“Violet, why are you SO desperate?”

I dreamt of getting married by the age of 26.

Yes, when I was growing up, that was my goal. To get married by the time I am 26, and to have my first child when I am 28.

I am very blessed… when I finally got married, I actually 'beat' my goal by a year. Jamie and I got married when I was 25 and he was 29. And among our friends, we are one of the few that so-called 'married young'.

Why did I have a target to marry by 26 years old?

Come to think about it… I am not sure. Perhaps I grew up in a family where my parents are deeply in love, and have a stable marriage. I am sure they have their set of marital challenges like everybody else, but they managed to ride through the storms and they provided me with a happy and secure family environment.

Having such a goal since young, I have never been shy to share this goal with people whom I know or guys whom I am dating seriously. I know, I know… some people would ask,

"Aren't you afraid that guys would run away?"

"Aren't you afraid that guys would think that you are desperate to get married?"

"Violet, why are you SO desperate?"

In life, we all have goals and dreams. And at the beginning of every year, we will often set new year resolutions… setting our goals for the upcoming year. And since we can set goals for our career, our health, our travel plans… in other words every single aspect of our lives, why can't we set a goal for our lifelong happiness?

Why are we so afraid to be termed as 'desperate'? Why are we so scared to declare our true intentions? Why are we so worried that we cannot even set our own rules? Instead, we're being ruled by what others want. And some of us are so afraid that we will even go out of our way to tell others… "I don't really need to get married…" when deep down, that's what you truly and deeply yearn for.

With everything in life, you will not succeed unless you have a dream, a strong belief and an action plan.

If you do not even dream of getting married, why would you end up being married?

If you do not believe you would ever be able to get married, chances are you won't.

And you can dream and believe all you want, but if you do not do anything about it, then it's highly unlikely your dream girl or prince charming would just fall from the sky.

Life is short. Do not spend time worrying about what others might think of you or say about you. You cannot please everyone, and neither should you. Do what you think is right. If you are not going to 'fight' for your own happiness, nobody will.

My wish for you in 2012…

For those who are single and looking… be bold. Dare to dream and set a goal for your lifelong happiness. It might not happen overnight or it might not even happen in the year 2012, but if you have a dream that you truly believe in, and you work towards your goal, you can only be one step closer to finding love.

For those who are in a relationship not sure where it is heading… be courageous. What was your dream? Was it to get married by the time you are 26, 28, 30 or 35 years old? Whatever it was, put your foot down and declare your intention. The right guy or girl would not run. Yes you heard me right. He or she might feel very uncomfortable or even scared, but the right person would not bolt. If he or she quits on you, then he or she was never the right one to begin with.

For those who are in happy and fulfilling relationships… be thankful. I am really glad that you have made the right choice. Treasure and cherish your partner for you are truly blessed to have found one another. :)

To my dearest readers, Merry Christmas and have a wonderful year ahead!

If you feel that this post might benefit your single friends who are looking for love, please tweet it or share it on Facebook. 😉 Thank you in advance!

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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How to Snag a Great Guy 101

Recently, an associate shared with me that she and another colleague of ours are very envious of me, because I have snagged such a great guy. My hubby Jamie comes across as a good husband as well as a good father. They even said that my hubby's type of man is probably in extinction. It is not possible to find a man like that anymore.

When I shared this later with my hubby, I said with mock indignant, "How come nobody says that you are a lucky guy?" Hubby said without missing a beat, "I am a lucky guy!" See, I love this man! :)

Jokes aside…. I thought it is long overdue that I share some tips with my dear readers on how to 'snag' a great guy, as truly, I know and believe with all my heart that I am blessed to have met and later 'snag' my dearest hubby. I give thanks everyday to have such a wonderful husband and fantastic father for my children.

So, here's my 'secret' step-by-step approach:

Step 1: Ask yourself, "What is my definition of a great guy?"

Problem is, we are often looking at the wrong things. Before I met Jamie, my definition of a great guy or at least an ideal guy for me is someone who is outgoing, talkative, life of the party… and of course he must be witty and humorous. Anybody who have met Jamie would definitely NOT have used the above adjectives to describe him.

In fact, when I invited him to come for my high school reunion, he asked if he could bring a book, and I said OK. And when he first met some of my ex-colleagues from the bank, they actually asked me, "What do you see in him?!" because he was so quiet then and did not say much. 

I am definitely blessed because even though I must admit I was initially attracted to Jamie for biologically-driven reasons, when I got to know him better, it was beyond the surface. I realised that he is indeed my soul mate because among others, we share the same values and same life goals. It no longer mattered that he is not outgoing, talkative and life of the party…! Now, I wondered what was I thinking then?! :)

The most brilliant diamond is often hidden underneath what might seem like a rough rock. Look beyond the surface. Your perfect match might not come in the package that you expect, but if you could just spend some time to get to know him better, he could be the perfect guy for you.

Step 2: Being happy on your own

Are you happy on your own? Or are you looking for a man to fill the huge empty space in your life? Is this an important question, you might ask? Yes it is. Because depending on your answer, the approach you take to life and finding a man would be very different. 

A woman who is happy on her own comes across as self-assured and confident, and of course happy. A woman who has a huge gap to be filled usually comes across as needy. And being too needy will definitely send most guys packing.

Basically, men want to be with women who are happy, who are contented, who are positive and optimistic. Why? Because when they imagine a future with you, they want to feel warm and fuzzy inside, and not shudder in cold sweat. No man wants to be part of a quarrelsome household. If during the dating and courting stage, you are already complaining and nitpicking about everything under the sun, chances are, he will definitely think twice of continuing with the relationship. 

Are you currently happy? If you are not, find out why. Fix that first. What is your childhood passion? Go pursue your passion. What is a hobby you have been dying to pick up? Do it now. Where do you want to travel to? Apply for leave and pack your bags. When you are a truly happy person, guys will flock to you like bees to honey. Because honestly, we are all attracted to happy people. 

Step 3: Rediscover your Kindness Quotient

Many men, when asked what attracted them to their wives, did not say that because she was pretty or beautiful or even sexy. Many actually said, because she is kind. Are you shocked? Some has also called it the 'Specific Act of Kindness'. Men like women too have certain soft spots and insecurities. Some women worry about coming on too strong. If he is the right type of guy, he probably would not think badly of you. He would just be touched that you are so thoughtful. 

Jamie has shared with me that an act that won him over was when I bought him fizzy cola candies from the nearby cinema, and I dropped them off at his place. To me, it was just a random act, as I happened to be watching movies with friends, and I knew that he likes fizzy cola candies. But for him, the act has spoken volumes.

Another girl I know dedicated her time to helping the guy lose weight even before they become an item. She was so patient, supportive and encouraging, and the guy was so completely touched by her. They eventually got together and he gave her one of the sweetest marriage proposals I have ever heard. And he absolutely adores her.

Men do not like materialistic women. Men do not like opportunistic women. Men do not like to be taken for a ride. In short, men are not stupid.

Instead of thinking of what you can get from the guy, think of what you can give him. And actually, a great guy is not looking for much. He is simply looking for someone who appreciates him for who he is, and someone who is not afraid to give or wear her heart on the sleeve.

At the end of the day, like anything in life, your mindset will determine your behaviour which will in turn determine your actions. If you do not believe that it is possible to 'snag' a great guy, because they are an extinct species, chances are… you won't!

All the great guys are NOT married or gay. There are actually many wonderful men out there if you bother to search and scour. Keep your eyes and mind open, and I assure you, you will be surprised that your 'great guy' could be right under your nose!

Happy dating! 

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Till We Meet Again On That Beautiful Shore

Close to two years ago, I made a 20 hours journey from Singapore to Rochester, United States with much joy and happiness in my heart as I was going to witness the happy union between two wonderful individuals, my best friend Dr Yap Tsiao Yi and her boyfriend of 9 years Dr Tan Tow Shung.

Last Friday, I made a one hour journey from Singapore to Penang. But this time, it was with a heavy laden heart. Tow Shung has returned to the arms of the Lord last Wednesday on 18 May 2011. When I first heard the news, my first reaction was shock, followed by grief.

Tow Shung was diagnosed with advanced stage metastatic esophageal cancer in Oct 2007. He was only 29. Tow Shung went to Chung Ling High School in Penang before pursuing his medical degree at IMU (then known as IMC) in Kuala Lumpur. He was on the Dean's List. He was the President of the Student Council. Later, he went off to complete his medical degree at McGill University together with Tsiao Yi. Thereafter, he started his medical career at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic. He had an amazing and bright future ahead of him. 

Many people would have asked "Why me?" Many would have curse God. Many would have turn away from their faith. But Tow Shung never did that. His faith in the Lord has never wavered in the last 3 years and 7 months. Tow Shung passed away peacefully at home, lying on his bed, with his wife and best friend Tsiao Yi by his side. And at his bedside table was his bible and other Christian literature.

At the wake service, his soon-to-be 90 years old grandfather shared his memories of Tow Shung. His grandfather said that Tow Shung was a great organiser – he organised his 50th, then 60th wedding anniversary celebration. Tow Shung promised to organise his 90 years old birthday this year…

His mother shared that one of the best qualities of Tow Shung is his sense of responsibility. Even when he was about 4 years old, she could rely on him to look after his baby sister and report on all the important things that have happened while his mum was away.

His younger sister shared about his humility and his consideration for others. She told us about how towards the last few weeks of his life, as his body started to jerk uncontrollably at times and he would drop his utensils or food at the dining table and he would apologise profusely, when their mother would be happy to scold the table instead.

His father spoke about reading the many well-wishes and kind notes on the blog that Tow Shung has created on Caring Bridge to share his journey with cancer. Yes, Tow Shung called it a journey. His father was overwhelmed and in awe with the many messages left on his blog… knowing how many lives Tow Shung has touched and inspired: doctors, nurses, patients, friends and strangers alike all around the world.

Many have written about him in their blogs and their Facebook statuses. One young medical student is so inspired by Tow Shung that he has decided to start a medical blog. He said Dr Tan Tow Shung is his role model.

Tow Shung was not only a serious student but he also knows when and how to have fun. His buddy, a fellow doctor, shared the beautiful memories and fun times they had while studying abroad in this video. 

 

I never got to know Tow Shung as well as I would have liked as he and Tsiao Yi were based in the US, and me in Asia. Yet, reading his blog, I have been deeply inspired by his strength and his courage as he journeyed along the last 3 years and 7 months. Many would have given up and turned bitter with life. Many would have just stopped living, and just let cancer take over their life. But he did not do that.

Tow Shung went on to complete his specialist studies at Mayo Clinic. He tied the knot with his college sweetheart Tsiao Yi after 9 years of courtship.

It was a very beautiful and touching wedding and I am so grateful that I could be there to witness their testament of true and unconditional love. Many were initially apprehensive of their union as he has stage 4 cancer. However, my brave best friend never hesitated as she said 'yes' to his marriage proposal. In the last 3 years and 7 months, she has been his greatest supporter, his caretaker and his pillar of strength.

As they returned to Malaysia last year, he could have just stayed at home and rest, we would all have understand… but yet he continued to touch lives and inspire others as he joined Penang Medical College as a lecturer.

The pastor at the funeral service was right… Tow Shung has lived a full and complete life. Tow Shung has lived his life to the fullest.

At the funeral service last Saturday, there was not one dry eye in the church. Tow Shung has touched all of us in so many ways. He was a faithful believer, a loving husband, a filial son, a caring physician and a loyal brother, nephew, cousin and friend.

His strength and his courage would continue to inspire us all. His positive take on his journey as a cancer patient will always remind me that…

We ALWAYS have a choice. We can either curse and complain when life throws us a curve ball. Or we can face up to it and make the best out of life and live our life to the fullest. For that, I forever thank him…

Tow Shung, till we meet again on that beautiful shore…

 

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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DaFG: The Perfect Proposal

Some guys have asked me in the past what would make a perfect proposal… Here are my thoughts and views… those of you who are now happily engaged or married, please feel free to contribute your thoughts! :)

You have been dating for close to 2 years now. And things are going really well. She laughs at your jokes, even when most people think you are really corny. You are comfortable enough to fart in front of her, and she hardly cringes. She’s great with your dogs or your sister’s kids. You can totally imagine growing old with her, and being with her for the rest of your life.

Yes, you are ready to propose.

If you are tempted to just casually ask her to marry you over the phone when you next speak to her, I will stop you right there. A marriage proposal is something that your girl would take very seriously. And it is an occasion that friends and relatives would ask for details for years to come. “So how did he propose?” You do not want her to say, “Ah well, it was really boring. He asked me to marry him over the phone.”

You want to give her a proposal to remember – a proposal that she will be proud to tell over and over again, and each time she retells it, she will remember how much effort you have put into it, and how thoughtful you are, and how much you love her.

So, how do you go about it?

Here’s a 5-steps approach that would result in your perfect proposal!

Step 1: Telling her parents

If you have been dating seriously, chances are you would have met up with her parents. By informing them, you would have scored Brownie points, as her parents would be really impressed that they have such a sensitive future son-in-law. Some guys I know even involve her parents in the proposal process as the girl is really close to her parents. Of course, there would be exceptions. If your girlfriend is estranged from her parents, skip this step.

Step 2: Getting the ring

Some girls like to choose their own engagement rings, but I personally think that takes out the surprise element of the process. And it’s not as romantic. If you have previously spoken about marriage, then you probably would have a good idea of the type of ring that she likes. Or if not, enlist the help of her best friend or sister who usually would be more than happy to help you out.

Step 3: Thinking about the setting

Think about your girl’s personality. Would she prefer a more intimate setting, where there are just two of you? Or does she prefer to have an audience?  If she likes to have an audience, then indulge her, and give her a big one. Try to recall the proposals in movies that she said, “Aww… that’s so sweet!”

You could consider doing something totally out of the ordinary e.g. on a hot-air balloon, or on top of Mount Kinabalu if both of you are avid trekkers, or even proposing over the radio. Or you could surprise her in the course of a normal day. Like when she’s coming home from work, and when she opens the door, there you are, kneeling down on one knee with the ring, with flowers in the room. Or when you are at both your favourite restaurant and she finds the ring on the dessert platter.

The options are endless, and it is up to how creative and memorable you want to make it.

Step 4: Be formal

As you know, this scene is going to stay ingrained in her mind, and would be retold to friends, choose your words carefully. Do not trivialize it by saying, “So, wanna get married?” Stick to the traditional, “Will you marry me?” As for whether to bend down on one knee, this would depend on the setting. However, do consider whether to do it, especially if your girl is the more ‘old-fashioned’ or the ‘romantic’ type, as she may well be expecting it and would be utterly disappointed if you didn’t.

Step 5: Be prepared for her answer

If you have come to this stage, chances are you are quite sure that she’s going to say yes. But just in case, do prepare for the 0.001% chance that she might say no, or she needs to think about it.

And so if she’s says yes, rejoice with her! Dance with her. Hug her. Swirl her around. The worst thing that can happen at this juncture is an excited girl with a guy with a blank look on his face.

And finally, a word of advice… when you are thinking about your proposal, stay true to your relationship and who you are. Remember the reason you are doing this – you are asking the woman you love for her hand. A proposal with ‘the full works’ might work for some relationships but for others, it might be the recital of a handwritten love poem or a song declaring your love.

I wish you luck and may your relationship be filled with much love, joy and laughter!

This article first appeared on New Man Magazine, Malaysia.

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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What is your Dating Mission Statement?

When meeting up with potential clients, I will ask them what they are looking for in a potential partner.

Must be attractive. Big eyes. Slim.

Tall, broad shoulders, extroverted, must make me laugh.

These are just some examples of basic dating preferences.

Many a times, when singles list down their ‘I-Want’ list, it is based on things that would spark off infatuation, or chemistry. The things that make our hearts race.

However, the truth of the matter is, infatuation lasts, on average, 3 to 12 months. When the chemical reaction in our brain subsides after a year or so, you begin to see your partner in a different light. All of a sudden, the things you used to think was really endearing becomes really annoying.

And you suddenly realise that you do not even know this person. You have nothing in common. You have nothing to talk about.

People often say, it is different when you are looking for a boyfriend/girlfriend vs. when you are looking for a husband/wife. I believe that there is some truth to that.

When you are looking to spend the rest of your life with someone, we are looking for long term qualities.

For some, the question might be, “Is he reliable and dependable? Is he patient and kind?”

For others, it could be, “Would she be a supportive wife and a nurturing mother to our children?”

And a very important question to ask, “Do we get along well? Can I imagine him or her as my best friend?”

After all, a good marriage should be friendship on fire or friendship magnified.

What is your list of traits and characteristics that you want in your long-term partner? Most companies have a mission statement. Lunch Actually’s mission statement reads:

Lunch Actually exists to create a solution for single busy professionals who do not have the right environment to meet other like-minded people as a result of their busy and hectic work environment.

We believe that every individual deserves love, respect and companionship. Thus we strive to create supreme value and provide immaculate service to address the needs of the people we serve.

Jamie and I created this mission statement to remind ourselves why we started this business in the first place. Because in business and life, sometimes, you will lose your way. And you will forget, what was the purpose of it all?

Same with finding love.

What is your dating mission statement?

What are the traits you are looking for in your long-term partner? Ponder upon it. It would be even more powerful if you could write it down. Because along the way, you might be swayed by your biological and short-term needs. These short-term needs unfortunately do little to contribute to the success of a long-term relationship.

You might ask me at this point.

“Violet, why can’t we have it all? Someone who will fulfill our short-term biological needs as well as our long-term relationship needs. “

Of course that would be most ideal. But when we are searching for a partner, we make our choices, and others make their choices as well. He/she is your cup of tea, but you might not be theirs. And at the end of the day, do we want to be going around in circles and never meeting the right one, when the right one could be just right under our nose?

When I was looking for a potential partner, I thought I definitely wanted someone who is muscular, extroverted, and the life of the party. Those who know my hubby Jamie would know that he is anything but those criteria. I was looking out for my short-term biological needs when I put down those criteria. Muscular and well-built so I feel secure and protected. Extroverted would suggest that he’s fun to be with.

But when it comes down to it, all of these are not important because he might not be much of a talker in front of others, we can talk and talk and talk. 9 years after we first met, we still spend hours talking to each other every day. Does not matter he might not come across as the most witty and fun person, but we sure have lots of fun hanging out with each other.

And I am definitely very different from his initial list of ‘I-Want’. You can ask him to share them with you when you meet him.

So, what is your dating mission statement?

Are you looking for a short-term biological relationship?

Or someone whom you can share the rest of your life with?

Happy contemplating!

P/S For my readers who are already dating, or happily married, do you have any related stories to share?

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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When 2 becomes 1

 

The lighting of the unity candle.

A very meaning symbolism of the merging of two families, the coming together of two individuals. The 2 tapered candles are usually lighted up by the mothers of the bride and groom. And after the lighting up of the unity candle, the tapered candles will either be blown out to indicate two lives have been united permanently or left burning to indicate that the two even though married will still retain their individuality.

Personally, I like the idea of the merging of the two flames, and the blowing out of the individual flames. Not that I do not believe in individuality. But I believe that marriage is a covenant. And from this day onwards, nothing will be as important as your marriage. The marriage will always come first, no matter what. I remember a sermon I heard in Hong Kong. The pastor, a very wise man said…

“If you cannot put your marriage and your spouse first, do not get married.”

It sounds like such a simple piece of advice. So straightforward, so precise… that you would think that it should not be too difficult to follow. But I am beginning to see that it is easier said than done.

In our modern life right now, there are so many things, so many commitments that compete for our time. We have our job, our interests, our friends, our need for space, our quest for freedom, our ambition for success, our lust to travel around the world…

And when there is a conflict, we usually find a way to justify our own decision. Even if the right answer is pretty simple and straightforward if you follow the wisdom of the above advice.

Is that why divorce rate is on the rise?

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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My Best Friend’s Wedding

For the past week, I have been travelling. However, I have been very hesitant to tell people where I am going. Because telling people that you are going to US, is like telling people you have AIDS. The reason that despite the H1N1 flu, I have decided to make a trip to US is to attend my best friend's wedding.

Tsiao Yi and I have been best friend for the last 16 years. And that's actually more than half of my lifetime. So, even though I was quite concerned about H1N1, I thought about it long and hard. I knew that if I make the decision not to go, when I look back in the future… I will really regret not attending my best friend's wedding. And by then, it would be too late to turn back the clock.

Tsiao Yi and Tow Shung have dated for 9 years. They have decided to get married on 06.06.2009. And actually, this is the exact date that they got together 9 years ago. So they are actually celebrating their 9th year anniversary! :)

If you look at them on their wedding day, they look like any other blissful newlyweds. But the truth is, Tow Shung is actually battling cancer. For the past 2 years, he has been undergoing chemotherapy. At an age where most of us are thinking about advancing our career or planning for our next holiday, Tsiao Yi and Tow have been going in and out of the hospital. Not that it is an alien concept to them as both of them are doctors. But this time, he is the patient.

One of their friends May Ling (an extremely nice lady, and a mother of 5) put it very succinctly. Most brides to be would be very flustered before the wedding worrying about the flowers, the makeup, or the dress. But Tsiao Yi is worried whether Tow gets his chemo on time. It really helps the rest of us put things into perspective.

One thing the pastor said really put tears into my eyes. He said, "Tow, I look into the eyes of this woman standing next to you now. And I can see that she loves you very much." When he said that, tears just welled up in my eyes. And I had to try very hard not to cry as I was part of the wedding party standing at the altar.

In my matron of honour speech, I said:

Tsiao Yi and Tow Shung have been through many ups and downs. But most important of all, when life dealt its harshest blow, they held on to each other, supported each other and spurred each other on. This has made their relationship stronger than ever. And their love, their commitment, their devotion for each other, has been an inspiration to us all.

My best friend's wedding is a reminder… to not take the little things in life for granted. And also to not sweat the small stuff.

Dearest Yi, once again, thank you for asking me to be your matron of honour. I am so extremely honoured to be your best friend, and thank you so much for your unwavering friendship. May your marriage be blessed with much love, laughter and happiness! I have no doubt you and Tow Shung will have a blissfully happy marriage… :)

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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“If you want to be loved, be lovable.”

As a modern-day matchmaker, many single guys ask me the question “How can I get ladies to go out with me?”

As for the ladies, they often raise the question – “How can I get my guy to commit to me?”

For the guys who ask such a question, usually they are at a point where they have low confidence, because they have been rejected many times in the past, and are afraid of more rejections.

For the ladies, they probably have been going out with the guy for ages now only to feel that the relationship is going nowhere despite everything they have gone through together and the sacrifices she has made for him.

So the simple answer to these two questions “How can I get ladies to go out with me?” and “How can I make my guy commit to me?” in my humble opinion, is:

“You don’t”.

You can’t make them to suddenly decide to go out with you, or decide to commit to you. There is no magic potion out there that can make that happen. If I do have that magic potion, I would become an instant millionaire! :)

What you have to do is… simply become the man they WANT to go out with or the lady they WANT to commit to. It is a matter of switching your perspective and changing your perception.

It is difficult to “get” or “make” someone to do something for your benefit.

To get the results you want, you have to work on yourself. You have to be the type of man that women are attracted and are excited to go out on a date with. Or you have to be the right kind of lady that men cannot wait to commit to and never want to leave.

Many a times, nice guys get rejected not because they are nice. It is because they lack self-confidence when interacting with women. Instead of leading and being decisive, they ask permission for everything and they feel absolutely lucky when a lady shows them any attention at all. This kind of behaviour does not inspire any interest from the ladies.

For the ladies, they fear that by dropping hints or forcing the issue on their guy, they would chase the man away. Hence they hope and pray for the day the man would “realise” how well they have been treated and take action. They are unaware that the man has grown comfortable with the status quo and as the years go by, they do not see any reason to change the status quo as they are getting what they want out of a relationship anyway.

And for some ladies who come in the mould of the modern career woman, they sometimes bring their career mindset right into their relationships. They challenge every issue and they must always have the last say. Because this mindset and attitude work so well for them at work, they cannot shake it off when they are dating. I always tell our lady clients; please leave the fist-thumping at the boardroom! Because some of these ladies come across as so aggressive, when the men imagine their lives together, they see a marriage filled with disharmony and arguments. And this frankly will scare off most men.

The above examples might be stereotypical situations but they are actually very common issues faced by both men and women, especially in a world where gender roles are becoming more and more confused. There is an increasing frustration towards dating and relationships.

As Publius Ovidius Naso aptly said nearly 2000 years ago, “If you want to be loved, be lovable”.

Might seem passé, but it still rings true 2000 years later.

To enjoy the dating process, the focus should always be on the person you are and not the person you want the other person to be. We can only pray and hope that the other person will change. He might change, or he might not change. But with ourselves, if we put our minds to it, we can make those changes almost instantaneously!

Happy Dating!

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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The Test of Time

Met up with an ex-uni mate today. We did our Masters together at LSE.

It was fun catching up. She brought me to a nice wine bar at Soho. It’s my first time at Soho, after making like more than 10 trips to HK. Haha. The funny thing was neither of us ordered wine. But the tortilla wrap was yummy actually.

We talked about many things. About our friends from LSE. About life. About religion. And at one point we talked about love.

She asked how I ended up being a modern matchmaker. So I shared with her the story of how Jamie and I decided to go into the dating industry. I told her that I feel truly blessed that Jamie and I complemented each other’s strengths and weaknesses. And also, how many friends warned us against going into business together. But how it is working out really well for us.

And she asked me, “If you guys see each other everyday, and like 24 hours a day, wouldn’t the chemistry be gone?”

I was lost for words for like 2 seconds.

Actually, she asked a very valid question. Because we are often conditioned to think that love is all about romance and passion. The giddiness. The quickening of pulse. The lack of sleep because you are up whole night thinking of the other person.

Strangely, I have also just finished reading the book ‘Why We Love’ by Helen Fisher.

I cannot remember what exactly I said to my friend.

In her book, Helen Fisher said this, “People around the world say the exhilaration of romance wanes as their marriage or partnership becomes increasingly stable, comfortable, and secure. I have mixed feelings about this fate nature has decreed. First, many of us would die of sexual exhaustion if romantic love flourished endlessly in a relationship. We wouldn’t get to work on time or concentrate on everything except ‘him’ or ‘her’. Moreover, as romantic love matures, it often expands into hundreds of complex and fulfilling feelings of attachment that produce an enormously intricate, interesting, and emotionally rewarding union with another living soul.”

I guess, if I were to answer my friend again, I would say, “The chemistry is not gone. Strange as it may sound, it has become stronger. It might no longer exist in the same form that it was when we first met. But it has evolved. To stand the test of time.” 

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Not ‘Single, Desperate & Ugly’ at all!

Did I tell you that I have been invited to another wedding recently? Two of our clients got married.

And it was a real grand affair. It was held at one of the poshest (is there such a word?) hotel in Singapore. And we are reallly happy for them, because they are such nice people, and as time goes by, we have actually become friends. :)

What struck me as really interesting at this particular client’s wedding is this…

Usually, when I go for client’s wedding, I will always keep a low profile. I will avoid speaking to people on my table. Or even when they make small talk, I will reply very politely, and not seek to prolong the conversation. The reason is very simple. I do not want to tell people that I am a matchmaker, or I run a dating service, and risk them drawing the direct conclusion that the couple met through us. Our clients usually prefer for people not to know how they actually meet, and I respect their decision. It is not my place to ‘advertise’ or ‘market’ our business. We are happy to just be there to bask in their happiness and their joy.

I always joke about it with Jamie… if people ask… I will say I am a housewife, and he will say that he is in the IT business. 

So anyway, back to this particular wedding dinner. Right at the start of the wedding dinner, the groom came over to the table and say… “I put you guys at this table because I think you guys are of the same wavelength and will be able to do some networking as well,” and I politely smiled. And he proceeded to say, “Please meet Jamie and Violet, they run a very successful dating agency, Lunch Actually!” And my smile froze, not knowing how to react. He introduced the rest, and then left to entertain his other guests. I was very worried during the entire dinner that people at my table were going to ask the question…

“So… did they meet through you guys?”

And it did not help that one of the groom’s friend on our table actually knew that the bride and groom met through us. And kept saying things like… “So Violet, I am sure you are invited to many wedding dinners?” And gave me this knowing smile. I really felt like throwing Fried Rice at him.

But you know what was the most amazing thing?

Nobody on the table even suspected. Not one.

And then I suddenly realised why.

Because the bride and the groom are so eligible. The bride is beautiful. She’s definitely someone you would classify as above average, if not gorgeous. Someone that guys would definitely look twice. And the groom is successful and talented.

And that was the reason, that it never come across anybody’s mind that they actually met through a dating service.

Because people always have the impression that people who go to dating services are ‘single, desperate and ugly!’

And this couple is definitely far from being ‘single, desperate and ugly’.

I just thought that was quite an interesting experience. And perhaps from now on, I can stop saying that I am a housewife, even though that is my secret ambition… haha! 😉 

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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