Intertain: Chapter 05
Love has been in the air for Robin and Angela, my Intertain co-workers. They got married in February and have since spent some time working out how to function as husband and wife. With their return, everyone was back and ready for another round of fellowship, games, and theology!
We organised a meal together before the session. I went and bought a ton of handmade dumplings for the occasion — enough for the shop to grant me a lifetime VIP card. I shall feed on discounted dumplings for the rest of my days.
We were very excited to have a new couple join us: Joseph and Cheer. It just so happened that they are newlyweds too. Including May and myself, the group consisted of three pairs of spouses, as well as a duo of bromantic housemates in Jimmy and Kai.
As an introduction, I showed them a short animation known as “Kaizo Trap” that demonstrated how far a wife would be willing to go in order to save her kidnapped husband. I believe our whole group was astounded by her determination to overcome extreme obstacles in the context of a 2D platformer. She exemplified the power of love in the face of repeated deaths and setbacks.
Following the video, Socrates (the ancient Greek philosopher) offered us this advice:
By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.
A good wife brings much joy and acts as a lifesaver in times of need, and I guess a bad one could compel men to wonder about the point of everything. Judging by the fact that none of our married guys were that into philosophy, I wouldn’t hesitate to count us blessed.
What are the criteria for selecting your other half?
We definitely wanted to hear from the two bachelors among us regarding what they are looking for in a girl. But first, a quick look at Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker.
Jimmy, as an employee of the dating agency, took on his first client: Percy. During the preparation phase, we learned that Percy was a geeky ventriloquist who had a thing for green eyes. From browsing the available profiles, Jimmy uncovered a lady with a set of sparkling emerald eyes by the name of Raven, and she had a thing for dark hair. After some further assessments of personalities and interests, Percy was sent to the company salon to have his hair dyed while Jimmy arranged a date for them at a French restaurant.
When the two met up at the restaurant, they liked what they saw — first impressions are important! However, it was time to see if Jimmy could guide them through a smooth and wonderful evening.
Raven wanted to dine on something hot with red meat. The waitress came and presented five options, but they all had fancy French cuisine names that baffled us plebeian folks. Jimmy had no choice but to tip the waitress to hear descriptions of the dishes in layman’s terms. It was hilarious, because by the time he was ready to order, Jimmy had already spent $60 of agency funds.
Nevertheless, Raven was pleased and was able to enjoy her meal with Percy, and it was all that mattered. They proceeded to chat about their personality, occupation, and hobbies. Lying was always an option for the sake of impressing the other person, but Jimmy always guided them away from such deceit. And it turned out great, as by the end of the night, they both desired to upgrade the budding relationship to the next level.
There was no doubting Jimmy’s matchmaking skills, but what if he were to look for a girl for himself? Beyond having a thing for chubby cheeks (of the face, that is), he revealed his yearning for a partner who is into bushwalking and playing board games. On a similar note, Kai acknowledged the value of having common interests, yet also stressed good communication to be of utmost importance.
My wife, May, teased that God may often provide someone who shatters our preferences, and that by bearing with one another’s differences, we are destined to learn and grow in love. In realising that a long-term relationship is bound to get tough at times, we appreciated a quote by Sam Levenson, American writer and television host:
Love at first sight is easy to understand; it is when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle.
What would you like to achieve with your other half?
Two is better than one, unless there is a total lack of cooperation. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime became a cute and hearty test of teamwork for Joseph and Cheer as they collaborated to restore the power of love to a broken universe.
The pair entered a spherical spaceship commissioned by LOVERS (League of Very Empathetic Rescue Spacenauts). Within the vessel, they moved around using ladders and platforms to gain access to numerous consoles tied to navigation, shield, map interface, and a full arsenal that included four distinct turrets and a cannon. It clearly wasn’t a small feat for two people to manage eight separate stations. Finishing the level took some real synergy; they struggled at first, but we were proud of Joseph and Cheer when they showed improvement and persisted through adversity. They achieved what was only possible by being two halves of a whole.
Joseph said that the experience reminded him of how they strive to stay on top of their lives. With Cheer moving to Sydney just a month ago, they started their journey as a couple building a new home in a foreign land. There is much to learn; confusion and conflict may get the better of them at times, but focusing on a vision always helps in finding balance and perspective during challenges, much like a captain and his first officer righting the ship. Heed the French pioneering aviator by the name of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry who surely knew a thing or two about piloting and romance:
Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.
As far as achieving as a team, Robin mentioned that preparing for his wedding with Angela had been the biggest project the two of them tackled up to that point. And now that they have also settled in their new home, the goal has shifted to growing in maturity and supporting each other through the love of God. With a strong core, they could do plenty of good in their years of marriage.
How do you deal with conflict with those you love?
Effective communication is crucial to preventing a relationship from blowing up — that much was apparent in Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, a game about bomb defusal.
We placed Jimmy on the laptop with the dangerous contraption. He could observe and interact with it, but would have no knowledge of the procedure necessary to prevent himself from blown to pieces. On the other side of the room, Kai was armed with a complete guide to bomb defusal. However, since the two could only share what they see through speech, it wasn’t that straightforward. Each explosive also had a set countdown, multiplying the urgency of the situation.
So they proceeded with “The First Bomb”. A panel of wires revealed itself as the initial obstacle; Jimmy needed to know which one to cut. He conveyed the quantity and their colours to Kai, who used the information to determine the correct course of action based on the rules laid out in the manual. Thankfully, the logical barrier wasn’t problematic for the computer engineers by day.
The next module proved more troublesome, as it involved strange symbols that were tricky to describe with words. It took them a long while to decipher what the other person meant, let alone figure out the valid sequence to progress. In the end, Jimmy was left with less than ten seconds to deal with a button configuration. Knowing there wasn’t time for thought, he went ahead and just pushed something… Luck was on his side, and the ticking actually came to a halt as though it was a scripted Hollywood ending. Phew!
Joseph and Cheer joined in for the second level: “Something Old, Something New”. On the side with the instructions, Joseph and Jimmy brought out pen and paper to work with efficiency, while Cheer and Kai sat with the bomb. The team approached the challenges with methodical communication, interpretation, and deduction. They deactivated the bomb with plenty of time to spare. Given that the game was advertised to cause a few conflicts (refer to: Couples Try to Defuse a Virtual Reality Bomb), I would say that their efforts were exceptional.
Without good communication, marital relationships have the potential to explode too. It is always good to talk through issues the moment that friction begins to surface. In our six years of marriage, May and I have committed to the path of constructive quarrelling over silence. We were partly inspired by a tip from Phyllis Diller, a stand-up comedian:
Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.
May added that we used hold hands while arguing to stay mindful that conflict doesn’t make us enemies. We should still adhere to this helpful practice from time to time.
Short Study: God and His Bride
You may have heard that the Bible validates marriages between a man and a woman. This isn’t really the whole story, because it is God’s purpose for Jesus to take the church as his bride. In fact, humans are to study that relationship as the prime example of what it is to be husbands and wives.
We read from Ephesians 5:22-33, where husbands are instructed to look at Christ to learn how to be the head in a marriage. While worldly leadership may be more about asserting dominance and assuming control, Christ showed that headship is all about sacrifice, love, and building up the body.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church — for we are members of his body.
In response, wives are called to submit to their husbands as they do to God, which is easy to do if the guys are as good as Jesus. Regardless, this is the ideal that we shall strive for, as we came to admire the beautiful model and the fact that our Father in heaven has sent his Spirit to help us grow.
Attendance : Angela Sun, Ayk Iano, Cheer Lin, Jimmy Wong, Joseph Chiang, Kai Chang, May Chien, and Robin Zhang.
Giveaway: Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes to Joseph Chiang and Cheer Lin.