HOW WE MET
By NKOLE NKOLE
KELVIN and Tina Sampa may be of different Christian faiths but have founded their marriage on mutual understanding and genuine commitment.
A chance meeting led Kelvin to meet Tina through his older sister, but through the encounter, he found a partner for life.
After an initial conversation in 1998, they exchanged numbers and then did not see each other for several months.
Kelvin had left for work on the Copperbelt Province and then resurfaced and organised a first date with her.
He knew that he did not want to date Tina for long before making her his wife.
â€œI think the first thing that led me to her is I did not have money but she still accepted me,â€ Kelvin shares.
Their relationship was genuine as Kelvin recalls. Tina was doing part-time work at the University of Zambia; a job she says was nothing to write home about.
Unlike Kelvin, Tina was a university graduate but she could see that this did not intimidate him.
For Kelvin, he was even more satisfied when Tina won his motherâ€™s approval. Other girls his mother had met before did not leave the kind of lasting impression Tina had.
â€œMy mother had always been a critic when it came to my girlfriends and I donâ€™t know why she never accepted any girl I introduced to her,â€ Kelvin recollects. â€œBut after she met Tina, she told me she thought for the first time I had introduced her to a girl worth being my wife.â€
Tina had lost her own mother while she was a young girl and after she met Kelvinâ€™s mother, she found someone to fill the gap that had existed in her life for years.
Kelvin had been honest with Tina from day one. He told her he was a father of two boys so she would not get any future surprises.
Tina had just graduated from university and was going through a bad phase in her life and not desiring to be in a relationship. She found Kelvin down-to-earth and deeply caring; qualities she knew not to take for granted.
â€œHe used to live in Lusaka West, deep in the farms but every morning he would drive to my place and be at my gate at 07:00 hours. He didnâ€™t even have a reliable car,â€ Tina says.
Kelvin and Tina wedded in October 2000 and now have two children together.
Tina says Kelvin made the effort to ask his relatives to consider her the mother of his two children and this recognition has helped her create a harmonious environment at home. She is as close to Kelvinâ€™s sons, who she regards as hers, as she is to her own children.
According to Kelvin, every man desires to be with a woman that will make him happy when he steps into his house.
â€œIt makes life easier for a man to do what he has to do once he has found a woman who accepts him,â€ Kelvin emphasises. He continues: â€œTruly speaking for us men, the woman we look for is one that will be there for a man in all situations, not love that is artificial.â€
Kelvin admits that in todayâ€™s world, it is difficult to find a woman who is loyal. Tinaâ€™s other quality that really impressed him is that she was absolutely humble.
At the time they were getting married, Tina was more academically qualified than Kelvin but this didnâ€™t seem to be an issue with her.
It did, however, get some of Kelvinâ€™s relatives talking as they worried that Tina would be the one to take care of Kelvin and not the other way round.
Kelvin and Tina though have silenced all the doubters and still love and appreciate each other after 14 years of marriage.
Today, Kelvin is a business management consultant and has also a keen interest in politics while Tina works at Zesco as a human resources manager.
Tina says Kelvin has always striven to fulfil the pledge he made 14 years ago that he would take good care of her and, therefore, considers him a man true to his word.
Kelvin and Tina believe marriages are made or broken within the first five years and they have learnt to communicate so well with each other, that they have minimised the interference of third parties.
Their formula for a successful marriage is the demonstration of virtues such as tolerance and patience and the uncompromising attitude that family comes first. Kelvin and Tina encourage other couples not to stop learning and discovering new things about each other in order to keep the spark alive.