For the first eight years of their marriage, Lamech Katamba and Joy Kenyangi Katamba looked for a child like a needle in a haystack. Joy says prior to getting married, they had many expectations such as having children in the first two years of marriage, and building a home in the first two years of marriage.
However, this changed when they realised that God had his own plans for them. “We spent eight years without a child and during this period, we just dedicated our days and nights to prayer,” she says.
Lamech says the lack of a child exerted a lot of pressure on their marriage. “On several occasions, Joy would leave home for work happy but return unhappy,” he says. He suspected that maybe her work environment was exposing her to people who would ask why she did not have any children yet.
To solve this problem, he encouraged her to go back to school. “I believed that no other student would ask her about children and within a short time of her returning to school, she seemed relaxed and happier,” Lamech says.
And as they continued to pray, in 2019, God blessed the couple with triplets. “It was a turning point in my life because Lyle, Lexi and Lynnette were a result of patience and prayer. I do not think I have ever loved anyone as much as I love my babies,” Joy shares.
Joy says Lamech’s nature of work that involves a lot of travelling has been something they have had to work around. Lamech says although it is hard to always leave his family for days, he makes sure he keeps in touch by constantly calling his wife.
At the time of their marriage, Joy was only 21 years old while Lamech was 32. “I remember my mother asking why I was in a hurry to get married. Personally, I felt ready and I had met the right man and I knew he was the one God had ordained for me,” says Joy.
Joy and Lamech met in May 2010, through a mutual friend. Lamech, who was putting final touches on a documentary at his home on Entebbe Road, was called by a friend who wanted to drop by on his way from Entebbe.
“It was a beautiful surprise since I had spent more than a year without seeing him. However, he had not disclosed that he had four other people in the car,” Lamech says, adding that being someone who loved having guests over, he had prepared more than enough food and drinks to share with all of them.
Enlisting the help of Joy who seemed quieter and more approachable among the ‘loud’ group, he served his guests. However, he continually had to check on the videographer he had hired, which caused his guests to leave quickly. He promised to call once he was done with the pressing work. However, all this time, he kept a keen eye on Joy.
“While I moved around pretending to write down their numbers, I only wrote Joy’s number and after a week, when I was done with all my urgent work, I called her. It was also a pleasant surprise to learn that it was her birthday, thus offering to take her to dinner which turned into our first date,” he says.
A then Kyambogo University finalist, Joy was hesitant to accept Lamech’s advances because while he seemed humble, she feared he was probably already dating someone else.
“I think it was God’s plan and work, because that opinion prompted her to give me a very beautiful photo that I loved so much and hung it on my office wall, right in-front of my office desk. When she visited, Joy saw the photo, which helped her confirm that I was not a player,” he says.
With Joy’s heart at peace, they went on several dates, met his friends and family and the connection grew stronger every passing day.
On the other hand, Lamech had a long mental list of spiritual qualities he was looking for and used their first date to look for these.
“I wore spiritual goggles and thank God I saw most of the qualities I was looking for in Joy. For example, one day, I was really late for our appointment but she patiently waited for me, and during our conversation, in all her answers, questions, and life stories, she really exhibited a high sense of intellect, responsibility, and rationale in most of the decisions and actions she had taken in her life,” Lamech says.
Their courtship was really tricky because they both had busy schedules. “Being in her final semester, she had very limited time for outings, especially during day. My schedule also required me to be in office late in the night due to the time difference since my work office headquarters in Sacramento, California, are 11 hours behind our time in Kampala. I could only visit Joy at her hostel late in the night, after work,” Lamech says, adding that while it was risky driving at night to Joy’s hostel which was off road, he was so much in love to notice any danger.
Joy and Lamech had their Kuhingira (traditional marriage ceremony) on December 11, 2010 and their wedding on December 18, 2010.
Joy describes their first year of marriage as beautiful where they travelled around East Africa. “Since we had had a short courtship period, we used the first year to get to know one another. Lamech remembers it as a time of mainly learning to adjust how they perceived and did some of things by becoming more accommodative, tolerant, and understanding to each other.
Lamech advises those looking for marriage partners to always pay more attention to spiritual qualities such as patience, kindness, honesty, trust, and intellect. “Material and physical qualities are also important but should not really be priority,” he says.
To married young couples, Lamech advises learning to manage expectations, and always communicating with your partner.
Joy says marriage is not all about rings, children or family but a lot more about you making it what you want it to be. She adds that couples need to always ask God for guidance. “And as you go about life, speak less and listen more,” she says.