We live in a generation where many do not believe in love and some of those who do, give up on it due to one reason or the other. As we head towards Valentines, I sort to interview several couples across the world. The mission is to find out: Does love really exist? Do marriages work? Is there a secret?
Meet Sharon and Kipchumba, a lovely and God-fearing Kenyan couple living in the UK. They have known each other for over 8 years and married for 5.5 of those. The one thing that stands out in their union is their love for God. Indeed, birds of the same feathers flock together! They first met at a mentorship program 2012 and later in a bible study in 2013 before getting to know each other and growing in love.
Their love story was not a walk in the park, as we all know nothing good comes easy. Earlier on, before settling down together, they dealt with challenges of a long-distance courtship between Kenya and the UK. Here is a glimpse of what they had to share from their experience on dating and marriage.
Why did you choose each other?
~Sharon: Well, I knew Kipchumba was the one because of the peace that I had in my heart and I chose him because of the zeal and love he has for God. He never missed bible studies/ church and I knew he will love and care for me in the same way. He is also humble and a good listener.
~Kipchumba: I was attracted by Sharon’s outstanding character, Christian values and the zeal she had in what she was doing.
How would you describe marriage in 3 words?
~Hard work, sacrifice and commitment
Different couples attribute their successful relationship to different things. These things vary depending on the couple’s character, what they value and how they view a successful marriage. According to Sharon and Kipchumba the most important traits/requirements for a successful marriage are:
~ Forgiveness: you need to be quick to say sorry and ready to forgive each other as much as you can. When resolving conflicts, work as a team scoring in the same goal, you both win.
~Friendship: Be a best friend to your partner. It is so easy to forgive each other when you are friends.
~Having Jesus at the centre of your marriage: A God-centred marriage will instill Christian values such as patience and kindness among other values which are important for a healthy marriage. In addition, prayers and faith in God give strength and hope when you go through challenges in marriage.Psalms 127:1 says “unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain”.
Clearly this is a couple that has a lot to share to other younger couples as well as singles. I asked them to give advice to someone reading this and looking for some tips or advice on relationships and marriage. This is what they had to say:
Any advice to a single person on matters relationships and dating?
~No one is perfect so don’t spend time looking for Mr. or Mrs. “Perfect”. Some values can be nurtured as long as you don’t compromise on his/her relationship with God. For a born-again christian, the minimum requirement for a partner would be a born-again christian. We highly recommend mentors, sometimes things go wrong and you will need guidance and advice.
How can one manoeuvre long-distance dating?
~Create time for frequent communication.
~Visit each other if possible.
~Have a well-communicated long-term plan, for example, plans to get married and be together or how frequently will the main person be visiting the partner.
What advice can you give to a soon to be married couple?
~Firstly, no two marriages are the same so take it easy and create your own simple ways that give you happiness. It could be going for a walk, shopping, cooking or watching movies together. Secondly, be best friends with your partner. When you are very close friends with your partner, it is easy to do things together, apologize and forgive when you wrong each other. Lastly, have accountability partners. They say “if you want to walk far, walk with someone, if you want to walk fast walk alone”. Accountability partners should be a married couple who believe in marriage and with whom you share the same Christian values.
Do you celebrate valentines? What is a typical valentine’s day for you?
We believe love is something that is shown and practised daily. We recognise valentine’s day by having dinner or a day out but we also endeavour to love one another daily.
I certainly was inspired by Sharon and Kipchumba and will be looking forward to learning more from them. You can also reach them on Instagram @ Sharon_Kipchumba and @Benard_chumba or on facebook @Sharon Simatey Kipchumba and @Benard Kipchumba.