It’s said marriage is not a destination but a journey. And like any road trip, you’ll make new discoveries and cross milestones but there’ll also be bumps and wrong turns.
In Part 1 of a series of three stories, Serene Tan and Benjamin Kim share with us how they’ve navigated their voyage of love.
Serene Tan & Benjamin Kim
Married for eight and a half years, this pair enjoys bonding over decorating their home, taking walks together and watching movies at home with their dogs and cat. A humble rock is what Serene uses as a representation of their couplehood: “At one Christmas party, we all had to wrap a gift for the present corner. I thought it’d be hilarious to wrap a stone and see who would pick it. Ben did. We still have that rock on our coffee table!”
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Our journey began… in December 2008.
Serene: We were madly in love. We bought a place and wanted to hold the wedding in the house, to mark our journey forward. It was very romantic. My dad walked me down the aisle, and our relatives captured everything, right down to the bouquet toss.
Ben: I was very nervous initially, then I saw Serene walking down the aisle and I thought to myself, “I’m marrying the most beautiful woman.” It was truly unforgettable.
There’s no one else I’d have as my co-pilot…
Serene: I love Ben because he completes me. My career success is largely because he has been my constant cheerleader. I trust his judgement and I love it that he takes command. He is the most positive person.
Ben: She is warm, compassionate and affectionate—people love her. She is a great listener, asks excellent questions. She is genuinely interested in others and is fearless to drive any dream forward. She is committed in the marriage.
In marriage, like every journey, there are bumps, sliproads and blindspots…
Serene: The greatest challenge in marriage would be adapting to change. I got married in my 20s, and my dad said, “If you are diligent enough to have a young marriage that works, it can be beautiful.” I acknowledged how much we both could change in a decade, and I was signing on for whatever changes might come. Dad’s advice: Make sure that you are your own person, and that your happiness and self-worth isn’t wrapped up in an identity of “wife”. It is extremely challenging and in conflict with unconditional love.
Ben: It’s never easy trying to juggle work and spending enough time with Serene. I make up for this by putting in extra effort when I’m with her.
Treasures we’ve picked up along the ride…
Serene: Compassion and tolerance, humility and gratitude to serve beyond my own needs and wants.
Ben: Marriage has completed me and brought fulfilment to my life. Each time I travel for work, the moment I enter the airport departure terminal I miss Serene and can’t wait to get back to her. She has always been tremendously supportive of my work commitments, and gives in to me much more than she should. What have I learnt from this? That love is selfless, and I need to reflect more on all that Serene has done for me, and do the same for her.
What’s the golden rule for a smooth ride?
Serene: Marriage requires sacrifice and strength. No one experiences a long-lasting marriage without going through some extremely difficult times.
Ben: Celebrate each other’s success. I believe partners who do this have the most satisfying relationships.
Hear what the couples have to say to each other in this special video below: