Relationships

LOVKN-Part Two- Relationship Journey

Editor’s note: This is part 2 of a trilogy of interviews with the musician LOVKN. Steven plays indie worship music and is featured on Spotify.  In this interview, Steven opens up about love and struggles through an early marriage. 

MW: Warriors are young men ages 18-30. You were married at age 20. Tell us your story of falling in love, getting married, and the turn that relationship took.

LOVKN: 

I was 20 and at that point in my life, church was my world. I worked at the church, I was around the church multiple times throughout the week. Not saying that was a bad thing but, I believe at that time in my life I was doing more leading than being led. I was a busy worship leader and youth leader. Because my very job description was “leader”, at least at that age, I subconsciously tended to think I was much older and more mature than I really was. I was constantly working with and surrounded by older people; people who were newly married and starting families of their own. In hindsight, my perspective on life and my future was very small. Though I thought at the time that I had my life and future figured out and that I could see it all and neatly fit it into a nice clean little box. So what do I do? I decided that the girl I was seeing at the time was going to be my wife. She was coming from practically the same place too, as in, she hadn’t had much life experience and mostly grew up around the church and was still very active in church-life. She was even a year younger than me. The reality is, we were still babies, even though we felt like old and mature people, full of wisdom. 

So what do we do? We get married. But here’s where the story gets interesting. We didn’t do it the conventional, christian way. Instead, we drove to Las Vegas on a whim and got hitched in an Elvis chapel. Unfortunately Elvis didn’t marry us. Our pockets weren’t deep enough to afford that package. No, we got the basic package. Just the two of us in a stale room with no windows and some fake plants scattered about. No one there but a stranger in a bowtie walking us through some basic vows. 

Fast forward three months and we are moving out of the state together to embark on a new adventure. We left our community to embark on a move to northern california for ministry school. Driving up the coast, no job ahead of us, not even a place to live. It was a total faith journey. Sounds romantic, right? That season ended up being one of many highs and lows. It tested our relationship in many ways. We stayed there for a couple of years and fought to make life work. 

The breaking point came about 6 months after we moved back to Arizona. I was going to be leaving for an internship opportunity for a few months in a state 2,000 miles away. She was going to be staying back in Arizona to start school again. I was blind. To have this kind of physical distance in a relationship takes a lot of strength and commitment from both parties and is a very dangerous thing to do to a relationship that isn’t sitting on a solid foundation. That’s where I got it wrong. I thought our relationship was stronger than it really was. She needed my pursuit of her and I needed this incredible career opportunity; the internship. The problem was none of that was being communicated properly between us. Perhaps we were both blind. During that season we weren’t being mentored. I went off to do the internship but had to cut it short after a couple months and head back home because I was needed by my wife. Funny concept, isn’t it? Within a couple weeks of being home, I was kicked out of the house. She decided at that point that she got married too young and wasn’t able to live the life she wanted to live within the confines of our relationship. The following year was riddled with heartbreak while I balanced the fight to make our relationship work with respecting her boundaries. It got pretty bad. I’ll save the details but, after a year and a few months of separation with little hope for returning to what once was, the impending divorce became official. 

MW: Relational breakups of any kind are difficult to navigate. Tell us what struggles you faced when you realized your marriage was coming to an end.

LOVKN:

I found it hard to accept the reality of it. The greatest struggle was choosing to press into God rather than check out and go my own way. It was tempting. I thought, if my wife can go off and live her unhealthy lifestyle, walking away from God all together, maybe I should just do the same. Maybe I should just return to old habits to cope with the pain; look at porn when I’m down, drink a few beers every night after work. At times that certainly felt like the easier remedy to my heartache, even though it was no remedy at all. Times were very uncertain. Life slowed way down. During that year of separation, I was living day by day because I didn’t know what a week ahead would even look like. Would we make amends? Would it get worse? I found my true peace and healing as I began to take a stand and choose to turn to God and worship Him in those moments when I was tempted to run away. I turned to my music and songwriting. In the heat of the moment when I was feeling the weight of it all, I remembered Luke 10:27, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”. I took strength to love God with my obedience. 

MW: Jesus speaks of redemption. He demonstrated such on the cross for all who believe.  Tell us your story of restoration.  Having looked back over the past 7 years, where have you seen God redeem your life and how you understand relationships?

LOVKN:

It was out of that place of choosing God when I didn’t feel like it that lovkn truly came to be. God used my gift of music and song during that season to help me sing my way into the healing and redemption He had for me. I began to create and write. I was writing a song every day. I eventually felt Him leading me to put those songs online and share them with others. This eventually became the I Will Not Refrain EP that I have on Spotify. The prayers and songs of worship that I wrote during that season were able to go out into the world and bless so many others who were going through difficult times. I was beautiful and humbling to watch it unfold. Since 2017, the year of separation that led to divorce, I went from having no music online to having multiple EPs, a few albums and videos and many tours across the states and even to other countries. I’ve been able to share my songs with many and see many encounter Jesus’ presence. I praise God for that. It doesn’t take away the pain of what I walked through but, it has brought me into so much healing and peace. 

MW: Talk about the place of forgiveness in your healing process.

LOVKN.

I have genuinely been able to forgive. Looking back on the journey of our relationship, I can see places where I wasn’t always in the right. I can see places where we were “young and dumb”. I’ve been able to come to a place of forgiveness towards her and towards myself. I finally found my mentor in that year when we were separated. I began going to therapy sessions once a week. It was a place where I was able to talk about my feelings unhindered. I highly recommend therapy/counseling. Those sessions allowed me to cry and release what was pent up inside. Through that process I was able to genuinely forgive. 

MW: Let’s say you are meeting with a fellow warrior-friend who is considering marriage.  What advice would you give him?

LOVKN:

Marriage counseling is great. If you are younger than 23 and considering marriage, really make sure you know what you’re getting into. Make sure you’re not getting married just to have sex. Ask yourself if this is a person you can enjoy the boring, mundane moments of life with. Ask yourself if she is someone who will love you and choose you and stick by your side even when you’re a crappy version of yourself. Can you do the same for her?

MW: Let’s say one of your warrior-friends is newly married. He comes to you with a heavy heart that the marriage isn’t as easy and blissful as he expected.  That the woman he married is different than the one he dated.  What advice would you give him and how can you encourage him to remain faithful to his vows and to the Lord?

LOVKN: 

Marriage is about sacrifice!! How are you sacrificing for her and how is she sacrificing for you? It’s not always about what am I getting out of the relationship rather what am I giving to the relationship. Make sure you know what your wife’s love languages are. She won’t always receive love the same way you receive love. It may feel unnatural at times to love her, do it anyways. It’s not about living this Hollywood movie love-story. This is real life, living with someone and finding the true joy in the experience of choosing to love someone. Also, do something for the relationship to get you both bonding again, go on a little weekend trip or set up a date night. It can be simple and affordable. Make sure you’re seeking opportunities to actively pursue her. Even little things will go a long way. 

MW:  What does the future hold for you in terms of relationships?

LOVKN:

I’ve been in a new relationship over this past year. It is the first relationship I’ve had since my divorce. It has been difficult at times but mostly a beautiful season where God has been opening my heart again to love again. I wasn’t actively seeking a relationship when this one began. It really came out of nowhere in the midst of me walking in obedience to my ministry. 

MW: Thank you for opening your soul to us in what is a very sensitive and difficult part of your life. What hope have you gained from walking these past years?

LOVKN:

I’ve gained more hope in knowing that, even in situations that we don’t understand in the moment, God has a plan and there is goodness on the other side. He truly does make all things work together for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).

Warrior On!

Steven Lufkin
Musician at LOVKN | Website

LOVKN is a Christian-artist and producer based in Phoenix, AZ. His musical journey began as a young 11-year-old learning piano at school. In late 2017 he took a step of faith by uploading his songs online to Soundcloud and eventually Spotify. In 2018, after getting some traction from a YouTube feature with the Good Christian Music Blog (now Amen Worldwide), LOVKN went on to share his music with communities around the US. The following year brought with it opportunities for him to travel and share his songs around the globe. Now at 27, Lovkn has released 3 albums and multiple EPs as well as organized and played in multiple tours including the One Big Family tour in 2019. His One Big Family ministry, established in 2019, helps to serve and bring unity to a growing community of Christian indie-artists around the globe. You can reach LOVKN at https://lovknmusic.com/home

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