His meagre salary did not stop my urge to wear a gown

The Nyanzis believe they have only managed to come this far because they have kept God at the centre of their relationship. 

What you need to know:

Ahead of their 11th wedding anniversary due next month, Phillip Nyanzi and Betty Nankyinga talk finances, un-supportive relatives and share how they were fearful of what lay ahead during their courtship.

If you are a believer in destiny, then you will weather several storms to get to where you desire.

That is the mantra held by Pastor Phillip Nyanzi and Betty Nankyinga who have been married since July 4, 2010, having met a year earlier through her aunt’s friend. 

While Nankyinga was drawn to his genuine personality which she says was an attractive character, Nyanzi found her calm, down-to-earth, and innocent with ‘a natural beauty’.

It was not smooth sailing for the Nyanzis as the two had to fight for their new found love.

“Our dating season was not all rosy because once in a while, some unsettling information would surface causing me to wonder if he is the man I should make this life covenant with,” Nankyinga shares.

The major challenge then was Nyanzi, then 28, had broken up with someone with whom he had fathered three children.

That was not easy for the 22-year-old Nankyinga because as Nyanzi says, he knew it was going to be tough for him to get someone who would accept him despite his dotted past.

“Meeting Betty was the turning point in my life because I had reached a point of depression in my previous relationship,” Nyanzi shares.

During their courtship, there were always disagreements over certain issues among them being Nyanzi’s unwillingness to relocate from where he was renting so they could have a fresh start.

This, Nyanzi blames on himself and his ex-partner whom he believes negatively influenced his friends and relatives. 

“My friends, as well as my close and distant relatives were so opposed to us getting married because of what they were hearing. This led to constant squabbles,”  he says.

But this did not stop Nankyinga from standing by her man because of his transparency and God’s guidance which helped her get out of her fears.

She is also thankful that they would get time to meet and talk about any contentious issues to find a middle ground.

“Much later, after we got married, I realised that these situations and how we handled them was somehow beneficial to our long-term relationship. Being honest and understanding of my partner contributed greatly to galvanising our marriage foundation,” she says.

Through prayer, Nyanzi adds, God finally vindicated him before Nankyinga.

“At one point in time, all the uncertainty she had melted away,” he says.

The plans

It is such resolve that got them through because even Nyanzi’s family was unsupportive, abandoning him to go about ‘his business’ alone.

“Three months before our wedding, Victory City Centre Church members participated in an associate pastor’s wedding. Being a young congregation, their pockets were drained hence they were unable to contribute towards our wedding in such a compacted schedule between April and July of the same year. I had to carry my cross single-handedly,” Nyanzi says.

But this did not stop Nankyinga’s urge to wear a wedding gown and plans to do whatever it took kicked off in earnest, despite Nyanzi’s meagre salary.  

According to Nyanzi, God granted him favour in that he approached two people who were very kind to him and both were willing to offer him soft loans.

“With this he managed to organise two functions in one week. Our introduction was on July 7 while the wedding took place on July 14, 2000. However, we did not plan well for our honeymoon,” Nankyinga says.


A senior church leader, Nyanzi realised much later after their wedding that the peer pressure from the church settings played out as a blessing because of the positive post wedding reactions.

This, and his understanding and supportive in-laws, especially Nankyinga’s mother helped him soldier through that period.

 “I owe them a lot for this gesture (concerning dowry). It is only God who can reward them for me,” he attests. 

Nankinga adds that her family, though not in a good position to stand with them financially, was very loyal, standing with her in prayer and moral support.

“Nyanzi had a radical faith in God, because solely he managed to hold the two functions decently by God’s providence,” she says.

The first 365 days was a season to adapt to one another’s dos and don’ts.

“This is a difficult time for newlyweds. It is like a flight has just taken off and one has to brave all the turbulence of which we had several such as the nagging presence of those that opposed the wedding,” Nyanzi says.

As though that was not enough, Nankyinga almost lost her unborn baby.

Nyanzi pegs financial woes to the near miscarriage.

“With money issues, she never got sufficient nutrition. She got seriously sick to the point of bleeding and she was admitted for some days!” he shares.

The Nyanzis, who have been blessed with five children, say they have only managed to come this far because they have kept God at the centre of their relationship.


Nankyinga urges people to remain patient and exercise endurance in all situations in courtship and marriage.

“You need to allow God to be supreme in your relationship consistently.”

She adds that there is need to be selective with family, friends and the go between in case of disagreement and misunderstandings.

“Sometimes, these people are not of positive influence to your marriage, so choose your close allies carefully.”

Nyanzi on the other hand urges couples to be honest and transparent in everything concerning their relationship.

“Being open to your partner will make your relationship exciting and worth fighting for in case of storms.”

Couples should develop a culture of celebrating their spouse’s positives always and to tolerate them in their weakness. “It is also important to give your family quality time. When there are some family related issues, endeavour to settle them in and with your family. Always have a family altar for your family, because a family that prays together, stays together.”

“When we encountered any challenge, whether financial, emotional, work related or spiritual, we would always call on Him and eventually, we came out as victors.”

Nankyinga applauds her husband for being aggressive with all given opportunities before him.

“This has made him a unique person in difficult situations.”


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