‘He was there when I needed help’

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Hellen and Stephen had known each other for a while but only as members of the same church serving in different ministries. She had prayed to God to bring her the right man, and when Stephen offered to help her out of a difficult situation, she knew that this was the man she had been praying for.

What started as a joke later became reality for Hellen Namatovu Kawuma. Because she and Stephen Kawuma served on the singles’ ministry and Stephen was the leader, he usually called meetings. One day, she and a friend joked about how Kawuma would never forget to send a message to remind them of an overnight service or a singles’ meeting but would never send one just to say hello.

A few days later, as Hellen was packing to set off for her internship, she received a call from him. He had called to check on her and she was glad because at the time, she was going through a difficult situation and needed a listening ear.

“Not only did Kawuma listen but also offered to help. From then on, we stayed in touch even after I travelled to Fort Portal for my internship,” Namatovu says.

“Save the singles ministry where we both belonged, we served in different ministries; Hellen was in the worship team while I was an interpreter. It was only later that I joined the worship team. In the singles’ ministry, we organised several events and at a dinner, I asked her to walk with me on the red carpet but she turned me down,” Kawuma shares.

He adds that at the time, Hellen was focused on achieving her dreams and it seemed unlikely that she would be interested in starting a relationship.

“I knew she was the one for me and was only stuck on how to make my intentions known to her. I had also secretly assessed her for qualities of a wife and she had passed most of my simple checklist standards. Only one remained; confirmation from God,” Kawuma says.

The start

Namatovu says before finishing her internship, Kawuma had confessed his love for her. Because of the long distance, they relied on frequent calls and text messages to keep the fire burning. It was only when Hellen returned to Kampala that they started going out on dates and spending more time with each other.

To her, he is the perfect man. She loves his sense of humour and the fact that he is a God-fearing man.

“He is also friendly and neat. I had set a goal of finding the right man at 24 years of age and by the time Kawuma came into my life, I was 24 and ready to fall in love,” Namatovu shares.

On the other hand, Kawuma says his wife is kind, committed to serving God and friendly.

Wedding

While he did not propose, Kawuma showed interest of marriage and Hellen says his devotion was unshakeable and undeterred. Later, they had their introduction on September 8, 2018 and their wedding on April 27, 2019 at Reigning in Life Church in Kamwokya, Kampala.

While both enjoy travelling and shopping together, they had to do more than that to navigate their first year of marriage.

With barely time to know and spend more time with each other as marrieds, Kawuma says his wife getting pregnant early in the marriage changed everything.

“We love our child. However, it was in the early days of our marriage and we had hoped to spend some time getting to know each other. To make matters worse, her pregnancy was characterised by severe morning sickness, which led to several admissions due to hypoglycemia and low blood pressure. Then during labour, the cervix refused to open and the baby was in distress leading to a caesarian section on the second day of labour. Those nine months were nothing I had envisioned,” Kawuma says.

Challenges

The Kawumas also had several incidences of clashing since they were just getting to know each other.

“We have not had the chance to have marital/marriage counselling from experienced couples, seminars, retreats or conferences. Therefore, save God’s grace, we had no experience to draw from as we went through some trying times,” Kawuma shares.

That said, they could not leave their marriage to the influence of external factors. They thus practiced being patient with each other.

“We also engaged in activities that make both of us happy such as riding our bikes to random places, setting up our own movie night at home, and singing and praying together. Actually, we had a prayer alter at our home and my sister and his brothers would join us,” Namatovu shares.

Just when they thought that pregnancy problems were behind them, even the second pregnancy presented its own hardships, frequently threatening a miscarriage.

“I was often on bedrest, which was difficult to get used to,” she says.

In all the ups and downs, the Kawumas pray and know that each day is better and their future is not in man’s but in God’s hands.

Blessed with two children (a girl and a boy), they say they are thankful for their family.

Advice

To all those wishing to get married, the Kawumas say it is the best institution anyone can join. They only caution couples to join with a positive attitude and a winning mentality.

“Remember, we all come from different backgrounds, with different experiences. Therefore, we are not at the same level of understanding. Therefore, we must endeavour to leave room for each other’s progress.”

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