HOW WE MET with MIKE MUGALA
WHEN Richard Chitalu was asked by his employer, Christian Children’s Fund, where he would want to be transferred, he chose Kafue so that he leaves his friends who were a draw back on his faith.
Little did he know that there, he would meet Mirriam Nkonde, now his wife of 21 years.
“I received Christ in 1991 when I came to Lusaka, but I would go back to my drinking habits especially when I met friends who were not believers,” he said.
He got the job in 1995
On his first Sunday in Kafue, Richard went to Pentecost Assemblies of God Church and when Mirriam walked towards the altar to lead the church choir praise team, his heart skipped a beat and he somehow felt connected to her.
With time, he got interested in her and made investigations on whether she was in a relationship or not.
“When I discovered that she was single, I was very happy and started going to the mountains for serious prayers,” Richard said.
A number of men in the church feared Mirriam because she worked for Zanaco Bank. But Richard was unfazed.
She accepted his proposal during the course of 1995 and from here, the two spent most of their time, especially at church, together.
On October 6, 1996, Richard and Mirriam wed.
Now with two children together and over 21 years of marital bliss, Richard says Mirriam is the best thing ever God has given him.
“When I was growing up, I wanted to marry a woman who would love and respect me. This I have found in Mirriam. When things are tough, she is always there to encourage and give me strength,” he said.
Richard has observed that marriage is not a “shipikisha club” as purported by some.
He said happiness in a marriage must be created only by the couple.
“It’s important for people in marriage to communicate. My wife and I are friends and I wouldn’t want to hurt her,” Richard said.
He encourages people to marry in the Lord if they want to enjoy their marriages.
He said it is difficult for a man to disappoint or hurt his wife if he genuinely loves her. Richard said most marriages are breaking up because of lack of trust among couples.
He said people must always forgive and forget about the history or past behaviour of their partner.
“We all make mistakes, but what is most important is to forgive and move on. I have discovered that most successful people in the world have stable marriages,” Richard said.
He has advised young people to prepare fully before they can go into a marriage.
Mirriam, on the other hand had to put Richard on hold when he proposed to her because she wanted to seek divine intervention.
“My desire was to marry a person who would understand my character and give me space to do my own things. When he came to me, he told me direct that he wanted to marry me. It came like a surprise,” she said.
Because Mirriam did not want to have a failed marriage, she prayed about it before responding to his proposal.
According to Mirriam, God spoke to her before she agreed to Richard’s proposal.
Though the pair had a few challenges with regards to blending in the inception, their marriage was unshakable because of tolerance.
“One thing that has helped us is that we are two different people from different backgrounds. It required a lot of tolerance, patience and a lot of ignorance. We have learnt to adjust on certain things with time,” Mirriam said.
She said the secret to staying longer in a marriage is to be accommodative and understanding of each other.
Mirriam has in the course of her marriage learnt that it is cardinal for a couple to be open on how to use their resources.
“His money is mine and my money is his. We have given each other space to manoeuvre in our marriage to avoid unnecessary pressure. We also decided that trust is going to be in our marriage whether we like it or not,” she said.
Mirriam said she has learnt to pray over everything that happens in her marriage no matter how little an issue may seem.
She is of the view that people in marriage must be friends and communicate more to complement each other.
“We are all not perfect but we complement each other, we have deliberately put in checks and balances in our marriage to avoid unnecessary pressure. I have male friends and my husband has female friends. We are comfortable and happy with the way we live our lives,” Mirriam says.
She has described her husband as a pillar who has seen her through both challenging and good times.
Mirriam has advised young women to look out for a character in a partner and not what material things he has obtained. The couple lives in Kafue.
HOW WE MET with MIKE MUGALA