Lilian Wanjiku Thairu, 31, a computer specialist, and John Kiriungi Wang’ondu, 31, a computer software engineer, met during their time in university. A strong friendship blossomed and with time the couple fell in love. Their love has been tested many times but they have emerged stronger individuals. The couple walks ESTHER KIRAGU through their story of love culminating into their wedding.
Lilian and John met in 2003 in Kampala, Uganda where they were both students at Kampala International University (KIU). They shared a hostel near the campus quarters. John noticed Lilian and was drawn to her.
”I was attracted to her and during the campus end year party in 2003 I asked her to be my girlfriend,” explains John. At first, Lilian was skeptical and so were her friends. “John loved partying unlike me and I was afraid that we couldn’t cope. However, I gave him a chance stating that we needed to start out as friends and see how our friendship develops. With time we were in love and started dating. My friends came to accept my decision,” says Lilian.
Dating and courtship…
The couple dated throughout their campus years. They often cooked and hang out together as they sought to learn more about each other. In 2006 Lilian completed her studies a semester ahead of John and returned to Kenya. John followed at the end of that year but his stay in Kenya was short lived as he got a scholarship to study for a Masters degree in computer science in Sweden. Being so far away from Lilian became the first big test of their relationship. “We often argued over the phone and it became so frustrating that we broke up,” explains the couple.
However in 2008 Lilian too got a scholarship to Sweden, to pursue a Masters degree in computer science. Although they were now in the same country they lived in different cities. Lilian admits she was willing to rekindle their relationship but John felt the distance between them was an issue.
Bitter and feeling dejected, Lilian cut all communication with John and turned to God realising that all her efforts were futile. “It was during that time that God taught me the true meaning of forgiveness. I forgave John and revived some communication with him but regarded him as just a friend,” explains Lilian.
John who was studying and working got temporarily laid off because of the economic recession that affected Europe at the time. He called Lillian requesting her to help him find a job. She not only helped him find a job but also showed genuine care and support and this deeply touched John. This became the catalyst that helped them rekindle their relationship and they started dating again in 2010.
“We learnt to be more caring and accommodating,” the couple explains. Looking back, the couple says they were very young when they started dating and didn’t know how to handle their differences very well. They have both matured and look at issues differently.
Proposal and wedding…
Lilian and John introduced each other to their respective families during their visits to Kenya in J December 2011 and March 2012. In August 2012, John asked Lilian to marry him during a cruise to Finland. Excited, she accepted the proposal but John didn’t give her an engagement ring at the time. This came later on December 7, 2012, just before their wedding.
After the proposal they called their parents to let them know of their intention to get married. Dowry and other marriage negotiations started between their parents when the couple was still out of the country.
“We made all the wedding arrangements from Sweden. We looked for wedding service providers online and they worked with our family members and friends to put up the wedding,” the couple says.
The yellow and black themed wedding cost Kshs 650,000, which they financed from their savings. They flew back to the country for a beautiful wedding on December 29, 2012 at P.C.E.A Church Limuru, followed by a reception at the grounds of St Paul’s University in Limuru. They had their honeymoon in Maasai Mara and traveled back to Sweden soon after.
We wish the couple a blissful marriage.
Wedding photography by Thellessi media
Published on February 2013