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The Day I Became Dad & Husband at the Same Time (or, Why Dating Single Moms is Cool)

The Day I Became Dad and Husband (or, Why Dating Single Moms is Cool) Six years ago today I met the woman of my dreams. A couple weeks before, we found each other on eHarmony, and we arranged to meet for our first date. Trisha and I continued to date for several months, and less than seven months after our first date, we were married.

When I met Trisha, she was a single mother of a three-year-old. (Her first husband died when their son was only seven months old.) As our dating relationship progressed, as we got more serious, the sobering thought kept returning to my mind: I could be this little boy’s dad some day.

On Christmas Eve 2007, I proposed to Trisha at a family party. That night I pulled little Bradley aside and told him I would be marrying his mommy and that I would be his new dad. It didn’t take him long to get used to the idea. He began calling me “Daddy” that night.

What was it like becoming husband and dad at the same time? 

It Had Its Challenges

We didn’t have dedicated time to just be husband and wife. Most of my friends who got married in their mid-20s waited at least a year or two before they started having kids. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be a DINK couple (dual income, no kids). I’ve wondered what it would be like to just enjoy coming home to my wife, to have the time to just be “us.” (God willing, I’ll get to experience this when the nest is empty.)

I had to overcome a huge learning curve. Going from bachelor to husband and father in a matter of months was a very big adjustment. My nightly rituals of pizza parties with college students and falling asleep to Conan O’Brien was replaced with cleaning up Duplos and reading aloud children’s Bible stories. I quickly saw all my character defects magnified by the responsibility, which forced me to rise to the occasion and grow up fast.

It Was Full of Blessings

Me and Bradley, taken the day we met on July 4, 2007

Me and Bradley, taken the day we met on July 4, 2007

I fell in love with Trisha as a mom, not just as a woman. I knew Trisha and Bradley were a package deal when I met her on eHarmony, and while I had never dated a single mom, I was up for the experience. What I didn’t expect was how much I would come to love Trisha for her motherly instincts. When I saw her and Bradley interact, something in me said, “This is the kind of woman I would want to be mother to my kids.” Her patience, kindness, tenderness, and discipline inspired me and made me love her all the more.

I fell in love with a little boy. Trisha introduced me to Bradley on July 4, 2007, sometime shortly after our first date. Over the months that followed, I became more and more convinced that I would love to be a dad to this intelligent, goofy, tenderhearted 3-year-old. He definitely won my heart.

I became a little boy’s answer to prayer. Bradley had been praying for a new daddy months before I came along. It was humbling to think that I could be that answer to prayer, and it has been an honor every day since then to have this responsibility.


So, if you’re one of those guys who thinks single mothers have too much baggage, get over yourself and open your mind to the possibility that you could be missing the best thing that could ever happen to you.

Bradley and Luke

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Comments

  1. <3 So happy you two found each other. And that I got to be there from the beginning. Even if you didn't let me come to the wedding.

  2. Erin Lalone says:

    As someone who has been friends with Trisha for over 15 years (wow!), I feel compelled to respond. I was close to Trisha and Jason (her first husband) from the beginning of their relationship. And being that we were so young, I was in awe of the love they shared. I was so elated when they had Bradley and even more devastated when the world lost Jason. I will be honest, I cringed the first time I heard Bradley call you Daddy. I was initially scared when you were married so soon and expecting Cameron within the year after! But now, all I can do is thank you. For being there for my friend, and Bradley and the rest of your family. I am confident you do all you can to honor Jason’s memory and make sure that Bradley knows that his Daddy Jason will be waiting for him in Heaven. I mean no disrespect when I say you had “big shoes” to fill in the eyes of all who knew Jason. And honestly, Luke….I don’t think there is another man on this earth who could have done it. Thank you.

    Erin

    PS – Bradley looks so old in that picture!!

  3. Awesome post! Thanks for sharing your story!

  4. I love this post and getting to know you more! eHarmony! I would have NEVER guessed. You and Trisha have really made me rethink the whole online dating thing, because you both are great together. So thankful that blogging has introduced me to both of you!

    • Luke Gilkerson says:

      Thanks! Online dating works for a lot of people if they go into it with the right mindset (and if the one they meet does as well). It has been great getting to know you as well!

  5. i love this post Luke, it really touched my heart being a single mom. I keep my kids so far out of meeting any friends i have especially male until i know if they are going to be around for a long time, i have had my daughter call one of my male friends dad before not understanding the whole meaning of the term dad because both my kids dad’s have not wanted to be there for them. Dad has been such a sensitive subject for my son because he sees all his friends having them, and he wants one. I have since started looking for someone who can be there for me, and be a good role model for my kids, and I’m glad that you have been there for Bradley and such a great example and filling that great role model for him that a lot of boys need these days!

    • Luke Gilkerson says:

      Thanks for sharing, Melissa. It is hard for kids to grow up without a father. This world is sadly short of good dads. I pray you find just the right man for you and your children.

  6. Luke, I too had the honor of becoming a husband and daddy at the same time. When I met my wife she had two younger children, ages 6 and 7. Since then, we have been blessed with another child as well. I resonate with much of what you said in this post, the challenges, and the blessings, which we both know far outweigh the challenges. As a man who has been led on a path similar to yours in this regard, I wanted to thank you for writing this post. Happy Father’s Day! May you receive grace as you continue to show the love of our perfect Father, The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to your wife and children, and may you continue to do so with joy!

    • Luke Gilkerson says:

      Thanks for the comment, David. God has blessed me beyond what I could have imagined. I never expected to data a single mom, but I feel like it gave me a glimpse into an aspect of her personality I would not have otherwise seen. It was one of the things that drew me to her. God is good.

  7. WOW! Talking about being an answer to prayer totally made me cry. Makes me think about all the children I know waiting for a mom or dad . . .

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