KEVIN AND IROSHINI CHUA
Married: December 12, 2002
Ruby Anniversary (15 Years)
When Iroshini Chua’s father first learnt that she had become engaged to Kevin Chua, a Singaporean-Chinese, his first instinct was that it would be a “phenomenal disaster” due to the cultural differences between the two (Iroshini is Sri Lankan). “He was so anxious but he said to me: ‘Darling, if you want to jump into a big crate, I shall jump with you,’” Iroshini recalls with a laugh. Dad’s opinion, however, shifted drastically upon meeting Kevin and he proceeded to declare the man too good for his daughter — a fact that still tickles Iroshini to this day.
Today, almost a decade and half later (they celebrate their 15th anniversary next year), the two doctors run a thriving medical practice together — Drs Chua & Partners — and are proud parents to Aiyana, 10, and Jorim, 13.
You met while at medical school, in Ireland. How did it happen exactly?
Iroshini: The first time I saw Kevin, he was singing onstage with his a capella group. We were classmates, but had never crossed paths before that. I loved his voice and was like: Who’s this cute Chinese guy? Later, I went up to him and congratulated him on the standing ovation he received.
Kevin: Yeah, but there were a lot of people around that night, so we didn’t really talk. We only really got to know each other later on.
What was your impression of her after that encounter?
Kevin: Apart from the fact that she was gorgeous, the first thing I really heard about her was that she was a Sri Lankan princess. Rumours went around in class and so my impression of her was that she was royalty. I believed that for a while.
How did you eventually get to know each other properly?
Iroshini: It was around our third year in medical school and about four or five of us were posted to a hospital in Waterford — about three hours away from where we lived in Dublin — for an eight-week rotation. Kevin was one of them, so a common friend suggested we carpool. We ended up having many conversations in those three-hour car rides and became really good friends. I think somewhere along the way, we both realised it was more than a friendship.
What was your first official date like?
Iroshini: I got into his car and he was staring straight ahead, looking like he had something very important to say. He told me to close the door, then looked at me.
Kevin: I think I locked the doors. So she couldn’t leave.
Iroshini: And then he said: “Iro, we’re going into this with marriage in view. I don’t date.” I almost jumped out of the car. We were college kids; we hadn’t even graduated! And my boyfriend says this. No wait, I can’t even call him my boyfriend because it was our first date!
So when he proposed two years later, you weren’t exactly surprised?
Iroshini: Well his intentions were very clear from the beginning, but when he did propose — we were on the grounds of Ashford Castle in Ireland — he didn’t even have a ring. It was like the thought just popped into his mind and he decided to ask me. I thought he was joking, so I just laughed.
Kevin: I am an impulsive person, so, yes, I didn’t plan anything. It was a spur of the moment thing and I said: “Hey, let’s get married.” It took her awhile to give me an actual answer.
Iroshini: I think I only replied him three days later.
And now you’ve been married for almost 15 years. How has your relationship evolved over time?
Iroshini: We’re more understanding of each other’s needs; we forgive and accommodate each other more easily. Because you start to understand that whatever each other does comes from a good place. Plus I think our [Christian] faith also brings us closer together. It helps a lot.
Kevin: I agree. I also think she keeps me in check. She’s a lot smarter than me and tends to think things through, whereas I’m more impulsive. When she’s not around — like once when she had to go to Sri Lanka urgently to attend to something — I feel lost. I can’t sleep or think properly.
How do you juggle work and family, while keeping your relationship strong?
Iroshini: It’s challenging, but it’s not impossible if everybody is a team player. But some things have got to give and that’s usually my personal time. It’s never the kids, Kevin or my work. It’s also really important to find things the both of you or the whole family can do together.
Kevin: Recently, we have been going rock climbing on weekends as a family. We watch movies and play board games occasionally too.
Iroshini: We also put aside one day every week for an uninterrupted family dinner. We don’t bring our phones along.
So what, in your opinion, is key to a happy marriage?
Iroshini: To have a happy marriage, you cannot be selfish.
Kevin: Two rules. First rule: The wife is always right. Second rule? When in doubt, refer to the first rule.
Watch the behind-the-scenes video here.
Read the interviews of the other couples here.