Monday, May 07, 2012

16 years without a child, but we are happy

Hilary Tumusiime is the Director of New Life Bible College in Nsambya. Hilary and his wife, Jacque, talked to MAUREEN NAKATUDDE about their marriage

Interview with HILARY
How did you meet Jacque?  We met in New Zealand, where I was employed as an envangelist from Kabale Full Gospel Church. Jacque was working as an administrator. We started as friends for three years, until I proposed to her.

Did you ever dream of marrying a white person?  No, I had never dreamt about it. Even as I prayed, my eyes were on the Bakiga girls.

Then, why didn’t you marry a Mukiga girl?  They were not ready for commitment. Whenever I told a Mukiga girl about my intentions, they would say, ‘let us just be friends’.

Weren’t you concerned that you were not getting married soon?  No, but my friends were. We were all in our 30s and many of my friends were already married. But I didn’t have any woman in my life. They wondered whether I was praying hard enough.

To the contrary, I was pray­ing, asking God to give me a God-fearing woman. But my friends told me that I should be specific with the qualities I wanted in woman like; tall and educated. I didn’t agree with them because the Bible says man looks at the outside, but God looks at the heart.

When some men meet a woman for the first time, they can tell whether they will marry her. Was it the case with you?  No, it wasn’t. When we first met, I saw Jacque like any other woman.

Do you believe a person should only look for spe­cific qualities in a partner?  Some people go over board. Looking for Mr. or Miss Perfect is a fallacy. In the real world, they do not exist. But when you live together with someone, they might pick up the qualities you wished for.

Some Ugandan women are desperate for white guys, what is your advice for them?  I can say that there are good and bad people in every race. Colour is just the skin, but people are all the same. Some marriages with whites may not work, just as it is the case with the black people.

How did your relatives receive Jacque?  My siblings were excited about it. My mother was a little bit shocked and frightened. She said: “Son, how are we going to look after a mzungu.”

How many children do you have?  Biologically, we have no children. Before I got mar­ried, I had taken on my late sister’s four children. We also adopted two others from my sister-in-law who had separated from her husband.

How long have you been married?  We have been married for 16 years.

What has kept your relationship intact?  It has been our trust in God. We also communicate a lot with each other. Since the kitchen is her depart­ment, I support her with the laundry, washing the dishes and ironing. We are also open to each other and try as much as possible not to keep any secrets.

In African culture, people are obsessed with an heir, what does your family tell you?  It is something I have never thought about. St. Paul had no children, but he led a productive life. Besides that, I can look for an heir among my relatives.

Was it your choice not to have children?  We would have loved to have children, but I think it was God’s plan. Nonetheless, we still believe that God can perform a miracle for us.

What advice can you give to those whose marriage is failing because of lack of children?  I advise them to adopt. It is also not the end of the world. Life is not all about children. It is about God and finding happiness in one another. I know of a man who had 70 children, but at the time of his death, he could not appoint any of his children his heir. Con­sequently, he asked his brother’s son to be his heir.

Did you ever go to any fertility clinic?  No, we never. We believed it was God’s will and we  were content.

Interview with JACQUE 
How did you meet?  I met him at New Life Christian Organisation, in New Zealand. At that time, I was not looking for a husband. Our friendship grew gradually as we walked and prayed together.

Do you believe that women should chase after men?  No, I don’t think so. It is the man’s job to do the chasing. In the west, women do it, but they don’t marry. The best they can do is cohabiting and after some time, separate. When a man does the chasing, it makes him automati­cally the head and also brings respect in a home.

What attracted you to Hilary?  He was mature, spiritual and outgoing. I liked the way he sang and danced. He is a handsome and humourous man. Besides that, I could see that he came from a good family. Unlike some men, his behaviour matched his words.

Weren’t there white men chasing after you?  There was a rich man interested in me. We were just friends by then. He had proposed to me on many oc­casions, but I insisted on friendship. For me, I was not interested in money, I wanted a mature a Christian and someone who would love me. When he saw me with Hilary, he was hurt. But we have all moved on. He is married and we reconciled.

Some African women bleach their skins. Any advice for them?  I think it is shortsightedness to believe that light-skinned people are more beautiful. There is no race that does not grow old. It is the inner beauty that counts. Accept who you are and learn to get on with your life. I don’t even notice my husband’s colour.

How did your family welcome Hilary?  He was received warmly. There was no opposition whatsoever. In fact, he has more friends than I do in my own country.

Women are usually affected by lack of children. Did your condition affect you?  No, it did not. We believe in God’s will and timing.

How did you overcome the language barrier in Uganda?  It was not hard because many people speak Eng­lish, except my mother-in-law. We communicate using sign language. But she is learning English so that she can communicate with me.

Don’t your cultures clash?  No, they don’t. Our culture is Christian

What challenges have you faced in marriage?  This happened in our early years of marriage. It was hard adjusting to one another.

How do you keep the fire burning in marriage?  Through learning the love languages of one anoth­er. We also do a lot of things together, like serving God, watching movies and taking a walk.

Pastors are known to neglect their marital du­ties, how do you manage?  Sometimes, it is hard, but we ensure we make time for each other.

Do you cook for your husband?  Yes, I do, although we have someone who helps us with some home chores. I also enjoy all Ugandan dishes; I’m not selective on foods.

Do you ever disagree with your husband?  Yes, we do. For instance, there was a time when Hilary would constantly ask: “Did you pack this, did you do this?” I would do it if it was once in a while, but when it was over and over again, it became a problem. I talked to him about it and he stopped.

Weren’t you scared, coming to a country you hardly had any idea about?  When some of my friends heard about it, they told me Idi Amin would kill me. But it did not bother me because I had been to Uganda for some time and the first time I was there, I loved it.

Whites are usually a target for beggars; how did you handle that?  When we returned to Uganda, we had very little to support us. At first, I found it hard to say no. But after sometime, we found out that some people actually tell lies. So, if someone came for help, I would tell them that I first had to consult my husband. If he or she needed to borrow a large amount of money, we would just give them a little amount, instead of lending them.

Does he shop for you?  No, he does not. If he does that, he may bring home the wrong size. But we usually go for shop­ping together. Sometimes, he disagrees with what I have bought.

What presents does he buy on your birthday?  He often forgets. I am the one who reminds him about the day and I tell him what particular gift to bring me. It is never a surprise and when he brings it, but I love it.

What do you think all men have in common?  Men want to provide for their family. They all want to feel that they are needed. They also want respect

Souce: New Vision

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