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“I Realised I Was In Love When…”

Four couples share their first instances of romance.

By Azlinda Said

Everyone remembers the moment they gave their hearts away. Romeo and Juliet fell in love at first sight. In the movie Jerry Maguire, Tom Cruise’s character had Renee Zellweger’s “at hello”. The couples we spoke to were no different. Here are their stories.

Food For Thought

Marliyana Amir, 27, knows the exact moment she fell in love with her fiancé, Abdul Siddiq Abdul Rahman – on a dinner date at East Coast Park four years ago, where he determinedly scooped out coconut flesh for her to eat. “The coconut was served with plastic spoons, so I couldn’t dig out the flesh. I asked if he could dig it out for me and he did, with much effort! When the plastic spoon broke, he used a teaspoon instead. I could see that he was very determined to feed me the coconut flesh and I was like OK, this is the one!” recalls the business intelligence executive.

Marliyana places high importance on putting in effort in everything that one does, and Siddiq’s determination to feed her the coconut flesh so as to not let her down proved to her that he was worth loving.

“My love languages are quality time and acts of service, and Siddiq gives them to me. Considering the nature of his work, a lot of times, we cannot meet. So that quality time needs to be made up for with something else, which Siddiq always strives to replace. Even on days when he’s very tired, he still makes the effort to meet me or stay out a bit late just to hang out with me. And every single day he consistently does that. It’s the consistency in effort that I appreciate,” says Marliyana.

Slowly But Surely

Ryan Hoon and Victoria Lim – both 25 – have been together for seven years. The immigration officer and media executive first met in junior college, where Ryan made the first move. For them both, falling in love was a gradual affair, and there were no big “aha” moments. “It’s the little things that she did. Like when I was on an overseas exchange programme, she went to my family’s place for Chinese New Year to have dinner with my parents and also made time to see my grandparents. And when they were in hospital, she went to visit them even though she was busy. Putting in effort and showing care for my family means a lot to me. And when Victoria took the time to visit my family on her own, without me, it showed that she cared about what mattered to me,” says Ryan.

And it’s this mutual understanding and concern for each other that has kept their relationship going from strength to strength.

“She’s a motivator and gives me a lot of confidence in myself and my capabilities. When I don’t think I can do it, she’s the one who says, ‘Hey, you can do this!’. We also have the same sense of humour and tend to make fun of ourselves and one another. After seven years together, it’s still very easy to hang out with her and that’s why I love her a lot,” says Ryan.
Victoria adds: “Until now I am still falling in love with him. I love that we tell each other everything. We’re not afraid to be vulnerable with each other, even when it comes to discussing the most painful things.”

From Schoolmates to Spouses

Alicia and Mark Chan first met when they were teenagers. The 35-year-olds saw each other through a decade of National Service, university, a long-distance relationship, and work commitments. But they never gave up and are now about to welcome their second child, a blessing from their nine-year marriage. So, what kept them together all these years?

“We have a lot of things in common, in terms of family upbringing and religion. That has kept us grounded till now. Ultimately, we share the same important values,” says Alicia, a lawyer.

“We’re totally different people from who we were in junior college. We’ve been through a lot, it was rough. We managed to get through it all. I think that if you can really change so much as a person and still pull through as a couple, then that’s a good sign that we are meant to be,” says Mark, a physiotherapist.

The Chans describe each other’s traits as one of the main reasons why they fell for each other.

“She is someone that will give her everything to family. The way she looks after her parents and grandparents and the way she is around her family, I know she will do the same for me and my family. She’s a very selfless person,” explains Mark.

“Very early on in our relationship, she managed to secretly gather all of my friends to throw me the biggest surprise party ever. That really moved me because Alicia’s not really the type to do this kind of thing. This was very out of character for her but she did it for me anyway and I appreciated it,” he adds.

Alicia chimes in: “The funny thing is that we have so much in common but we are quite different in character. But we fit perfectly together. In fact, what he’s strong at, I’m weak in and vice versa. But whenever I need him, he’s just there. He really complements all of my weaknesses.”

Dared To Love

What started out as a cheeky proposition turned into something more serious for office manager Edwina Welikande and litigator Raj Singh Shergill. Recalling the turning point in their relationship, the spouses of 16 years dated it back to one fateful night in university.

“I met her when I was 17. We started chatting and emailing each other more when we were in university. We gradually grew closer and she probably grew on me. I didn’t realise it till one day, as I watched the movie My Best Friend’s Wedding and I could see her as my best friend. So I told her one night that if we weren’t married by the time we were 40, then we should date. Her response was: “I don’t believe in waiting. If you love now, take now.” I had an epiphany then and realised that I was in love with her,” shares Raj, 45.

He adds that he fell for Edwina’s “whole package”, and her “sweet, patient and loving” nature made it a bonus. Three kids later, he still thinks he chose the right life partner. “She is an amazing wife. She makes me coffee every morning and always thinking about me in small ways.”

It’s obvious that the couple is still madly in love. The secret to stoking their passion? Keeping things real, with lots of humour. “Just be practical. I don’t expect him to buy me designer bags or give me this and that. I just need someone to laugh with and share stupid moments with. In fact, every year we forget our anniversary until someone reminds us. I think not making a big deal about things relieves the pressure on the other party to perform and be a certain way,” explains 42-year-old Edwina.