What Is Love?

Five couples reveal the word that keeps their relationship turning
Friday , 10 February 2012
Chloe DongYi Shin, 27, cabin crew, and Chang Sup Shin, 27, a business development manager
Chloe DongYi Shin, 27, cabin crew, and Chang Sup Shin, 27, a business development manager
Sarah Allenby, 42, a food blogger and Craig Allenby, 41, a logistics manager
Sarah Allenby, 42, a food blogger and Craig Allenby, 41, a logistics manager
Kim Rowles, 30, CEO of Pod You Like Photo Booths, and Stuart Paterson, 31, a projects director
Kim Rowles, 30, CEO of Pod You Like Photo Booths, and Stuart Paterson, 31, a projects director
Josephine Salloum Hines, 27, a marketing and sales manager, and William Hines, 31, an account manager
Josephine Salloum Hines, 27, a marketing and sales manager, and William Hines, 31, an account manager
Razia Sultan, 32, an office manager and Fahad Wahid, 30, who works for Emirates Airlines
Razia Sultan, 32, an office manager and Fahad Wahid, 30, who works for Emirates Airlines

Exciting
Chloe DongYi Shin, 27, cabin crew, and Chang Sup Shin, 27, a business development manager, have been together for one year
Chloe: Chang and I were already friends before we started dating so I’ve always been comfortable around him. I love the way he asks for my opinion because he values what I think. Even though we have hectic lifestyles, we’re very patient and understanding of that. Sometimes our work means that we’re able to meet up in other countries like London, Korea and New York so we’ve been lucky to see Buckingham Palace and the Empire State Building together. Seeing Chang waving at me from the airport barriers is always really exciting, and makes for some unforgettable memories!

Chang: Chloe has always had a great sense of humour; if I’m in a bad mood or something is getting me down she’ll try to make me laugh and see the lighter side of life. Since our jobs require a lot of travelling, we’re apart for almost half of each month but we’re trusting and respectful of each other’s social life and it just means that the time we spend together is even more exciting. When we’re in the same country, we make the most of our time and it’s important for us to have fun. Chloe’s always up for trying new crazy things be it autodrome racing, snorkelling in Fujairah, jetskiing or paintballing, which I love. Relationships shouldn’t be heavy and serious all the time. You’ve got to have shared activities and to keep things fun and fresh between you, otherwise what’s the point?

Peaceful
Sarah Allenby, 42, a food blogger and Craig Allenby, 41, a logistics manager, have been married for 14 years
Sarah: Our relationship just feels right; we just work. We’re totally comfortable with each other when we’re together and know each other inside out. Sometimes, I get very stressed out when things aren’t going right in life and Craig always manages to calm me down by saying something silly and reminding me to breathe. I’ve never felt so much at ease with anyone else, and meeting him felt like finding my other half. I feel peaceful when I’m with him – when he’s not around it’s hard for me to fall asleep at night but when he’s back by my side I’m out like a light.

Craig: Sarah and I can completely be ourselves around each other, and our relationship is so relaxed and affectionate – we’re always completely in synch, there’s no stress. I came to Dubai as a bachelor and the moment I met Sarah, it just felt right. I knew within four days of meeting her that she was The One. Sarah’s personality is so giving, and she’s always doing things for other people. She’s volunteered at animal shelters, helped at our children’s schools, raised funds for charities and baked cakes for breast cancer awareness events. I love how she’s always thinking of others.

Kindness
Kim Rowles, 30, CEO of Pod You Like Photo Booths, and Stuart Paterson, 31, a projects director, got engaged last November
Kim: The thing about Stuart is that he never lets me down. Whether I need good advice, a helping hand or a cuddle after a hard day, I can depend on him to be there for me with kindness and to be endlessly supportive and optimistic. It’s not just with me; such generosity is in his nature. He’ll always be there for a friend in need, whether it’s giving someone a lift in his car or helping people move house. When I set up my company I was terrified it would all go wrong, but his encouragement carried me through. The fact that I know he’ll always be there for me, as I am for him - and the comfort that brings – is the basis of our relationship. He knows what I want and what I need; it’s like he knows me better than I know myself..

Stuart: The best aspect of Kim’s personality is her commitment to our relationship. She’s always only a phone call away when I need to speak to her, or around the corner when I need her help, which always comes with a big smile. Our lives are busy and we often spend periods apart when I’m working away from Dubai, but wherever we are in the world, we always makes sure that we speak at least once a day. The distance could cause problems, but it just makes our love stronger and the time that we do spend together more precious. No matter what life throws at us, I can rely on Kim that we’re totally in it together.

Understanding
Josephine Salloum Hines, 27, a marketing and sales manager, and William Hines, 31, an account manager, have been married for two and a half years
Josephine: I’m half Dutch and half Lebanese, while Bill is American, so we’re a very international couple. When we first got together we had to work hard to understand one another’s cultures, but as a mixed kid my parents were a good example of how to make that work. I like to think that we bring out the best in each other - Bill’s so patient and I’m the type of person that likes everything done immediately, but since getting together he’s taught me the art of being a little more calm. I’m also really stubborn, and he loves trying to make me see other points of view! I’ve also become more active because Bill’s so sporty and now I go horse-riding and we do yoga together. Meanwhile, I’ve made him neater (he was so messy when we met!) – thanks to me he now knows how to pack properly!

William: When I met Josephine, I was planning to leave Dubai – but of course, then everything changed. Despite our different background, we just get on. Sometimes with multi-cultural couples, things can get lost in translation, which means we rarely manage to have a serious argument because we don’t know what the other person is really saying! We always end up laughing. That aside, it’s our differences that have strengthened our love. Josephine has certainly given me a greater understanding of what is important. The cultural influence means that Josephine is close to her family, and she’s shown me the significance of that. People are often quick to dismiss potential partners if they don’t fit into your world already, but it’s our contrasting worlds that help to keep us together.

Acceptance
Razia Sultan, 32, an office manager and Fahad Wahid, 30, who works for Emirates Airlines, got together three years ago
Razia: Our relationship is full of challenges. When we met, I was a divorced single mother and that’s not easily accepted within our Pakistani culture, but we were committed to one another from the start. Where some men would balk, Fahad accepted my past, and my son - the way they are together melts my heart. Even though we’re completely opposite personalities - I’m quite outgoing whereas Fahad is more of an introvert - we complement each other and it keeps things interesting. We embrace our differences as they keep things passionate between us; we’d rather be in a relationship that needs effort as opposed to one that’s so comfortable it’s boring. Most of all, I love that I can just be myself with him; I don’t have to be a size-zero or wear make-up, he accepts me for who I am. He’s the one I’ve been waiting for; he’s my best friend.

Fahad: Aside from her smile, it’s Razia’s independence, patience and determination that drew me to her. So, she has a different past to me, but that is what has made her become the woman she is today. Razia brings out the best in me. I’m quite quiet whereas she is bubbly and upbeat, but we balance each other out. She also inspires me to be more responsible as she sets a good example! We have so much in common when it comes to our interests, values and attitude towards dealing with life, and we never run out of things to talk about. We’re passionate, committed and always stand by each other. Each day our relationship gets better and my love for her just gets stronger.