It was a dream come true for Apollo Kinga and Joyce Njoki as they walked down the aisle to exchange their marriage vows.
The couple had almost 60 years ago been declared married by elders on December 11, 1959 in a traditional ceremony held at their ancestral home in Kandara, Murang’a County.
“I have been looking forward to this big day over the years and I am glad it has come to pass. We have always wanted to formalise our marriage and 58 years and eight months down the line the dream has come true,” said Njoki, 75.
The ceremony of at ACK St Stephens Church in Bahati on Saturday was attended by hundreds of residents, young and old, all hoping to have a glimpse of the couple.
Just like in weddings between young couples, the two arrived in separate vehicles but, unlike in the other cases, from the same home.
Njoki donned a white gown with a seven-foot train sweeping behind her as she walked into the church while Kinga, 83, stood at the right side of the altar, an arrangement usually overlooked by many but had its significance defined long ago.
“It allows the bride to stand on the left side of the groom (where his heart is) while allowing the man’s right hand to be free to defend his bride should an enemy attempt to steal her at the last minute,” Kinga said during an interview.
The two knew each other while attending the same primary school in Kandara and their love continued to blossom even after they left.
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What most of the people in attendance sought to know was the secret behind their marriage. Despite occasional differences, the two have never separated or had a physical confrontation.
“Marriage is not a trial and error thing and that is where most young people make mistakes. It should be a one-off decision but many are getting into marriage without making the proper decision, leading to divorce,” said Kinga.
He claimed that the high rate of divorce and separation was because of a quest for lavish lifestyles by young couples.
“Many youths want to live a life that the elite live, not knowing how much time and endurance it has taken to get wealth. Many lack the patience and such pressure makes them part ways,” he said.
His wife said marrying the right partner also improves the chances of survival for a marriage. She added that some young couples did not take the time to understand each other.
“Although there is no specified time frame during which people should be in courtship, it is easy to tell when you meet the right person. The mind and the heart will not give conflicting signals,” Njoki said.
She added that some blundered by marrying people whose character they hoped to change.
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“There are those who don't listen to any advice and such a marriage can’t go far,” she said.