Taking the initiative to approach someone and tell them how you feel is never easy because many times, you do not know how the other person will react.
What if they reject your advances? It is even worse when they go ahead to insult you.
For such reasons, Pius Suuna, for a while, hid his true feelings towards Milly Phiona Nabirye during their early interactions.
“I feared mostly rejection,” he says.
Suuna’s feelings for Nabirye started in 2007, the year they first met. Nabirye was a friend to Suuna’s cousin, Rachel Kisakye. One day, Nabirye and Kisakye went visiting at Suuna’s home and Suuna for some reason got drawn towards Nabirye. They were both in their Senior Four vacation.
“She was beautiful and when I learnt that she had studied at Nabisunsa Girls School, I became even more impressed,” he says. Nabirye, however, thought that he was too friendly.
The second encounter
Suuna did not see Nabirye again until three years later in 2010 when they met at Kyambogo University while undertaking a Bachelor’s degree in economics and statistics. Over time, Suuna prioritised on making Nabirye a friend.
“I tactfully became the indispensable best friend before daring to reveal my actual feelings towards her,” he says.
Suuna’s worst fear, rejection, eventually became reality after expressing his true feelings to Nabirye.
“When I finally confessed that I wanted her to be more than just a friend, she told me that things could not work out between us. She gave me a few reasons including having a boyfriend,” Suuna says.
“I went mute,” he recalls. “I became so hurt and depressed that I decided to give her space,” he says.
But one random day during university holidays, Nabirye called Suuna. “I was excited to get a phone call from her. One of the questions she asked was why I stopped calling her, among other things. Anyway, Milly proceeded to tell me she was unwell and I rushed over to see her.”
And from that time, Nabirye’s heart slowly began softening towards Suuna.
Fear of incest
Many cultures and traditions in Africa prohibit two related individuals from pursuing a relationship. It is usually believed that such relationships are strange and should be avoided at all cost.
Suuna explains, “My cousin, Rachel Kisakye, the one whom Milly came with home in 2007, is a daughter to my maternal uncle. Then, the wife to my maternal uncle is a cousin to Phiona’s mother. When we both discovered this, it bothered us as a couple. It troubled us because we thought we were committing incest or something. We thought the elders would put a stop to the relationship. So, we had to dig really deeper into our respective family trees and also make inquiries from other family members.”
Pius says after sharing the dilemma with his mother, she analysed the situation before eventually confirming that the two were not related.
“We were relieved to later find out that Milly and I are not related in any way,” he adds.
Qualities they admire
Besides her beauty, Suuna says she is also neat and God fearing, aspects he had noticed about her during their campus days.
Nabirye says she eventually got attracted to him not only because of his friendly nature but also because he is God fearing. He is also respectful and has moral values that she does not see in other men today,” she says.
With such mutual attraction towards one another, the couple opted to formalise their relationship. They first had an introduction on April 16, 2016 and the wedding on May 21, 2016. The couple have two daughters aged two years and nine months.
Like other marriages, the couple have gone through challenges. In fact, Suuna remembers one time during an argument, he kept laughing and smiling at his wife as a tactful way of appearing less bothered.
“I simply wanted to annoy her more,” he says. “One time, after annoying me, I waited until he had gone to the bathroom and locked him there for some time,” she says.
But lately, the couple has realised that getting back at each other will not solve but rather worsen issues in the marriage. So, nowadays, they sit down to talk about issues and find a way of resolving them as a couple.
“And we do that as two individuals because this marriage is between the two of us. We do not believe in the intervention of a third party apart from God, who is always in our midst,” Suuna says.
Advise to people
To the single men out there, Suuna says marriage is a beautiful institution that should not be feared. He adds that men should learn to come from their macho high ground to the level of compromise. Women should not be the only ones accepting standards that are lower than desirable, says Suuna.
Meanwhile, Nabirye advises women to marry their friends.
“Sometimes women feel that when they date a friend, things will get complicated or the friendship is ruined. But, it is not always the case. In fact, the relationship gets better,” she concludes.
I would wish to see her extremely excited when I gift her something. I know she appreciates inwardly but the quality of exterior expression is what I think she should work on.”
I am so tolerant that I hardly notice any flaws in him.”