HOW WE MET with KAPALA CHISUNKA
THEY may not have everything they desire, but Reverend Douglas Mulongoti and his wife Irent Sikandindi are as deeply in love as they were when they tied the knot in 1991.
To the Mulongotis, having each other means more than anything they could have in life, including biological children.
â€œMy husband is special. I am a blessed woman to have ended up with a man like him. I say so because after 25 years of marriage, we are still in love with each other.
He still looks at me the way he did many years ago. Yet I have not been able to give him a child. We continue waiting on God to bless us with one according to His will for our lives,â€ Mrs Mulongoti says.
Mrs Mulongoti is grateful that both families have been supportive and have allowed them to enjoy their marriage.
â€œWe have been married for 25 years. One thing I have learned is that marriage is not about children.
We have been happy in our marriage despite not having any children yet he still treats me with love and respect. Together we have realised that it is God who gives children,â€ she says.
Mrs Mulongoti, who describes her marriage as â€˜heaven on earthâ€™, says although she struggled in the beginning to accept her situation, she has learnt to rely on her husband and family for support.
But nothing surprises how about her husbandâ€™s character and personality because she could tell he was a â€˜keeperâ€™ when the two met
in 1989 in church. The two were both in the childrenâ€™s ministry at the church.
She says because of their close working relationship, the two established a friendship but that she had no idea he wanted more from their friendship until later when he visited her at her home one day.
â€œI knew in my heart that he liked me when he gave me a fresh soft leaf of a mango tree which he plucked from a nearby tree.
Even though he didnâ€™t say anything, I knew he was interested in me. And to me that was love,â€ she says with a smile.
Later, the same day, as though to confirm it, an elderly woman at the market asked them if they were husband and wife.
And that day, unbeknown to her, Rev Mulongoti had planned to propose to her but changed his mind afterwards because he felt she would think he was influenced.
A month later, Rev Mulongoti proposed. However, she asked for time to think about it.
At that time, Mrs Mulongoti had another suitor pursuing her for marriage. She now had to decide between a then struggling humble associate pastor and a University of Zambia graduate. And after three months of praying, she made her decision.
â€œIn the physical, any woman would have chosen to marry the UNZA graduate. But I chose my husband because of so many reasons, including the fact that I had always wanted to get married to a pastor,â€ she says.
The couple then courted for a year before getting married in 1991. She says she was attracted to Rev. Mulongoti because he is cheerful, humble and down to earth.
â€œI have no regrets over my decision to marry him. We love each other, we relate very well, understand each other and in the years we have been married, he has never laid a hand on me. God has been faithful to us in so many ways. We have become closer and closer in the years we have been married,â€ she says.
She says she has a blissful union because she married a man of her choice. She says marriage has taught her to be selfless in her dealings with her husband.
Her advice to couples, â€œWhen you get married, understand that marriage is between two people
and children are just a blessing; an extension of the couples love.
A marriage will not survive if the main reason you are getting into it is to have children.â€
She also says communication, trust and tolerance are components of a successful relationship.
Her husband, Rev Mulongoti agrees with his wife and adds it was the reason he chose to marry her. He says his wife met the criterion he was looking for in a future partner. He says it was important for him to meet a good God fearing woman because of the career he was pursuing as a clergyman.
â€œWe knew her church. But by 1990, I decided I needed a life partner and she was everything I wanted in a wife. I wanted a woman who would fit into my life style and one who would accept my humble financial status at that time,â€ he says.
He realised over time that the woman he was looking was â€˜right under his noseâ€™. But he knew that to make such a life time commitment he needed to put certain things into place to secure their future.
â€œShe is compassionate, down to earth and most importantly loves working for God. Although, I was nervous to ask her out in the beginning due to the fact that we were friends also helped. She is also beautiful inside and out,â€ he says with a smile.
Rev Mulongoti, who pastors Pentecostal Holiness Church in Chelstone extension, says it does not bother him that God has not blessed them with children yet because he has a life partner in whom he is well pleased.
â€œShe is more than my wife and partner, we pray together and we are best friends. We may not have children yet but we have been blessed with a lot more than we could have ever asked and wanted.
For now that is enough until God says otherwise,â€ he says while looking at his wife admiringly.
He says in the 25 years of marriage he has learnt the importance of putting his wifeâ€™s needs before his; being selfless. He says he has also learnt to involve his wife in decision making as a partner and wife.
â€œIt is important for spouses to realise that marriage is a learning phase, no one was born a wife or husband. We all just learn to be good husbands and wives when we get married. So it is wrong for spouses to expect their partners to be faultless,â€ he says.
Rev Mulongoti says it is vital to be open and communicate in trust what they expect of their partners as well as learn to forgive when they fall short.
â€œChallenges will be there in any relationship, the important thing is to understand each other, communicate and support each other. Couples in marriages need to understand that we exist to better each otherâ€™s life. Trust in a relationship has to be protected and it is the duty of both husband and wife to do so. A marriage should be one that inspires those outside to want to get married,â€ he says.
Like the couple says, at the end of day, despite what life throws at them, they have a lot to be thankful for because they have each other.
HOW WE MET with KAPALA CHISUNKA