In an era where “it will end in tears” is a fashionable slogan to describe relationships, one couple has developed a passion for encouraging others to share their love stories as proof that marriages can thrive. Keith Dindi and Esther Dindi, both medical doctors, started ‘Thriving Couples’ on Facebook in October 2020, but they did not expect it to attract 626,000 members and hundreds of compelling testimonies of love by mid-January.
The group radiates the blissful side of marriage as the Holy Book intended, as seen in the thrilling love stories of couples, complete with photographs, mostly of their weddings, some spanning 35 years and others newly-weds.
The activities are spiced with weekly “Dindis Nuggets” on Sunday when the founders share pointers to a happy marriage with practical examples of how they deal with situations in their 15-year union; or words of wisdom they learn from older couples, rendered entertainingly.
The Lifestyle magazine interviewed the parents of three; 12-year-old twins Joshua and Darlen, and Caleb aged 5, soon after they celebrated their 15 years of nuptials. They gave their perspective about why the marriage institution is fast losing believers and their inspiration to save it.
“Talks about marriage out there have mostly been negative. If you listen to radio talk shows, there is a lot of nastiness about marriage and the society is sadly normalising that aspect that leans on the darker side of the spectrum,” observes Esther, a consultant physician and fitness trainer.
“Thriving Couples stemmed from our passion to help the society focus on the beautiful side of marriage. How about we talk of faithfulness, commitment to each other and the general excitement about marriage?” she poses.
Keith, a heart surgeon, agrees that someone needed to encourage couples, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic when domestic violence cases increased, that relationship challenges can be surmounted to pave way for happier and desirable homes.
“You can never outperform your belief. If you expect drama in marriage, you shall beget drama. That is why you need to be deliberate in sowing good and 100 percent commitment, and you will surely reap,” Keith said.
The two doctors run their union like a romantic movie, and that is because they are intentional about everything that keeps their bond stronger and titillating, from the stories they share.
There is a daily script, which involves having breakfast together and briefing one another about the day’s schedules, a “midday connect” when they hear each other’s voices, a random text within the day to signify they are thinking of each other, helping each other with chores in the evening whenever and pillow talk at bed-time.
They believe making a marriage work and keeping the flames of love alive does not take out-of-the-world efforts such as flying to Mauritius. They equate romance with thoughtfulness, and not deep pockets. That is not to say they do not fly out or treat each other to gifts.
“We look at romance as the little things we do to remind a partner that you care. How can I help her at home when she is coming from a difficult call at work?” he poses. She adds: “If he has some work to do at home, keeping children away to afford him some quiet time is being thoughtful and is registered as caring, even without mentioning.”
Using the analogy of a three-stone fire, Keith explains there are ways of keeping the ambers of love alive so that when cooking needs to resume, the process of lighting the fire is faster.
“If you let the ambers of fire go off, you will have a long process to light the fire. Therefore, keep the ambers by connecting through the day so that when you get home, you will find some existing heat, not cold,” he says.
“We call it marination,” the couple says.
“Marination explains the little activities that keep sexual intimacy sizzling. The small texts, good thoughts… so that when there is culmination of sexual intimacy, there is no holding back,” Keith explains. “Couples give excuses and trade blame for being emotionally distant, yet they did not maintain the flow.”
They argue that compatibility is not the only reason people thrive in marriage, giving their example of different personalities. She is introverted, not outgoing and calculative, while the husband is extroverted, outgoing and spontaneous.
But the depth of their intimacy is evidenced by how they enjoy each other’s company, constant stomach-deep laughter and completing each other’s sentences.
“Much as we differ just like any other couple, we tend to stick to addressing the issues rather than dressing each other down. We tell each other that we are in this marriage for the long haul,” Keith says.
Esther says their passion to see a better reflection of society through thriving marriages led them to write an exhilarating book titled Thriving Couples.
Can Marriage be exciting, fun and fulfilling in today’s world? They ask, a question which they answer with a “Yes”. They answer commonly asked questions such as dealing with in-laws, money matters and keeping the bond strong with time. It deeply explains the habits that cause couples to drift apart, leading to falling out of love.
The couple did not expect the Facebook platform, whose idea Keith shared with the wife casually one day while in the shower, to become an online branch of their relationship clinic, with hundreds of inboxes from couples seeking professional help. They have even had to hire a personal assistant to handle their engagements as they fight to save lives in hospitals.
“The group has grown beyond expectations. We thought it would be an exponential growth. Instead, there has been a massive excitement. Several couples reach out at the back-end for help and we link them with networks of mentors and therapists,” Keith explains.
This has inspired the coming up of another group “Thriving Singles” where singles look for partners with the intention of graduating to the couples’ group.
The couple disclosed behind-the-scene interactions with couples through which many marriages are being restored from situations, some very dire.
The couple is now putting in place structures to make response to the issues more efficient.
“We need a website where people can log in and access coaching programmes on keys to a thriving marriage such as handling finances, in-laws, and other curated content based on real-life experiences.
“We realised that most people want to be as real as possible. In telling our stories, we are more vulnerable, more relational, and the more we are those, the more value we give to the society,” Keith says.
They say a bit of the online services will be free, but the more personalised content will be charged to ensure that only “serious people” access the services.