Because we were friends first, our marriage is strong

Pauline and Tony say a strong friendship helps them effectively communicate and find solutions to any challenge they might be facing. PHOTOs/EDGAR R. BATTE

What you need to know:

We have often had the phrase; marry your friend but many of us do not take it seriously. Tony and Pauline worked together and during this time created a friendship. When they started developing romantic feelings for each other, their bond was already too strong to break. To date, they say, this is what has made their marriage a success.

Tony and Pauline Lynne Barry Muwangala are both journalists. She is also a TV producer and farmer while he doubles as a communications and outreach specialist and an actor. The two met in 2016 at Buganda Broadcasting Services (BBS) Television in Mengo, Kampala, where Pauline worked as an entertainment producer while Tony was the chief news manager.

It all started with him linking her with people in ‘higher places’. “He was humble, committed to his work and God-fearing. I loved these qualities and decided that we would be friends,” Pauline says, adding that after a while, she noticed more qualities in Tony such as his love and care towards her and other people, that made her develop romantic feelings towards him.

To Tony, their first interactions revealed a woman who could pass for another workmate but with time, he discovered she was very compassionate. With Pauline, he came to understand the importance of that friendship. He emphasises the needs to first build a strong friendship with someone as the background to having a strong and unbreakable relationship.

Meeting family

When their feelings for each other grew and they started dating, Tony decided to meet her family members and started building rapport. He would treat them with a lot of respect and it is through these interactions that he became friends with many of them.

Casual meetings with her sisters, brothers, Ssenga ow’ensonga or paternal aunt (casually first, then formally) and later introducing her to his family made their union stronger and their affection deeper.

At work, they kept their romance a secret. Although his office was adjacent to hers, they had devised some sort of sign language through which they would communicate. Then, when it came to serious office business such as meetings, she would call him by his name. However, it was on such an occasion that she called his name so romantically that everyone was curious to know why. 

Tony says after this incident, they started calling each other ‘love’ and this earned them a lot of teasing from workmates.

The proposal

According to Pauline, the proposal was unique. It also made her love him more because now she was sure he was committed to the relationship.

“Truth be told, I shed tears of joy because I used to day-dream that my proposal would be like the ones we see in movies but got the shock of life that made me feel special,” Pauline says.

To plan the proposal, Tony took advantage of when they were both free and planned a visit to his grandmother. “I made sure it was a weekend without any work commitments. Her sisters told her that they were going to visit grandmother. The surprise was how I proposed to her in front of my family because she knew the weight it carried,” he explains.

“Tony jealously guards his family. He avoids bringing in anyone who does not add value to his life. So, my surprise was that he now valued me enough to make me a part of his family. I remember asking him; “are you sure about this?” and he said yes.

A few things went wrong. “We got lost on the way to his grandmother’s place and reached late. Somehow, I started feeling embarrassed and I thought they would not welcome me but instead they did and with a lot of love,” she recollects.

To him, nothing could have gone wrong. As a man of faith, he had prayed not only for this day but for the Lord to guide him as he searched for the right person and the whole process of making her his wife. With the proposal done, the two lovebirds set out to build their bond on a foundation of communication and being real. So, they sat and agreed on when to hold the introduction ceremony, wedding, and starting a family.

“We have achieved these and more yet the list keeps growing each day. We still have to go to the Bahamas and Jamaica,” he adds.

Challenges

Pauline grew up in a Muslim family yet Tony was Catholic. He, therefore, had to teach her about church and with time, she chose Lubaga Cathedral as the church in which she would be married. “He had chosen Nsambya Catholic Church but I won him over with the help of his grandmother, uncle, mother and his close friends,” she says.

Like any other couple, Pauline and Tony have faced some challenges. She says she had to compete with other women before winning his heart.

“Many resorted to doing anything to make sure we fail. This gave me a lot confidence and courage to keep my man out of their way,” she explains.

“Our nature is to always receive everyone as they come. Sometimes, by the time we discover their true intentions, the harm has been done. The option is and has always been one, as our family Motto goes”....But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” We put God first in everything we do and we let Him fight our battles,” he says.

Finances

The lovers decided to declare all they have and plan according to their home and family needs.

“You know how much money your sweetheart has on her account, she knows what you have on yours and we all know the family financial priorities and responsibilities. That is where planning is bred,” Tony says.

Pauline says they plan and set targets together but as his wife, it is her role to encourage him when some things go wrong and keep reminding him of their future plans and goals.

Tony adds that they plan together, set targets and agree on responsibilities but most of all, it is not a race. They are there for each other no matter what happens since before getting married, they had already created a bond of friendship.

Advice

Other gems they say have kept their union strong is praying without ceasing, talking to each other about anything and never keeping secrets, however big they are.

“Love has no formula. Pray and wait for God to do His will. The longer you take while single the more time you get to prepare yourself for marriage and learn to value each other when you get married,” Pauline says.

Tony advises couples to work on their friendship before anything else (it is a daily job), and to always pray. Even when your search leads to a bar, pray about it and if this is where God is leading you, he will make a way. Also, it cannot always be your way, you win some and lose others,” he says.


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