It does not matter where you have been, and if you are meant to be with someone, it shall happen. Not even tribal differences will be a barrier. This is what Andrew Lubega and Dinah Akweda must have had in mind when they started out as friends in 2008.
“All I know is that I saw this beautiful woman who was not only intelligent, but also loved and served God. I was smitten but how would I make it known?” Lubega asks. So, because he was not sure, he waited for yet another three years before declaring his feelings.
Did Dinah feel the same way? She says she loved Andrew even as a friend because he was easy to talk to and gave her time inasmuch as there were several other women at the company, where they both worked.
In 2011, Dinah got another job and had to leave the company. This created a gap between the two friends and also reduced the time they spent together. “When she left, we did not stay in touch as much as when we worked together, only calling each other once in a while. It was as though we had gone our separate ways,” Lubega says.
However, in 2013, the two decided to move from the ‘friend zone’ and start dating. “We knew that we were meant for each. Also, our friendship had laid a foundation that continually drew us to one another despite having tight schedules and several other commitments,” the couple says.
Knowing that this was the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, Andrew decided to seal the deal with a proposal. “On January 1, 2014, at the stroke of midnight, as many ushered in the New Year at Victory City Church in Ntinda, I was recommitting myself to Dinah through a proposal. I was a bit apprehensive since I did not know what her answer would be but when she said ‘yes’, I was the happiest man in the world,” Lubega says.
Dinah tells the events of the night with a smile. “With my eyes closed, I was deep in prayer thanking God for how far He had brought us and asking Him to go before us. When I opened my eyes, Andrew was on one knee holding a ring. It was a beautiful moment and without wasting any time, I said, ‘yes’.”
The two say there was not much to learn about each other since they had been friends for six years. “So we just worked towards setting dates for the official visit (Kukyala), introduction and the wedding,” they say.
In the nine months leading to their wedding, which was held on November 2, 2014, at Miracle Center Cathedral, they deliberately kept themselves pure. “There was no kissing and letting ourselves be caught in any place where we would be tempted. We knew that while we were asking God to be the lead in our marriage, we also had to play our part,” Dinah shared.
Like any other marriage, the Lubegas faced a number of challenges, the main one being that they come from different tribes. “Yes, the issue of coming from different tribes now came up and with varying ways of looking at things, such as how affection is displayed as well as the different dishes and how they are prepared,” Lubega says.
Dinah says after marriage, you are with your spouse every waking day so some things become more pronounced and wishing things away has never been a solution.
“With our cultural differences, it was time to work out what we could compromise on, what to merge, and what to discard so as to create our own tradition. It took being intentional and putting confrontation out of the picture,” she says.
The adjustments were only possible with love and respect. “That helped each of us to readily pardon the other when they fell short with the understanding that basic respect is worth according each other at all times,” Andrew adds.
As such, the Lubegas consciously turned their first year of marriage into a honeymoon. “Being happy in marriage is our choice. I always compare it to cooking a meal.
The ingredients you put will determine the outcome and how delicious the meal will be. We certainly encountered ups and downs but understood and respected each other, bearing in mind that as humans, we were bound to make mistakes,” Dinahsays.
The adjustments also meant not spending as much time with some friends. “We chose to spend our free time together, which helped us learn to have fun in each other’s company. It does not make sense to keep company of others yet you are a stranger to your spouse. Some friends who could not bear with it left, but I guess these are some of the sacrifices one has to make,” Andrew shares.
The Lubegas say marriage is beautiful because two heads are always better than one. “There is a blessing God releases when you are married. Besides, you get to spend as much time with someone you love and build a companionship,” Andrew concludes.
Dinah says everything starts with the mindset. “If one thinks that something is hard, it will be hard. The same applies to marriage.
So, having a positive attitude will go a long way in making even the hardest times easier to sail through,” she says.
Andrew says couples must let God be the centre of their marriage. “He is the author of marriage so He knows how best you can make your marriage work. Even when going through difficult times, trust Him because with Him, all things are possible,” he says.