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Passion for action—and each other
Two couples share how their love for keeping active keeps their romance alive.
By April Zara Chua
Deborah Dayani Nanayakara & Yuvaraj Turiahdassu
“We met at a bachata social dancing night," recounted Deborah Dayani Nanayakara, 35. “My first impression of Yuva was that he was arrogant because he asked all the other female dancers in the room to dance, except me!"
Unbeknownst to her, Yuvaraj Turiahdassu, 34, had something up his sleeve. “Not asking her to dance was a tactic I used to get her to notice me — and it worked!" Annoyed at being left out, Deborah asked him for a dance, and you could say that the rest was history. They got engaged two years later and tied the knot the following year.
Bonding over bachata dancing
Bachata is a social dance that originated from the Dominican Republic, and it serves as a way for Yuva and Deborah to meet new people and make new friends. On the dance floor, bachata requires the two partners to have a physical and emotional connection in order to execute a social dance or a choreographed routine well. Both dancers also need to adjust to each other's proficiency, speed and unexpected dance moves.
Although each dance lasts only for three minutes, Deborah explained that these mere minutes allow them to spend uninterrupted time with their partners.
“It's the same off the dance floor. Both of us need to know our places, support each other and trust each other, and be flexible in order for the relationship to work. It's all about adjustment and managing expectations," said Deborah.
Being adventurous together
Both Yuva and Deborah were already active individuals before they met each other. Deborah is into salsa, bachata and pole dancing, while Yuva enjoys engaging in a lot of sports. Both were already practicing yoga before they met and now it has become something they do together as a couple.
“I'm the more adventurous one and Debs is the complete opposite," said Yuva. Nonetheless, they both agree that having different interests works well for them as they can introduce new activities to one another. For example, when Yuva discovered indoor rock climbing, he bought Deborah along to try. He also managed to encourage and convince the hydrophobic Deborah to learn how to swim.
“Yuva and I are also like yin and yang but we try to find a balance and try to take part in each other's favourite activity just to show some support and bond."
Jasmine Yen & Gerard Low
“We knew how active the other was way before we started dating," shared Jasmine Yen, 34. “And it was probably cycling that got us closer together." Although they first met in church, Jasmine and Gerard Low, 31, cycled the first time they hung out. “I still remember I was on a rental bicycle and she was on her road bike!" recounted Gerard.
Keeping active through different sports
Gerard and Jasmine enjoy a variety of sports but if they had to pick a favourite, it would be cycling. According to Jasmine, they enjoy the fact that it helps them discover new places together and allows them to bond as a couple. “Sometimes, the bike breaks down and we have to find a way to fix it. Having that shared experience of 'solving' a problem together brings us closer."
Jasmine picked up cycling in 2017 as a way to take a breather from life's stresses. “It became something I really love and it's even better now that Gerard is cycling with me — I treasure these moments with him and I hope we can still do this even when we're old!"
Both agree that Gerard is the more adventurous one between them as he is always looking for new sports to try. “I've asked Jasmine to pick up scuba diving with me but it's a work in progress as she still has to get over her fear of being underwater." Since they got together, Jasmine has picked up basketball and jogging to join Gerard in his sessions and spend some couple time.
A little friendly competition
While they are getting to know each other better through their sporty activities, the downside is that they tend to get competitive and would sometimes bring out their 'ugly sides'. Jasmine cited an example, “I'm better at rollerblading and I tend to get very impatient with Gerard when I'm teaching him how to do it!" Gerard's advice? Find an activity that will level the playing field or something both have not attempted before.
Always be open to new things
Thinking of picking up something new with your partner? Our couples advise you to try something different:
Yuva and Debora: “Don't force an activity on your partner. Instead, take on a different approach by sharing and showing them what you enjoy about it and ask them to try it with you. Be patient with them if they are trying it for the first time, and remember that the objective is to have fun and spend quality time with each other!"
Jasmine and Gerard: “Pick one activity that you both won't mind doing on a regular basis and stick to it. Keep your end goal in mind and work towards that goal together — along the way, you'll gain better understanding of the failures and victories that your partner is experiencing."