“I was single and definitely not looking,” 25-year-old Mercy Wangari tells of her time in college five years ago where she met her 29-year-old husband, Daniel Kamotho.
As a matter of fact, the only relationship Mercy was keen on was her relationship with God. A devout Christian, she became engrossed with the Kabete Technical Training Institute’s Christian fellowship once she joined the college in early 2010. She barely had time to notice anyone, let alone engage in a romantic relationship.
However, while she remained oblivious to members of the opposite sex, she was having quite the opposite effect on them. Mercy was causing a stir and several contenders were willing to throw the dice for her approval.
“The first thing I noticed about Mercy was her beauty. My hopes were soon dashed when a close friend also expressed his interest, even asking for tips on how to approach her,” he recounts.
Daniel attempted to quash his sentiments for Mercy by keeping his distance. And for a while it worked. As Mercy recounts, all she knew about Daniel was that he had a serious demeanour.
However, in September, the two became inextricably close when Daniel was appointed the Christian Union acting chairman and Mercy his deputy. The longer they worked together, the closer they became and soon Mercy started confiding in Daniel about personal issues including dating.
“I regarded Daniel as my spiritual mentor and would often refer to him as my dad,” says Mercy.
Meanwhile, Daniel was caught between a rock and a hard place. Not only was he still attracted to Mercy but potential suitors and competitors sought his advice on how to woo her and he had to give unbiased advice.
He, however, changed his mind and confessed his love to Mercy when he discovered one of her suitors was using cash gifts to win her affection. When Mercy prodded whether he was ready for commitment and he answered in the affirmative, the two became a couple, albeit with some ground rules. They agreed to keep their relationship a secret and that pre-marital sex was a no-no.
“As Christian leaders, we knew we had to set a good example. We did not want our relationship to become an excuse for anyone to sin. We kept our secret from friends for one and a half years,” says Mercy.
Many are the times, Daniel recalls, when he would go out for missions or other activities and Mercy’s friend would tag along instead of her.
Many were convinced that Mercy’s friend was his girlfriend never once thinking it was vice-versa. This ploy also assisted them to maintain their virginity goal, as they avoided spending long spells of time alone together. But that is not to say the temptation was not great. Daniel admits that once they finished college in 2012, he had tried to pressure Mercy into getting married immediately.
Mercy, however, was not having it. She still wanted to live with her parents and was keen on getting married at the age of 25 and not before.
While handling their friends may have been easy, family was another issue altogether. While Daniel had already told his family about Mercy, not once in the five years they had dated did Mercy mention Daniel to her family.
“I knew my parents thought I was too young to pursue a relationship and would try to talk me out of it but I knew Daniel was the one,” says Mercy resolutely.
Mercy’s parents came to know of Daniel’s existence, just days before his family paid them a visit to start dowry negotiations. As Mercy describes it, the wheels of marriage had already started turning and there was no stopping them.
Despite Mercy’s parents’ shock and as Daniel jokes, even a last minute offer by them to pull out of the relationship, the parties came to an agreement. On March 28 this year, and in front of 700 guests at the Gospel to Nations Church in Mwiki, the couple tied the knot in a ceremony they can only describe as memorable.
The reception was at Kasarani Jr Academy.
PUBLISHED JUNE 2015