Kallos Conference 2020: What do guys think about dating, relationships and sex?
On Day 1 of Kallos’ online conference, Real Talk on Love & Sexuality, on July 3, 2020, an all-male panellist shared their thoughts on what makes a girl attractive, how they would define a godly relationship, and what hope is there when boundaries have been broken.
Moderated by Kallos director Quek Shi Wei, the following answers have been adapted from the responses to a few of the top questions posed by the participants. The panellists were Isaac Ong (Founder of Colours Global), Chew Chen Hao (Youth Cell Leader at RiverLife Church), Ivan Tan (Youth Worker at Hinghwa Methodist Church) and Joey Asher Tan (Young Adult Pastor at Grace Assembly of God).
What do godly Christian boys (GCBs) find attractive in girls?
Chen Hao: I would say godly character takes the cake more than looks. From my own personal experience, I was attracted to my wife because I thought she was the prettiest girl in my youth group at that time.
But the reason why I continued to like her went beyond her looks. Now that we live together and get to see all sides of each other – when we’re tired and unglam – I’ve learnt that looks do fade, but what replaces it is character.
Ivan: The reason why I was attracted to my wife was because of her character. While looks was definitely one of the factors, the thing that really caught my attention was that I heard she had a good temper. I found that to be really important, and that was what made me want to get to know her better.
Joey: Guys stereotypically go for looks at the beginning, but I think girls should take a step back and look at themselves too. Realistically speaking, you might not date a guy who doesn’t shave, has body odour, has bad breath and doesn’t attire himself properly.
A person’s external appearance may give you a glimpse of his character. I believe that a godly person will look after the temple he resides in. How we physically present ourselves affects the way others perceive what’s really inside us. This is a universal observation, whether you’re a guy looking out for a girl, or a girl looking out for a guy.
Isaac: If you’re thinking, “I honestly don’t feel pretty”, it’s important to understand that there isn’t a singular definition to what “pretty” looks like. What we’re really talking about is confidence and being secure in yourself. Because when you’re confident, you take care of yourself.
When you feel terrible, ugly and insecure, it’s not a physical image but a heart issue. And the best person for heart issues is God, so go to Him and tell Him: “Lord, would you help me to understand and know what it means to be fearfully and wonderfully made.”
We’ve all met people who aren’t the most stunning people. But there’s something attractive about them because they carry confidence and know how to love themselves with a biblical love; they are patient and kind to themselves. I think many people need to be on this journey of loving themselves. To me, I find that incredibly attractive.
How would you define a God-centred relationship?
Isaac: People often think that when we enter into a relationship, we do Christian things – like going to church together – and that’s what Christ in the centre looks like. But that may not always be the case. Even though we do Christian things, other things can still be in the centre, like our family or our jobs.
To me, what it looks like for God to be in the centre is that the marriage or partnership causes each person to grow closer to Christ, and that He’s right in the centre of all our decision-making – in the way we live and what we do.
A God-centred relationship has to first start with a God-centred single person. Many people say that their partner is their other half or better half, but I remember a pastor responded to this by saying: “Two halves don’t make a whole; two broken people don’t make a whole. You are whole in God, and both of you come together.”
Singleness shouldn’t be just about waiting in the wings or treated as a prelude to marriage, but a place to ask God how to be centred on Him. I know that I’m called to be fruitful even in my singleness.
I believe the way we talk about marriage and relationships is important. We need to see whether our conversations have reached an unhealthy level where it makes people feel like everything will be perfect after they get attached.
Marriage doesn’t mask your singlehood, but it reveals your singlehood. It’s important how you live out your singleness and how you treasure that with God.
Joey: In order to have a God-centred relationship, both the guy and the girl would have to be godly people first.
However, that doesn’t mean that when you put two God-loving people come together, it would equate to a God-centred relationship. I’ve seen some couples who look good on paper, but have allowed sin and temptations to come into the picture.
A God-centred relationship has to be first about looking at each other on a similar basis of faith, serving the same God in a similar capacity, and having a similar commitment towards your own walk with God, family, church and each other. You need to prioritise each other and lead each other towards God.
What can we do if we’ve already crossed the line and can’t stop?
Joey: It’s a difficult question because every single relationship has a different dynamic, so it will be very naive of me to give a blanket answer. But it’s important that the two individuals need to first realise that whatever they’re doing is not God-centred.
Both of them need to have that conviction to say, “we like each other a lot, we’re committed for the long term, but we’ve made some mistakes”. When you’ve arrived at that, then you can begin to start the process of doing things right.
I believe in a “second virginity”. When you lost your virginity, maybe you weren’t sure of what you were doing and regretted what you did. But I want to tell you that there’s no better time than now to get right with God. And you have to get right with God first because that becomes your lasting and sustaining conviction to want to continue to get things right with your partner.
Oxytocin is released when you engage in sexual activity, which makes the act addictive. To put it in spiritual terms, there is a spiritual bonding that takes place. And because you’ve arrived at the highest stage of physical intimacy, which is sexual intercourse, it makes you want to crave for that closeness again and again.
It takes a lot of courage and some kind of accountability, but I think it’s possible to continue to be in a God-honouring relationship. If you know someone or if you’re someone who’s in this kind of relationship, you need to speak to someone else who loves you. If your partner loves you and loves God, then they will stop doing these things that dishonour God.
Isaac: I agree. It’s hard to give a blanket answer because every person’s journey is unique. I just want to say that the day we gave our lives to the Lord and received Him into our hearts, we cannot celebrate sin like we used to because something has changed within us.
When you’re sexually active, you may feel ashamed or dirty. But any form of resolution, wholeness, healing, perseverance and purity is going to come from a place of a deep relationship with God.
Maybe you’ve over-honoured this relationship with your partner, where you feel bad and therefore do these things. But I want to ask: Would you take time to build your relationship with the Lord and really learn how to honour your relationship with God first?
Some people may say: “I still want to be active in these things, but I also love God, so should I choose either/or?” As you pursue God, you’ll come to a point where you really have to make a decision.
What do guys think of women who have been sexually abused? Is there hope for such a person?
Isaac: If you’re asking yourself, “will somebody still love me or will somebody still want to get together with me?”, my answer is 100% yes!
But you’ll need to deal with yourself first. If your security, comfort and joy are rooted in whether a person loves you, and you haven’t begun to love yourself first and find resolution with the Lord, your relationship is going to be very disruptive.
You’re always going to revisit this point. For example, if your boyfriend ignored you or he’s angry at you, you will always go back to these thoughts of “maybe it’s because I’m unclean, maybe it’s because I’ve been taken advantage of, maybe it’s because I’m not as valuable anymore”.
Your value needs to be found in your identity with God. Your identity cannot be formed on that past abuse or that person who is hurting you.
You’re made pure and whole, not because you did everything right, but because of the blood of the Lamb. Go to the Lord to help you reshape certain things and to love yourself as the Lord loves you.
Often those who have been taken advantage of don’t know how to navigate through their feelings. I also encourage those who have been abused to go for counselling. Don’t just think that it will go away with time.
For more honest conversations on love and sexuality, check out Kallos’ book, Real Talk: Exposing 10 Myths About Love & Sexuality. For more details on what was shared at the conference, you can also head to the Kallos website!
THINK + TALK
- Are you whole and complete in God? Or have you unconsciously been trying to find identity and security in being loved by someone else?
- How would you define a God-centred relationship?
- Are there areas of your life that you need to get right with God? How can you honour Him above all other things? It will also be helpful if you can speak to someone else for accountability.