At just 23, Steven Ggolooba married Monica Kemigisa on November 22, 2014. Looking back, only God’s grace made it possible because his parents insisted he was too young. “Monica was also still a student but I was determined to make her my wife. So, we had our introduction on October 19, 2014,” Steven says.
Monica says besides Steven’s meagre savings, the church was and still is a big support to their marriage. “They took us in, counselled us on marital and spiritual matters and also gave us financial support that made our wedding a possibility,” Monica shares.
Steven and Monica met in 2009 at Victory City Church, Rubaga. Monica was a Senior Four student at Lubiri Secondary School while Steven was in Senior Five. She had joined the church as a singer, while Steven was a pianist. However, nothing materialised from that meeting until 2012 when Monica was at Makerere University Business School, pursuing her first degree.
Steven had been drawn by the fact that she was and still is a prayerful woman. “She has always trusted God, even in times when you see no hope. She is so compassionate, with a strong character and does things in ways I cannot expect her to,” Steven says, adding that Monica also had the ability to make him laugh when no one else could. “When I met Monica, I was going through a lot and I felt lonely. She taught me to pray and always encouraged me to press on. She always made me feel special,” Steven adds.
On the other hand, Monica loved the passion with which he did everything. “Be it work, church or family, Steven gave 110 per cent. It gives me comfort, knowing he is reliable,” she says.
With tight schedules, you would think making time for this budding relationship was an uphill task. However, they spent most of the available time getting to know each other. “I would visit her family and she would visit mine because we knew they would become a huge part of our lives when we eventually got married,” Steven says.
They also took time to understand each other’s life goals. “For example, when Monica told me she wanted to go to a good university, we worked towards saving money for her tuition. To build a stronger bond, they purposed to go on a date every Sunday evening regardless of whether they had money or not. They also involved as many elders as they could, including their pastors and parents for guidance.
First year of marriage
Steven and Monica say their first year of marriage was much longer for them because there was a lot of learning to do. “I had a number of friends, most of them women whom I interacted with closely but as a married man, this needed to stop,” Steven says.
Even when they failed to agree, one of the things that kept them going was understanding that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect marriage’.
The other thing they embarked on was getting their finances in order. “It was a time for us to merge bank accounts from individual to joint accounts, which also created transparency in our finances,” Monica says.
Because they were still so young, many did not believe Steven and Monica’s marriage would make it past two months. “They did not think we had the maturity and fortitude to sustain a marriage. However, it is now six years and we are going strong. We praise the Lord for bringing us this far,” says Steven.
Being young, it was obvious that so many people were still eyeing each of them, which kept them wondering if they would remain faithful considering the pressure from other people who had it all, especially in the area of finances.
The family grew quickly which attracted quite a number of demands such as hospital bills. This was, however, solved when they set up several side businesses.
Stephen believes every marriage faces challenges but how the couple handles them is what matters. “One of the things we embraced was prayer with unwavering hope that things would get better. This was coupled with counselling, which was a platform for us to iron out issues,” Monica says.
They also agreed to live within their means regardless of what people said. “Only we knew our status so it would have been useless to pretend,” Monica says, adding that they learned to ignore people’s opinions and expectations, if they did not really matter. Today, the couple is blessed with three children.
Steven advises couples to try their best to practice patience and humility. “Do not do anything to intentionally hurt your spouse. It also helps to admit when in the wrong and when you are right, do not gloat. We all know that the first is hard, but necessary. The second is tempting, but pointless,” he says.
Monica says marriage is God’s will for every man and woman. She adds that age is just a number and what matters is a person’s level of maturity in the way they handle situations.
They urge couples to communicate openly and honestly since communication is a key part of any relationship. “Your spouse will be comfortable expressing their needs, fears, and desires, and this will eventually increase trust and strengthen the bond between you,” Stephen says.
Commit to spending some quality time together on a regular basis. “No matter how busy you are, take a few minutes each day to put your electronic devices aside and talk to your partner,” Monica advises.