tiny Miracles. To read the original post, please click here.

5 Secrets to Relationship Longevity By Happily Married Couples

Elderly couple walking

It’s a joy to find someone to journey through life together with, so how can we build a healthy and strong relationship that will last?
Whether you are dating or are married, these 5 secrets from couples who have been happily married for a long time will certainly help strengthen your relationship:

  1. Keep a lid on your anger.
    It’s easy to blow your top and complain about your significant other on social media. But have you thought of the ramifications of doing so?Take Action: Choose to speak to one or two trusted confidantes who can help you work through your anger and give you constructive feedback on what you can do better in future. This gives you a safe space to let out the emotions, and is a proactive way of learning how to deal with such issues.
  2. Make time for each other.
    Anyone can say “My spouse comes first!” but if you are consistently putting off having a nice date together because you are consistently pulling in late nights work late and are busy with other appointments, the sad truth is that your spouse is not first.Take Action: Carve out small pockets of time together. Perhaps having a quick lunch date, or going for a run together at the park – these are the little things that matter. And remember – these pockets of time should be screen-free so you can truly focus on each other.
  3. Apologize.
    We don’t need to say much about this – this is a consistent challenge for couples no matter what stage or phase in life they’re at!Take Action: Often times when faced with having to apologize, we tend to say “I’m sorry but…” – an apology followed by justification of our action taken. Instead, simply say “I’m sorry.” No and, or, if or buts. Those two little words alone “I’m sorry” can make a lot of difference in your relationship. This also relates to the next point…
  4. Deal with tough topics.
    It’s easy to sweep things under the carpet, but healthy couples know that it’s not going to benefit in the relationship in the long run. A healthy relationship is built on trust and openness.Take Action: When talking about a tough topic, think of it as a boulder standing in front of both of you. How can you deal with it together? The key here is the word “together” – take responsibility for the problem AND the solution as a couple.Go into the conversation with the right frame of mind. It’ll help to make the tough topic a little bit easier 🙂

    And a bonus for married couples:

    + NEVER give up.
    At the wedding, most couples recite vows that go something like this: “.. to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish from this day forward until death do us part.”Honor your vows by holding each other’s hand as you journey through life. There will be ups and downs, and perhaps, a few storms. Remember: you may not have it together, but together you’ll have it all.


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Not just a formality

 

Whether you wrote your own vows, or read it from a certain ‘template’ given,

something life-changing when you speak it aloud to that special person you are marrying.

I first said mine last month at the altar, in a hall full of witnesses. And that seems to have changed my life.

My husband and I both decided to write our own vows because we thought it would mean more to us that way. Not that we departed from the essence of the traditional vows, we just said some things in our own words.

It was when I was memorizing and reciting the vows that it really dawned on me what I was next stepping into. The moment it was spoken aloud, I had become someone’s wife. That’s different than being a girlfriend who enjoys all the perks of being pursued, or even a fiancé who gets to choose the kind of lace to be sewn on the wedding gown. This time, I made a vow.

In the days after the wedding, when little idiosyncrasies were about to bother me, what I said came back to me again – to love you and honor you. When things didn’t go as planned, again I was reminded by my words – to be your strongest supporter.

I have to say that it hasn’t always come naturally, although I wish it does. In the midst of learning so much more about each other on this new journey called Marriage, I want to place little reminders to myself about what I have promised. Even if I haven’t been all that, I know I can try again, and that’s the beautiful thing about marriage – you have the rest of your lives to keep working that out. 

Whether you are going through a rough patch or floating on cloud nine, it won’t hurt to remember and revisit that moment when you decided to commit yourself to that special someone for the rest of your life.

 I, take you, to be my husband. From this moment on, I promise to love you and honor you with all that I am, to be the help that God has made me to be, to respect you and submit to you as the head of our family, to be your strongest supporter, to encourage you and comfort you, in the good times and bad times, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, I will be faithful to you, until death do we part. This is my solemn vow.