Couple shares secret to their 50 years in marriage

Peter Ndonge, 78 and his wife Sarah Wambui, 75 exchange their marriage vows at Anglican Church of Kenya Kiamunyeki, Nakuru during their 50th marriage anniversary on November 20, 2021. The elderly couple urged young married couples to listen to each other during marital strife to avoid wrecking their unions. [Kennedy Gachuhi, Standard].

They walked down the aisle to renew the vows they made to each other when they first got married 50 years ago.

Memories of the event that took place at Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Kiamunyeki in Nakuru County came flooding back for Michael Ndonge and his wife, Sarah Wambui.

"We first exchanged our marriage vows in 1971 in this same church. Our fifty years as a couple came with a fair share of challenges, but we overcome them," said Ndonge.

He said their dream to celebrate 100 years is still bright.

Ndonge, 78, and Wambui, 75, walked into the church in well-calculated steps. They held each other's hand, and their eyes lit with excitement for their achievement.

The event was also attended by some youth including Tom Kinyanjui and Hellen Moraa, whose wedding is in three weeks.

With the rising cases of homicide, divorce and separation, such events have become rare, but the couple believes the celebration is a testimony that marriage can last a lifetime.

In the event marked with pomp and colour, the youth had an opportunity to tap from the couple's wisdom.

“The secret to a successful marriage lies in the ideals of tolerance, mutual understanding and patience, which have become rare in today’s society,” said Ndonge.

While such values were mainly instilled in young couples by their parents, the father of seven said young people should consider the changing tides.

“The values needed to keep a marriage together are the same that have bound us. The only difference is that today we have professional counselling which our youth should not ignore,” he said.

Wambui said they met when they were students at a teachers’ college. She cited being honest, respectful and committed to one person and their common dreams as a recipe for their happy marriage.

“Living with a person you are not related to by blood for half a century is not easy. It has been made possible by perseverance, open communication and forgiveness,” said Wambui.

Marriage counsellor Njoroge Githaiga said many young couples in today’s society consider counselling when it is too late.

“It is never too late to seek professional counselling. But late counselling exposes disgruntled partners to damage, which at times becomes irreparable,” said Githaiga.

He said that the environment is dynamic thus demands different approaches to the same marital challenges.

“Solutions to one family may not work for another family. This calls for an open mind approach on challenges in a marriage,” said Githaiga.

He underscored the need for churches and county governments to initiate and sustain counselling services to make them accessible for all.

His sentiments were echoed by Reverend George Kagima, who emphasized the need for more counselling centres, where young married couples can also meet and share their experiences.

“By sharing their challenges, they have an opportunity to relieve pressure on themselves and brainstorm on how best to address them. Suffering in silence often culminate in domestic violence and sometimes spousal murder,” said Kagima.     

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