'Date Night' helps couples see light in their married lives

PETALING JAYA: They met by chance at a New Year’s Eve party in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, and as fate would have it, fell in love and got married five years later.

Cupid’s arrow struck Shamsul Azman’s heart when he saw Nurul Hidayah Ab Halim, who was with her friends at the countdown to usher in the year 2008.

Nurul Hidayah and her friends joined Shamsul’s group as the friends knew each other.

Customer service officer Shamsul Azman, 26 (right) and his wife Nurul Hidayah Ab Halim, 25, at the
Love at first sight: Shamsul and Nurul Hidayah posing for a photo during the event at the Tropicana Golf & Country Resort in Petaling Jaya.

“It was love at first sight. There were thousands of people in Bukit Bintang at that time but I was only looking at her,” said the 26-year-old customer service officer.

After that night, he kept in touch with Nurul Hidayah, 25, and soon, their friendship blossomed into love.

The lovebirds got hitched in April this year and were among 72 couples who attended “Date Night”, organised by non-profit organisation Focus On The Family Malaysia and the National Population and Family Development Board.

The dinner event, held at the Tropicana Golf & Country Resort here, aimed to inspire couples to keep working at their marriage and to go on regular dates to strengthen their union.

Retired engineer Tan Kim Shah, 63, and his wife Phua Ah Eng, 60, who have been married for almost 38 years, said they met at the same church.

“We have different personalities. I’m an extrovert while my husband is an introvert but we balance each other out,” said Phua, a retired tea­cher.

“Of course, we have our disagreements. But we have learnt to give each other a ‘cooling down’ period before re-addressing the problem.”

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim, who opened the event, said about 207,000 couples were married each year from 2010 to 2012.

“An average of 33,058 couples got divorced every year in that same period with the main reason being tiada persefahaman, or couples being unable to agree on matters,” she said.

She also said the ministry believed that Malaysia could not afford to have a sex-outside-marriage culture.

“Children would be the prime victims,” she said. “The ministry supports programmes that help young people understand the importance of keeping themselves pure for their future spouse.”