“We arrange date nights to catch up properly”

PJ Roberts is from Canberra, Australia, and his wife Jo Lu hails from Taiwan. They met at Ce La Vie at Marina Bay Sands 8 years ago and have a little boy, Ashleigh, 3. 

ANZA: You met in Singapore. What brought you both here?
PJ: I’ve been in SG for 20 years. Jo was living in London and only visiting the island when we first met.
Jo: We started a long distance relationship for about a year before I moved to Singapore to be with him. My mum thought I was crazy!

Was it love at first sight?
PJ: Absolutely, Jo was smitten the second she laid eyes on me!
Jo: I was definitely interested, but the feelings grew as we got to know each other better and for longer.

How did moving overseas change your relationship?
PJ: When Jo arrived it was great as I had a good group of friends and Jo was able to slot in easily. In time she found her own friends through work and other social activities. 

What do you think is your biggest challenge as an expat couple?
PJ: Making sure we prioritise spending time with each other while living a busy, hectic, expat life. We manage this by setting up ‘date nights’.
Jo: Singapore is a very busy place. Days seem to go faster and you never have enough time for everything. We arrange date nights to catch up properly and give time to each other. 

What keeps your marriage successful?
PJ: My insightful football analysis. Jo always loves it!
Jo: Looking forward to hearing more of PJ’s insightful football analysis…

“We have fun and are each other’s best friend”

Paddy and Maria Taylor are from Sydney, Australia and met 20 years ago. They have three children from previous marriages who live back in Oz. Singapore expats for 15 years, they live with their cat, Footy.

ANZA: How did you meet?
Maria: It was on 17 August 2003 at The Observer Hotel at The Rocks in Sydney. I was out with friends at the pub where my then-boyfriend was playing in a band. At around 10pm, Pat tapped me on the shoulder on the dancefloor and said “You’ll be bopping (dancing )with me!”

Was it love at first sight?
We liked that we were both tall and enjoyed having fun. We met leading up to the Rugby World Cup in Australia and we were both big rugby fans. 

What brought you to Singapore?
My job. Pat really didn’t want to move. He didn’t know what to expect being the “trailing spouse” and was very worried that he’d be bored. How wrong he was!

How easy was it for you to create a new life here?
Pat met up with the ANZA Secret Men’s Business group within two weeks of our arrival, and the rest is history. The group has been the basis of our social life the entire time. 

How did moving overseas change your relationship?
We got closer. Spending weekends together gave us quality time to just be in one another’s company. Also, as Pat was not working, it meant he focused on “making me happy”. He drives me to work, does all the errands and makes sure our home life runs smoothly. We say “A happy husband makes a happy home” and “A happy wife makes for a happy life”.

What’s been the biggest challenge to you as an expat couple?
Keeping in contact with family overseas. We have regular video calls and all try to get together at least once a year.

What’s the key to your happy marriage?
We have fun together and we’re each other’s best friend! We don’t keep secrets and we let the other person be who they are. Plus, we discuss any big decisions together until we both agree.

“The key to marriage? Laughing  with and at each other!”

Tim and Nikki Hutchins are originally from  the UK and have been together for 29 years. They moved to Singapore in 2020 and have two daughters, Florence, 20, and Freya, 18.

ANZA: When and where did you meet?
Nikki: Back in 1993, when we both worked in the student union bars at the University of Birmingham in the UK.

Was it love at first sight?
No, we got together as the result of a bet!

How long have you lived overseas?
This is our third spell since 2003. In the past nine years we’ve lived in three different countries. 

How easy was it to find a new life here?
It was easy for Tim as he went straight into a high intensity job. I found it harder  as I couldn’t work within my professional role – even more so as we arrived during  the pandemic, so getting out and meeting people was difficult. 

Did moving overseas change your relationship in any way?
We’ve moved nine times in 26 years. We’re used to relying on each other as we’ve often not had much of a support network.

What’s been the biggest challenge for you as an expat couple?
Appreciating that for the trailing spouse there will be times when they will resent having to pack up their lives and start again – no matter that they agreed to do it and how supportive they are!

What’s your key to a happy marriage?
Laughing with – and at – each other! Appreciating that we have separate interests and hobbies and don’t need to do everything together, but valuing the time when it’s just us.