I fell in love with my neighbour

Armliat and Brenda had been neighbours for a long time; sharing meals and often spending a lot of time together. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Armliat and Brenda had been neighbours for a long time; sharing meals and often spending a lot of time together. With time, their friendship turned into romantic feelings for each other, making the journey into marriage easier.

When Armliat Aineamaani, a transmission technician and Brenda Chemashak, an administrator at St John’s Church in Kirinya, Wakiso District, met, all they needed was to start a friendship and be there for each other. However, over time,  a deeper connection was formed.
“I had always wanted to marry someone who knew my weaknesses and loved me the way I am. Marrying a friend meant marrying someone who would not try to change anything about me,” says Brenda.
Knowing what she wanted and the pure love Brenda had for Armliat made him fall in love with her. He also loved her personality.
“Brenda is a friend I did not want to lose. She understood my character, cared for me and was the kind of woman I wanted for a wife,” Armliat says.
The beginning
In 2018, the two neighbours in Bweyogerere, Kampala, would spend a lot of their free time together, sharing meals and talking. This enabled them form a strong bond, especially after realising that they had a lot in common. After a while, Armliat knew that he did not want Brenda just as a friend and professed his love for her.
“I started noticing his love for me through the different things he would do for me and since we were both single, I was open to dating him,”  Brenda shares.
However, because they are both Christians who believed in lifetime commitment, they made a vow to stay celibate until their wedding night. 
The lovebirds’ proposal did not have the pomp that has become the norm nowadays. To Brenda, it had always been obvious that their relationship would lead to a marriage and because they knew that their love was unbreakable, they wanted to instead focus on investing the money they had towards their wedding.
The only thing on Armliat’s mind was to formally ask Brenda’s parents for her hand in marriage and this is exactly what he planned next.
With just 100 guests, the couple exchanged their vows at St John’s Church of Uganda in Kirinya on August 7, 2021 after the second Covid-19 lockdown. They later treated their guests to a reception at Peace Cottages in Kireku, Bweyogerere.
“Initially, we wanted to host about 500 guests since our family is large and we have many friends. However, the Covid-19 lockdown made us change all the plans we had, opting instead for a small, intimate ceremony,” they say. 
“Immediately after our wedding launch, President Museveni announced the second lockdown. Because of this, we started holding our wedding meetings via zoom and this lack of in person meetings affected us in more ways than one,” the couple says.
The couple also remembers the many restrictions such as a ban on travelling that almost forced them to postpone their wedding. They would receive frantic calls from their relatives who thought they were insensitive not to postpone their wedding. However, because the plans were already in motion and with support from their parents, the couple decided to go ahead. 
However, they note that the pandemic was a blessing in disguise since the wedding was low budget except for the last minute bookings of wedding dresses.
“The service providers charged us fairly, especially the decorator who charged us less given the small size of the venue,” Brenda says.
They also opted to have many side cakes to give to the missing guests, which helped other loved ones be part of the celebration, even in their absence.
 So far
To make it work, the couple emphasise honesty and frequent communication as the two most important aspects of a lasting marriage. They believe that couples must remain friends and always complement each other.
“We confide in each other about everything and most importantly, we make sure that we understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses so that even when one feels low, the other will offer all the comfort that is needed. We also ensure that we always communicate even when it is hard to so,” says Brenda.