While Korean dramas make falling in love look oh-so-dreamy and exciting, it seldom lines up with reality. For Christians singles looking for a partner for life and not just 16 episodes, here are some pro-tips from married couple Isaiah Kuan and Klessis Lee.
Choosing a life partner is the biggest decision a Christian makes in life, after choosing to accept Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Saviour. Hence it is not something to take lightly, but with great wisdom and grace. At a virtual Missions conference organised by City Harvest’s The Harvest Network in November, pastoral zone secretary Isaiah Kuan and his wife Klessis taught conference attendees how to make the right choice when it comes to a spouse.
The couple, parents of two children, has been involved in CHC’s singles ministry CityConnexion for the past 11 years, organising and conducting empowering sessions, personal growth and Christian values workshops, along with interactive activities for more than 1,100 singles in the church. They are also involved in the Marriage Mentoring Programme, helping couples as they journey through marriage.
At their workshop titled “Choosing The Right Partner”, participants gained understanding on the importance of putting Christ in the centre of their lives, and learned what to consider when looking for the right one.
SINGLEHOOD IS NOT A PROBLEM
The Kuans began with the fundamental issue of how marriage and singlehood are viewed. They offered two questions that one should ask oneself: one, is your self-worth determined by whether you have a partner in life? Two, if you don’t have a partner, would you be less fulfilled or would you become lonely?
The answer to both questions be no. A person’s self-worth should not be determined by whether he or she is single or married, nor should anyone be lonely just because they are still single.
Psalms 168:8-9 reads, ‘’I have set the LORD always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore, my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.’’ This means that Christians can be either happily married or happily single for the Lord.
Therefore it is a mistake to think of being single as a problem. Both marriage and singlehood are distinct; they are different seasons of our lives. We can and should have the joy of the Lord, no matter which season we are in.
Just like there is a grace for marriage, there is also grace for singlehood (Mt 19:11-12, TPT). The truth is some of us will be married one day, while some of us will remain single. In this world, singles are often made to feel that they are inferior, even within the church. This is a misconception that can be changed—if you are single today, do not let this sense of inferiority eat you up.
Marriage is an expression of love, but it is not the highest ideal of love—God is. He is our highest ideal or model of love. As a matter of fact, the Scripture tells us in 1 John 4:8 that God is love. Our ultimate contentment comes not from marriage but from an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, whether we are married or single. So let God be the centre of your life.
So, if you are single today, be empowered to know that our self-worth is in God and the greatest love relationship all of us can have is with God.
QUALITIES TO LOOK FOR A LIFE PARTNER
What do we want to look out for when choosing a life partner? In the world out there, many people choose their life partners by checking off the “5Cs”: Car, Cash, Condo, Country Club membership and Credit Card. But believers have an alternate set of “5Cs”: Character Chemistry, Compatibility, Commitment and Communication. The couple highlighted two of these: character and compatibility.
The key to choosing the right partner is to look for a person with good character, and not simply a good personality. The mistake people make is that they focus on personality traits when they should be looking for character.
It is good to look a nice personality in a partner. For example, Isaiah is a very responsible man who makes Klessis feel secure in life. Likewise, to Isaiah, Klessis is a caring person who is fun to hang out with.
However, these personality traits are the icing on a cake. A person’s character, on the other hand, is the substance of the cake. Character determines how a person will treat himself or herself, how he or she will treat you and one day, your children. It is the foundation of any healthy relationship.
Some of the basic building blocks of a good character in a person is first, his commitment to God’s Word and to a godly lifestyle (1 Jn 4:7, 12)—he wants to live an exciting and purposeful life for God.
Secondly, his integrity. Matthew 22:16 (NIV) reads, “… ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘we know You are a Man of integrity and that You teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.’”
Integrity refers to the consistency of a person’s character, so your actions must match your words, your choices must match your vision, and your behaviours must match what you believe.
Thirdly, a person must show maturity and responsibility. Maturity in a person can be seen by the way they take care of themselves. Are they earning enough to support themselves? Or are they always out of work or borrowing money from family and friends? Do they know basic hygiene like keeping their bed clean and tidy? Or are they messy and untidy, living in chaos?
Being responsible means doing what they have said they will do. A responsible person keeps promises, pays their bills on time and are punctual for meetings among other things.
Maturity doesn’t come with age; it comes with the acceptance of responsibilities.
Compatibility is the ability for a couple to exist or live together in harmony. The question then, is what makes a couple compatible? Do they have to be very similar? Or do opposites really attract?
Amos 3:3 reads, “Can two walk together unless they are agreed?” The Bible teaches that a couple needs to be compatible in key areas.
First, they need to be compatible in their spirituality. This boils down to the person’s attitude towards God, and his or her relationship with Him. Some questions to ponder are: Do the both of you enjoy praying, worshipping or reading the Bible? What is your spiritual temperament? Maybe one of you enjoys quiet worship while the other prefers loud prayer walks. How committed are you to spiritual growth? Do the both of you have a common vision in your walk with God? Maybe both of you are passionate about missions, or maybe both of you are passionate about helping married couples?
Second, your financial habits. How do you view finances or success? Do the both of you have the same idea of what constitutes financial freedom? Or does one of you views money as a form of security, while the other sees money as leverage for their social status? What is your relationship with money, in terms of tithing, giving, saving, and spending?
Sometimes the difference in family upbringing results in a couple having different relationships with money—maybe one tends to save, and the other tends to give. There is nothing wrong with either, but it is good and wise to have a common understanding about finances to avoid future conflicts.
Third, your emotions. Is there common ground when it comes to romance? The woman may think that romance is spending quality time with her boyfriend while the man thinks romance is lavishing your girlfriend with expensive gifts and meals.
What about your ability to express feelings? Is one party carrying emotional baggage? Do both of you know how to process your feelings or share deep feelings with one another?
That leads to communication. Are you compatible when it comes to sharing your life, receiving feedback and the willingness to discuss problems? How do you communicate? Are you both honest with one another? Do you speak in love and not condemnation?
Finally, your hobbies and interests. Does both of you have any shared interests? The good news is that interest can be cultivated. Learn to do things both of you enjoy.
Also, do you see any potential clashes? For example, one of you may love to party while the other prefers to spend quiet nights at home. One of you might love animals while the other is terrified of them.
In conclusion, singlehood is a season that needs to be celebrated; a season to cultivate yourself, enrich your soul, and prepare yourself the best you can for the partner God will prepare for you.
Choosing the right partner is not rocket science—there isn’t a right or wrong way of doing it. But the best thing you can do for yourself is to focus on God, pray and seek the Lord for your relationships, and live a life that is God-centred. In becoming more Christlike, a Christian builds himself or herself up to be the right one.