The couple met at a friend’s party, when she was in her 20s and he, in his 30s, and got married after dating for a year and a half. So what are some of the endearing qualities that made their spouse so attractive?
“He has a good soul. His humour and his intelligence — these are important to me,” Serene enthuses. Meanwhile, Benjamin was won over by her charming and warm personality, her values and generous spirit. “She is sincere and really cares for the people around her,” he continues. “She takes effort to give thanks and show appreciation. I like that. She is humble and always plays down on expectations, but the fact is, she is actually very good at the things she does. She is just brilliant.”
While they have been married for nine years, Serene professes that “marriage is not an easy journey.” She says: “I work hard at maintaining closeness by listening, apologising and compromising.”
Benjamin, on the other hand, believes in resolving problems as they arise: “Don’t let resentment simmer.”
What are their plans this Valentine’s Day? “Maybe we’ll indulge in a different meal, starting with a ‘dessert spree’ for brunch, and then to the spa. Perhaps we’ll pick an unusual dining experience like Dine in the Dark at Nox; one year we did the Cable Car Sky Dining,” they share earnestly.
Was there a single moment that determined Benjamin or Serene was the one for you?
Serene: He was so madly in love with me. He said he would give up his career for me (before we were married, of course) and I could not see a better reason to be married than being madly in love.
Benjamin: When we were dating, I could not stop thinking of her. I knew she was the one and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.
What was the romantic thing that your spouse has ever done for you?
Serene: Ben has a box where he keeps the cards, movie tickets, love notes, ride tickets from our dating days.
Benjamin: Serene did a scrape book to put our wedding pictures together.
Do you still go on date nights?
Serene & Benjamin: Yes, for a change we will cook our dinner together, eat at the garden with candlelight and playing our favourite songs in the background. And we would chat all night and eat half a tub of ice cream or end the evening with a movie at home.
What are some of your favourite activities as a couple?
Serene: Going for long walks and long drives. These are the no cell-phone moments, and are great for chats with undivided attention.
Benjamin: Watching movies at home, going for long walks, and eating ice-cream as we take a stroll.
What’s a relationship rule you live by?
Serene: With two unique individuals bringing different perspectives and strengths, we need to know how to manage differences by talking and exploring. Don’t assume!
Benjamin: A relationship is not a guessing game. State your needs and don’t camouflage them. Unhappiness comes from disappointment when unspoken needs are not met.
What’s the one thing you like most about your spouse?
Serene: His kindness to animals. He has such a kind soul.
Benjamin: Her spirit of generosity.
Do you have a Valentine’s Day ritual?
Serene & Benjamin: Just a simple no-fuss celebration. Usually a couple’s massage at a spa.