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When she graduated as a nurse, Lilian was sent to work in Kotido District in northern Uganda. Although they had known each other for only three months, when Fredrick got his leave he asked to visit. For Lilian, this was the ultimate measure of his love for her.
On a casual Friday night out with her friends in March 2013, Lilian Nuwabaine met Frederick Luyima. Frederick, who was also out with his friends admired Lilian’s smile and asked her to join him for a drink.
As they got into conversation, Frederick started to notice a number of qualities that he wanted in a potential partner. Lilian was not only beautiful, she was also intelligent and as the evening was about to end, he asked for her phone number so he could keep in touch.
In her final year pursuing a bachelor of Sciences in Nursing, Lilian did not want any distractions and, therefore, did not pay much attention to Frederick. However, because they had exchanged contacts, he would call her often and it was during one of these phone calls that he expressed interest in being more than her friend.
On several occasions, he also invited Lilian for outings where he would treat her to sumptuous meals and experiences.
She naturally began appreciating the traits of humility, kindness, patience, love and Frederick’s sense of humour. He did not rush her, which boosted her confidence and trust that he was committed to wait for her to make up her mind. And because love is patient, Frederick, an operations integrity manager at SGS Automotive Uganda Limited, waited.
Lilian, a midwife and women’s health specialist at Aga Khan University, says as they kept meeting, she realised that Frederick was a patient and loving man. He was more drawn in by the fact that Lilian was a go-getter who would not stop until she got what she wanted.
He knew that with time, if she developed feelings for him, she would never let him go.
The two now concentrated on dating and getting to know each other better. They would spend evenings strolling through each other’s neighbourhoods and sitting at what became their favourite restaurant.
“One day, he took me to former Nandos in the city centre for pizza. While walking me back to my hall of residence at Makerere University, it started raining. As the true gentleman that he is, he removed his jacket and covered me with it,” she says.
Three months after she had met him, she graduated and got a two-month placement in Kotido District in northern Uganda. While there, he told her he missed her company so when he got leave from work, he requested to travel to Kotido for a visit.
“I had never imagined any man wanting to travel more than 10 hours just to come and see me. And indeed, he fulfilled his promise, and paid me a visit. From then, I swore to commit myself to such a selfless and loving man,” Lilian recounts.
Because she had now warmed up to his advances, Frederick decided to take it a step further with a proposal.
He decided to propose on February 19, 2015 (Lilian’s birthday). With his friends, they zeroed down on Levels Lounge in Kampala.
“She knew she was coming for her birthday party only to bring out a cake with the words ‘‘will you marry me,” he recollects.
The couple got married in 2015. Lilian says the biggest challenge they have faced is balancing between working full time, studying, and parenting.
“However, I have received support from my partner, family and friends. All is well,” she explains.
On handling finances, Frederick says: “We have purposed to be open about our finances. We set goals and targets annually that we strive to achieve.”
Lilian adds that continuous communication, forgiveness and being open-minded has fortified their bond.
“I understand her and interpret and translate her thoughts and words to the rest of the world,” he says adding that to make their marriage work, the couple exercises a lot of tolerance, patience and understanding.
Lilian says putting God first is key as He will always lead the way.
“It is good to have a clear vision as a family although there is always more to learn from each other. Also, women have a role to play in the development and growth of their marriage and family, even financially. You cannot be a working-class woman and you say your money is your money alone, yet his money is for both of you,” Lilian says.