When Charity Byarugaba speaks of her wedding day, you cannot fail to wish you were there and if you are unmarried, you can only pray for the same.
“This was one of the best days of my life. I was getting married to someone I had prayed for and loved silently for so many years, who had occupied a beautiful place in my heart.”
Brave and Charity Byarugaba met at the defunct ‘Uganda Polytechnic Kyambogo’. “I was a second year student and Charity was in her a first year,” Brave says, adding that their courtship was more of a long distance one.
“We were friends at Kyambogo and the marriage issue became serious when Charity was already in London for further studies,” he shares.
Charity, who only returned a month to their wedding is forever grateful to her husband who did all the ground work. They also purposed to have dates in that month, two to three times a week. Before that, they mainly kept in touch through emails and phone calls.
“We had been friends for over five years prior to our wedding. I would say, most of the foundation work was laid during our friendship.”
The couple got married on January 10, 2004 at All Saints Cathedral Nakasero. Charity was more than delighted to be wedded by Bishop George Katwesigye, who had also wed her parents at the same church.
When people talk about honeymoon, many think about travelling and having fun. While the Byarugabas did that too, they also wrote down their mission accompanied with some few other guiding principles. “Prayer was top of the list,” Brave says.
Charity adds that the first three weeks of their marriage was comprised of travelling, visiting their families, cooking meals together, dating and praying for each other because she had to return to the UK to finish her course.
“We hardly slept the entire night leading to my departure and the flight was one of my hardest flights because I was leaving a piece of my heart in Uganda.”
With their first year in marriage comprised of seven months apart, they were glad when they learnt they were expecting their first born, Immanuela Musinguzi Byarugaba.
“She was the centre of our first year because we were so excited about the thought of becoming parents. We were also preoccupied with discussion of the child’s progress, and trying to get names.”
Returning home seven months later, Charity was heavily pregnant. Nonetheless, she tried to get a job. “I thank my first boss at Metrocomia East Africa, Robert Wakabi for being so kind to me. He allowed me to stay home and come to work after delivery.
There have been several challenges that the Byarugabas have weathered such as misunderstandings, financial ups and downs, individual priorities overshadowing couple priorities and in-law frictions.
Charity also shares about balancing work and life, choosing which schools their children should attend, her failure to be available to fully support his business.
“The others are mainly on financial management because as a couple, we have made very many financial mistakes.”
Brave says despite all these, they are only still standing because they pray and talk through every problem, forgive one another and have committed to intentionally work on their weaknesses and review after certain periods of time.
Charity shares that their membership to a strong St Francis Married’s fellowship has been a strong anchor in guiding them on the path of marriage.
“Besides that, Bishop George Katwesigye, during counselling, shared with us Ecclesiastes 4 verse 11 and 12. He told us the third strand is God so He is our anchor and our everything. He has indeed helped us for the last 16 years. We are also members of Fathers and Mothers Union at All Saints Cathedral,” she intimates.
Besides also looking up to other couples, Charity is thankful for her husband.
“Brave, as my head, is committed to this marriage. He has been extremely patient with my many shortcomings, has allowed me to be me. He is my greatest cheerleader at work, as a mother and above all, I can confidently say, he is my best friend. We agreed, during our honeymoon, that we would aim to be a model couple and Christ would be our anchor.”
The couple has four children, Immanuela, Jordan, Nathan and Christianna.
“We set house rules and keep explaining to the children why those rules are there. Any child that goes against them has up to three chances to reform. After the third chance, a stick and carrot comes in,” Brave says.
On finances, he says it is a prerequisite to continue working hard to improve your finances.
“Spend less than 50 per cent of your earnings whenever possible and re-inject the rest in investments and savings. Above all, tithing should be a priority. He adds that young people should embrace skills training. “Acquired skills can sustain you with or without a formal job.”