What you need to know:
Dr Sabrina Kitaka and Andrew Kitaka met in 1992. Although they have faced a number of challenges, their bond and trust in God has made them stick together no matter what they face.
“Sabrina is jolly and welcoming. She is also beautiful and professional and these are the qualities that made me fall in love with her in 1992. When you are both driven, you have a deep appreciation of issues,” Andrew Kitaka says. The two lovebirds met through mutual friends. “I was impressed by his looks, kindness and intelligence,” Dr Sabrina says.
Kitaka is a civil engineer while his better half, Dr Sabrina Bakeera-Kitaka, is a pediatrician and senior lecturer at Makerere University. She continued falling in love each day when she discovered that Andrew possessed traits of kindness, courtesy, charm, honesty and a sense of humour.
He was fast and focused because as she further recollects, a few days into courtship, he expressed his interest in marrying her. But he would have to wait until she completed medical school. By then, she was a second year medical student.
“We had a chat and somehow ‘things developed from there. We continued talking. That very year, we started going out on dates more. This culminated into our introduction ceremony in 1995. By then, she had completed her course at university. The wedding followed in 1996 at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe,” Kitaka recalls.
“I had attended his graduation party and met his parents, who were very welcoming. He had also met my father and the two had become friends. They spoke about football and engineering. We also visited each other’s churches, and I opted to join his church,” Kitaka recounts.
To this day, the couple is prayerful, and believe in forgiveness and resolving conflict by discussion. On December 21, 2021, the couple celebrated 25 years in marriage.
When the two look back at their journey, the memories of their wedding day and honeymoon, the birth of their five children, annual family get-away, have been major highlights.
25 years and counting, Kitaka says they have learnt many lessons.
“When you have just married, you do not know what lies ahead and no one ever gives you all the details about it. The counsellors try to tell you about what to expect but a lot is discovered when you start staying together as husband and wife. You soon learn that you are in a marriage but there are so many things that you need to fulfil for the marriage to be successful. It is not about getting married and having children. You have to provide for them, educate them and have to think about yourself; how are you advancing, because as the need increase, you need to grow in your profession and earn more money,” he says.
The main lesson Andrew has learnt is the need to work hard and have a plan of how to meet the family needs.
“There are many times where things come up suddenly but if you have good foresight, you can handle anything. You also need to be conscious of your partner’s needs and aspirations, especially their career, and make sure you accommodate each other because you both need to be happy. You must also reserve time for the two of you because you did not get married because of children. You got married because of the attraction between the two of you so you must keep it burning by finding time for each other,” he advises, adding that one cannot be so successful professionally if they are unhappy at home.
To keep the fire burning, Dr Sabrina says they try to have date nights every week. Her advice for couples starting out or in committed relationships is to become and remain friends, pray together and keep third parties out of their relationship.
“You need to keep communicating because it is a key part of marriage. It does not matter what mood you are in, even if you are angry, you still need to communicate. Otherwise, you may be misunderstood,” she says.
Kitaka emphasises the need to keep God at the centre of marriage, adding that life has so many challenges and there are so many situations that can come up and you really have no clue how you are going to go through them, be it at home, work or just happen from home to work.
The need to be prayerful in a home so that you can get the peace of mind and courage to go through situations is also important. Another lessons he shares from their journey, is that needs, and priorities keep changing.
“Be observant and keep asking your partner what they need and what makes them happy. Keep adjusting as you keep growing in love together,” he adds.
The couple says they have faced a number of challenges although some have turned out to be pleasant, for example when they started having children, life changed.
“Our time together drastically reduced because we now had to look after the new member in the home. The fact we both also had to keep working was also tough. You need to think hard about how to balance work and life. Your time must be shared with more people. It was a big challenge but my strategy was to take one day at a time,” Kitaka observes.
He adds that one of the most difficult challenges he faced was having to leave his family in 1999 to travel abroad for further studies. During this time, his wife lost her father and he could not travel back to be with her and provide comfort.