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Old 6th May 2010, 12:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Married and still dating

Married and still dating



by Lin Wenjian


Tour agency manager Sarah Leong loves Sundays. It is a day of rest for the 32-year-old as well as the day she takes a break from being only a mother to reacquaint herself with being a wife.

It is the day she dates her husband, 32-year-old financial consultant Gilbert Chan.

'Since the beginning of this year, we make it a point to go out on our own after dinner every Sunday,' says Madam Leong, who places her two-year-old daughter in the care of her mother when they go out.

'Before the dates, we usually talk about our daughter. Now, when we go out, we can talk about our hobbies or catch a movie, which is something we have not done together since our daughter was born.'

Madam Violet Lim, 30, is of the same mind. She says: 'I think after people have been married for a while, they sometimes forget what it is they love about their spouse and then married life can start to become a routine.'

At least once a week, the mother of a 31/2-year-old boy and a one-year-old girl goes on dates with her husband of five years, Mr Jamie Lee, 34.

In her case, it is also important that she has regular date nights because she has to practise what she preaches. She is a professional matchmaker and co-owns the dating agency Lunch Actually with her husband.

'Being in the industry of love, we know the importance of constant communication for a married couple. Things can get worse when children come into the picture as the focus is no longer on the spouse but on the kids. By having such date nights, we make sure the focus is on each other and not just on the children,' adds Madam Lim, whose weekly dates involve dinner, window shopping and the occasional movie.

When the couple go out, their domestic helper and Madam Lim's in-laws help to look after the children.

Date nights for married couples are not a new thing. Mr Jonathan Siew, senior counsellor at Care Corner Counselling Centre, says 'many couples have been practising this for years'.

But the practice has received more attention of late because the United States' First Couple, the Obamas, say they do it; Singapore's former Attorney-General Walter Woon says he does it; and most recently, Hollywood's comic actors Tina Fey and Steve Carell play a bored married couple who do it to unintended hilarious consequences in the box-office hit comedy called, well, Date Night.

Mr Ang Thiam Hong, marriage counsellor at Edora Counselling Services, cannot emphasise enough how important date nights are in a marriage.

He says: 'By going on dates, a married couple remain emotionally connected, which can maintain or enhance their closeness or bond. Otherwise, they risk drifting apart gradually or even losing their feelings for each other without realising it.'

He once counselled a middle-aged couple whose relationship improved after they started going on dates again.

'They had a lot of time to themselves after their children grew up. But by that time, there was already a wedge between them caused by the resentment that had built up over the years. After going out together, their relationship became less awkward and there was also less tension,' he recalls.

Knowing the importance of something, however, is not the same as feeling the urgency to put it into practice. Mr Siew says: 'Most couples have date nights in mind when they get married. But many of them stop practising it when they have children, especially when the children are still young and taking care of them becomes the top priority.'

He is not referring specifically to marketing manager Grace Goh, 28, and her husband, army officer Seow Soon Teck, 30, but he might as well be. She told LifeStyle that she has not been out on a date with her husband of four years since their son, Aaden, was born 13 months ago.

'It's hard to tear ourselves away from Aaden as he is such a darling. For me, even if it's just a few hours away from him, I'll miss him ,' she says.

The bond between the first-time parents and their son is so strong that they are willing to give up their pre-parenthood 'movie dates every Friday night', even though her parents offer to look after Aaden.

'Aaden is our responsibility and, besides, my mother, who cares for him when we are at work, needs a break, too,' she explains.

The Seows' predicament was also celebrity chef Sam Leong's until a few years ago. The 44-year-old corporate chef and director of kitchens of the Tung Lok Group of restaurants resumed going on dates with his wife Forest, 40, only 'five years ago when our two sons were 15 and 14 and were able to look after themselves'.

Now, their dates take the form of regular overseas holidays, which piggyback on his work assignments.

He says: 'Tung Lok has restaurants in Indonesia, China, Japan and India, where I have to travel every month for my job. When I finish my work in those countries, I extend my stay so that my wife can join me. It's half work, half holiday.'

According to him, his frequent appearances in local TV shows have made him so well known that he is unable to go on a date night with his wife in Singapore without being recognised by fans. Although he does not mind it, he thinks of his getaways with his wife 'all over the world' as a form of reward for her.

'When I was younger, I worked long hours, sometimes till midnight, and she was always understanding and took care of our sons without complaint. So now I should spend more time with her,' he says.

Source: http://www.divaasia.com/article/8925

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