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True love, friendship keep us together – Mbewes

CEPHAS Mbewe met Grace Shawa his wife of 27 years in 1984 at Chilenje Reformed Church.
“I remember I was at Justo Mwale College studying theology, a friend of mine was being examined at Chilenje Reformed Church and I had gone to attend the church service. It was there that we met, I greeted her and there and then got attracted to her because she looked natural” he said.
According to him, he had purposed in his heart before he came to college that he needed to find a wife there.
After their first meeting, Cephas developed interest in Grace as she portrayed the character that he was looking for in a woman.
“I started observing her intellectual ability and with time, what I felt for her grew even stronger. She was also genuine and honest,” Cephas said.
Cephas and Grace dated for a year and were in courtship for three years, and it was in October 1986 that Cephas officially engaged Grace.
During the time they were in courtship, Cephas says he was convinced beyond all reasonable doubt that he had found a woman of his dreams because she was God-fearing.
In 1988 on December 17, Cephas and Grace got married. Cephas describes his marriage as consistent and successful.
“My wife is more open and frank with me, above all, she has still maintained her natural personality. She takes good care of all my family members and they have received her wholeheartedly.
My family says my wife is now a full time member of our family, in fact, she knows more of my relatives than I about know her relatives” he said.
He said it is possible for people to live happily in marriage if they make right choices and decisions while they remain honest to each other.
He advised people to take their time before entering into relationships if they are not matured enough and ready to handle a relationship.
“People especially those that are not married must first seek the face of God before they find a life partner, to those who are married, they must stick to the vows they made before God and other people. Married people must remain faithful to each other, understand each other and when something is wrong, they must find a way of resolving it” Cephas said.
Cephas is a pastor and also a teacher at Tiyende Mission School in Nampundwe.
For Grace, she did not take Cephas seriously the first time they talked and never thought he would be her husband one day.
“We just greeted each other, it was a situation where you greet someone and then decide to walk away. I did not know if I was ready to be with someone or not and to me, it was like he just didn’t exist” she said.
She said Cephas’ friend later started telling her that he was interested in her.
According to Grace, Cephas visited her two weeks later and her elder brother was not happy about it. She said her elder brother later asked Cephas to go back but he refused. Grace says her elder brother could not allow any man to visit her, not even a pastor.
She narrates that Cephas then started asking her questions concerning her educational background, village and her parents’ details.
“Even when my brother chased him he was still stubborn, then my brother left us and said he should find him gone when he comes back. Afterwards he started interrogating me and I also did the same,” she said.
From here Grace and Cephas could meet after the church service and sometimes Cephas would also follow her to her place of work.
Grace recollects how her boss would be upset with the appearances of Cephas at her place of work. She says despite all the advances that Cephas made she took him as her friend.
“I don’t remember him proposing or asking me about marriage, every time we talked, I felt I was talking to a friend” Grace said.
She later developed interest in him when her friends convinced her that the man was interested in her.
In 1988, Grace received surprise news when she heard that Cephas paid her bride price without her knowledge.
“My mother had come from the village to visit, I was very surprised to learn that Cephas organised his family members and reached the home of my parents and paid my bride price. When I asked, he just ignored me and pretended as though he did not do it” she said.
By then, Grace was in college and was in her last year. She finished her exams in the first week of December and left for the village where she got married a week later.
She has described her marriage as bliss and has described her husband as a loving and caring man.
“About two years ago, I suffered from a stroke and my husband was by my bedside. He could feed me and this gave me hope that I was going to be okay, I thank God for him because nowadays it is rare to find a husband who is caring and supportive”
He told me that he was going to stick to the vows he made on our wedding day,” she said.
She has advised young women seeking marriage partners not to look at material things as they are temporary and that those who are married must remain committed to the vows they made.
Grace worked as a senior auditor at the Auditor General’s office. She retired in 2005.
The couple has been married for 27 years and has three sons.