In Part 1 of our notes from our Instagram Live with Cliff and Wai Jia, we covered questions such as should girls make the first move, how do know when you’ve met “the one” and what boundaries to have in dating.
In Part 2, we tackle other issues relating to the hurt and heartbreak that one might go through when longing for love or being in a relationship.
How can couples approach differences? What if I’m still single?
Here’s what Cliff and Wai Jia had to say on these tough topics.
How can one deal with rejection?
Cliff: I got rejected so many times. There was even this time when the girl liked me but her parents didn’t like me because I had a liver transplant.
Don’t see rejection as God punishing you or that you did something wrong because relationships are a complicated process. There are so many factors in play, right?
For example, someone may reject me because they just broke off with somebody else and are not interested in a relationship. It’s not my fault.
The key is trusting God. To know that even in my heartbreaks, I can still come to God. First of all, pour out your pain and heartbreak before the Lord.
I spent so many times coming before Him and saying: “I’m in pain. I don’t understand. It’s so unfair. I did nothing wrong. I thought it was going to turn out well, how come it’s like this?”
God may not give you an answer — and that’s perfectly okay!
For me, spending time with God is key. And until I come into a point where I have peace because of God, then I think I can move on.
Fellowship with the Lord. I know it sounds like very spiritual, but it’s actually very practical.
What if my boyfriend or girlfriend is an unbeliever, or has weak faith?
Wai Jia: I feel so much for the girl who asked this question and many of you who struggle with this.
But I guess the harder question to ask yourself is: Who do you prioritise? Is it Jesus first and foremost above everything?
Or do you have to confess that the relationship has actually taken over God in terms of being your identity and your security?
And for those of you girls who are struggling, who worry that you can’t survive without this guy, I really want to encourage you that in the long run, look at marriage as something that’s covenantal — it’s for the rest of your life.
Ultimately, if you end up marrying a guy who has been struggling all your dating life with a serious pornography addiction, alcoholism, anger management or lying, you will reap those consequences.
So if you decide to marry someone with a weaker spirituality, there are consequences as well. You might not fulfil the highest call that God has for your life.
I really want you to consider that before marriage, you have a choice.
Heartbreak is painful, but being in a bad marriage is even more painful. Think about weighing temporary heartbreak versus long-term suffering.
I can tell you this because we’ve been married for 10 years. Even with our so-called whirlwind romance story, in our seventh year of marriage, we really hit a hard spot and had to go for therapy.
Marriage is hard work, so you want to start off with a good foundation.
Cliff: This is a hard question. For both of us, we always emphasise that you should be in a relationship where the other person is also on fire for the Lord.
If this is the guy, he’ll be actually be leading the relationship and also leading spiritually. So if he’s not strong in faith or if he’s unbeliever, then he may not lead you to where Jesus wants you to be.
That’s hard because it may be possible that you have to stop this relationship. That’s something that you have to discern with your heart.
We all have to make decisions, right? If it’s not a relationship, it’s money, a job or career success or something else. That’s part of following Jesus.
What if you come from different churches and denominations. How do you reconcile that?
Cliff: I came from a church that’s not charismatic. And now in Singapore, the church that we go to is charismatic.
It’s very important to major on the major and be okay with the minor.
So I think the major doctrines that you shouldn’t disagree on are like the Trinity, who Jesus is, whether you believe Jesus is the only Way… there are some major doctrinal issues that we should all agree on.
Wai Jia: I know it can feel very scary or confrontational if we say we want to iron out all our theological differences. But I think it’s a really important conversation to have when you’re dating.
And I think if you’re unsure whether something is major or minor, for example speaking in tongues, what we did was seek the advice of our pastors and our mentors.
I know some of you are very averse to this. You might be saying, “I don’t want to ask pastor lah or I don’t know who to ask”, or maybe you don’t have mentors.
Then pray for people to speak into your life, pray for godly couples because you will need them. The longer you’re in a relationship, the more you’re going to need them.
What if I’m a godly man or woman, but I’m just not physically attractive?
Cliff: I think it’s important for us to maintain ourselves. But at the same time if you spend more time thinking about how you look versus your spiritual growth, then there’s something wrong with that.
I thought that Wai Jia was cute and pretty, but what really made me like her even more was her love for missions and the poor.
When I was in Canada, there were some ladies in my church who were pretty or physically attractive, but I wasn’t interested in them because they didn’t like missions and they didn’t have a heart for the poor.
At that time, I had a huge burden for the poor. And I decided that if I have to explain to someone why I go out on the street and help the poor, that is not the person I want to be with.
In fact back then I was telling my friend that I didn’t think I was good-looking.
I have chubby lips, my teeth are not straight, all my teeth are fake because of a bike accident, and I have grey hair growing out. But somehow Wai Jia likes me and I don’t know why.
So I think when it comes to physical attraction, how we define pretty or physical attractiveness is based on what society thinks. But what society thinks is not based on the Bible, so keep that in mind.
Wai Jia: I think what you’re saying is that there’s more than just skin deep. Ultimately, the principle is about trusting God — that at the end of the day somebody will love you beyond your looks.
I just want to be super honest here. Ten years ago, I did not feel pretty; I felt ugly.
I think many of us have felt ugly at one point or another. A lot of it is about perception; a lot of it is tied down to emotional and spiritual health.
So if you feel ugly or awful about yourself, what we really want to encourage you to do is not to believe that lie, but trust that you are made beautifully and wonderfully in the image of God.
And ultimately, as you continue to walk with God, you will become more and more beautiful with each passing year.
This is Part 2 of our IG Live coverage, and the answers have been edited for brevity and clarity. If you missed Part 1, you can catch up here.
We’re also giving away 2 books in collaboration with Cliff and Wai Jia. Check out the details of our GIVEAWAY!
From now until November 13, 2022 (Sunday), share with us your story of how you’ve seen God at work in dating or marriage. We would like to publish your testimony on our platform to encourage others too!
Feel free to write about anything e.g. why you’re not in a hurry to find someone, how you met your boyfriend/girlfriend, what you’ve learnt from navigating a tricky relationship…
The best entries (male and female) will each walk away with a copy of these books! Winners and contributors of stories selected for publishing will be notified.
Wild At Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul (John Eldredge)
Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul (John and Stasi Eldredge)
Send in your stories to [email protected] (500-1,000 words). We’re looking forward to hearing from you!