Intentionally growing in love.

Dating: Shiv & Av

Welcome to Part 1 of our series on dating. Every relationship begins with the fun, exciting and loved up dating season before they walk down the aisle and it’s often the biggest learning rollercoaster as you discover how compatible you are for marriage. We’ve interviewed a range of quality couples who are currently in this stage of life and asked them to share their insights as they prepare to say “I do!”


Shiv is a 90s girl (27) born and raised on the sunny Gold Coast and I was born in the late 80s (31) in a tiny village in Sri Lanka. Shiv and I work in completely different industries, she works in media and communications and I work in allied health as a physiotherapist. We both met within mutual friendship circles at Bridge Church around 4-5 years ago, I actually remember the first time I sat next to Shiv in church roughly 7 years ago. We were good friends for 3 years and I used to call Shiv everyone now and then to get salad recipes because I knew she liked to eat healthy and then eventually asked her out on a date. We first kissed on the 18th of September in 2016 and I haven’t kissed anyone since. Ha We are getting married on the 5th of October 2018. #letsgetkumarried

How do you make communication and spending quality time together a priority given you don’t live together yet?

Communication and spending quality time together has been something we have had to be very intentional about. I think from the beginning we have always communicated pretty well but never communicated well about time. My hours as a physio are all over the place and I do a lot of nights/Saturday work and Shiv has a very busy role as well, to make things a little trickier for the first 15 months of dating we only had 2 half days off together so communicating about spending quality time together was a necessity.

Thankfully it only took a few weeks of dating before we realised that we needed a joint calendar, not to keep track of each other, but to make sure that we were prioritising time together, with our families and friends. This is a habit that we have found extremely beneficial and aim to continue this well into the sunset.

We still sometimes get the balance wrong so it is definitely a work in progress but we definitely find value in always communicating and trying to plan ahead (where possible). Someone once told us that if we don’t create habits with spending time together and say no to things in order to prioritise each other, then our workplaces, friendships, families and hobbies will dominate the landscape. We are still learning that it’s okay to say ‘no’ or ‘can we reschedule’ to people without feeling guilty.

Have you found any resources to be particularly helpful while navigating the dating/engaged stage together?

We established quite early in our relationship a bunch of core principles that we wanted to emphasize and uphold in our relationship. We made these values from learning from past relationships, resource we read, mentors we had and discussing together the kind of future relationship we wanted to have and then worked backwards.

For example, our values are:

Hope. We will hope for the best.

Listen. We will listen more, talk less.

Empathy. We will think of the other person more than ourselves

Initiative. What can I (not the other person) do to help the situation?

Teamwork. We will think win/win not win/lose or lose/win

Forgiveness. We will forgive quickly.

We would highly encourage couples to develop their own set of values based on their own strengths and weaknesses and talking about the kind of relationship they want to have in the future.

Personally, I’ve always believed that dating and the engaged season occurs well before they ever begin, in our seasons of singleness it provided an extremely unique time to prepare and grow in anticipation of each other.

In those years of singleness we found these books really helpful.

  • Gary Chapman – The 5 love languages
  • John Gottman – The 7 principles for making marriage work
  • John Eldredge – Wild at heart
  • Stasi Eldredge – Captivated
  • Tim Keller – The meaning of marriage
  • Emerson Eggerichs – Love and respect
  • Jamie Oliver’s – 30 minute meals (Shivs recommendation)

What has been the most difficult part of your dating/engagement season?

Surprisingly I’d say that the few weeks before our engagement was probably an unexpectedly difficult season. The Christian scene has quite a high expectation on a ‘quick dating season’ and a sense that ‘when you know you know’. We had lots and lots of people asking about our next stage, and I felt that it often came from a place of ‘small talk’ or ‘inquisitiveness’ rather than an emotionally intelligent and supportive standpoint. This created a lot of unneeded and unnecessary pressure, expectations and discussions. It is also an area that females often have no awareness or input and therefore makes it difficult for either person to answer such a question when asked in a public forum. We’ve found that this isn’t an uncommon occurrence for many other couples.

Having said that, March 17th 2018 was the highlight of the year for us, and one we can’t wait to recall that to our children in the coming years!

What might be one intentional habit you’re hoping to begin together once you are married to keep growing your love?

There are lots of things we are excited about and look forward to about marriage.

We cannot wait to start overnight trips!! The idea of being able to escape for the weekend or the night is something that has kept us eager to add to our Google Chrome bookmarks. Snow trips, Europe, frequent flyer points!!

The idea of booking in date days (once a fortnight minimum) and exploring, discovering and learning together, as much as possible, is something that we anticipate will continue to grow our relationship even further!