Without God, no marriage can last 50 years

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Joram and Karen say the first 14 years of their marriage were trying since they lived as individuals and not as a couple. However, when theybecame born again, their attitude towards each other changed. They realised they both had a role to play to contribute to the success of their marriage.

On July 1, 1972, a few days before she joined university, Joram and Karen Kiiza said, “I do” at All Saints’ Church in Nakasero, Kampala, and later held a reception at Kampala City Council Hall. Karen remembers vividly the fact that her bridal team arrived first, contrary to the norm. 

“While I was shocked, I had the confidence that he would come and it was a sigh of relief when the groom and his team finally arrived,” she says.

Joram, who lived in Najjanankumbi, Kampala, says as they approached Makerere University main gate, his best man’s car came to a halt.

“We thought of going to Wandegeya to take a taxi but the driver fixed the problem. Unfortunately, we had already lost time,” he says.

Looking back, the Kiizas are grateful to God for the time they have spent together. “There have been times when we would have died because of wars and diseases such as Covid-19 that killed many of our friends and relatives. We are alive, not because of anything but His grace. We are also a testimony that God is faithful to manage marriages and without Him, they cannot last long,” the couple says.


Meeting

The two met while still in school. Joram admits that even then, Karen was and still is beautiful so it was natural for him to want to befriend her. “He was a young, handsome and humble man and there was no reason to reject his friendship,” she says.

“I got to know Karen through my association with her brother; a schoolmate at Kigezi College Butobere, and her elder sister; a former schoolmate at Nyakasura School. I visited their home often and it was during one of these visits that I spotted and fell in love with her. I then wrote a letter to her expressing my desire to be her boyfriend, a request she accepted,” he says.

Karen says when she opened the letter,  she was smitten and glad to have someone write her a love letter. “I responded. At that time, my elder sister also had a boyfriend, a former schoolmate so it was normal for me to have one seeing that all we did was write letters. He always visited alongside his schoolmates and I never went to his home until we got married,” she says.

Proposal

While Joram says there was no formal proposal, Karen says he actually proposed.

“After sitting my Senior Six exams, I started teaching at Horn Bay High School in Kabale where he visited often. One time, he said he felt it was time we got married. When I later joined Makerere University, I told my family that I was getting married to which they agreed,” she says.

“I visited her parents with my father and expressed my interest in marrying their daughter. I also requested that the wedding be in Kampala since I worked at East African Post and Telecommunication and they agreed,” he adds.

Staying together

The first years of their marriage were turbulent with everyone doing things as they pleased. However, Joram says, thankfully, 10 years into the marriage, Karen became a born-again Christian and transformed her life.

“Seeing the testimony before me, four years later, I followed suit and from then on, our marriage got a new foundation. We received teaching and He has helped us live according to His principles such as loving and honouring one another and improving our communication, the reason for a long and blissful marriage,” he says.

Karen says they were headed for divorce had she not got saved.

“I learnt to function as a wife, helper and homemaker rather than just a girlfriend. I also learnt not to react to everything but to pray through every conflict rather than quarrelling. This helped us avoid keeping grudges and bitterness,” she says.

Challenges

The parents of three children (Arthur, Joshua and Isabella) and grandparents to Ashley and Asher have had their fair share of challenges over the years. One was the loss of their first born child.

“That was an unsettling incidence that frightened me. I always thought that my other children would also get involved in an accident or something that would claim their lives. I almost went into a depression but prayer helped me stay afloat,” Karen says.

Karen also battled with severe backache and thought she would never walk again. “However, because of medication and prayer, I am well,” she adds

When the shilling lost value, it became very difficult for several families to meet their needs. As a remedy, the Kiiza’s would bake through the night in order to sell their products the following day.

“We also rented land in Lungujja and Najjanankumbi (both Kampala suburbs) where we would grow our own food which tremendously reduced our costs,” they say.

Memorable

Karen remembers one day five years ago when they went cloth shopping together. While most men are impatient, Joram waited and even suggested that they go to different shops for a better bargain.

“That day, we were like teenage lovers who had just met and it felt good,” she says.

The couple will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on July 1. It will be a time to thank and celebrate God for His goodness.

“We also hope to go for our honeymoon since this was not possible 50 years ago. While we got married on Saturday, I had to be in school on Monday,” she says.

Advice

Joram and Karen advise couples to build their lives together and work for the growth of their family, making and enjoying wealth together. They also encourage being transparent in everything, especially financial matters.

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