‘My family told me not to marry a church mouse’

The couple says although the journey has had its ups and downs, they have made it work through embracing values such as prayer, forgiveness and supporting each other. 

What you need to know:

Harriet’s family discouraged her from marrying a church leader whom they thought would never have enough money to take care of her and their children. With Edward also being told not to marry her for various reasons, the couple had to choose between their relationship and the naysayers.

Research shows that after the blissful intoxication of falling in love, most people come off the high within two years of starting the relationship, at which point their happiness levels return to about where they were beforehand.

Psychologists refer to this ability to adapt to the things that bring us happiness and to, therefore, eventually enjoy them less, as “hedonic adaptation.” So, the very adaptive ability that makes us a dynamic species capable of reacting to change also robs us of perma-infatuation.

But this is not necessarily a bad thing; as Jane Brody wrote for the New York Times, the transition from pure passion to partnership is a completely necessary and healthy function of growing together.

At this stage of their relationship, Rev Canon Edward and Harriet Balamaze of St Peter’s Church, Lugazi Town in Buikwe District experienced challenges that started after they revealed their plans to get married to their family members.

“I could see the devil fighting most of our arrangements in different ways,” recalls Edward.

First, he says, was the malice from the many families that had hoped that he would choose a spouse from their daughters.

“Since I was a church leader, most families, especially those that were really engrained in the church were disappointed that I chose Harriet and considered me an enemy,” he explains.

At the same time, Harriet’s family discouraged her from accepting to marry a church leader whom they said would struggle with finances which would in the end affect his ability to take care of her and their children.

But because they had already fallen in love and knew what they wanted out of the relationship, the love birds decided to proceed with their arrangements.

The beginning

Because they are both teachers, Edward and Harriet met in 1995 during a refresher course for primary school teachers at Ssabawaali Primary School, Buikwe District. The training, which was meant to equip them with professional skills also enabled them to bond, especially during the various activities that had been organised.

As church leaders, one day they were asked to lead others in worship and while on stage, they both noticed different things they liked about each other.

“I noticed how good a singer he was and because I was passionate about music, this got my attention,” Harriet says.

Edward on the other hand recalls falling in love with Harriet because she was decently dressed, beautiful, God fearing and caring, among many other attributes. He also fell in love with her humility, integrity and understanding nature, which encouraged him to suggest marriage to her.

Harriet believes the timing was right for the both of them. The couple believes that their encounter was a blessing from God since they met at a time they both were ready to settle down.


The Balamaze’s exchanged their vows on December 20 1997 at St Paul Church in Nsakya-Najjembe in a beautiful ceremony organised by the church.

“Our budget was approximately Shs1m and was entirely funded by the church in which I was a minister,” Harriet shares.

Harriet adds that apart from contributing money, church members also gave items in kind not only for the wedding but also their introduction ceremony.

The couple says although they hosted a large number of people including family, friends and neighbours, there was so much to eat and drink. Everyone ate to their full and even carried food home.

Silver Jubilee

To celebrate 25 years of marriage, the couple is set to renew their vows on August 26 at St Phillips and Andrew’s Cathedral in Mukono District.

The couple plans to host about 1,000 guests and this time, the celebrations will be held in a garden, which is a far cry from the school main hall they held their wedding reception in 1997.

So far

The journey, the couple admits, has been challenging. However, they have been able to make it work through embracing certain values such as prayer, forgiveness and supporting each other. They believe that everything holy must be attacked by the devil and such situations, only prayer can help a couple overcome the challenges.

“Our biggest challenges over the years have been having to constantly get transferred from one church to another as well as lack of finances to take care of a large family in service of God,” Harriet says.

The church leaders say they have learnt to balance responsibilities which in the end gives leaves them with enough time to engage in different activities as a family. They urge couples to be humble, respectful, loving and live their lives as practical examples of what Christ expects of them.