Happy 3rd Anniversary

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3 years ago today, David and I were holding hands during Pastor’s message. I remember my heart was beating really fast.

Minutes later we exchanged our vows with God as our witness.

Happy 3rd Anniversary to my partner in crime, and, loving hubby.

xoxo

3 years!

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3 years ago today on 3.3.2008 we registered our marriage at JPN Putrajaya

I kinda miss my long curly hair ….

It’s our 2nd wedding anniversary!

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8 March 2008. Hardly forgettable—we had our Holy Matrimony ceremony at the courtyard of a quaint lil’ restaurant in KL, on the 12th General Election Day! It would have been even more memorable if we went to vote in our wedding attire!

2 years on, we’ve gone through so many milestones in the last 365 days. My top 3 were:

  • We made it to Paris for our 2nd express honeymoon
  • We made a baby! Zachary Wang will join us anytime from mid-March
  • We bought our 2nd home, which will be ready in 2012

To my hubba bubba and my soul mate, I love you more and more each day.

Two years ago today

We were at Putrajaya, registering our marriage!

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Dear David, I love you more and more, day after day after day.

Marathon of wedding weekends

Every time November and December comes, it seems David and I get wayyyy more wedding invites than any other months of the year. On 21st of November, I took a drive down to Melaka for a former colleague’s wedding. Ijay and I go way back! We both joined Sony in 2003 as management trainees in the Procurement department. Yea, my first job was in a manufacturing plant, hooray. It was my first time at a Baba & Nyonya wedding, and I must say what an eye opener!

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Snapshot taken from Mei Li’s wedding photo montage video compiled by Grant Corban (so, its kinda grainy)

Last weekend on the 28th, was a very special day for my former colleague as well. I met Mei Li in Marcus Evans (my second job) and I think we clicked better after we both left ME! A bunch of us former workmates helped her out with her wedding planning including Josie who played the role of wedding coordinator, Grace who was shoulder to cry on/listener during the planning process and yours truly played emcee at her wedding dinner. Nerve wrecking especially when I had to yell “yam seng”. But I pulled through!

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Look who was chillin’ with me and keeping me calm at Mei Li & Lye Keat’s wedding? Eva, Grace’s lil honey pie

This weekend on Dec 5th we’ll be heading down to Singapore for part 2 of Mei Li’s wedding, this time we’re attending to give emotional support. I hope we  have time to do some Christmas shopping *fingers crossed*! It’ll be our first time flying Firefly and I’m surely going to review how the ride went.

Come next weekend on Dec 13th will be dinner #4. This time my colleague/office clown/TVB drama supplier will be tying the knot with his long time girlfriend. Max and I had a rocky workmate relationship when he first joined the company but as weeks passed and as he let his guard down, he’s one of the best colleagues I’ve ever had and I really enjoy his company (although 50% of the time he can be quite annoying!!). We’ve traveled to numerous events together and he’s really like a father figure to us girls in the office.

Final wedding of the year falls on Dec 26. This one revolves around a very close family friend that we’ve known for more than 10 years. Fook Ming will soon be my neighbour too as he’s going to be moving into the Lagoon Terraces, and we move into Lagoon Villas in 2012!

What a marathon of weddings!

Investing in our marriage: The Power of Forgiveness

The next installment in our Marriage Course covers the power of forgiveness. In this session we discussed how can intimacy be lost, if we fail to forgive one another. Intimacy is built on trust and openness & hurt undermines trust and openness. Of course, hurt is inevitable within every marriage, but we must remember that some hurt will be unintentional. On the other hand those hurts caused intentionally can be reactions from being angry (i.e. rhinos and hedgehogs communicating with each other), retaliation and fear, resentment and guilt.

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So what happens if hurt and anger are buried? A lot can happen! Physical symptoms such as disturbed sleep, lack of appetite, and even certain medical conditions like ulcers and high blood pressure. You will find that it also affects behaviour, causing one to have inability to relax, have a low sexual desire, quick temper and obsessive behaviour. Emotionally, one may lose positive emotions, fall into depression, shut down and even have the fear of confrontation. As David and I went thru the exercise in this session, we managed to identify the hurt that was in the past (a tiny issue we had before we got married) and we were able to forgive each other. The act of asking for forgiveness really sets you free and restores the intimacy. There are essentially 4 steps to restoring intimacy and they are:

Identify the hurt

  • First, recognise the way in which you have caused your partner pain and hurt your marriage (Matthew 5:23-24 ‘Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.’)
  • Then, be prepared to tell your partner where you have been hurt (Matthew 8:15 ‘If your brother or sister sins against you, go and show them their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.’)

Apologise

  • Take responsibility of the actions and words that you may have used to hurt your partner (James 5:16 ‘Confess your faults to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed.’)
  • Resist the urge to rationalise what you did or to blame your partner
  • Confess to God as this enables us to see the effect of our actions
  • Apologise to each other as love means often having to say we’re sorry AND it opens the way for reconciliation and healing

Forgive

  • Forgiveness is one of the greatest forces for healing in a marriage (Matthew 18:21-22 ‘Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall i forgive my brother or sister when they sin against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times but seventy times seven.”)
  • There are varying degrees of difficulty in forgiving. Take Jesus on the cross and those who crucified him. Or it could also be small issues like forgetting to do something or making you late. Or it could be a big issue such as unfaithfulness. (Colossians 3:13 ‘Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.’)
  • Forgiveness first and foremost is a choice, not a feeling. The question is not “Do we feel like forgiving?” but the question is “Will we forgive?”. “Will we let go of our self pity / demand for justice / desire to retaliate?”
  • You’ll be amazed to see that you will have new feelings follow forgiveness!
  • Forgiveness IS NOT:
  1. Demanding a person changes before we forgive them
  2. Forgetting the hurt happened
  3. Pretending it doesn’t matter
  4. Thinking time alone will heal the hurt
  • Forgiveness IS:
  1. Facing the wrong done to us
  2. Recognising the emotions inside
  3. Choosing not to hold it against out husband or wife
  4. Releasing him/her into God’s hands
  • Forgiveness deals with anger and resentment – although we might still feel hurt until healing is complete
  • Forgiveness is a process – we often  need to keep forgiving – sometimes on a daily basis
  • My forgiveness may benefit my partner but ultimately I’m the one who benefits by being free from the bandage of bitterness
  • We must let go of our anger and desire to retaliate even if our partner has not yet apologised to us – otherwise buried anger turns to hate
  • ‘The flow of forgiveness’ – we are to forgive our of gratitude for the forgiveness we have received.

Start again together

  • Thank God for showing you your mistakes and for his forgiveness
  • Having gone through the process of identifying, apologising and forgiving, cross out your lists of hurt as a sign you have resolved them between you (Philippians 3:13 ‘Forgetting what lies behind and pressing forward to what lies ahead’)
  • Comfort each other – we make ourselves very vulnerable through this process and it is hard to listen to the ways in which we have hurt each other
  • Pray for one another = pray aloud or silently asking God to heal your partner of the hurt you have caused him or her (1 John 1:9 ‘If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’)

This process is like a drain that carries away the hurt. Confession to God and those we hurt, together with forgiving those who have hurt us, must become a daily habit if intimacy is to be maintained. Otherwise, the drain begins to block up with unresolved hurt and anger. So remember the power of forgiveness! The next topic will cover parents and in-laws, that should be interesting!!

Investing in our marriage: Resolving conflict

Part 3 of our Marriage Course brings us to the issue of resolving conflict. Without a doubt conflict is inevitable in any relationship be it marriage, at work, or in the family. In a marriage both parties have different opinions and somehow, believe it or not, we are naturally selfish! Conflicts arise when we fail to handle anger properly. In the Marriage Course, Nicky and Sila identified two types of human reactions when upset:

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Some are like rhinos – they attack when provoked

Some are like hedgehogs – they withdraw when threatened

David and I concluded that we both Rhinos. How dangerous!

When there’s unresolved conflict, it will lead to‘trench warfare’; think about a form of warfare in which both combatants occupied static fortified fighting lines, consisting largely of trenches, in which troops were largely immune to the enemy’s small arms fire and were substantially sheltered from artillery. The relationship between husband and wife should not find itself in such a war! Where conflict is, both parties have to fight out each others’ problems on the same side. Essentially, there are four principles that if practiced, can help us in handling conflict:

Expressing our appreciation for each other – make it a daily discipline, be thankful for what your partner does and be appreciative for who your partner is. When it comes to being thankful for what David does, I simply don’t measure it in gifts or in kind. I don’t hint and make him buy presents for me or bring me on holidays. If the act of love and affection needs to stem from that new designer bag or that beach holiday; then I think the relationship needs overhaulin’. How much your husband loves you doesn’t come from what his wealth can buy you (plus, I’d feel guilty spending my hubby’s money for my own stuff, let alone make hints and get him to buy them!). In my opinion being married doesn’t mean we transfer our independence to our husbands – being married simply is two independent people loving, living and spending the rest of our lives together (that means making your own hard earned money!) We both are always thankful for each other, and grateful that we put up with each other’s imperfection. We appreciate what each other has done and show that appreciation through words of encouragement thru saying things like “I appreciate you taking care of washing the dishes” or “I appreciate how attentive you are now that we are expecting a baby”.

Recognising our differences – We’ve got to recognize differences in temperament, personality, background and expectations. We often get frustrated when we try to change each other, SO don’t try to change each other! We need to seek to complement each other, look for each other’s strengths and support each other’s weaknesses. During the course, we did an exercise on identifying our differences by using a chart to weigh each issue and see how much we agreed/disagreed. We found that we were very similar in some areas i.e. our choice of clothing and appearance, how we sort out our disagreements, how we spend our money, our idea of relaxation and even if we’d like our TV switch on/off. We also identified our differences i.e. how I am particular about punctuality and David likes to cut it fine, and how when we go on holidays, I’d prefer to seek rest and David on the other hand seek adventure. Having differences doesn’t mean you’d surely end up in conflict all the time! It’s these differences that can be a source of strength for our relationship. That said, the differences shouldn’t overpower the similarities, or else you’d be thinking what brought you two together? Opposites do attract but strong differences can drive your relationship into the path of divorce.

Negotiating areas of conflict – When conflict arises, we have to negotiate rather than attack, surrender or bargain. Try working out the conflict by using these 6 steps to peace:

  1. Find the best time to talk about it (not before leaving to work or before going to bed)
  2. Identify the issue
  3. Discuss the issue rather than attacking each other i.e. avoid labeling “you never” or “you always”, use “I” statements such as “I feel undervalued when…”, listen to your partner (recall the session on the Art of Communication) and each express your views in turn
  4. Work out the possible solutions and make a list if necessary
  5. Decide on the best solution for your relationship and see if it works
  6. Be prepared to re-evaluate

While we cannot change each other, we need to be prepared to change ourselves. This includes habits of our own which cause our spouse unhappiness as well as angry reactions to our partner’s habits. Discuss with each other the most important reasons for frustration, resentment, hurt or anger towards one another. Talk about what you’d do when you get angry with your spouse. Be wary of the type of words and phrases you use that would hurt your spouse. The best way to resolve conflict is to talk about it, and not wait for the weaker party to surrender or give in. It’d just be a time bomb waiting to explode.

Learning to pray together – We should always put God at the centre of our relationship. When we expect our partner to meet all our needs, we inevitably fail each other and get hurt. These expectations lead to demands, disappointment and blame—recipe for disaster! We were created to be in a relationship with God; only he can meet all our needs. We should be seeking God’s way by praying together as a couple as this will strengthen and sustain a marriage relationship over a lifetime and build intimacy. Many marriages today involve a battle of the wills as husband and wife argue to get their own way. A Christian marriage involves a couple seeking God’s will together. When praying we should listen and respond to each other’s requests, and also ensure that the prayers are not manipulative. The closer each of us is individually in our relationship with God, the closer we are to each other as husband and wife.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 ‘A cord of three strands is not quickly broken’.

Tonight’s session will be on the power of forgiveness. Look out for my post next week!

Investing in our marriage: The art of communication

Part 2 of our Marriage Course saw us through the art of communicating. One thing I like about the course is that it helps remind us about how easy it is to keep our marriage alive for a lifetime. We just need to work on it everyday! Sometimes it’s the simplest things that gets us blinded and causes interruptions in us communicating effectively with each other. This session talks about effective communication and how it helps to build intimacy in our marriage.

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We went through 2 key issues:

The importance of talking – How important it is to tell each other thoughts. I talk to David about everything, from bitching about work to what’s happening with family, or when there’s a sale or the progress of the TVB drama I’ve been watching over the last 2 weeks. We found that we’re quite comfortable telling each other our thoughts and our feelings, although there may be some areas where we may need to evaluate the barriers of talking. Sometimes we tend to hide our feelings, which make communicating stunted. We have to be able to take courage and practice to open up those hidden feelings which we find hard to speak up of – could be because of embarrassment, or could be because of being worried that I may be misunderstood. I think as a couple we shouldn’t allow any of these barriers to talking hinder us from communicating with each other. The key is to open up and talk about it, and not keep it brewing until it becomes a bigger problem.

The importance of listening – When one talks, the other needs to listen and vice versa. It is not uncommon that most of us take listening for granted, yet it is possible to close our ears. It’s true that we are selective in our listening, and we need to be aware of how selective we are. If we choose to ignore, showing disinterest, or look away when our spouse is talking to us, then the communication breaks down there! When we listen, we show support to our spouse, but listening requires a lot of effort. What’s so difficult? We’re unaware that sometimes we filter the things we listen to. I know I do it unconsciously. And when we listen, what we hear may be affected by our own expectations, prejudices, past experiences, values, beliefs and feelings. And at times, we are listening more to ourselves than to the other person! In essence, effective communication requires us to control the conversation in our mind. We also must review our bad habits when it comes to listening. I’m a serial interrupter. I interrupt a lot when David’s talking to me. He gets so annoyed he’d stop talking! I’ve learnt to dispose of that bad habit slowly but surely, and hopefully one day it’ll be gone completely *shy*. Other annoying bad habits you may not be aware consciously are; such as being an advice giver, going off at a tangent, or jumping in randomly.

Essentially, there are 5 principles for effective listening. Learning to listen is for some people as difficult as learning a foreign language, but we must learn in order to grow closer to our spouse.

  1. Pay attention and do no interrupt – allow your partner to finish what they are saying
  2. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes – Put your own views to one side and really appreciate what it is like for your partner to be feeling the way that they do
  3. Acknowledge their feelings – When you have listened to what your partner wants to say, reflect back what you heard without deflection and interpretation
  4. Find out what is most important – THEN, Ask your spouse, what is the most important part of what he/she is saying?
  5. Help them determine what they might do – finish off by asking if there is anything he/she would like you to do about what he/she has said

So remember, effective communication starts from ourselves, and we have to keep reminding ourselves to practice talking and listening with the above pointers Tonight we’re off to Part 3: Resolving conflict; should be interesting!

Investing in your marriage

No, no, it’s not about buying each other expensive gifts, or spending money on a 5 star holiday; it is merely a Marriage Course that David and I started going to this week to help us to build a healthy marriage that lasts a lifetime.

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this is the part where we go “yaaaaam seng!”

A course spread over 2 months, the Marriage Course is an Alpha International program, it is for any couple who wants to invest in their relationship, whether you have been together 1 or 61 years and whether you have a strong relationship or are struggling. It is designed to help couples grow closer through commitment, through time together, through greater understanding of each other and through development of good habits.

So we started to attend one which is run in Subang Jaya by a couple from DUMC. It’s a small group of 3 couples. We start with a nice sit down dinner together and then we move to the couch and watch a video, take breaks in between to work on tasks in the manual and discuss the answers amongst ourselves to see where we need to re-align our differences. It’s also very private because we discuss only among ourselves—we don’t share anything with the other couples or the course facilitator. We work on it on our own!

How is it like? Very much like the pre-marital counseling we had with our Pastor 6 months before we got married—all the questions and discussions were designed to evaluate our expectations and differences. We did not regret one bit having gone through months of preparation with our Pastor as it had given us a realistic view of what marriage really is, and the truth is it really isn’t a walk in the park.

Finding out about the Marriage Course just last weekend, we knew immediately it is something we wanted to do, AND do quickly before Muffin arrives. And how perfect God’s timing was as we found out a class is due to begin on Tuesday this week!

The first thing we “revised” was on building strong foundations. We covered areas like how marriage has four seasons—sometimes full of anticipation and excitement, sometimes busy and tiring, sometimes changeable and stormy and sometimes quite and gloomy. When you think of it in this way, its surprisingly true! I can’t believe it having only been married for under 2 years I do feel the seasons changing every now and then. Imagine what kinda “weathers” our parents have braved through after 30 years of marriage?

We then did this exercise where we had to take stock of our marriage—what it really was is we tried to score points on 4 areas:

  • Building our friendship
  • Building our communication
  • Building our physical relationship
  • Building our future together

We then compared our scores to see how similar we were, the idea is to be understood by and to understand each other better. Amazingly our scores weren’t extremely off-tangent, and we took some time to discuss where we scored differently, and closed by sharing what we would like seen changed in each other. Really deep stuff *ahem*. We also covered stuff like making time for each other i.e. setting aside “marriage time” (time to pak tor, or just have 2 hours to talk to each other or do stuff together), and nurturing one another.

From the completion of part 1, I would highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to invest in their marriage. It isn’t rocket science, think of it like how we maintain our cars in good working condition, we should also maintain our relationship throughout the years. If you want to know more about the course leave me a comment!

a piece of luxury

Joanie is my childhood friend of almost 20 years. Although she moved to Melbourne in 1992, with snail mails and emails we’ve remained close and I am very blessed to have her in my life.

When I found out that Joanie and Gavin were featured in a top notch, extremely exclusive, unlike-no-other bridal magazine in Australia, I was so excited I couldn’t wait to lay my hands on the magazine and see it with my own eyes! I got Joanie to buy me a copy and got hold of it from her as she’s back in KL for a couple of days before leaving to her 2nd honeymoon in Italy.

Boy, it was big. And heavy.

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The magazine is distributed Australia-wide. Grand…

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It was exactly what was printed on the front cover of the magazine–25 most extraordinary, opulent and luxurious weddings were featured in this heavyweight magazine. Did I mention I love the smell of crisp, newly printed glossy magazines?

j&g.003Joanie and Gavin’s wedding was labeled as The Jewel of The Orient–A Fusion of Japanese and Vintage. That’s right. Sakura flowers were everywhere and you won’t miss the romantic shades of pink and brown in every nook and corner. I loved how she used the birdcage; it remained iconic throughout her printed material to the decorations at their reception at Quat Quatta in Rippon Lea.

So I flipped to page 214, and my jaw dropped in awe of how great the photos were! She made the right choice to go with her very talented photographer–the guys at Chateau captured the moment and the emotions. It was so sweet and touching,  I cried a couple of times at her wedding. I thank God for waterproof mascara. Seriously.

j&g.004I thought I have attention to detail, but I couldn’t beat Joanie to win the title of perfection in every little thing at the wedding. Here’s my lil’ piece of luxury from her big day. Without a doubt she and Gav absolutely deserved to be one of the 25 couples extraordinary weddings featured in Luxury Weddings.

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