Thursday January 21 2016

We believed in abstinence till marriage

Bob Ambrose Nuwagira and Jocelyn Leletu

Bob Ambrose Nuwagira and Jocelyn Leletu 

By Edgar Batte

His story

How and when did you meet Jocelyn?
I met Leletu at Makerere Campus. She was in Africa Hall and I was in Nsibirwa (State) Hall. She was studying law and I was doing IT. We were casual friends for more than five years before I had any feelings for her. We went to the same church, were in the same Student group (Prime Time at The Pool), so that is how we became casual friends with her.

As friends, what traits bonded you?
We became close when after graduating from campus. I was staying in Makerere Kagugube and she was also in the neighbourhood as she finalised her Post-Graduate Diploma at the Law Development Centre. She hosted our church’s cell group in the area.

What did you share that brought you together first as friends?
We were both Born Again Christians and both had a passion for youth. We are both fun-loving people, shared the same values of chastity and we were both in the same cell group.

Do you remember how you became friends?
Not quite. I guess we found ourselves in the same community. We had joined the cell at the same time and that is how our friendship begun.

How did she bring out the meaning of friendship to you?
She is almost my opposite. She is very attentive to detail, keeps in contact with all her friends and has a very caring personality. She will remember your birthday. She will be there when you need help. She is very hospitable. I started to notice she was different. She was a real lady with so much responsibility.

What was the transformation like from a friend to a lover?
In all this, I started to realise she was some special damsel. She had great qualities, was intelligent but I had reservations for lawyers. There was always this talk of them being assertive and controlling. But I came to realise she was not in that description. She is a beautiful, humble, jolly, smart Christian girl who was really worth the risk.

What did you consider a risk?
There were so many things at stake. I felt like I was risking ruining our casual friendship if I expressed my well-kept attraction for her. I risked being considered to have joined her cell group with motives. I risked rejection.

When and how did you profess your love to her?
I started on a journey of silently putting my case forward. I had never been on an exclusive date with her so I colluded with a friend to dare her to a date with me. I played a catalyst in this. And boom, that was our first date together. We had great time at the date... just talking about ourselves and really nothing much...but for me it broke for barriers.

From then on, we started to communicate, started to pay each other visits and the breakthrough was when we both attended a life skills training camp in Kako, in Masaka, that we really got to share much more about life, love and what envisioned as the future. That is when I realised I had a focused and intelligent girl before me and if I did not give it a try, I would always regret it. Of course, being a comedian did not make things easy. I did not think anyone would find me serious. I perhaps thought she would think I was joking.

What did you do about it to win her over?
Many had actually told me if I ever told them something serious, I would be interpreted as being in the act of doing comedy. I started out with a purposive strategy, breaking into her circle, creating more time to meet up and talk more and being consistent.

What was her reaction?
I realised she was a little cautious but I never gave up. I was up to it and slowly, we became free with one another.

What did you do to get her to trust you and give in to you?
I just remained consistent in my actions and efforts. I had decided to test the water with both feet.

What did you feel when she said yes to start a committed relationship with you?
It was a great feeling. This was after a full month. I had resigned my fate to whatever her decision was. I was relieved as well. It is not good for man to be in a state of uncertainty for more than three days.

After opening up to you, what was your next conversation?
I told her how happy I was and I guess we called it a day. In fact she was the one who had taken me out for lunch.

Did the conversation about marriage start immediately?
Our conversation after that never lasted 30 minutes. We started talking marriage in our next meeting. Unfortunately, it did not take long. A month later she got a scholarship to study her Masters in Law at London School of Economics (LSE) and off she went.

Wasn’t this a lonely spell, and one of emptiness?
It was. We tried to remain in touch but it was not easy because of the schedules. I was also doing my masters at Makerere University and I was running my company and doing rounds of comedy projects around town so it was tight.

How did you keep in touch?
By phone, email. WhatsApp was almost non existent.

When did you propose to her?
I do not remember the exact date but I actually proposed twice. Before she left for grad school and when she was back. The actual proposal was in 2014 somewhere in May.

What is your idea of love?
Love is a choice. When you choose to love someone, be ready to bear the consequences of that confession. When you choose to love, love whole-heartedly. Love is patient and love is a sacrifice.

Did you think that your wife’s purity when you married her was God’s gift to you?
Yes I did. I too was walking the same journey. I held her in high esteem knowing she had to beat every temptation to keep the walk of abstinence.

When did you get married?
July 25, 2015

What keeps your relationship tick?
Understanding one another and doing a lot of communication. And this is not just sitting and talking un-resourceful talk. We also share about each other’s expectations, are honest with one another, pray with and for one another and spend quality time with one another.

Dedicate three love songs to your wife...
Niiwe by HolyKean Amooti, I call her blessed by Papa San and When I found you by Bebe Winans.

And lastly what is your message to your wife...
God being our helper, me and you will make our dream a reality. I love you kikumi ahakindi (100 per cent).

Her story

When did love first make meaning to you?
Well, throughout school, I was basically a single girl and did not give much thought to love and relationships especially because I always thought getting into relationships would distract me from the goals I had set to achieve in life. The first time love thought made meaning to me was after campus when I started relating with my husband, who was my boyfriend then

How did he make love meaningful to you?
The thought of someone caring so much about me and doing all these nice things for me and being so concerned about me. It made me feel so loved. I had waited for this kind of love for a long time. I remember how he would help fix my car, escort me, check on me to make sure that I was fine and say all those nice things that would warm my heart.
It was such care and love that made so much meaning to me and eventually made me realise this guy actually loved me. I know for any girl such genuine love and care would speak volumes.

So those ‘vibes’ actually worked well for him and for me. I remember a time when we went for a camp organised by our church in Jaki, in Masaka. And he took time to park some juice, biscuits a notebook, etc, for me. When I reached camp I was treated like a princess.
Oh, it felt so nice. Those were beautiful memories. Yeah, those things made so much meaning and spoke to my heart

Did he have a car at the time he fixed yours?
Oh no, he did not have a car by then but he had a driving permit.

What did you do to reciprocate the love and care he was showing you?
Ah, I reciprocated by first of all accepting to be his friend because it all started on a friendship level. Then of course I would reply to his calls and texts, and go out for lunch or recreational activities with him and friends whenever we had an opportunity. So, basically responding in equal measure.

Did he have to tell you he loved you or you simply read the signs?
Yes I did read the signs but he had to tell me. I did not want to assume so until he told me I was not going to assume things. He eventually took me out and told me what was on his heart on July, 25, 2012.

Where did he take you and what did he pour out to you on that day?
The memories of that day are still fresh in my mind. I remember it was in the evening. He picked me up from home and we went to Faze 2, along Lumumba Avenue.
We had a meal and we were just catching up. While we were still at it, the band started performing and the table next to us had been reserved for about 10 people who came in at around the time the band started performing so it got a little noisy. He then decided that we go for coffee at Piato Restaurant which had just opened.
That is where he poured out his heart to me. Of course, he told me how much he loved me and asked me into a relationship leading to marriage.

How did you take it all in?
Uhm…it still took me by surprise even when I had seen the signs and told my friends what I was suspecting. I did not think it would come that soon or rather I thought the brother was just being nice. My first reaction was definitely to blush and of course, deep down in my heart I felt good about him. He was a good guy and oh, I could not believe he was asking me out. After hearing it from him, it was my turn to give an answer. So I affirmed him and told him he was a good man. However, I also told him that I would pray to God about it and give him an answer in due course.

What was his reaction?
He was calm and I guess glad that he had said what was on his heart.

After how long did you make a decision and what kind of decision did you make?
I made my decision after one month and I communicated it to him on his birthday - that was my birthday gift to him. The decision was a yes- yes to a relationship/courtship with him leading to a lifelong marriage. That was the beginning of our journey.

What was your dating experience like?
Ours was not so much of dating. We believed in courtship because to us dating means trying out many options at the same time so one can decide who works best for them. In our case, when I said yes to him, we decided to walk a journey of getting to know each other exclusively knowing that that journey could go either way. However, we had the comfort of knowing that during the courtship season we were focused on each other and that would be the case until we either decided to get married or part ways.

How was the courtship?
It was great. It was a time of getting to know each other-unmasked. It was time of being real to each other, sharing expectations, visiting places, visiting friends and in laws, having fun and spending time with each other. We believed in abstinence till marriage, so we had our boundaries in place. Courtship was real fun. I enjoyed it.

How would you enjoy your fun-time?
Going for dinner and movies, recreational activities like games and going to the beach, visiting friends and family and many others.

At what point did he propose to you?
He proposed to me a day before I travelled to the UK for my Masters. That was on 25 September 2012 and then again on May 6, 2015- two days before our traditional marriage.

What went through your mind the night before your wedding day?
I was excited. I kept thinking about the day and how it was going to be. Of course, I also thought about the fact that it was the beginning of a totally new life but I had been prepared for this new life through marriage training for 6 months and i had known my husband for three years so I didn’t have any worries. I was looking forward to the day.

How did you manage to keep yourself pure till that marriage day?
I must say it was God. We made the decision to remain sexually pure and committed it to God to help us. We had both made a commitment to abstinence from sex till marriage and had been mentored through Primetime and church ministry. So when we started relating we both committed to keep sexually pure and help each other.

We set for ourselves boundaries to help us walk the journey till marriage. We also had people we were accountable to and purposed to be honest with them and share with them. I can’t say it was as easy but we chose to stand by our decision and God helped us through. It is very possible to walk the journey of sexual purity till marriage if you make the decision to do so, of course with the help of God. We made the decision to be sexually pure.

How would you remain focused in times when you were tempted?
Our focus was to please God so we knew that whatever we did, God was watching us-as in God himself. So that kept us in check. Also, we were involved in active ministry- teaching young people about sexual purity so that kept us in check. We didn’t want our lifestyle and our message to contradict. Then our friends who hold the same belief kept us accountable. These kept us focused and accountable.

Dedicate three love songs to your husband
When God made you by Newsong feat Natale Grant, Shuga by Levixone feat Daisy Ejang and Teli Mulala by Jackie Sseyonjo

What is your message to your husband?
It is close to six months since we got married. I have enjoyed every bit of it, the jokes, the laughter, the love, the differences, I have enjoyed them all. Given another opportunity, I would still say yes to you. ‘Ale mi amba amba’. (Lugbara for I love you very much)