Hi Friends, Jemeia here! I am ecstatic to share with you my first couple interview for the “To the Single Woman” series. To find out more about this series, click here. You have the pleasure of hearing from my favorite couple EVER, Luke and Melat! I have only known these two lovebirds for about three years, but it seems like I have known them for a lifetime.
When I think of what a true Christ-centered relationship looks like, I automatically think of them. Mainly because I have witnessed them surrender all areas of their individual lives and relationship to the Lord, even when it cost them their comfort. We will start off with Melat’s side of her and Luke’s love story. You can read Luke’s interview here! Wow, there is so much that I admire about my dear friend, Melat.
Honestly, I am not even going to start listing them, as it would take a whole blog post in itself. Instead, I’ll just let you get to know about this amazing woman, that I have the honor of calling my friend, sister, and sometimes mom (because she treats me like her child at times) through this interview. ENJOY!
1.How did you and Luke meet?
Luke and I met in the 9th grade, while we both attended boarding school in Kenya. Luke is American and I am Ethiopian, and we had lots of mutual friends. We were close friends all throughout high school but did not begin dating until our senior year of high school.
2. How did your relationship with Luke develop?
Luke and I were strictly friends for most of high school. Our friendship did not turn into a romantic relationship until our senior year of high school after he and I visited my family in Ethiopia. I was first attracted to him as a friend, because he was cool and I always had fun with him. Also, I always felt safe with him and felt like he built me up as a friend. I never felt torn down or insecure around him.
These qualities say a lot about his character because other people could see what I saw and wanted to be friends with him. More importantly, I knew that other people could vouch for his character. It’s hard to find someone who is fun, loving, and can go deep with you. My love for him in friendship grew and changed into a romantic relationship, and I didn’t notice it happening at first. It was like a spark was ignited in him, and then in me. Suddenly, I began to see him as attractive.
3. Tell me a little bit more about what attracted you to Luke and some qualities that you admire about him.
Before we were a couple, the physical attraction was not there. I thought that I was going to marry an Ethiopian man. But, one day he turned around in PE class and smiled. My little heart started pounding (**LOL**). So, I would say that the order of attraction went like this: friendship, a spark, attraction, and more feelings.
Some things that I admire about Luke, both in high school and in the recent years, are: how he would encourage the guys in his prayer group. He would put his hands around and truly pray for them. If Luke is in your corner, that means that you can trust him to be dependable, a man of his word, loving, and humble. I am always surprised by how humble he is. He is always the first to say “I’m sorry” even if he is not at total fault. I also love his ability to laugh at himself and not take life too seriously.
4. What struggles did you face while being single? How did you overcome, and how has that helped you in marriage?
Forming good relationships with women. I was always friends with guys and I grew up with two older brothers. But, I realized that I was missing out and college changed that. In college, I formed deep relationships with women, which showed me how much I need them. Although Luke is the love of my life and my best friend, I have come to realize the importance of cultivating and continuing the relationships I have with my girls.
As a woman, I relate to other women in a way that my husband can never understand and recognizing that helps me not to exhaust him. The bond of women friendships and romantic relationships are unique. Also, being accountable about purity, and working through heart and lust stuff with my peers and older mentors were hard. But it has helped me to seek purity in marriage.
5.What are things you miss about singleness?
I don’t miss not being without Luke at all, but I sometimes wonder what life would be like if I were a single millennial- to go back home to Ethiopia and work with my mom. I think there is a lot more individual freedom outside of marriage, and you have to be willing to make some sacrifices that maybe you wouldn’t have to if you were single.
6.What challenges are you facing now as a newly married woman, that are relatable to those who are single?
I always thought Luke and I were good at communication, especially because we did long distance for so long, but we have had to learn so much more about it. I have learned that women are from Venus and men are from Mars. I struggle with not being petty, and to be wise and generous. I struggle with admitting my wrong, and saying sorry even when I am not wrong. I am learning to pick my battles, and not to nag.
Everything is amplified in marriage, you can’t cut your partner off. You have to face problems and engage in conflict resolution. Prioritizing spending consistent time with Jesus and ridding myself of poor habits are still very much a challenge in my daily life. These things were a reality when I was single and didn’t go away when I got married.
7.What are things that you enjoy about being married?
No longer having to say goodbye after being in a long-distance relationship with Luke. I love getting to know him on an insanely deeper level and understanding the Father’s love for us through him. It has also been humbling to learn that marriage isn’t about our satisfaction, comfort, or us in general at all, it’s about being instruments for God’s glory! This phase of life is not easy. Being married young, there are so many unknowns, such as solidifying careers. Navigating with your partner is good, hard, and overwhelming. Having Luke to do life with is also like having an accountability buddy 24/7, who doesn’t love that?
You are stretched to be selfless and to think of others. Unlike friendship where your actions don’t directly affect your friend, when you are one with your partner, your actions directly affect the other person. Think- iron sharpens iron, but on steroids where there are sparks. Because of marriage, I am a better person.
8.What advice can you give to a single woman about being on the other side? What should those who are single be praying for and considering as they wait for marriage?
Your partner is not your everything; marriage is not everything. I love Luke, but the Guy (God) who made him is so much better. I want to make God my everything and not feel like life starts after marriage. Don’t put your hope in marriage, put it in God. There are so many joys but also challenges that come with marriage. My encouragement is to be hype and excited about it, because it is a beautiful thing that God has made, but to also keep a realistic view of what God intended it to be.
I still need to go to God, and He shows me that Luke is not the end-all-be-all. God is the only one that has and will continue to be consistent. Self-sacrifice is also important in addition to self-improvement. Invest in relationships. Jesus asks us to lay our life down to Him and to others. We are called to a selfless life, and to invest in relationships and give of ourselves, whether we are married or single.
9.Can you offer us some advice on the topics of guarding your heart, knowing your worth, and protecting your pearls?
Know your worth and believe that God has something good in store for you. Steer away from relationships that bring up a lot of red flags. Trust your instinct and stay away from things that will be destructive. It is better to be single than to knowingly go into something that is destructive. Be in deep fellowship with those who you surround yourself with, make sure they love Jesus too and then trust them enough to listen to them when they give you advice. This has definitely changed my life in every season.
Was that not amazing? My biggest take away is that in marriage, everything is amplified. This makes singleness even more important in growing and improving oneself. Thank you, Melat for such wise words!
If you have been putting your hope in marriage, but are looking to put your hope in God instead, then I would encourage you to sign up for the Jesus is Bae challenge below.