Celebrate Valentine’s Day with 3 tips for a lasting, loving relationship
This Valentine's Day, Salt&Light wishes all readers loving, giving, grace-filled relationships!
by Christine Leow // February 8, 2024, 7:42 pm
She is self-sufficient. He is a feeler. She came from a thrifty family. He came from an upper-middle-class one. David and Amy Ang have had to learn how to live with and love each other over 28 years of marriage. Here are their relationship tips. All photos courtesy of the Angs.
Amy Ang was about 14 years old when her Bible study leader told her: “Don’t start praying only when you have a boyfriend.
“Start praying for your life partner now. You may never know if the person needs prayers.”
“I saw her love for God’s people.”
Amy took the counsel to heart and started praying for her future husband. As she did, her list of what she hoped for in a spouse gradually got pared down to just one key criterion: A heart for God.
“When I was interested in someone, I would bring it before God saying, ‘If it’s the right person, open the doors and let the relationship happen.’ Nothing happened. Very quickly, I knew this was not the person.
“When the wrong person walked in, all the doors closed. All these years of praying prepared me for what would come.”
So when David Ang walked into her life, she “had some inclination” that he was the one as early as their first date.
David remembers that day – May 24, 1993. But he had set his sights on Amy a whole year before that, having chanced upon her photograph in his friend’s album.
“That struck me – this is the one.”
“I admit looks was the first thing,” he says with a smile.
David asked his friend to introduce him to Amy. But it would be year before the two connected. He was 24 at the time and she was 23.
“As we talked, I saw her love for God’s people. She talked about her heart for Cambodia. When I was young, I would bring teams to Thailand and go for prayer walks there.
“Cambodia and Thailand are quite similar. That struck me – this is the one.”
In less than two years, David and Amy were married. They have now been husband and wife for 28 years.
Together, they have not only raised three children aged 19 to 25 but have also journeyed with couples in their marriages.
Here are three tips from their couples seminar Back to the Garden: Journey to Oneness on how husbands and wives can achieve oneness in their marriage.
1. Know the influences from families of origin
In the course of their marriage, the Angs learnt how their families of origin had an impact on how they related to one another.
Said David: “Because my mum used to point out problems to me, when I talked to Amy, I would be very defensive.
“I would be like, ‘Are you trying to find issues with me again? What’s wrong with me?’ I was stricken with insecurities.”
“From all those years of being independent, she didn’t see me as a companion to talk to and consult.”
It was only when David grew in his relationship with God the Father that he realised why he was relating to his wife in that way.
“As I got to know the Father’s love, I became less defensive and my response to her became more loving.
“Knowing and understanding God as a Father and receiving His love has helped transform what is in our hearts. It has changed how we talk and respond to each other.”
For Amy, growing up in a household where she had a lot of autonomy made her very independent.
“I became a problem-solver because I had to sort a lot of things out by myself. My siblings and I looked after ourselves. We didn’t give our parents additional burdens or a lot of things to worry about.”
She brought that into her marriage. She was highly efficient and managed the household and children almost single-handedly. At the time, David’s work often took him out of the country. So, for a while, it worked out well and David appreciated how capable his wife was.
Said David: “But on Saturday and Sunday when I was home, when I was not being consulted, my ego took a hit. I think she saw me as another kid. As long as I could take care of myself, it was okay.
“From all those years of being independent, she didn’t see me as a companion to talk to and consult. It was very subtle but it soon became quite glaring.”
In time, Amy realised that they were orbiting around each other instead of partnering one another.
“I did yearn for communication but sometimes the practical part of me would kick in and say, ‘Put that in the backseat.’”
2. See your spouse as God sees them
“Sometimes when we look at our spouse, we put in a lot of judgement. Why did they express themselves this way? Why did they behave this way?
“I let God’s love change and mould her heart.”
“I learnt instead to look at each judgement and ask, ‘How does God look at me?’ He looks at me with love. So I should look at my spouse with love.
“That caused a great shift in gear for me because there is no need to be angry – anger is not of love,” said Amy.
On David’s part, letting God’s love shape the lens with which he looked at his wife gave him a great measure of freedom.
“Then I don’t try to change her. Instead I let God’s love change and mould her heart.
“Let the Holy Spirit convict.”
3. View things from your spouse’s perspective
Something as simple as grocery shopping can become a sore point when couples cannot appreciate each other’s viewpoints.
Amy is careful with her money. David is careful about his time.
Said Amy: “I grew up in a lower-middle-income family. We needed to watch our expenditure all the time. So my parents inculcated in us the value of being thrifty.
“Love has changed us.”
“When I look at something, it is always in terms of the fact that we need to get the best deals.”
David grew up in an upper-middle-class family. It did not make sense to him to travel to another mall just to buy a cheaper item if the item was already in front of them, albeit more pricey.
Said Amy: “I don’t mind travelling further if I can get it cheaper. It’s a little thing but we can argue over it.”
These days, they meet each other halfway.
Said Amy: “Now, he will say, ‘If this is what you want to do, let’s do it.’ And I will not hold on to what I want. I would say, ‘What you say is right. Let’s find an in-between.’
“Love has changed us and out of that love flows our behaviour and communication.”
We are an independent, non-profit organisation that relies on the generosity of our readers, such as yourself, to continue serving the kingdom. Every dollar donated goes directly back into our editorial coverage.
Would you consider partnering with us in our kingdom work by supporting us financially, either as a one-off donation, or a recurring pledge?Support Salt&Light