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Judy Thongori: I derive energy from my husband

By | Jun 27th 2010 | 4 min read

By Njoki Karuoya and Harold Ayodo

My husband John Thongori and I have just celebrated 16 years of marriage. Ours has been an interesting journey with its share of great and challenging times. I am the outgoing and public person while John is happy to be the opposite.

A contented Judy Thongori.

I have got to the point where I will accept feedback from my husband without thinking he is being negative; that if a hairstyle does not suit me, there is only one way to say that. I have also learnt not to ask for an opinion if I cannot handle it.

I have learnt the value of listening and not necessarily responding immediately. I now know that I do not need to verbalise feedback and that there are other ways of communicating.

Most important, I have learnt that I cannot change John any more than he can change me; that there is enough good in the people we are and have become. That is why we married in the first place.

Conflict in our marriage and how to handle it is work in progress for us, but in the meantime, we try to talk out of conflict.

Not easy

We are both lawyers and have separate offices within the same building from which we lean a lot on each other.

I appreciate the space I have and John’s support in occupying that space. I trust that while John occupies that space, the family’s interest remains supreme.

I derive my energy from my husband John and our children Eric, 14 and Tracy, 12. They are wonderful children and they give us useful feedback. We have instilled in them values and trust they will help them become adults who will enrich this society.

Honesty to them is a virtue; I only wish they could stop sharing more about my age, weight and the extent of the grey hairs on my poor head!

My husband and I do not believe in caning except in extreme cases of indiscipline. When the children break the rule, we communicate displeasure and withhold privileges from them.

We hope to remain communicative and loving to them even in the next stage of life which, we understand, is not easy. One thing we know is that we need to be ahead of the children to manage them out of conflict.

I have always wished I could have more time with the family. I now know that I will have to focus on quality rather than quantity. Where I can combine both, I will happily do so.

Our greatest time together is when we go out of town, which we try to do every school holiday; the time spent together is rewarding.

I am many identities to many people, but the identity I want to take with me to my maker is that of having been a trusted, faithful friend and a loving family person.

But getting that identity is a life long process. In my 20s and 30s, I thought being a professional lawyer meant being lethal, and that Judy the lawyer and Judy the family person were different people.

The Thongori family. From left: Tracy, John, Judy and Eric. Photos: Maxwell Agwanda/Standard

Men, too, should not be apologetic about their expectant wives, breastfeeding babies or adult children. They should accept that this is their family.

Let us spare ourselves a generation of unhappy children.

I believe everyone is successful in life. It depends on what one considers success and once you find it, you will wonder what else you were looking for.

My beliefs come from lessons I have learnt on my journey towards and during my 40s. For me, success is being in touch with myself and being faithful to that self.

It has everything to do with the fulfilling relationships one has and not the hours spent in the office or the fat bank balance.

These are only a means to an end; the end being how happy one feels at the end of the day or season.

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