Joseph Maina Kibere, 37, and his wife Salome Wanjiru Maina, 38, believe that marriage is a gift from God and a holy mystery in which a man and woman become one. The couple, who will celebrate 14 years of marriage in August this year, have learnt many lessons that have moulded them to be better lovers. Despite walking a tough road financially, this lovely couple enjoys a joyful, happy and committed marriage. They spoke to FAITH MURIGU.
Joseph Maina Kibere was born in Taita in Coast Province to a civil servant father who worked in various parts of the country. His family moved with him each time he got a transfer. Some of his workstations included Taita, Murang’a, Nyeri and Kirinyaga. They settled permanently in Nyeri eventually.
Maina attended Ngangarithi Primary School before proceeding to Kagumo High School for his O levels and later joining the University of Nairobi where he studied for a Bachelor of Science degree in botany and zoology. His passion in media saw him enrol at the Media Network Training School in Nairobi for a course in video and commercial production. He is currently working for a church in their media department charged with the responsibility of sound, video editing, and installation of speakers.
Salome on the other hand was born in Nyeri to parents who are PCEA pastors. They later relocated to Narumoru where they now live. She attended St.Theresa Girls School in Nyeri before proceeding to Bishop Gatimu Ngandu Girls. After her O levels, she joined the Nyeri Technical Training College for an accounting course before joining the Kenya Institute of Management for further training in administration. She loves writing and has done her first book “Parents declaration over their children”
Love is born…
Maina: I met Salome in the most interesting way. I used to attend the Gospel Outreach Church in Nyeri town where the brethren met each morning for devotional prayers. It was at one of those meetings that a member asked for a special prayer to be said for her friend who was to undergo an operation. She said her friend’s name was Salome and for some reason, I felt something in my heart about this girl who was being prayed for, though I didn’t know her.
I never followed to find out how the operation went but I recall one Sunday in 1996 when a girl I had not seen before walked into the church, and again for no apparent reason, I felt something about her and asked myself if she could be the Salome who was sick. After the church service, I walked to her and asked her if she was Salome. She was shocked that I knew her name. And that was how I met my wife Salome.
My heart felt so much at peace when we started talking and I knew without a doubt she was going to be someone special to me. I had been praying for a wife and the minute I set eyes on Salome, I knew where God was directing me. I had previously been in relationships that didn’t work and I hoped finally Salome would be the one. Though Salome played hard to get, I finally won her and this brought great joy to my heart.
Salome: I had completed training and found a job in Nyeri when I met Maina. Following in my parents’ footsteps, I attended PCEA Nyamachaki Church but would go to the Gospel Outreach Church during lunch hour and morning devotions. I found it more vibrant than my church and eventually I moved there.
Maina crossed my path at a time when i did not want to involve myself in a relationship. I had had a break up from a relationship and i felt i needed time to grow my relationship with God more. Though marriage was not in my radar, I longed to be in a relationship in future that would compliment and strengthen me, especially in my walk with God. I spent a lot of time in church praying and noticed that Maina also did the same. I also served in various ministries in church and that was the same case with him. His commitment to God was admirable and this made it easy for me to say yes when he asked me to be his wife.
The age factor…
Salome: Though my love for Maina grew as time went by, I was troubled by the fact that he was younger than me, and still a student at the university. In my mind, I thought a woman should marry a man who is older than her. I was worried that the age difference may prevent me from being respective and submissive to him if we got married. I later came to learn that I was not the only one in this situation and some of my married friends had the wife older than the husband. I settled.
Maina: I did not have an issue with the age difference and when we discussed the issue at length, Salome finally accepted it would not be a barrier. I have never regretted marrying her. She is both respectful and submissive. We are a happy couple, despite the age difference.
Salome: Although they thought we were too young when we told them of our intention to get married, our parents gave us their blessings and supported us fully. We had a colourful wedding at PCEA Mwichuiri Church in Narumoru in 1999.
Maina: Since I was still a student and we depended fully on my wife’s salary, we decided to put off having children until I graduated and settled in a job. We waited for three years. Our firstborn Phinehas Kiyo was born in 2002, followed by our second son, Beloved Mukeni, in 2004. By a strange coincidence they both share a birthday – December 23.
A happy marriage…
Maina: My wife is my rock and my greatest supporter. She is my best friend whom I freely share my life with. She is simple, calm, confident and carries herself with respect.
Salome: Maina loves God and loves his family too. He is a lively person to be around. I love his commitment to his responsibilities and he is sure a good head of our family.
Maina: Every marriage goes through the adjusting stage, which can be challenging as you try to settle down as a couple. Ours was no different but we were determined to make it work. We had huge financial challenges but we learnt to live one day at a time, believing God had planned for us better times ahead. The financial struggles we went through drew us closer and deepened our love for each other. We also learnt to depend on each other. I appreciate my wife a lot for accepting me as I was. We share great dreams and we believe that we shall realise them some day.
Salome: Every marriage goes through various trials. Finances have been the greatest challenge in our marriage. Though not out of the woods yet, things have gotten better since my husband got a full time job. He is a responsible and transparent man and together we plan on how to spend our joint incomes. We live knowing that tomorrow will be a brighter day and this gives us great hope for a better life ahead. We are also grateful to family and friends for the love and support they have accorded to us during our very challenging times. Despite being short on money, our marriage has love, joy and peace.
Sharing responsibilities …
Maina: We share most of the family responsibilities. I take care of the children and cook when an opportunity arises. I often take long walks with my sons and we use this time to discuss various issues in their lives. We currently don’t have a full time house help and the boys join in helping around the house. We believe teaching them how to do household chores will make them responsible adults who will be able to take care of themselves.
Salome: As the homemaker, I ensure that the house is in order. I appreciate that my husband never shys away from any responsibility and this makes it a lot easier for me. Although disciplining children is always a challenge we are learning how to do it by God’s grace. We teach our children the fear of the Lord and also how to grow intimate with God.
Maina: We maintain open communication and discuss our intimate issues without fear of rejection. We share our emotions, good or bad, and empathize with each other. When something is difficult to handle at a particular time, we push it to another day. We try not to neglect each other’s emotional needs and we have learnt talking openly about issues minimizes conflict in marriage.
Salome: With time, i have learnt what to say when to avoid a lot of conflict due to poor communication. I know my boundaries when it comes to family issues and I know what to share with others and what not to. If I have any issues where I need some mentoring or guidance, I go to my mentor who is a resourceful and well meaning lady. Once in a while we have meetings between the four of us; herself, her husband, my husband and myself.
Spicing up the relationship…
Salome: There are some little things that we do together which mean a lot to us. For example, we reconnect often, sometimes over a glass of yoghurt. We also walk a lot and try to do household chores together. We cherish our time together.
Sex in marriage…
Maina: We have never had a problem that would need intervention in our sex life. However, there are several adjustments we have made in order to become sensitive to each other’s needs. For example, when we got married, I thought sex was an everyday thing but I have discovered that this is not possible unless you are not human. There are certain things that make everyday sex impossible and a couple must appreciate this and also know that its not the quantity but the quality that matters.
I have also learnt that men and women handle sex differently. For example, if a woman is going through emotional turmoil she is likely to withdraw from sex and it is the opposite for a man. He finds that sex helps him release emotional tension. How a couple relates sexually is something that changes all the time and it cannot remain the same way it was in the first years of marriage. As you grow older together you also mature in the way you handle sex.
Salome: Most parents of our parents’ generation taught their children that sex was bad. This can work against you in marriage if you are not open to learning and accepting that sex is part of marriage and is good for both of you. You must accept that sex in marriage is blessed by God and demanded of you. We attend many helpful forums aimed at enhancing marriage positively. We have currently enrolled for a post-marital class at the Deliverance Church in Kasarani to further enhance our marriage.
Advice to other couples…
Salome: I believe there is a solution to every problem in marriage. People need to be prayerful as everything is possible when you call upon God to guide you. You should also desist from talking ill about your spouse and instead cover his flaws. Try and get a mentor who will guide you in the marital journey, preferably someone who has been married longer than you.
Maina: Marriage is good and it works. It is a beautiful thing. If looked positively, your differences will strengthen your marriage and not weaken it. God instituted marriage to be enjoyed. Although it is hard work, it is also quite rewarding. You must endevour at all time to make your marriage good.
Published on March 2013