In Summary

MILESTONE. Mark and Maureen Moriah Mukisa, commonly known as, Pastor Mark and Aunt Mo celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary on May 1, writes JOAN SALMON.

When did you get married?
Mark: May 1, 1999.

What has kept you together?
Mark: My understanding of Christ has made it possible. I decided to be a man of my word, stay committed even when it hurts. I took my vows and I work out things even when they do not seem to be working. In this, I have no plan B. I have not finished my life time, so I am committed to growing to love her.
Aunt Mo: Mark is my best friend and he loves me unconditionally. There are people that will stay in a friendship because of what they are receiving and disappear when it is done. So, I am home and secure and I could not have asked for better. Also, he is passionate, kind and faithful.

How did you meet?
Aunt Mo: I was in charge of the choir and a friend to his siblings although I had never interacted with him apart from seeing him at church. We only started working together and subsequently grew closer after my studies about child and youth ministry in Scotland. It was then that Pastor Chris Komagum allowed me to come as a volunteer in the youth ministry at KPC.
Mark: I was a youth leader after Pastor Chris had moved to become assistant pastor. Then Maureen joined my team and I found her easy to connect with.

How did teammates become more than just friends?
Mark: I was looking for talent and leadership and she was there with a flair hence becoming one of the leaders. I started to become more trusting of her because she was not asking for anything but carrying out her duties. We ate out, talked, and I used to escort her home. The talks got longer even though I have no recollection of what we talked about.
When I was called to do ministry work, she would advise me on what to carry or say.

Any memorable moment?
Mark: Once, I was invited to Eldoret in Kenya for ministry and I invited her to come along. On that assignment, she was so instrumental owing to her love for singing and dance, which helped to connect with the youth profoundly that they desired her return. On our return, I told her about the compliments and she squeezed my hand from Mbale to Kampala. It was on arrival that I mastered the courage to say, “I like you.”

That aside, I had a friend, Pastor Joshua Mugabi, who was dating someone of the same age as Mo and we shared a lot about our relationships. I encouraged him to propose which he did and they fixed a kwanjula date.
Then I told Mo, “These people have set a date, let us also do the same” and we did for May 1999.
It dawned on me that I had never proposed which I did before May.

Memories about your dating?
Aunt Mo: We did most of it with his mother in the picture.

Playful. The couple today.

What was your first year of marriage like?
Aunt Mo: It was a shocker because Mark could do everything yet when I was getting married, I was told that I had to take charge of the home. I was an early riser but he woke up earlier, mopped, cooked, changed diapers and the like. I guess it comes from having grown up with his mother, and our son is taking after him. So I took to growing in other skills - home management roles such as organising and interior décor.
Mark: I came straight from my mother’s house so our first home was the first time out of home. We had no furniture, saucepans or mattresses. In fact, we got our house a week to the wedding and I tasked my sister to buy us bedding as we headed for honeymoon. So we started planning and building our home, something we were not in a hurry to do. Within a year, we had a lot, plus the many glasses we got as gifts. We went together for ministry and we got to know more about each other.

Marriage then and now?
Mark: In my time, the focus was on becoming one but today, some girls will not get married to a man without a job as they are looking for safety as though they are looking for welfare officers.
Then, what kind of family one came from mattered, was it upright and hardworking?

Your lessons
Mark: Love grows out of commitment. During courtship, it is more of feelings so when you discover some things about your spouse along the way that you do not like, it is love that will help you through.
Money, not infidelity is the leading cause of marriage break ups because he who has money has power.

Advice
• Marriage was God’s idea. As every car has a manual, so does marriage, and that is the Bible. There is nothing small or useless therein. If we continue short circuiting things, we will crush.
•Communication is vital and the lack of it will cause people to presume or take things for granted.
• Check one’s family background, commitment, friends, testimony of salvation, health status such as HIV, sickle cell, hepatitis B before committing.
• Start from a friendship basis if you are to learn more about your intended partner.
• Find someone interested in what you are doing otherwise, clashes are eminent.