Hi, Friends! Jemeia here! Last week you heard from Melat (check out her story here) and today you get to hear from Melat’s husband, Luke. Gosh, I truly see Luke as a brother. Seeing the way that He loves and honors Melat encourages me to not settle for less than I am deserving as a daughter of Christ. Luke and Melat have such a unique story and today I am especially excited for you to hear about more of their story from Luke’s perspective! I promise, you will be blessed! Enjoy!
1.What drew you to your partner/spouse?
I was drawn to Melat through friendship, at a time where I was asking and praying for God to reveal His will for my life. I was praying about a serious relationship (who, what, and where), while still trying to focus on God first and His daily guidance. Melat and I went to the same boarding school in Kenya and I viewed her as a life-long friend. She was always someone that I could have a good time with.
But, it was when I went to her home in Ethiopia that I developed feelings for her. In Ethiopia, I was intrigued by how she engaged with her family and how she embraced her culture. I was also inspired by the way that she pursued Christ and I admired how confident she was in herself.
Even now, I admire Melat because she is a good listener, she is empathetic, and values depth-ness in friendship. She helps in decision-making and she is a person of action. I sought God on direction for a romantic relationship, and He showed me in a clear way that Melat was the woman I was supposed to pursue.
2.What challenges are you facing as a married man, that are relatable to those who are single?
I believe that in marriage your weaknesses impact your partner negatively at times in a much more tangible way than in a dating relationship. If I have an argument with Melat, I cannot just retreat back to my own apartment but rather have to face it head on because we now live together. For me, this has increased my motivation to grow in my weaknesses even when it is difficult.
In conflict, you have to be willing to process through emotions without just trying to find the solutions. There are also differences in how guys and girls communicate. My best advice is that men are supposed to be leaders in this area of marriage. As a man, being a leader means you are the first to submit and humble yourself to resolve issues. I agree with Melat that everything is amplified in marriage.
3.What are things that you enjoy about being married?
When you are young, you have a family, but then you go off to college and lose that. Especially, when you travel halfway across the world like we did. Being married, you have a family again. It is the best feeling in the world. You feel more energized knowing that you have a supportive relationship and truly feel that you can conquer the world. When you feel beaten down, you have someone to lift you up and your roommate is your best friend.
4.What advice can you give about being on the other side? What should those who are single be praying for or be considering as they wait?
Christ needs to be your all because your spouse can never be that for you. It is better to be single than to date the wrong person or to be in a bad relationship. Marriage takes a lot of work and investment because you have to invest in your spouse, as Christ loves the church. If you are single, work on being a healthy person because that investment is well worth it and it will impact your marriage positively down the line if you choose to get married.
5.What are some things that you miss about singleness?
I don’t miss anything.
6.How did you overcome many of your struggles in singleness and how has that helped you in marriage?
I was able to overcome a lot of my struggles by investing in friendships and relationships with guys, finding mentors, and joining men’s life groups. Building those relationships are important because every guy needs male friends, who are willing to open up about current struggles. As a married man, my emotional needs are met by my wife but learning from other godly men, helps me become a better husband.
7.What is your take on how men function?
In pre-marriage counseling, we learned women and men have different needs. In general women have a greater need for continual communication, transparency, and affection. Men have more physical needs and they desire to share their recreational interests with someone. Even if a woman does not enjoy doing a certain thing that her man enjoys, it means a lot to her man if she still does those things.
This could include hiking, basketball, or another passion. Also, men like to be affirmed as leaders and in general, are attracted to women who take care of themselves. I personally knew that I wanted to pursue a relationship with someone that was my close friend, I was attracted to, I could laugh with, who believed in Jesus Christ, and who had a similar vision in life including serving the poor, using the gift of hospitality, and investing in East Africa to some capacity.
Some guys may seem indecisive and don’t know what they want. This means they may not be ready for a relationship yet. If a guy can’t tell you what he wants in a woman, stay away.
8.What does or has it looked like for guys to be intentional and pursue a woman?
Some guys want to define the relationship before they start dating or make a commitment, and others don’t. Either a guy is leading you on or is into you. I personally feel like guys have to be the ones to step up. When I pursued Melat, I tried to show her that I was interested in her and I wanted to spend 1-1 time with her. So, I would say that if a guy shows you attention and wants to spend time with you, he is interested in you.
9.Have you ever pursued ungodly relationships or situation-ships (for a lack of better word)? How was that different from pursuing or being intentional with a woman of God?
No, I have not pursued an ungodly relationship. But, I will say that if a guy is interested in you, he will open up to you and will be interested in the things going on in your life. Guys generally go deep with those that they can trust. With that being said, I still caution any girl to set clear boundaries in relationships and to be careful about how deep they are going on an emotional level. When emotional boundaries are crossed, physical boundaries will be crossed. Beware of being too vulnerable early on.
10.Picture your sister (old or young), daughter, or a female in your life that you really care about. What advice would you give her about what she deserves, what red flags would you advise her to look out for if and when she starts to date?
I think that it is a good sign if a guy asks for the honor in dating you and invests in your life and community. If he does not have a plan, vision or reason for why he wants to date you, I would stay away from him. If he keeps you isolated, rather than pushing you closer to community, stay away. For example, I approached Melat’s family to communicate my intentions with her. It is important for a guy to invest in you and the people that you care about, and vice versa.
11.Picture your son, brother or best friend. What advice can you give him on singleness, intentionality, respect, and the pursuit of a relationship?
Define your goals, whether it’s to be intentional or not. Don’t lead people on, but pursue people wholeheartedly. Think to some degree “this could be someone else’s wife,” and this should push you to treat them with respect. If you desire just friendship, make sure that your intentions are clear. If you unintentionally lead someone on, apologize and be direct moving forward.
But, if your goal is marriage pursue all relationships with the goal of assessing if marriage is possible. Even if you don’t know if you will marry that person. You need to know how to communicate with guys and girls; develop co-ed relationships.
Luke, thank you 1000000 times for your transparency! If you have been blessed by this couple’s interview, and it has pushed you to grow in your time of singleness, I would encourage you to sign-up for the Jesus is Bae Challenge where you will be challenged to spend time with Him daily!