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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nanyang Tech chapter.

As I write this, I am twenty-four. It’s been eleven years since I met my fiance, three years since he first confessed, and two years since we got engaged. Our wedding is some time at the end of this year, and I have absolutely no regrets about my take on taking things slow because he’s been an amazing part of this. However, things have not always come so easy. There have been the inevitable ups and downs, the fights, the arguments, the questioning of decisions, and the harrowing comments presented by the people around us. 

When we decided to get engaged with me only at twenty-two, there was plenty of shock from our friends, our colleagues, and amusingly, especially from the Grab drivers that ferried me home in the evenings. They questioned my certainty in commitment amongst high divorce rates, the horrors of early child-rearing and, my personal favourite, balancing my career with marriage. All of which are now met with laughter, and then brushed away with, “Yes, I’m sure.” 

I am sure. And I promise you, this wasn’t rash. It took me a long time to get here. He had to wait months to get a yes from me to be his girlfriend, what more to get a yes from me to be his future wife? Still, despite the many worrying warnings from the world outside of us, my certainty has not wavered despite the unknown future, ever since I agreed to both his proposals. Here’s why.

I have my own personal cheerleader

You know how when you’ve got too much on your plate, you kind of just wish that someone would come in and take it all away? At least just for a moment? My last semester embodied these sentiments. It’s been filled with a final year project, an internship, a part-time job, and more. But in the midst of the chaos that is my trying to keep up with everything, my partner has been my source of comfort and encouragement. From quick, low-key after school beach dates where we grab satay and stare into the night for an hour before heading home to going back to our busy lives to the resounding, “Yes, you can do it,”s, I can’t think of a better way to be comforted, motivated, and encouraged. As someone who worries about endless nothings and ‘what ifs’, this is incredibly comforting — to know that there is someone who believes that I should do it, and that I can do it. More often than not, this grounds me back to reality, away from my unnecessary worries and into handling real life (as opposed to being stuck in my head all day).

 I am my own person

“Not focusing on career first?” I most absolutely am. My life’s vision starts with the career route I wish to pursue, and what happens after. Getting engaged has not been a hindrance to that. Who we are as individuals remains separate, but also vital to the relationship. More often than not, I find that I am discovering more about myself as a person, more so with him around than when I was alone. You could argue that that probably came with age, certainly, but the discussions that we have as a couple have only served to help the both of us grow. In fact, when I was worrying about taking up this internship with Her Campus, he was the person who encouraged me to go for it, to focus on myself and to grow into who I am.

If anything, we find ways to harmonise our individualities and expectations rather than erode them. Often, when we speak about our own personal life goals, the next thoughts and discussions that come to mind are the concrete ways in which the both of us could achieve this, whether separate or together.

We know what it is to be in a team

My future husband, a sailor by training, spent a lot of his cadetship at sea, where he spent much of his time sending me pictures of starry skies and bioluminescent sea creatures. He enjoyed the adventure so much that even back on land, he still speaks often about the ships and docks he’s travelled in and to. He even laughs at the thought of seasickness. 

“We get land sick, not seasick. Pfft.”

And amongst the many tales of his adventures at sea, he admitted that even on the most perfect ship, no amount of sturdy hulls could weather the worst of storms and its thirty-feet waves, or make safe passage through the pirate-infested waters between Galle and Somalia without the right people to actually live and breathe in it. It was the crew, the communication, the teamwork (and of course, their nautical training) that made their journey. That helped them survive.

“It’s not about looking for a perfect ship. Even the Titanic sank. We spend so much time waiting for the strongest vessel to board, only to forget that even the toughest of hulls can crack under enough pressure. It is about how you get through it, who you get through it with, and who can weather every storm with you.”

So on days when I’m questioned on divorce rates or the possible sudden appearance of a child a little too early into our marriage, I don’t worry. Because I know he understands what it is to be a part of a team. This, coupled with the fact that I know he knows how to not only work well but also cook and clean well (and that he is willing to do so). No toxic misogyny for me — only teamwork and partnership!

Learning to smell flowers in farts

I’ll have to admit, I still fear that one day the warnings may come true, that we may end up as two of the many divorcees. However, as we are now, that certainly does not feel like it will be the case. 

When I went to him with the idea for this article a few weeks ago, he laughed in my face. “Didn’t think this one through, huh?” I admit, I made a mess of my article pitching and scrambled for something original in the middle of a quick Zoom meeting. But somewhere between me racking my brain for something to actually write about and me actually writing it, lay little pieces of information I’d missed about our relationship that only strengthened my resolve to be with this man forever. 

“You should write about how in relationships, you gotta smell flowers even in the farts.”

“Oh, so you smell flowers in my farts?”

“Yeah, Rafflesia.”

Despite all the downs that our relationship has encountered, in my partner, I see attention and appreciation for facets of life and survival forgotten and taken for granted. An appreciation for the give and take, for talking things out, and for making sure the sails on our masts are always in place. 

And with this relationship, I’ve learned to appreciate and love the little things better. It is with this that I hope that our relationship holds steady.

I can never say for certain that we won’t end up part of the warnings’ realities. However, what I can say is this: I see no cons to investing in this beauty, in committing to somebody who has done nothing but help me grow as a person all while we learn to love each other and everything else about life along the way. And as long as we continue to work together and appreciate the little things about each other, I have no doubt in my mind that be it a baby, a career crisis, or sheer uncertainty in what we’re doing as a couple, we’ll get through it together.

Siti Ayeeshah Zaki

Nanyang Tech '21

Ayeeshah is an undergraduate at NTU. She enjoys writing, exploring, and learning new things. Check out her website and Instagram below! ✨