From City Harvest Church’s co-founders, Kong Hee and Sun Ho—four tips to relationship excellence, plus some hot button topics about singleness and marriage.
Attendees of City Harvest Church’s Higher Conference on Oct 31 were blessed by two sessions with co-founders Kong Hee and Sun Ho. The afternoon session focused on relationship excellence, while the evening session featured a special “live” edition of the popular City Radio talk show “Coffee with Kong and Sun”.
The inaugural Higher Conference is an initiative by CHC targeted at working adults aged 25 and above. The three-day conference also consists of workshops to enrich the attendees.
FOUR TIPS TO RELATIONSHIP EXCELLENCE
According to research, men are more likely to fall in love at first sight than women are. It takes less than four minutes for one to decide to love somebody.
However, as Kong put it plainly to the audience: “Falling in love takes a pulse. Staying in love takes a plan.”
How then does one stay in love? Here are a few keys shared by Kong and Sun:
1) Make love a verb.
Love is not just a noun; it’s more than a feeling. Just like how Jesus said in John 13:34 that you love one another as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
2) Submit to each other.
To submit means to willingly place yourself under the other party. In Ephesians 5:21, Paul rephrased what Jesus had said in John 13:34, stating that love means mutual submission.
3) Treat your spouse like you’re in awe of him/her.
Philippians 2:3 says we are to value others above ourselves. In a relationship, do not interrupt or compete/ get pushy with each other. More importantly, never demean your spouse in front of others. The more we demean someone, the more that person will see his/her own value diminished.
4) Look out for the interests of others.
Looking out for the interest of others does not come naturally to our human nature, and that is exactly why it takes love.
Kong shared that he enjoys de-stressing by watching movies and television dramas. Sun, on the other hands, de-stresses by exercising and fellowshipping with her friends. Because they look out for each other’s interest, they choose to make compromises and take part in activities that the other party loves.
The afternoon workshop concluded with Kong and Sun sharing from Philippians 2:5-8: “Jesus is the very nature of God. Yet, He never demanded His ‘rights’ or leveraged His identity. He made Himself of no reputation, emptying Himself and humbling Himself. The Creator chose to submit to His Creation (you and me). Jesus opted for relationships over being right. Let’s take our love and submission cues from Jesus!” said Kong.
FELLOWSHIP OVER A CUPPA
In the evening, Halls 601-604 were transformed into a ballroom dinner setup with 100 tables as Higher Conference attendees enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner. Following an icebreaker, the City Worship band led the congregants in a time of praise and worship that was a blast from the past. The atmosphere turned nostalgic as the worship leaders led the crowd in songs CHC sang over the past years to the backdrop of various locations of worship.
City Radio Deejay Bernard Loh played host for a special edition of ‘Coffee with Kong and Sun’. Referencing an article from todayschristianwoman.com, Loh posed a range of questions to Kong and Sun.
#1: What do I do if I’m angry with God because He hasn’t given me a spouse?
SUN: Talk to God about it, just like how we approach a person we are not happy with.
#2: Is there a right partner predestined for everyone?
KONG: The Bible tells us these: Eve was prepared by God for Adam. Joshua took a wife. Abraham took a wife. The word ‘took’ means looked for and approached.
Hence, there are times God prepares one for us (pre-determined), and there are times we look for one (post-determined–you make a choice and God goes along with that choice). There are also those who are called to singleness for the Kingdom, like Mother Teresa.
#3: If God is all I really need, then why do I still yearn for something more?
SUN: When God formed Adam, he was tasked to cultivate the garden. We need to cultivate self, relationships and spirituality. God is all we need, but He put us on earth to cultivate and build relationships and not to be alone.
God made Eve because it was not good for men to be alone. There will always be a desire and yearning for relationships in us. When you have love, you want to share it.
#4: As a single working adult who is not dating anyone, what should my focus be?
SUN: There is no ‘one-size-fits all’ answer. It depends on the season and desires of your heart. Build yourself, your relationship with people and relationship with God.
KONG: Strive to the level you want your partner to be at. Be a 10 if you want a 10. If we keep loving God and loving people, at the right time, God will bring the right person to you.
#5: How to continue to encourage my partner when I myself is down? We are both introverts. How do we resolve issues that we have and not let it snowball? How do we know if we are suitable for each other?
SUN: Be honest–everyone has a certain threshold. Seek counsel. Find ways to express yourselves – perhaps through writing. Some people are more expressive through text than face-to-face. However, that type of expression is often open to misinterpretation.
If you are quarrelling on a regular basis, perhaps reconsider the relationship. Take some time off. Seek objective counsel from friends who know the both of you.
#6: How important is money in a marriage?
KONG: It is important but not the most important. Money is a means to an end. Don’t let money stand in the way of the relationship. Struggling through to build a life together could be good for the relationship, but also a source of frustration if we do not know how to manage money.
Look at 1 Timothy 5:8. Financial security is listed as number four on a list of women’s needs in a marriage. This stems from their natural instinct to care for their nest and future.
#7: How important is personal goals/ambition in a marriage?
SUN: Without a vision, people perish. It is important to have a personal calling, but it is also important to have vision and goals as a family.
KONG: Sun’s desire is to see my visions and dreams come to pass. My desire is to see her visions and dreams come to pass.
We have to temper our ambition so it’s not just about ourselves.
#8: How important is children in a marriage? If you can’t have children even after trying for many times, what would you do? Adopt?
KONG: The more emotionally healthy you are, the better your marriage and the stronger your relationship. Have emotional wholeness from your individual relationship with God.
It is normal to long to have kids when we are married. Try, pray and trust God. God gave us Dayan at the right place and the right time.
With medical technologies today, it is possible to have successful treatments to have babies.
I’m a huge advocate of adoption. When you adopt, you are saving a life. Sun and myself did consider adopting a little girl from China, but it didn’t work out.
#9: How do I make time for cell group and ministry when the kids take up all my nights?
SUN: You need to believe it is your vocation in this season of life to look after the kids. Just stay connected to the church. Sometimes, I do feel it’s not that the kids need us every day, but it’s the parents themselves feeling that they need to be with the kids every day.
It would be healthy for you to take a day off, to go out; do something that makes you happy and keeps you sane.
#10: Define a successful Christian parent.
SUN: I think I am a successful Christian mum if God is as real to me on the stage as I am at home with Dayan. A lot of Christian parents don’t talk much about God to their kids.
KONG: From my personal perspective, I think I am successful if Dayan grows up and loves God, people and the church and if he wants to live a life that glorifies God. He can do whatever he wants as long as he is happy.
Never underestimate your influence as Christians. Your kids observe more than you think and they can see how real God is to you.
#11: What should parents do if we have a prodigal son or daughter?
SUN: Keep loving them just like in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). The father waited and gave him what he asked for. Our children need to know we will love them no matter what, just like how God loves us no matter what. Keep praying for them and loving them.
Kong ended by sharing a testimony of a pastor’s kid who came back from overseas to Singapore to serve his National Service. He got frustrated and depressed, and turned bitter towards the church world. Kong met him fortnightly for one year to hear him out and meet his needs. “He completed National Service, graduated top of his class, and is now working in a top local legal firm. He is also preparing to go back to help his father in the ministry after a few years of being a lawyer. So, just keep loving them.”