By Joan Salmon
Pastor Peter and Irene Kasirivu of Gaba Community Church celebrated 25 years in marriage on January 13, 2019 at the church premises. They share their wedding details with us.
When and how did you first meet?
Peter: There was a Full Gospel camp organised in Nabugabo, Masaka and I noticed a beautiful girl. Later, I went to Bible College in Kenya. On return, I got a part time job at Full Gospel Bible College where I met her again.
I moved on to start a church and when I was ready to settle down, I remembered her and went to her pastor to inquire if she was still available. I asked for her hand in marriage and she agreed to it. Our meeting was unlike today’s with dates or phones.
Irene: He was one of my instructors at Bible College.
What attracted you to each other?
Peter: She is well-behaved and beautiful.
Irene: I had always wanted to get married to a church minister. Besides, he is principled and hard working despite the fact that he did not have much. Above all our pastors spoke well of him.
How did her parents react to the news?
Peter: Before meeting her parents, I had to ask if she could consider me for a husband. It took a lot of courage because I was not from a well-to-do family. She said she would pray about it and the response took months to come. After the long wait, she took me to visit her parents.
Irene: Before I could tell them about him, my pastor had told my mother about a relationship I was trying to push away; I did not want heart breaks. She asked me about it and sent me to her pastor who encouraged me to pursue the relationship. I told her about his response and we agreed to pray about it. All in all, my pastors and parents were happy about him.
What makes your times different from today?
Peter: We used to write letters to each other and set appointments. We honoured our appointments because one would not tell when the next meeting would be.
That aside, our parents put a lot of emphasis on keeping the reputation of the family rather than wealth unlike today. They wanted their daughter to marry into a family whose son would take care of her. Religious leaders or pastors, in our case were keen on one’s prospective partner. That was why it was without question that I went to see a pastor when stating my intentions of marriage. Purity was also key and we did not visit each other during courtship.
However, today, social media makes the wedding announcement and the church leaders get to know of a wedding in a month or a week’s time.
Irene: The elders held the cards. If they did not agree with your choice of marriage partner, they would halt your plans. However, today, if they do not agree, the lovebirds go on to hold the function.
What did you look forward to on your wedding?
Irene: Exchanging our vows in church because many had thought that nothing good came out of being Born Again. They also thought that because I desired to get married to a minister, we would not wed because church ministers were perceived as poor.
Did you go for premarital counselling?
Peter: Yes, it was a prerequisite. Thankfully, my counsellor was also my youth pastor and friend. On her part, her pastor prepared her. I learnt that despite my degree in Theology, I needed help for what lies ahead. Our counsellors are still with us 25 years later and that has helped.
Irene: It helped me know my purpose in marriage, how to handle my marriage and children, as well as how to balance marriage and ministry without letting myself get absorbed in ministry.
Did you hold any meetings?
Peter: Yes, we held some at church, even with relatives. These helped with planning. However, we got more out of approaching people individually.
How have you kept it together for this long?
Peter: In my heart and mind, I had committed myself to my wife for life. At the time of our wedding, my parents had been married for more than 20 years, and so were my wife’s parents. That was a great example for us.
Even when we disagree, separation is one thing we resolved should never be part of the narrative and we never leave issues unresolved. When we are not in the mood to talk, we allow for anger to abate and then talk. I also demonstrate love and concern for her so that she knows that she is loved.
Being a leader, I have to make quality time for her and the children lest I get stuck with other responsibilities. God first, my family and then ministry. Having married at 32, I was already prepared in my ways, so I had to learn to create opportunities for us.
Irene: Through prayer we have become compatible, even when in disagreement, we find a common ground. Counsellors also helped us more so because they knew us. They helped us know and learn how to complement one another. We have had to let go of our egos. We learnt that inner beauty is better than physical beauty and we nurtured that.
What is your best wedding memory?
Peter: I had delayed to get married because I was worried about finances. However, God’s provision overwhelmed me.
Also, at that time, apart from my uncle and father, most members of my family were not married. It was a breakthrough for us.
Irene: Being a bride itself because many long to be but for some reason, they never make it. My family also constantly asked about when I would get married, so I finally did.
What lessons have you learnt?
Peter: We have parented our four children plus several others and we have learned that what we impart in them can break or make them.
There are principles that my wife instilled in our children from childhood which has made parenting easier. However, when we try to instill the same in some children we find in their teenage years, it is quite hard. That means that the early years matter and healthy families lead to a thriving nation.
Some parents think the government, schools or church will do the parenting for them. We also need fathers to become part of parenting.
Two are better than one; I worked before I got married but it was after we got married that I started seeing fruits of my labour.
Irene: As a wife, I am called to serve my husband and children. If you are not ready to submit to your husband, it is a challenge.
There should be willingness to change by both parties to reduce friction.
What marriage tips would you like to pass on to the younger generation?
Peter: Make friends even before your wedding, especially the older ones. Tell them about your wedding intentions as most prefer one-on-one meetings
Learn to make priorities in life. In my case, ministry does not supersede my family. That is why my phone is off from 10pm onwards and on Mondays because it is solely family time.
Irene: Get counsellors who know you so that they can point out those things that could spoil your marriage, say traits that make you quite incompatible.
For example, if you are all headstrong, chances are that none may want to let a matter slide, which heightens friction. Consider personalities well before marriage.
Date: January 13, 1994
Groom: Pastor Peter Kasirivu
Bride: Irene Kasirivu
Church: Makerere Full Gospel Church
Reception venue: KK Beach
Church: Gaba Community Church
Guests: More than 4,000