"We're not a perfect couple," admits Dingdong Avanzado, referring to marriage with Jessa Zaragoza.
A year ago, they had their times of turbulence, with reports that they were headed for Splitsville.
But looking at the two of them now, they seem to have overcome the storm. Their repartee—witnessed by PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) at the launch of Valii—is both sweet and spontaneous.
Smiling, the 43-year-old singer-composer says that "faith" has become their binder.
He continues, "The pressure is, paano ba, mas nama-magnify dahil nasa limelight kami. But as a Christian couple, malaki yung natulong sa amin nung support group namin sa Church."
Jessa also gives credit to their pastor, who has usually helped them thresh out their differences.
She says, "Meron kami talagang diretsong relationship. Kasi malaking bagay yun, e...Pati ibang friends namin, laging andiyan for us pag sakaling may mga problems."
There's no such thing as perfect relationship for the reason that no two people are exactly the same.
Dingdong explains, "We go through the same struggles, we have the same arguments. Iba kasi ang lalaki, iba ang babae. There's a way...a specific reason how God designed man and woman to be..."
"[I] really have to understand how a woman functions, and vice versa. And sa amin, we're blessed na naiintidihan namin yun."
Working it out is a process, according to him, "It's not like an overnight thing."
He relates that if his wife asks him to break a habit, he has to make an effort to remember it all the time.
Moving on, "You constantly work at it every day of your relationship. You'd like to get to know the person that you're with, that you're sleeping with—day in, day out, siya kasama mo—dapat malaman mo what makes her tick, what will make her happy. It contributes to a stronger relationship, di ba."
Other "key elements" he mentions are "understanding what give and take is," "knowing your roles in the relationship," and "finding time for each other."
BABY PLANS? At present, they only have one kid, the talented Jayda.
How about a baby brother for their daughter?
Jessa quips, "Naku! Sana brother na talaga, e."
Dingdong adds with a chuckle, "Ako gusto ko talaga," then turning to his wife, "Hindi pa ba ginagawa yung brother?"
Jessa retorts, "E, kung girl lahat? Naku, 'yan ang sinasabi ko, e. Papa'no kung girl na naman? Kung puwede lang, siya na lang magbuntis, e."
The daddy in the family explains why, to date, Jayda—who's presently in Grade 3—is their only child. Work, he says, has always gotten in the way.
He tells PEP, "It was hard for us, before hindi namin nasundan. Kasi after si Jayda...si Jayda actually, plinano pa nga namin, e. Two years into our marriage before we had Jayda.
"After that, we got busy. We traveled...we went to the States. Ang hirap bumiyahe [na] may kasama kang bata...
"And even now, with the nature of our work, we're not tied down to a network, so most of our work is abroad."
Their managers—Arnold Vegafria (for her) and Noel Ferrer (for Dingdong)—are also involved in their "baby planning."
Jessa shares, "We travel a lot. Ako, last year, ang dami kong concert. Mas marami akong biyahe last year. Kaya yung managers namin, alam din ang plano sa aming pagbe-baby. Kasi kunwari may commitment, siyempre, dapat matuloy yun."
Dingdong adds, imitating the voice of Jessa's manager, "'O 'wag muna kayo magbe-baby.' Pagkabalik namin sa States. Sabi niya, 'O, 'wag muna magbe-baby si Jessa.'"
But he's serious about having another baby, "Gusto ko na magka-anak, e. Pinapangarap ko, pinagdadasal ko na sana magkaro'n, di ba, honey?"
Dingdong relates that he already had a meeting with Arnold "para tanungin ang plan kay Jessa."
But Jessa wants to finish all her commitments first, "Gusto ko lang din siyempre na matapos mo nang maayos. Once na nag-commit ako sa isang project, one hundred percent naman, di ba? Kasi masasayang din lahat ng investment."
On his plate, Dingdong has an upcoming album to launch, while Jessa is also working on her OPM album.
The 32-year-old mom relates, "Mauuna yung project niya. Papaunahin ko na siya mag-leave para hindi naman sabay na sabay. Pag okay na siya, then yung sa 'kin naman."
Doesn't she have plans of going back to acting?
She answers, "Kung meron magandang opportunity, bakit naman hindi?"
Dingdong—obviously in the know of what's happening to his wife's career—cuts in, "Yun ang sabi ni Arnold, sa TV daw."
Then, in a hopeful tone, he repeats, "Pero sana nga, magka-baby na."