Mr and Mrs Tan have been happily married for 45 years. I met them at one of my workshops, and remember how they were buzzing with excitement when they shared about their recent trip to Thailand.
Coming from a humble background, that was their first time travelling out of Singapore. They had known each other from school and got married at the tender age of 22. But life wasn’t a bed of roses for the young couple. At one point, Mr Tan worked two jobs to make ends meet, while Mrs Tan took up night classes on top of taking care of their newborn children and parents. These commitments left them exhausted and even drove them to the brink of giving up. But one common aspiration kept them going – to travel together as a couple. Achieving that dream was not easy, but they eventually made it happen.
According to ‘The Sound Relationship House’ theory by American psychologist Dr John Gottman, making life dreams come true is one of the essential ingredients of keeping a marriage together. When a couple shares a common goal and dream, both parties get the opportunity to work together. While every individual has their own dreams to pursue, having common goals keeps both parties running in the same direction.
And the reverse is true. Ryan Tan and Sylvia Chan, co-founders of popular Singapore Youtube channel Night Owl Cinematics, used to be regarded as one of Singapore’s power couples in the media scene. But they recently dropped a major bombshell when they announced their divorce after ten years of marriage. The reason – they no longer share the same path in marriage. When couples do not share the same goals and dreams in a relationship, they inevitably grow apart and fall out of love.
It is therefore essential for couples to be on the same path and work towards goals together. A couple that decides to fight together for the same dreams, while supporting and encouraging each other along the way, stays together.
What are your dreams as a couple? If staying together as a loving couple is one of them, how do you go about keeping your relationship strong? Spend time with your partner talking about such aspirations, and how together you can take the steps to reach them!
Written by: Evelyn Chye, Senior Family Life Educator