The good book asks us to welcome people for some have entertained angels. So when Joab through his friend Dorothy in 2012 accepted Irene to join them at table, he was letting in an angel that would turn his world upside up, if that exists.
“Meeting with a friend, Dorothy, for coffee, a stunningly beautiful and elegant lady came and greeted us. Then Dorothy asked her to join us, introducing him to me as her friend,” Joab shares. Apart from the looks, Joab was amazed by how Irene was dressed, how she greeted them, talked as well as how she placed her order. In those few seconds, he concluded that her background and upbringing was impeccable. At that, a lot was running through his mind. “I had actually fallen for this lady within a short time. As such, I did not speak a lot that whole evening as I debated with my mind on how I was going to get to know much more about Irene.” Joab did not get her phone number on that day and his attempts to get it from Dorothy were met with resistance as she insisted he gets it from Irene himself.
After a week, as Joab met Dorothy at her father’s home, he got the opportunity to meet Irene again. “Apart from learning that Irene was Dorothy’s cousin, I was given an unlikely assignment of driving her to her hostel in Bugolobi. I did it with one heart and used the chance to ask for her phone number. Oh God!! When she gave me her contact I was very excited. It was a move in the right direction.”
From that moment on, Irene noticed there was extra care and effort on Joab’s side as he kept calling to check on her. “My birthday was just around the corner and he it a point to get me a beautiful cake. Some days after my birthday, he asked me out but I first gave it time so that I could understand the kind of a person I was dealing with.” In the meantime, he kept calling to check on Irene and they discussed a number of things. “I wanted to be sure about his views on different topics that I considered important.”
Becoming good friends, Joab’s next step was to tell Irene how he felt. “After some time, I told her how much I loved, treasured, and cherished her. I also told her I wanted her to be the mother of my children.” Joab describes his Irene as one that never rushes into stuff, and it played out as he waited for a response from Irene. “Finally, she told me that the answer was ready and inquired on whether I was ready to receive it. This was a moment of tension because that statement played on my mind. I drove from Arua to Kampala, an eight-hour journey, to get my answer.” By this time, Irene had realised that Joab was consistent, kind, gentle, bright, caring, focused and God-fearing. “Those were some of the things I was looking out for in a husband.” He had won her heart and not only was a date was possible but a good answer awaited Joab.
“I took her for dinner to one of the elite hotels in Kampala as I awaited the moment of truth was here. Guess what, it was a sweet BIG YES. It was such a sweet moment, a turning point in my life,” Joab says like it was yesterday.
With Joab working upcountry, their courtship was bound to be long-distance. Nonetheless, communication is surely the glue that kept the courtship plausible as they ensured to communicate regularly. “While upcountry, I missed my Irene greatly but travelled regularly to check on her in Kampala, more so because she was still at campus at that time.” He would always take her for lunch dates, evening coffee, and dinner, then on Sundays, they would go to church together and also visit friends. “One thing that drew me too close to Irene was her love for God. She was and is still a deep woman of God.”
As born-again Christians, the Aruhos agreed to observe purity till marriage. “We set out to be pure and honor God, we laid down the Do’s and Don’ts of our relationship from the very beginning and we were careful to follow them and always remind ourselves,” Irene shares. Joab adds that they achieved it by always avoiding situations that could compromise their sexual integrity such as being alone all by themselves. “But most importantly, prayer was our greatest weapon.”
After one and a half years of courting, the Aruhos had their introduction and giveaway on April 12, 2014 at Irene’s parents’ home in Ntoroko District while the wedding was on April 26, 2014 at All Saints Cathedral in Kampala. “The preparations were very smooth with friends and family showering us with a lot of financial, moral and spiritual support. At the end of the day, everything was a huge success. We also prayed and fasted for our functions to be successful and as usual, God who never fails did it,” they share.
It has always been said that courtship and marriage are as different as day from night, but Joab says his first year of marriage was a very exciting time for him. “Here is someone you love and are staying together, so it was a great feeling. During this year, we ventured into several activities such as jogging, dancing, watching movies, playing cards, washing and traveling as long as we were together. We still do those things to date,” Joab shares.
Irene attests that it was fun. “Although I had to move and stay with him in Arua where he worked, it was for the better as we were able to bond. Being a new place and not knowing anyone, we spent most of the time together whenever he was off duty. More to that, we were both young and full of life thus travelled together to see new places.”
While the fun was undeniable, there were some nuts to tighten. For example, Joab says adjusting to marriage life where you are now accountable to your partner took him time to get accustomed to. “You have to think about the effect of every decision on your partner. More to that, you have to first consult your partner on some issues. This was quite challenging at the start but I have made headway.”
On the other hand, Irene had to give up her job to go and stay with Joab in Arua where he worked. “It was a bit challenging, especially because I had to shift to a new place where I had no friend or relative. The culture there was also different and I didn’t know the local language yet there were situations where I had to interact with the locals, say when shopping for food at the market. I also missed my friends greatly but I made sure we kept in touch.”
Joab, an ardent football fan and specifically a staunch supporter of Arsenal Football club, also had to let go of watching late-night games. “I previously caught up with the boys in the night as we enjoyed the games. So giving it up was a hard call to make but I did. From that moment, I started watching football from the comfort of my home and Irene watches with me whenever she can.”
While they were still adjusting, two years down the road, Irene got a job in Kampala hence going back to a long-distance relationship. “However, I still travel over the weekend to check on her and the children. Sometimes, she also travels to where I work and we spend some time together. We also communicate more frequently when we are apart. ”
Irene also says the distance between them is a challenge. “The children and I always miss him whenever he is at work. Even when he comes to check on us on weekends, he stays for a day or two and travels back to work. There are also issues in the household that require a man and while I step in sometimes, it is strenuous.”
That said, the Aruhos communicate more often and when Joab returns he ensures he spends quality time with the family, sometimes taking the children out to play and they love it.
Joab shares that marriage is what you make it. “It requires a lot of commitment and patience. But above all dedicate your marriage to God, He is the chief author of marriage. More to that, a family that prays together, stays together.”