Would you leave the comfort of your home, without even the promise to find another one miles away? Eduard wouldn’t have imagined meeting a strong, go-getter like Jehanna when he left his hometown and Je, on the other hand, probably thought that meeting the love of her life a thousand miles away from Manila was the last thing that would happen to her. Eduard hails from Lleida, which is a city in the west of Catalonia, Spain. Je is from Manila, Philippines. Both meet in another foreign country in a dragonboat team in Singapore and found that they had a lot more things in common than a love for sports.

The two started out as teammates in the local dragonboat team and being in that team day in and day out formed the foundation of Eduard and Jehanna’s friendship. For anyone who’s found love overseas, having cultural differences can make or break the relationship. I think everyone needs to understand that there’s more of a give and take kind of vibe that needs to happen in these types of situations. Je mentions that both of them have strong spirits yet she says that they both communicate clearly what they want and respect each person’s needs and decisions even though they constantly discover new differences every day. And it takes an incredible amount of effort to realize that those differences are what makes the relationship even more unique and valuable–a continuous dialogue spoken in two different dialects of love. I asked Jehanna how she manages it–the constant adjustments and acceptance–and she replied with this:

“Eduard and I are obviously two different people. Our cultures vary from each other in many ways, and naturally, differences do get in the way. It takes effort to overcome the differences and it also takes an equal amount, or even greater effort to show appreciation for these differences. As the years went by, we have learned to embrace our differences and enjoy the similarities in our practices and traditions. We say our piece about what one thinks and we let each other take the decision, then we take turns. I guess that’s how we make it work. That though didn’t happen overnight. That process is a work-in-progress even up to now. So our conclusion to this whole thing: effort, patience and support for each other. As with any regular couple, we are very much uncertain as to what the future holds. No one is ever ready when asked the big question. I, at least, wasn’t expecting when he asked me. That I guess is the interesting about the mystery, you just have to see it unfold before your eyes and try your best to make something good out of it.”

That sounds just about the right way to go in any kind of relationship: a give and take of sorts and one that doesn’t give up even if things are difficult in the beginning. Nothing worth having is always easy anyway. The couples I encounter have different stories and I always try to find what each story’s lasting legacy is. For some it is perseverance while for others, it is taking risks. With Eduard and Jehanna it is meeting in the middle–finding a balance and looking for what can make the relationship move forward. Not everyone will have a perfect honeymoon-type of whirlwind romance, and that’s okay. Some relationships are forged in a furnace of trials and difficulties. And for those who are blessed enough to find theirs still intact, they now hold something very few relationships can boast about.