How did you meet?
George: I met Elizabeth in 2007 when I was still nursing wounds of a failed marriage.
Elizabeth: We were at a function and I took his contacts because I thought he had interesting insights I could learn from. We tried getting in touch several times but it didn’t work for a while because he kept asking me to remind him who I was, so I got put off. However, when my boyfriend stood me up on Valentine’s Day, I called George and asked him if he was available for a meet-up and the rest is history.
George: I think I proposed in less than 15 minutes into the date.
You’re joking, right? George: No.
Elizabeth: He asked me if I was married. When I responded in the negative, he inquired if I hoped to get married someday. I said yes and he asked me to marry him. I, in turn, replied in the affirmative. The fact that you didn’t know each other notwithstanding?
Elizabeth: Yes. I had been in a stagnant relationship for three years. So I started praying for a husband and specifically that he be from my community, intelligent and saved.
George: I also needed a wife at that point: not a girlfriend, especially since I had married before. I was also raising my son as well as looking after my sick mum.
Elizabeth: I did have misgivings. After the date, he dropped me home saying he’d come see my parents who lived nearby the next day. I dismissed it as a joke. How was I going to tell my parents that I was engaged to a man I didn’t know?
George: I tried to call her the following day but she ignored my call. So I did the next best thing – show up at her house.
That must have been quite a surprise!
George: She thought I couldn’t remember her place just because I’d dropped her off at night.
Elizabeth: My sisters, who I was living with at the time, were all looking at me expectantly when he arrived. I blurted out that I was getting married to George.
George: They flatly refused at first, but after I spoke to them, they gave her the go- ahead to ‘give me a try’.
Elizabeth: I gathered the courage to tell my dad as well and George came home to see him. Two months later, after a sermon in church and in a colourless simple ceremony, we were prayed for and became husband and wife.
There was no love in the equation, which is what a lot of people assume one needs to get married. Elizabeth: Exactly. Funny enough, I got to know George’s full name when he introduced himself to my sisters.
George: A lot of marriages are on the rocks, yet most of these couples married ‘for love’. Why are they in crises? One thing we fail to understand is love is not the basis for marriage. Marriage is the basis for love. We don’t marry because we love; we love because we’re married. Our belief is based on the first marriage between Adam and Eve. There is no mention of love. Adam simply says Eve is the flesh of his flesh and the two started living together.
Elizabeth: A lot of people nowadays take the fruits or by-products of a relationship to constitute what ought to be the basis of the relationship. That shouldn’t be the case. So, what to you constitutes the basic principles of marriage?
George: The essence of a woman is to help a man. Even the Bible doesn’t demand love from a woman. It demands submission and for men to love their wives. Women are to help men achieve the realisation and fulfillment of their lives even as they also derive satisfaction and fulfillment for their lives. The common thread here is compatibility. Do you both have a sense of purpose and do they intersect at any point? When you know where you’re going, you will know who to accompany you.
Elizabeth: A lot of marriages fail because they are based on emotions. As long as you’re with your partner, your emotions are bound to change. When people say they’ve lost love and are at a point of no return, often times it’s because their emotions have dried up.
Any other principles we should look out for?
Elizabeth: The need to know oneself. How will your partner help you if you don’t know who you are?
George: The reason I could tell Elizabeth would make the perfect wife for me was because from the moment she spoke, I could tell she knew who she was and where she was going. Compatibility also breeds commitment. Emotions aside, deriving a sense of fulfillment from your partner is what keeps them committed to you. Once you’re committed to each other, then naturally, emotions such as love and trust are born.
Was it easy to jell considering you didn’t know each other?
Elizabeth: No. We suffered for a while because our personalities are so different. I’m wash and wear; happy-go-lucky type of person and George is a perfectionist. We would often clash over small things, for instance, the fact that I never even used to spread the bed once I got out of bed. He was so uncomfortable with my wardrobe so he bought me new dresses. He’d even iron them, lay them out and colour co-ordinate them for me.
George: (Laughing) I still do. I sometimes even do her hair. A marriage has to be an institution of compromise if you want it to work out. So at some point, I also had to tone down on my perfectionist tendencies. I also believe in participatory instruction where verbal correction is accompanied with action.
Elizabeth: (Smiling) I used to feel offended but slowly I learnt to adjust and anyway, I was already married. There was no turning back.
What is your point of attraction and how do you maintain it?
Elizabeth: He’s still the same person I met – intelligent and a book lover. He’s my teacher. Whenever I need a crash course on something, he’s always at hand to provide information. He has also helped me to identify and channel my gifts and calling. We also devise ways to spend time with each other.
George: I love that’s she’s teachable. She’s willing to trust my decision and always backs them up. I’m also always willing to help her become who she wants to be. She is also my friend. I’ve learnt to appreciate her hobbies such as football. She’s a huge Gor Mahia fan.
Do you have issues balancing friends of the opposite sex?
Elizabeth: I’ve always been an open person. I don’t know how to hide things from him. In fact, I’ve never bought a phone; he passes them down to me or we swap, contacts and all, so we can access anything we want in each other’s phones.
George: Our phones don’t have passwords. There has to be a sense of trust. My wife knows all the girls I’ve dated before. You just need to define your position in your partner’s life. Once you know your place in their life, it doesn’t matter what happens around that person.
Which challenges have you faced as a couple?
Elizabeth: Our transparency and trust actually stem from a past trust issue. When I agreed to marry George, I never broke off my relationship with my ex. So we’d be in the car with George and I’d still be texting my ex. I didn’t know how to tell him I was married!
George: I eventually found out but didn’t confront Elizabeth for a while because I wanted her to tell me herself. When that didn’t happen, I just told her that I was aware and she needed to stop. On the other hand, my wife can always sense when a lady friend has an ulterior motive and warns me way before hand.
My wife has also stood with me through trying moments such as looking after my mother when she was battling cancer. There was also a time I was so unwell that I couldn’t walk or talk. People actually thought I’d die but she stood by me.
How do you deal with conflict?
Elizabeth: I’m the kind of person who would rather let things pass. You may hurt me and I won’t even let you know. I’ll just find a way of dealing with it myself.
George: I, on the other hand, believe in dealing with things there and then. There will always be disagreements but every disagreement always has a resolution. A problem not resolved is not a problem resolved; it is simply postponed and it. becomes a big load that is challenging to resolve.
You’re in a blended family relationship. Has it been an easy transition?
Elizabeth: George let me know of our first-born’s – Prince Wise Yogo, 13, – existence from the word go. He’s very mature and we’re very cordial. He calls me mum.
George: I also kept the communication lines open. Whenever Elizabeth would call, I’d let them say hi to each other.
How has parenting been for you?
Elizabeth: Besides Prince, we have three other children: Princess Hazel Yogo, 8; Praise Loch Yogo, 3, and 22-month-old Paltiel Pallu Yogo. Mine is to just give birth and after that, George takes over. In fact, I start bathing them when they are three months old.
George: There’s a quote I like which says, “We can’t always prepare the future for our children but we can prepare our children for the future.” So, we try to raise our children to be who we envision them to become. I’m a very hands-on person and I’m very loving towards them. I instruct them and give direction on how they’re to behave; failure to which they can get a spanking.
Elizabeth: As they grow, they know what is expected of them. One of the greatest ways of parenting is for your children to see what you’re doing. So we spend time with them. They are avid readers even at their tender age.
Which nuggets would you give to couples?
Elizabeth: Get to know yourself and trust each other. Put God at the centre of your relationship. Be wise about how you approach your spouse as well.
George: Let your partner enjoy you and appreciate them as well. That includes sex! If it means you ask your partner what they prefer, then do it. Husbands should also make their wives. If you want her to look a certain way, then buy those dresses. Iron it if you must. Recognise the things she does for you and appreciate it.