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Balancing Career, Life, and Love

Two couples show us that it’s possible to have it all. Find out how they juggle their career and life, and still make time for their significant other.

By April Zara Chua

While it’s true that the demands of modern life can be quite taxing,  it’s also not impossible to have a successful relationship while excelling in your career and life. All you need is to be open to possibilities and the willingness to make it work.


Prioritise each other


When Qiuru Chen, 35, first started dating her husband Ronald Chao, 35, in 2011, she was working long hours and would sometimes even stay in office until 11pm on Fridays. But that did not stop the two from carving out time for each other. They made it work and tied the knot three years later. 

Although they have been married for five years, the couple shared that it still takes continuous effort to set aside couple time even if they now have more flexible work schedules. “We don’t have kids yet, so it’s not too difficult for us at the moment. But it takes intentional effort to set a time to go out for a nice dinner,” said Ronald. He also knows his wife well enough to know that she enjoys dressing up for date nights so he usually picks out their favourite places to eat at least once a month – special occasion or not.


They both still enjoy their time alone as they understand  the importance of ‘me time’. Ronald likes to keep an active lifestyle by running, cycling, or working out in the gym while Qiuru enjoys spending time with friends, hanging out with their two dogs, and honing her makeup artistry skills. Despite their busy social lives, their time together still takes precedence. “I always try to prioritise Ron as his  love language is quality time. If I’ve been out the whole week with my friends, I make sure I keep my weekends free for him,” shared Qiuru.


To the couple, every little time they can spend together is precious. When Qiuru took up a diploma in makeup artistry, her schedule became even more packed. Ronald showed his support by sending her to her makeup gigs and picking her up afterwards; these car rides were all opportunities for them to spend time together.


They admit that it’s not about trying to strike a balance for everything. In fact, knowing how to prioritise is the best solution for them: “For us, it’s really about prioritising. In reality, that’s what you end up having to do because there’s simply not enough time to do everything. As a couple, you have to discuss and decide what your priorities will be as that will really dictate how both of you spend your time.”


Their biggest advice?

Put your spouse and family first. “They are the most important things in your life. There’s always a season for different things. Work hard and smart, life isn’t just about work and money,” added Qiuru.


Treasure every moment


Din Koh, 31, and boyfriend Ronald Goh, 26, met through their shared passion for volleyball after a leisure game. The two became closer after a volleyball trip to Miri, Malaysia, and eventually made it official. 

As a fashion designer managing two brands, Din is always travelling especially during fashion week. She also freelances as an interior design 3D drafter which means that she has to work on weekends and nights. Ronald’s work schedule is packed too – he sometimes has to work overtime, including during seasonal festive periods, leaving them with very little time for themselves and for each other.


“There were times where volleyball took priority over spending time with one another and we had some arguments about it,” recalled Din. But at the end of the day, they would always smooth things out. “I still remember him saying that if volleyball were a human being, he would choose it over me and I would have had zero chance of being his girlfriend!” she added with a laugh.


On top of his 8-to-5, Ronald finds time for his hobbies like gaming and sports. “As long as you have interest and passion, you will find time for things you love,” he said. As for Din, she’s thankful to have a career that’s in line with her personal interests.


The couple has seen many ups and downs in their relationship in the five years that they have been together, but they always found ways to make it work, especially when it comes to balancing their careers, lives, and their relationship. “I always check Ronald’s schedule and I will always make time for him, even if it’s just an hour in a day,” said Din. Likewise, Ronald will always try to compromise and accommodate her.


Because of their busy schedules, they treasure their quality time together and will mark their dates by going to their favourite joints, such as The Patisserie at Bukit Timah or Ming Fa Noodle at Upper Thomson. They frequent these places so much that the staff would recognise them and know their usual orders. 


They also make it a point to be supportive of each other’s interests. “We have grown together as a couple and I appreciate that she’s there for most of my volleyball competitions. No matter how busy she is, she will always make time and effort to support me,” Ronald said. As for Din, it has become a habit for her to send him pictures of beautiful scenery she sees in her travels and behind-the-scenes snippets when she’s at work during fashion week.


Their biggest advice? 

Trust each other and be willing to compromise. Be understanding, and most importantly, find humour in every situation to keep things light. Din shared: “I’m really thankful Ronald makes it easy for me to have both a fulfilling career and a stable relationship.”

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