Comedian and actor Hannington Bugingo met Esther, a social worker, in 2005 through a mutual friend at a marketing agency called Experiential Momentum where they worked on a project together.
“When I started interacting with her, I realised that she was different from the other girls I had known. She was very peaceful, a good listener and generally understanding. And one of the reasons I decided to commit to her and start a relationship was her calm persona,” Hannington says.
For Esther, the decision to commit did not come easy.
“At first, because of his size and height, I thought he was just a boy and that is what I told his friends. They told me not to judge him by his physical appearance and so I took a chance on him,” Esther says.
When she got to know him better, she discovered that he had the qualities she had been looking for in a man to start a life of commitment with.
‘’He was focused, already established and was willing to settle down,’’ she shares.
The two started dating, a phase in which he proved his loving and caring abilities towards his new found love.
“When I got pregnant, he supported me. We were both young, he was 25 and I was 22 years-old. At his age he took responsibility and we started our family. I mean, how could I not commit to him?” she adds with a smile.
Soon the couple started planning and working towards formalising their relationship, a journey that led to marriage.
Ten years of marriage
“The 10-year-journey hasn’t been easy. There are times when I felt like giving up because of the nature of his job. Of course there are ups and downs but we have established a common ground. We have had joy and disappointments. We have cried and laughed together. There are things I look back to and thank God for helping us get through,” Esther says.
To Hannington, the 10-year-journey has been a rollercoaster, starting with getting her pregnant and panicking on what to do next, then starting to grow each other emotionally and the physical wellbeing.
“Marriage is not easy. It is never a smooth ride. We have had our ups and down but generally, it has been a good 10 years. We have gotten to know, understand, celebrate and be there for each other. We say sorry when we offend one another. So far, so good. We are thankful to God for guiding us. We look forward to many more years together,” he adds.
“Making a marriage work is about understanding one another and why you came together then deciding how you would like to run the relationship. It is not advisable to copy what another couple is doing. It is very important to have dialogue. Speak to one another on how to make yourself happy and also about issues that might come up. Keeping silent broods mistrust. The anger might pile and explode, sometimes leading to a break-up so talk to each other,” he advises.
The actor adds that forgiveness is critical as well as having times to chat and share jokes, even with children, and not take marriage to be too serious. “Being friends with your partner is important. Once you are friends, you will not harbour anger.”