In an interview with Prestige in 2016, Sri Lanka-born Iroshini Chua candidly told us that when her father learnt that she was engaged to Singaporean-Chinese Kevin Chua, he was so worried about the cultural differences between the two of them that he said to her: “‘Darling, if you want to jump into a big crate, I shall jump with you.”
All that changed of course, after he met Kevin.
The two doctors run a medical practice together — Drs Chua & Partners — and are now happily married for 17 years with two children aged 15 and 12. They’re a power couple; Kevin is one of Singapore’s most respected doctors while Iroshini’s multiple accolades include being a fourth-generation jeweller. Careers aside, the two are veterans at travel and photography — just look at the stunning photos of their recent adventure to Joali Maldives.
The foundation of their solid marriage gives meaning to the longtime saying of “friendship first, relationship second.” The two were best friends for a few years before they fell in love, and continue to maintain that strong friendship that helps them survive the storms.
How old were you when you first met your spouse?
Iroshini: I was 19 when I first saw Kevin. He was singing on stage in medical school and he looked really cute, so I walked up to him to congratulate him for the standing ovation he received.
Kevin: I had just finished our first performance in the school music festival when the famed “Sri Lankan princess” (as rumours had it then) came up to me to congratulate me on a job well done.
What attracted you to your spouse?
Iroshini: Apart from his amazing voice, I found him the nicest human being: So kind, gracious, patient and caring. He had no airs about him and he was confident, sincere and funny.
Kevin: She is funny, intelligent, passionate and a wonderful helicopter vision that allowed her to see things to their natural conclusion well before most people could.
Was there a single moment that determined that he or she was the one for you?
Iroshini: Oh gosh! I should have had that “a-ha” moment the second I met him! Instead we were best friends for a few years, which turned out to be a blessing as I got to really know him without him trying to impress me or vice versa. I guess that “a-ha” moment was when I realised I always wanted him to be a part of my life. To be my other half. To be honest, I still think of him as my best friend, so the lines are still blurry to me.
Kevin: I went to pick her up from Slane Castle after a U2 concert. She had been walking for quite a while, while I remained stuck behind a long line of cars. As she opened the passenger door and stuck her head in, it hit me. My stomach fluttered and my chest pounded. Her hair was all frizzy and she had a glow about her (or maybe it was sweat).
What was the romantic thing that your spouse has ever done for you?
Iroshini: He picked me up from the hospital I was working at with a single rose on the passenger seat. When I got home, there were roses strewn at every step of my home. That day I found roses right until I lay my head down to sleep!
Kevin: I find her to be quite a romantic. It’s a daily thing with her. I love how she made a batch of granola for my breakfast from scratch and labelled it “Made with Love” on the glass jar.
Describe an everyday gesture you do to show your partner your love.
Iroshini: We have a bedtime ritual that involves praying together, saying I love you and kissing goodnight.
Kevin: Tell her I love her every night before going to bed. There’s also a ritual kiss we’ve been doing for the longest time now before going to sleep.
Do you still go on date nights?
Iroshini: We have date nights when the kids are too busy for us. It might be as simple as a dinner or movie at home or as exciting as a quick getaway abroad!
Kevin: Friday nights are our typical date nights. A movie either at home or in the cinema or a short trip overseas.
What are some of your favourite activities as a couple?
Iroshini: We are both passionate about travel and photography. We love playing board games or strategy-oriented games.
Kevin: We love our photography. We also love playing Locked Room games. The idea is to be stuck in a room for an hour and solve puzzle after puzzle until you get the final key which allows you to exit the room. It’s quite a thrill.
What’s a relationship rule you both live by?
Iroshini: To never let the sun go down on a disagreement. As we grow older, we tend to be more aligned with our views so with God’s grace, we are mostly in agreement nowadays.
Kevin: I’ve learnt to trust her judgement above all. If there is any difference in opinion, I prefer to defer to her.
What’s the one thing you like most about your spouse?
Iroshini: There are two things in fact. That he seeks God’s approval and that he thinks of others first.
Kevin: She is gifted with the spirit of encouragement. She always seems to be able to know or do something for someone in need and to uplift them.
What are you up to this Valentine’s Day?
Iroshini: We are celebrating with a couple’s getaway in Fiji. We should be back in Singapore on Valentine’s Day, but I don’t know what he has planned for the actual day.
Kevin: Quick getaway in Fiji and of course roses! Perhaps a romantic dinner that I’ve prepared myself.
All photos are credited to Kevin and Iroshini Chua.