In five years, she turned him down three times

What you need to know:

Ginnelle never had any interest in Samuel. He was, however, smitten by her and kept asking her out on dates. Although she turned him down three times in a period of five years, she finally saw the qualities that made her fall in love.

In the beginning, she was not attracted to Samuel Henry Kiggundu. Not that Giana Ginnelle thought he was unattractive, she was simply not interested. She would joke that he looked just like her father and was probably one of her relatives. He expressed his interest in dating her for five years and thrice, she turned him down. But one day as she prayed, she asked God for guidance on this man that had been very persistent.  

“The next day, I started to notice things I had not seen before. With each conversation, I observed how he was so attentive and kind; and these were the first qualities that really drew me to him. I also loved how he would go on about something he was passionate about, and it was usually ministry, and family,” she says, adding that the icing on the cake was how he cared for his daughters as a single father. His beautiful eyes, lips, and smile were just a bonus.

Henry on the other hand fell head over heels for a woman he describes as intelligent, open and artistic.

“She writes amazing poetry and this caught my attention. But what stole my heart was her love for Jesus and serving His people. She would do anything to help those in need and share the little she has,” he says.

Meeting

Ginnelle Kiggundu is a hair stylist, housing assistant for the homeless, a youth pastor and runs a baking business while Kiggundu is a performing artiste, vocal coach, music producer, song writer, events manager, a worship leader and pastor. The two are part of the same ministry and attended the same international ministry college. They share many friends in common on Facebook and WhatsApp groups.

 “Five years ago, Samuel sent a message to my inbox and introduced himself. To this day he maintains he was just being nice and ‘neighbourly’ but I still think he was flirting,” she says.

“My love language is words of affirmation, and he did shower me with affection. He gave me the space to grow into who I needed to become in our relationship. I had been single for about 11 years so I was a little wet behind the ears. Samuel help my hand and walked with me all the way,” she says.

To him, Ginnelle is an understanding, beautiful woman who will acknowledge her mistakes and apologise immediately. She does her best to put other’s needs before her own, however challenging it is.

She believed in him, his dreams even if no one saw sense in them being together. The two are often apart.

She lives in the USA while he lives in Uganda. However, they are intentional about ensuring that their love grows stronger.

The proposal

Early this year, Ginnelle travelled for a three-month mission trip to Switzerland, leaving her family, job, apartment, comfort, and security to go to a place where she knew the Lord was leading her. The distance challenging, but even when her family and friends stopped reaching out, Samuel was her constant.

“He would tell me how much he loved me and was proud to be my man. He believed in my success more than I did. He held me down when I felt like my world was spinning out of control. He was my rock.  At that point I knew I wanted to marry him.  I could not imagine my life without him in it. He was a part of my every dream,” she says.

Proposal

When she returned to Uganda for his graduation, he took her home to meet his family.

“When I drove her back to the hotel, I had money in my pocket that had been payment for a concert the day before. I had been saving for this amazing ring and as we talked about our future and plans, the idea of proposing came to me. So, I used the money to pay for a ring,” he recounts.

“She had a feeling knew he was going to propose but did not know how. She figured he was up to something when he went to the market to get something to drink while I was getting ready yet when he came back, all he had was juice and chips.  We went to meet his family as planned, then returned to the hotel for dinner with friends,” she recalls.

His friends shared how they met Samuel and through their stories, Ginnelle got to see him from their eyes. A photographer asked them to pose for a photo and while they kissed, he placed the ring box on the table. When she turned around, he got one knee and proposed with what she describes as the most beautiful ring she has ever seen.

They were happy to take the bold step because they had already overcome obstacles such as the distance, cultural, generational, and even language barriers. They were ready to work hard to make their relationship success as well as and being great parents and friends to their two teenage daughters.

Plans

“We set out to have a marriage that is led by the Holy Spirit.  We have to trust God to help us to navigate through our relationship with all its complexities. If my connection with God is off, my marriage suffers. God helps me to become the wife that Samuel needs, and vice versa,” she says.

 Samuel would like to build a marriage that honours God and each other, with transparency, accountability and truthfulness, and above all, serves God and others over themselves. This helps, even when the weight of a long-distance marriage is sometimes unbearably heavy.

“It is hard to not see or be with Samuel every day. Sometimes it feels like a hug and a kiss from him would lighten the burden. We mitigate by building intimacy with each other daily. I may not be able to feel his physical touch, but I know I have his undivided attention and love,” she says, adding that they speak for four to six hours every day in addition to praying for and with each other over the phone.

Handling finances

According to Samuel, organisation is Ginnelle’s natural strength, and she likes numbers. She, therefore, creates excel sheets as a hobby, and as a couple, they discuss the expenses and needs and decide what is priority.

Advice

Samuel says assumption is a dangerous game which, if left to breed, produces bitterness, feeling of betrayal, disappointment, dissatisfaction, mistrust, unmet expectations.

Ginnelle says being married takes a lot of work; giving more than you want, knowing that joining two lives together is not easy so it calls for patience and accepting not being right all the time, being accountable, respectful, honest, and humble.

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