Judy Bisem and Jesse Masai became friends during their undergraduate studies at Daystar University where they shared a few classes.
As their friendship grew, they discovered they had several things in common such as both their dads being pastors of the same church, albeit different branches.
After campus, they went their separate ways but years later, they reconnected through Facebook and eventually started being part of each other’s conversations.
Their friendship bloomed so much so that by 2013, more than 10 years after their initial meeting, Jesse started regarding Judy as more than a friend. He, however, was cautious about approaching her for a romantic relationship.
“I was in and out of the country for prolonged periods of time because of work commitments. When i finally settled back home in 2009 my work status was unstable. I didn’t want to start a family with that hanging over my head,” he expounds.
Judy, however, was not privy to Jesse’s affection for her until towards the end of 2015 when he emailed her a phrase from theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer that, according to her, intimated towards a probable relationship.
“When I analysed the quote which has something to do with ‘waiting as preparation for good things’, I realised that maybe there was more to this friendship. When I started seriously pondering about Jesse, I realised that I actually liked him and didn’t mind being with him,” says Judy even as Jesse mischievously insists that his actions were innocent.
Shortly thereafter, Jesse requested to meet Judy’s father saying he was on a path to understanding the latter’s pastoral journey and he (Judy’s father) had a connection with his own father through the same church. While for some this would have sounded an alarm bell, Judy never suspected anything.
“Months later, I told my father that Jesse was the man I was going to marry. He wasn’t surprised. Apparently, he and my siblings always suspected there was more to Jesse’s meeting than mere ‘research’,” she says to which Jesse adds, “I can’t say meeting her father was my only intention. I also wanted to establish a link.”
As fate would have it, Jesse asked Judy on a date the weekend after their Easter visit with her father. The lunch date, which rolled over into dusk, pretty much cemented the couple’s feelings towards each other and without wasting anytime, they agreed to not only court for marriage, but get married as soon as viably possible.
So intent were they on marriage that by July 2016, they had enrolled in premarital counselling classes (PMCC) at Karura Chapel. The couple admits that this was the best decision of their marital life yet.
“The PMCC sessions were very elaborate and intense. One of our biggest lessons was how two become one. Jesse and I are very independent so learning to make decisions together was a challenge,” says Judy, a self-confessed control freak.
Jesse adds, “My biggest lesson was that marriage is not something you get into without a plan. Get into a PMCC class whether you are a young couple or mature in age. It helps to demystify many things.”
They also learnt about sex in marriage, intimacy, handling their finances and dealing with in-laws.
Jesse proposed on Judy’s birthday, on July 18. “We were having dinner and I was swallowing my drink in big gulps.Jesse had to intervene lest I swallowed the ring!” shares Judy.
Having agreed to make an honest man out of Jesse, wedding plans began in earnest. The couple eventually exchanged their vows on February 4, 2017 at St. Paul’s University grounds in front of 400 guests. Their budget was just shy of Ksh500,000.
The couple, reflecting on their single life journey, speaks strongly against stigmatisation of single people whether young or mature and especially within the church.
“Being single is not a sin and marriage is neither an achievement nor a passport to heaven. It should not be put on a pedestal or made to seem like it is any better than any other of life’s relationships,” they conclude