‘We found love during lockdown’

Mr and Mrs Joseph Ssali. Photo/Courtesy

What you need to know:

The Covid-19 lockdown led to the breakup of many relationships, especially for couples who were not used to spending that much time together. However, for Joseph and Michelle, this was the perfect time to start writing their love story.

Life stressors and transitions such as job changes, financial difficulties, Covid-19 lockdowns or mental health challenges, can interfere with even the happiest relationships.

These difficulties or “rough patches” can manifest as temporary breakdowns in communication or incompatibilities. You might notice they start to affect your lifestyle, parenting, romance, or sex life.

Strong relationships do not just happen. Tough times will create an even stronger relationship or break it apart. Believe it or not, the pandemic helped more than half of all couples create a more committed and closer relationship. Take for example, Joseph Ssali and Michelle Cindy Ahabwe who did not allow the gloom of the pandemic and the lockdowns stop them from falling in love.

“We met in 2021, a time when the economy was indefinitely locked down due to Covid-19 pandemic. Most people spent almost all their time in their houses for fear of getting sick. One afternoon, while walking down the street to the nearby market to buy groceries, I met this handsome man,” says Michelle.

Ssali remembers looking at her petit frame and thinking, “She was so young.” However, he approached her and after pleasantries, they started talking about different things. Ssali says the conversation got so deep and interesting one would think they had known each other for a long time.

“I knew that I wanted to keep in touch with Michelle. She was positive about the tough times and it was such a relief to talk to someone who believed that this was just a wave that would eventually pass. She gave me so much strength and hope that day,” he says.


The beginning was just bliss. The couple continued meeting often and through their conversations, they realised that they had developed deep feelings for each other.

“We just went with the tide and enjoyed spending time with each other often,” Michelle says, adding: “Joseph was God-fearing, patient, kind, loving and caring,” virtues that he shared with everyone else. This caused me to believe that he was a genuine person.”

Joseph on the other hand was first attracted by Michelle’s intellect, which he noticed during their first conversation.

“Michelle had an optimistic attitude and she treated the few people we met during our walks with so much respect and positivity. I always looked forward to our conversations,” he says.

The wedding

After two years of dating, the couple exchanged their vows on April 15, in front of their family and friends.

The bride wore a flowing white gown with a low back that revealed her tattoos. She perfectly matched with her man who wore a white coat with black trousers. The couple held a reception for 300 guests and their total budget was Shs80m.


While their dating had been easy and enjoyable, planning a wedding was not. Joseph says he was overwhelmed and found it difficult to juggle between his job and planning a wedding.

“It was difficult handling all the arrangements single-handedly so, I enlisted my sister Terza’s help, especially when it came to logistics and planning,” he says, adding that towards the wedding, he took a one-month leave from work and used this time to finalise all that was left.

“My leave allowed me to move door to door negotiating with suppliers and check for new updates plus smooth running of the planning meetings and platforms,” he notes.


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