The best kind of love isn’t one which stays the same, but one which grows with us as we mature. It shows resolve and grace in tough times.
Stefanus and Angeline’s relationship embodies precisely just that kind of love.
Co-founder of Yoga+, Angeline goes beyond the realm of teaching the art of Yoga. Passionate about contributing to social good, she seeks to inspire mindful living and the intangible possibilities through her Yoga business. From collaborating with local initiatives of similar values towards wellness, and partnering with social enterprises to raise funds and awareness for social causes, Yoga+ empowers individuals to be their own positive charge outside of the yoga mat.
The story of Angeline and Stefanus isn’t perfect, but that’s what makes it so beautiful. They remind us that relationships are meant to be real, vulnerable and flawed – in all the best ways. We have received so much from their thoughtful sharing, and we hope you will enjoy this story as much as we do.
Share with us how the both of you met.
Stefanus: We were both from Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and also in the faculty club where we organise events for the student body. I was the sports secretary and Angie was the social secretary – the one who organised all the other events.
Angie: That was how we met in school and we have been together for almost 5 years *laughs*
Stefanus: Our first event together was night cycling. So Angie fell and fractured her toes without knowing, and even cycled all the way to East Coast! I used to have a leg injury and had crutches. So I passed them to her... And that’s how everything else began!
5 years is a long time together! What is both of your advice to achieving a long and stable relationship?
Angie: It’s about making it work. For me, I don’t believe in finding the one, I believe in making the person the one. I think it’s romanticized in media that you meet someone, and you would end up marrying that person. Reality doesn’t work that way.
“I don’t believe in finding the one, I believe in making the person the one.”
Every relationship has its own problems. When we encounter rough patches, they may last for weeks, months as it is not something which resolves within a day. But what’s important is not going for the exit route immediately. That’s what helped us through the hard times. There are times when we get frustrated over each other, but we won’t see it as an end. We stick with each other.
“When there are problems, we work through it together.”
Stefanus: My parents dated for 10 years and it was their first relationship. That influenced me a lot and it was how I approached my relationship. I wasn’t looking to date but a long term relationship. Sharing a relationship to me means that when there are problems, we work through it together. And that’s both our common approaches towards relationship.
She used to be very worried, as there are couples who didn’t make it at the 3 year mark, and these are the couples that we thought they will last. *laughs*
“Love is something which evolves, as it should be.”
Angie: It can’t be helped to wonder about the things which broke them apart. But as we grew older, we realised that the problems in others’ relationships may not apply to us in the same way.
This is just my own viewpoint, but one of the reasons why couples break up is because they think that there’s no spark anymore. And they crave for that spark. But then again, things like spark and falling head over heels in love are once again, very romanticized. You expect it to constantly happen. But it’s not realistic, especially when you have been together with the person for so many years.
And that, isn’t a bad thing at all. But the problem lies in people thinking that it is. This leads to them assuming that they no longer love the other person anymore and that’s the end of it. But the truth is, love is something which evolves, and it should be too.
In the span of 5 years, both of you have definitely grown and matured together. What would be a tough period that you have shared?
Angie: I think it’s now. He set up his own company and I’m doing Yoga+, so our schedules can get very crazy. Our love languages are quality time so we enjoy spending time with each other. But it becomes difficult when his work gets very busy, along with mine. I spent 9am – 9pm every day here when I just set up Yoga+. We hardly spend time together, even on weekends as it’s the time when I have more students and his clients need him.
Stefanus: Well, it makes you become creative on how to spend time together! So after my work, I come here to help with the studio and simply, spend time with her.
Angie: On top of that, we got engaged and will be getting married soon. So now is the time where we are looking for a place to live… and facing issues of adulthood. It’s a very steep learning curve. No one knows how to do all these on the get-go, and that’s why it gets very stressful as well. During our free time, we are still busy doing “adult” things.
Since both of us chose unconventional paths for our careers, we often have moments where we don’t know if we are on the right track. It gets difficult sometimes. It’s inevitable to crave for that stability, especially when our circle of friends are all in the corporate workforce. But looking at us, we are always worrying what will happen in the next month – how to get more students, how to secure more clients.
Stefanus: One of the people I worked with even asked me “do you always talk about work with Angie?” and I realised that a lot of our conversations revolve around work.
“As much as things get crazy, we know we are doing what we are passionate about.”
Angie: But for us, we see it as a blessing because we love what we do. And as much as things get crazy, we know we are doing what we are passionate about. And what’s great about owning your own business is you know that whatever you do translates directly to the end product. That’s what ties it to you.
How do you support each other during these times?
Angie: He comes here to pick me up every night when I have classes. We stay very far from each other but he still makes the effort to send me back home even when he has a tiring day. Whenever he comes to the studio, he helps out in any way he could, even cleaning up. It’s really the little things like that.
He’s very supportive and I’m really blessed to have him. I believe all spouses and couples are supportive, but we show it in different ways. For Stefanus, he turns up and does little things for me. That makes me feel very supported.
"It’s about understanding each other’s love language."
Stefanus: I think it’s about understanding each other’s love language. For Angie, her love language is spending quality time so I go straight to that – helping out, cleaning up the studio. Due to our busy schedules, we cherish the times when we are doing nothing with each other’s presence. That feeling of not having anything pressing to do, chilling with each other… that’s our oasis.
How did you both manage your arguments then and now?
Angie: When I’m upset, I close up. So it will give off the idea that I’m giving him the cold shoulder, when I just needed time to think it over. I’m an emotional person so I would prefer to approach our problems after we calm down, if not it becomes very taxing on both of us!
Stefanus: For me, I need to talk it out. So when she closes up, I will go “Let’s talk it out now” but that was in the past.
Angie: Over time, I’ve learnt that Stefanus tries his best to adjust to how I communicate and it shouldn’t be one sided. So when we argue now, I make it a point to let him know that we need some time off, but also assuring him that we will come back to it later. Occasionally, I still lapse into that but I’m still trying to learn, especially on how to be more open on my feelings. Not communicating to him will create a lot of guessing on his end, which is very emotionally tiring for him.
Stefanus: What’s important is to take a step back after a fight, rationalise your approach and try to understand where the other party is coming from. We have to truly reflect on it, and approach it better the next time.
Of course, it takes time and hard work to achieve this understanding and learn to compromise, but it’s worth it.
Angie specially chose Lovers Collection for Stefanus, a gift which not only they could use together, but one which can also be shared with Stefanus’s mother.
What are your fundamentals for a relationship?
Angie: Honesty and trust. They go together, in my opinion. Honesty makes communication a lot easier – no second guessing and doubts. Hence, I try to be as open and honest as I could be. And I trust that he does the same to me. Without trust, you will keep second guessing everything he says and it will eventually be very unhealthy for the relationship.
Stefanus: Honesty and trust for me too. But from my reflection of our relationship over the years, I realised that we have to be inspired by one another. Your other half should make you a better person.
“It’s important that we don’t only go to our partners for comfort, or to feel good, but to want to become a better person for them.”
Angie has qualities that I don’t have. I have never met anyone who is as fast, meticulous and hardworking as her. That is something which pushes me to want to be better. It’s important that we don’t only go to our partners for comfort, or to feel good, but to want to become a better person for them. Angie is someone whom I can depend on, someone who’s willing to weather storms together with me.
Angie: Stefanus teaches me to love better. He’s a very loving person and that inspires me to show my love more. As it’s not in my nature to reach out, he teaches me that I have to take the initiative sometimes too.
Angie chose Night Queen Deluxe Gift Set for herself, one which comes with aromatherapy and body care essentials.
What would be your advice for couples who are preparing to get married?
Stefanus: Mine is simplistic which is basically, planning early. If both parties already knew that marriage is on the card, then it’s good to plan early. This is a more simplistic way of saying don’t sweat the small stuff! But it’s also good to keep in mind that some things can’t be planned in advance so it’s essential to also be flexible during the preparation.
“What matters the most are the many days, and years after the wedding day.”
Angie: I’ve received very good advice and that would be not to sweat over the small stuff. At the end of the day, whatever that happens on the wedding day is just one day and what matters the most are the many days, and years after the wedding day.
Secondly would be not to do everything by yourself, which is very true for me since I’m someone who does things myself. My friend tried that and on the wedding day, she was so tired that she wasn’t able to enjoy the process of planning and the occasion.
It’s important to learn how to let go. Even if there are hiccups on the day or along the way, don’t sweat it. In the bigger scheme of things, it’s just one day out of the many days to come.
Life is a journey, and love is too.
It’s a journey where we learn to give, receive and love unconditionally. It is never smooth-sailing, but one which carries its fair share of struggles and setbacks. They lay the foundation of the deep bond we share with our other halves, and it is only through them that we truly grow and our love, evolves.
Love is never meant to be perfect, but real. And real, is what makes it beautiful.
Next week, we bring you the last story on Rekindle Rituals. Look forward to yet another heartening story about a pair of friends whose bond brought them together to create a meaningful business of their own.