By Rajab Mukombozi
To an ordinary person the marriage of God’s servants moreover a bishop would be an easy ride but no; it has been through forgiveness and sacrifice that Ankole Diocese Bishop Fred Sheldon Mwesigwa and his wife Dr Alice Mwesigwa made 25 years together. They celebrated their marriage anniversary on August 24 and share about their journey.
When did you get married?
Alice: On August 6, 1994.
How did you meet?
Sheldon: We were both working at Kibubura Girls School in Ibanda District. I was the deputy headteacher and chaplain.
Alice: And, I was a teacher and head of Scripture Union.
How did teachers become more than just friends?
Sheldon: When Alice joined the school she was made the patron of Scripture Union. Because of our positions, we started to interact and do most of the things together.
And progressively we became more than friends. It was not easy because I did not want it to look like a relationship of an opportunistic boss.
Alice: When I arrived at the school during the first assembly there was a young man preaching. I later got to know him as my boss, the chaplain who doubled as a deputy headmaster. It never occurred to me that we would have anything beyond a work relationship.
We got to know each other and became close in fellowships and while he was preaching. Little did I know this would result in something for a lifetime, a year later.
Did you propose and what was it like?
Sheldon: Yes, I proposed from my office. I had taken time, reflected and consulted, this was more than eight years after I had got saved in 1986. When I landed on the quality of woman I wanted, Born Again and loving, I could not take chances.
Alice: The proposal felt too big for me. I remember students were breaking off from school and we were in his small office. He had a T-Shirt in his pocket, he pulled it out and tied it to my right hand asking me to marry him.
How did you feel?
Alice: I was nervous asking myself whether what I had done was the right thing to do with my boss! I even packed my belongings the next day and went to the village for holidays. I shared this with my spiritual mentor, mother and our headmistress. They told me to pray about it. Among the things that were disturbing me was Mwesigwa had a Hero bicycle, and other men after me had cars and more money. But after consultations, prayers and guidance by my mentors I went with the bicycle man but he was God-fearing.
What attracted you to each other?
Sheldon: Beauty, spirituality, intelligence and industriousness.
Alice: He is Born Again, handsome, educated despite the Hero bicycle.
Share memories about your wedding
Sheldon: The wedding was exciting recorded on video and the reception was attended by many people.
Alice: The bridegroom entourage came home by 7am. My entourage was not ready, we started panicking and in the process lost one of my shoes. I cried and went with one shoe but we bought another pair along the way. We later found it stacked in our luggage. We did not go to the salon. we just dressed up from Mbarara High School.
The St James Cathedral, Ruharo service went on well but our reception was in Ibanda. It took us three-and-a-half hours on a potholed, dusty murram road to reach the venue. It was hectic.
What has kept you together?
Sheldon: Transparency and forgiveness. Also, love, tolerance and patience. One should not marry if they are impatient and cannot persevere. We share responsibilities and support one another. For example, on Sunday as she cooks, I iron our clothes.
Alice: Forgiveness, tolerance and respect for each other. Some people think when you are saved you are angels. No, at times you disagree, and sometimes you get into a hot argument but you have to go back to the drawing board. Also knowing God, we always know where to take our disagreements.
Bishop Mwesigwa has no room for anger, bad moments, and he forgets these easily as he quickly apologises.
Patience has also kept us together, we started small, with a Hero bicycle but we slowly graduated to a motorcycle, vehicle, land and buildings.
What was your first year of marriage like?
Sheldon: Marriage is about flexibility, I am fast and curious and she is slow but sure. When we had gone to Nairobi for honeymoon, I almost lost her and she said, “Look you have to adjust and be patient.” In the first year it was keeping hand in hand, understanding each other, listening and adjusting to bridge the gap.
Alice: Adjusting to one another, for example, my husband is fast in what he does while I am reserved.
I remember during our journey to the honeymoon in Kenya, he almost abandoned me on the street because of his speed.
He is also a football fan. When we had just wedded, there was World Cup. Imagine you are new in marriage and you are in the bedroom while the other is in the sitting room making noise while watching football. I was like what kind of man have I got married to? Does he love football more than me?
Compare marriage then and today.
Sheldon: Marriage has never changed but there are more dynamics and society pressure.
Alice: Today, cohabiting is too much. Children as young as primary school-goers have boyfriends and girlfriends. Marriages are driven by, money not love. Relationships are materialistic and short-lived.