Christian dating can be a minefield. Divine Connect’s Cindy Leong is the go-to person for those looking to make a connection with the opposite sex.
By: REUEL EUGENE TAY
We all know 2 Corinthians 13 is the chapter about love, but few have internalised it and turned it into a lifelong career helping people find love. Meet dating and relationship coach Cindy Leong, 30, co-founder of matchmaking agency Divine Connect. Leong is a multi-hyphenate who is also the founder of personal development consultancy Relationship Studio, the author of two books on love, a regular contributor to local radio stations and magazines, and she helps with City Harvest Church’s City Connexion programme, aimed at getting singles in church to forge meaningful interactions. Leong is also the resident expert in City Radio’s 17-part series SINGULAH which discusses Christian dating.
CITY NEWS WEEKLY: How did you get started in this business of matchmaking?
CINDY LEONG: I think it is really a calling. Have majored in business at polytechnic, the natural progression for me was to go to business school in university. But I felt led to enrol in CHC’s Bible school instead. After Bible school, there was no place for me in business school—because of the baby boom during the year of the Dragon! Strangely, I was offered a place in Singapore Management University’s Social Sciences faculty even though I did not apply for it. I picked psychology as my major and there was this module on the science behind attractiveness that really intrigued me. During that time, I was already helping many people who were having problems with relationships. It got to a point where people were telling me, “Hey Cindy, you are quite good at this. Why don’t you turn it into a business to help people?” And that was how it all got started.
Tell us about Divine Connect.
I met Deon the owner of Love Express, a dating agency centered on events, back when I was just the chief coach for Relationship Studio. Deon is also a Christian and she has been running her agency for ten years. We both agreed that the pursuit of love isn’t just about robotically attending events after events, it’s about becoming a better version of yourself and about making meaningful relationships. So we set up Divine Connect, a Christian matchmaking agency providing personalized matching for our clients. Our team comprises of five coaches and two image consultants, all of whom are Christians.
We put every client that walks through our door through Enneagram profiling. (Enneagram is a personality test). Knowing their Enneagram type helps our clients to understand their pattern of thinking. Thereafter, we do customized one-to-one matching for all our clients, arranging between three to 10 potential matches depending on their specific Enneagram profiles and personality. Our clients are also given one-to-one coaching and they may attend our workshops to further better themselves. So far, our success rate has been pretty high. Many of our clients found their ideal type within the first or second match.
How many successful couples have you brought together till date?
I’ve lost count! I would say close to 100 couples.
What are the three main reasons why Christian men and women have such difficulty finding their life partner? How can they resolve this issue?
Christian relationships are a little more complicated than secular relationships. Firstly, you have to agree on several fronts such as the level of your faith, allocation of time for ministry and church, or sometimes even on the same doctrine. Secondly, many Christian men are just not taking initiative or are simply too slow to act. They over-think or over-analyze—“I need to pray first”—and before you know it, they have made a girl wait an entire year. And there is also this thing about “reputation”. Let’s say, on hindsight, you meet the right one after dating the third person you meet. “What if the people in church think that I am a playboy or a playgirl? How will people look at me?” So people become afraid to try. On the contrary, guys outside of church will just go for the girl immediately. This is something our guys can learn! (laughs)
Some Christian ladies also have some unrealistic expectations such as desiring someone as spiritual as Pastor Kong and as handsome as Mark Kwan. There aren’t many such people around! I would tell the ladies, “You may want a guy like this, but do you know if you are the girl he wants? If you don’t, then you may not be positioning yourself correctly.” Our ladies need to manage their expectations and be brutally honest with themselves.
Many people believe that going to professional matchmaking services should be the “last resort”. What is your take on this? When is the right age to try out matchmaking services?
This was usually the case in the past but things have changed. In fact, I do get young people in their 20s who come to me as their first choice and say, “Cindy, you just choose for me lah. You know my personality.” To be honest, it’s not so simple. Your social circle shrinks the moment you graduate from school. It will take you another three years to realise “Oh dear, I’m not making any new friends!” And soon you will realise that all the people you are meeting are either your colleagues or your clients—all work-related people.
Can you give readers three exclusive tips on building meaningful relationships?
First things first, you’ve got to have clarity with yourself. You have to know what you want in life. Secondly, you have to be authentic; the last thing you want to do in a relationship is to put on a mask. Lastly, you got to work on communication. If there are any misunderstandings, sometimes it could be due to your own insecurities or certain things you have not dealt with in your past. If you need healing, say so. Don’t be so caught up with “saving face” or be afraid to show your own insecurities. It helps if you can look at conflicts as an opportunity for healing rather than assuming that the other party is trying to pick a fight because he or she has a ill intention. You can strengthen your relationship if you are willing to show your vulnerability.
This article was first featured in City News’ Candlelight Service special issue.