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To love and to hold…..

It takes two to tangle

He loved her from onset but she had never seen him in that even when he stepped out and said, “I love you”, she brushed it off.

Josephine Korutaro, after S6 was only at World Vision to keep busy, so what did Rhobert Korutaro see in her? “She has a very pleasant personality thus drawing people in and she is very beautiful,” he shared. Nonetheless, Josephine was not ready for a relationship or even marriage. So for eight years, Rhobert tried his best to woo her. “He did not give up on me but changed strategy and made me his friend,” she smiled for with time, Josephine was drawn in. “He has such a special character being kind even to those who are mean to him. Then despite his achievements, he remains humble, which is amazing and still draws me to him. More to that, we are really good friends thus share anything with one other and despite our challenges and fights, reconciliation is easier.”

Rhobert also learned a few things that made waiting for her important. “There is a peace I felt when with her that was calming and drew me to her. That was besides her simplicity yet very complex nature; appearing that she is available yet unavailable. Then one day, she talked very philosophically, “the lights are now green”, something that took me a while to understand. Nonetheless, that statement opened doors that had been closed for so long.”

Moving from friendship to a couple, the Korutaros’ were ready to conquer all, or were they? That resolve was tested in their first year because there was a lot of adjustment. “Having never stayed together before, adjusting to each other was not easy, especially for me because many of my expectations were not met. One was while my father would sometimes go to the kitchen and prepare something, Rhobert was not given to cooking. I also expected him to be organised but he wasn’t coming into the living room in the evening and wherever he sat was where he undressed from and left his clothes. It really upset me because I wondered why he didn’t just go to the bedroom, undress then put the clothes in the laundry basket.”  It also took her a while to leave and cleave, so most evenings, Josephine passed by her mum’s place then Rhobert would pick her up for home. ”Besides I did not like staying in Makindye, having lived in Mulago for most of my life and here I was, having to adjust to the distance and traffic. There were also many thieves that terrorized the area. We thank God we were protected from any incident but the screams in the middle of the night from people being attacked gave me fear and anxiety. I was desperate to move and asked about it often until a certain woman advised me to stop being a nagging wife and leave the moving to him.” Exactly a year later, Rhobert said he was tired of the home and they needed to move. “On hearing it, I immediately looked for a broker and moved to Kiwatule.”

Rhobert adds that the house was uncomfortable for his bride. “While it was self-contained, the master bedroom was not and the water pressure was also low so one had to carry buckets of water to pour in the toilet.” Besides that, having married at 37, he says he was set in his ways. “For example, I bathed once a day, something she said needed to change when she joined me. While there were several adjustments, they were for the better and I must admit, Josephine organized me, she knew what good looks like.” Rhobert, with a far off gaze adds that he thanks God for giving him a wife who was much better than him. “She came with a commitment beyond normal because I had a lot of baggage compared to hers. I look back with a lot of gratitude because she adjusted so much to fit into my kind of life. She has also bettered me, for I think I would be a terrible person.”

This love and gratitude has helped them sail through the challenges and conflicts akin to marriage. Josephine laughs about how she was unamused about Rhobert pressing toothpaste in the middle and not the bottom. “Such bothers me no more. However, one challenge was losing our jobs, which happened at different times through the years. That affected our finances and brought stress in the home because he was always looking for how to earn an income. We have now learnt not to put all our eggs in one basket.”

The other challenge for her was Christmas. “Back home, Christmas was either in Kampala or in Mweya, but with my husband, it was in the village. Adjusting to having to drive all the way to the village was so difficult.”

However, all the above pale in the face of childlessness, which Rhobert  says gets very bad in the African context with people asking one question after another. “People ask so many questions and you are always trying to make them understand.”

That said, the bigger issue was looking for options. “People suggested one church after another and the movement looking for a remedy was exhausting. Some people were insensitive thus talked carelessly about how fertile and hardworking they were since they were having a child every year. With time, we distanced ourselves from fellowships, and meetings because society and church do not seem to understand. They also put pressure on her so I had to rise up to protect my Josephine, ensuring she never felt an outcast. Childlessness is a real challenge and if not careful can tear the marriage,” Rhobert shares. They also went to various medical places here and abroad and every time their hopes were raised only to be dashed. “In 2009, we were in Mulago hospital for three months because of errors made by some doctors. This time was a real test on Josephine’s health but we thank God who provided through family and friends. They stood with us emotionally, financially and spiritually all through the process, and we are eternally grateful.” he adds. Josephine says the comments and questions, more so in the early years, really stressed them. “But over the years, we are unfazed. We can surely say, we love the way God loves us.”

Despite having no children, several have passed through their hands. “These give us the feeling of being parents for they really love us and show it. At times, we feel some children prefer us over their parents and that is thanks to Josephine who right from the start, has mothered everyone, including me and she is such a warm person.” Recently, while celebrating 20 years in marriage, the children, in their speech, asked them to never say they have no children because they are there. “We really have children, but all of them call us uncle and aunt, never hearing mummy and daddy, that is what we miss.”

Rhobert, thinking through it all says, “If there is goodness, I must say, Josephine is a very good woman, never putting pressure on you, clean and never grumbles. She is always making life easy. So whatever the challenges, I always look forward to coming back home because I know I am really going home not to face strife, or be blamed.”

Looking back at their courtship, Rhobert says initially, it was hard because she was much disciplined and always in a hurry to go home. “Later, gradually, one day in a month, she would agree to a cup of coffee and progressively she eased up. Nonetheless, she ensured it was so short because she had to be home by 7pm, a time she maintained throughout courtship.” Josephine adds that she was an introvert and preferred to be home thus the self-imposed 7 pm curfew. “Rhobert was not a good time keeper, which I am. For instance, he always arrived no less than an hour past our agreed meeting time yet I preferred to arrive 15 minutes earlier. This angered me that one day, I told him, I would only wait for him for 15 minutes. I think he was late only once but tried to keep time thereafter aware that if late, he would not find me.” Josephine adds that theirs was interesting because unlike today where men always foot the bills, in their case, whoever invited the other paid.

The two had their introduction ceremony on July 29, 2000, give away on December 14, 2000 and wedding on December 16, 2000. Rhobert says the officiating journey started with looking for a go-between (katerarume) who also had to do some background work about him. “Canon Joram Kahenano was a very close to Josephine’s family so he had to really dig deep before anything could go on.” With the wedding, they had a committee in place and had a series of meetings. “We were very fortunate, we did not have to put in any of our money because people gave,” he shares. The generosity continued with Josephine’s family doing things out of the ordinary. “My mother told Rhobert he did not have to pay bride price because there was no price for her daughter. But Rhobert insisted he had to give something hence giving her the equivalent of the bride price as a gift. In regards to the wedding, Rhobert handled the bulk of the other preparations while my family and I handled everything to do with the bride and her family. This made it all stress free without debts.” Rhobert says that generosity made life much easier and he always remembers it with profound respect.

Theirs has been a journey hinged on friendship and Rhobert says it is important that you marry your friend. “Most times people have a reason why they married someone. However, it is better if you do not have because if the reason for marrying fades away, it means you stop loving.”

He adds that when marrying, put expectations, even children out, save companionship. “Those should be an addition because God’s ways are not ours. We can only thank God for the additions.”

When Josephine got married, a friend gave her a book, Fascinating womanhood, as a gift. “That book gave me tips on how to be the ideal wife to my husband. Over the years, I have also gifted other brides that same book.” There are several tips such as accepting your husband for who he is, never trying to change him, then there is admiring him for his masculine qualities, allowing him to lead, and making him number one. “I have lived these tips and I am enjoying my marriage.”

“Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate. I thank Rhobert for being good to me, showing me he loves me on a daily basis. Because of who he is, I am a better person than I was when we got married.”

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