Jean Muga: I’m Jean, follower of Christ, Husband to Gee, Father to two children so far and founder of Big Idea Africa a creative communications agency. Also, I’m about to drop my first music album.
Gee Muga: I’m Gee, which is short for Gladys. I am a follower of Christ, Wife to Mr. Muga, Mother to two babies and founder of NdoaPoa.com a marriage and lifestyle blog and ZOA Tech Limited, a fintech company.
How did you meet?
J: Briefly at a common friend’s wedding evening party then at their committee breaking bash. Gee was seated with her friends and I served her soda and pulled a seat next to her. One of those… what ifs. Then we started talking and didn’t stop.
G: Yes, so at the bash Jean sat next to me and started talking to me. That was about 2pm. At 6 pm we were still talking! About everything, movies, cars, work. It’s like we had been friends for a while. We just clicked.
What made you start dating?
J: She was interesting at first, then intriguing, then I just got hooked. So I asked her out. She said yes!
G: The day after the bash, where we talked like for 8 hours straight, Jean called me and we met in town. He bought me coffee. He was cute, open, funny. He was also single! We met a couple of times after that. What made me say yes when he asked me out was that he met my list. Cliché yes but I had 7 characteristics or traits that meant a lot to me: Saved, humorous, loves travelling, not a techie blonde, outgoing, tall, handsome. He had all 7. Yes, probably shallow too. Haha
What tips would you give to dating couples?
G: Ladies, get to know your guy. I know that is over-rated but the quality of time you spend together to get to know each other, your ambitions, your dreams, your goals etc is important before and even after marriage.
J: STOP! Hear God on the subject. If that is what His will is, marry. If not, let it go. You will probably date to marry this person and marriage is forever.
How long was it before you decided to get married?
G: We met almost every day for like a month and we knew marriage was what we wanted. We decided after two months that it was going to go down and we picked a wedding date.
J: I knew that I wanted her to be my wife like three weeks into the friendship. She picked a cliché wedding date (Feb 14th) But I wanted to have a December wedding (before Feb).
Who proposed to whom?
J: I asked her to be my wife a month after we started dating. She freaked out, I freaked out, but reiterated my commitment to marry her a month later. She accepted. I gave her a ring later on.
G: Jean proposed like after a month of meeting me. He actually asked me to be his wife and I was like “But, I’m not your girlfriends yet.” He knew what he wanted and it made it easy for me to say yes! The ring proposal was 6 months into dating. Though we were technically engaged to be married.
Why did you decide to have a short engagement?
J: I was in a two year courtship way earlier. I discovered that courtship intimately merges the two in spirit and soul, yet tells the body you cannot come together. Recipe for disaster. I later discovered that the bible says otherwise. Also, I was ready for the big plunge.
G: When he proposed, I knew he was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. We had prayed about our marriage, we had shared our dreams, we had talked about kids, we did pre-marital counselling and all that was left was to get married. There was no point in waiting a year or two to do it. So we set a wedding date that happened to be a few months away.
Did your parents approve of the match?
J: We visited my parents in December 2013 and they welcomed Gee with open arms. Gee’s dad is awesome. I met him and we became like instant friends or equivalent for sons and father relationships.
G: I told my dad over coffee that I had met a guy and that we were getting married. He was excited for us. He met Jean at a family gathering we went to. He approved of him. My mum on the other hand freaked out when I told her I am getting married. When she met Jean, she grilled him! But I think when Jean cooked for my mum a delicious meal of ugali and fish, she began softening.
How would you describe your wedding?
G: We had our wedding on Feb 14th (Yes, cliche date) at Mavuno Church. Ours was the last wedding before they moved to Hill City. It was simple and intimate. We had close family and friends. And Jean and I served the cake to everyone personally.
J: It was very simple. Just a ceremony from 11am-1pm including the photo session. We had cake. Thanks to our pastor’s one of whom doubled as the MC.
What tips would you give to couples planning a wedding?
J: A wedding is a ceremony. It’s a celebratory occasion. The big deal is the Marriage. Remember that. All the people you want to impress will go home and leave you to your marriage. They are not your asset. He/she is, and for ever!! Please invest there.
G: As you plan for your wedding, don’t forget to have dates and talk about anything else except the wedding day. There is a marriage you are also preparing for. On the wedding day, enjoy yourself and relax. If you don’t get the food or flowers or deco that you wanted, it’s still ok, because you married the man you wanted.
What are some of the biggest adjustments you made from being single to married?
G: Hmmm…living with someone else. When I moved out of my folk’s house, I was in an SQ alone for a while. Then I tried living with other female housemates in a main house and that did not quite work out. So I went back to living alone in smaller room. Then after the wedding moving in together. It was new for both of us. It helped that we were both night people. However, I had to get used to considering his likes, dislikes, furniture tastes etc. It has been and still is a learning experience.
J: What she said but imagine more independent. I had lived on my own for much longer.
What qualities does your spouse possess that are important to you? Why?
J: Gee is very easy to talk to about anything. That makes me know I can talk when I need to. She is also very supportive of my goals and my dreams.
G: He is outgoing, fun and generous. He has a heart of gold. I love these qualities about Jean because it makes life with him easier. He is able to stay positive even when things aren’t ok.
Do you have children? If yes how many and how old are they now?
G&J: Yes. A daughter and son. Our daughter Adaeze will be 3 in November and our son Jawar is 1 year 3 months.
Did children affect your relationship with your spouse? how?
J: its kinds hard to focus your affection on your wife when there is this new bundle of blessing that has shown up in your life and here you are trying to learn to be the best dad ever. But with a few stumbles, I learned… and still learning how to balance my time and space with the knowledge that my vows were to Gee and not my children.
G: It became a little different because there were new little people to take care of. I had to divide my attention and time. Sometimes it was hard because I was cranky after sleepless nights. The disruption was new to both of us and we had to deal with the new additions to the family and re-organize ourselves and our dates. When Adaeze was 6 months old we decided to get a full time nanny to free up our evenings for dates and hangouts. So in some sense the relationship is different because we are parents. But we strive to hang out just the two of us as much as we can and taking it one day at a time. So by the time Jawar came along, we had figured a working schedule of date nights, movie nights, and our us time.
What is the hardest thing you have had to deal with in your married life and how did you deal with it?
J: So far, its miscommunication. That is where the disagreements come from. I will say something in a blue light, she will process it through her pink filter, and it will go out of proportion, when that wasn’t my intention. And she will react in a way that I don’t like. 40 minutes into a heated argument we come to this eureka moment saying “Hey, are we not saying the same thing?” Awkward!
G: We are both talkers. We can have long discussions about stuff. Then it can get heated when we have different opinions. Sometimes it’s not that we disagree with each other but that I don’t communicate in a way that he gets my view. Then I get frustrated and upset. So what we try to do is to clarify what we mean and not “shut down” each other’s ideas or opinions. We are also reading a book with other married couple friends that is helping us understand the man and woman point of views. Also, we take it one day at a time. But yes drama stage is real. It happens.
Has religion played a role in your marriage and raising your children?
J: Absolutely. The very core of our marriage is Jesus! How can we learn how to love and serve one another joyfully except we download blueprints from God? Without Him, this is impossible. We read the bible together and pray together. And when Adaeze starts talking, she will be praying too.
G: If it wasn’t for God! Wow! I am a little impatient, I want things done now and not later. Ironically I also procrastinate. So Jesus has been dealing with me about my issues and has helped me in realizing we are all flawed. It has helped me not harass Jean as much. We are church goers and we encourage our children to sing and say “AMEN” after prayers. It is easy to be religious and for salvation not to have any real impact on our family, so we read the bible and pray together and help each other apply what the Bible instructs of us as Christians.
How do you deal with conflict in your marriage?
G: After a disagreement/conflict, I sulk and find it difficult to talk about it afterwards. Jean then has to be the bigger man, literally to start the conversations to deal with it. I am slowly trying to use more words like saying I am upset and why. We still work on it case by case because every disagreement has its own causes. But we try to address the main cause and move from there. Sometimes it takes a short time, other times it’s longer. But we try not to stay mad at each other for long we have a 24 hours limit.
J: It’s hard sometimes to know why she gets upset. She sulks and I have to bring up conversation delicately and find out the underlying issues. Most times, I miss it by a mile and change. But I have had to try and understand that listening to my wife especially when she has a bad day and giving her a hug and telling her I love her goes a long way in smoothening things out. It helps to know her love language.
How do you keep your romance alive?
J: I try to always remember what it is about me that she fell in love with, and try to keep those things alive. We also go on regular dates where we hang out just the two of us and just talk. No agenda. Just blubber! We also talk often during the day, chats, whatsapp. Also, I always hug her, kiss her and tell her I love her.
G: We talk a lot so that stuff doesn’t pile up. We always clear out conflicts and we have an agreement of not bringing up what has been dealt with. We also take random trips to spend time together without the kids. My love language is quality time and touch…Jean gives me lots of hugs daily.
How do you feel about your spouse now compared with when you were dating?
J: Gee is an amazing woman! I like that nothing has changed. The fun, spontaneity, jokes, laughter and all. Being a wife and mother did not change any of these.
G: I have an increased respect him. His accomplishments, his vision and mission in life, his parenting skills and ofcourse him as my husband. I love him! He has taken me in flaws and all!
If you were to do it again, what would you change or do-over?
J: I would marry her sooner.
What tips can you give to married couples striving for a happily ever after?
J: You can never be happy without God being the epicentre of your being first, then of your relationship. If that becomes and stays the case, you will know the true love of God, and you will love one another by the same standard that you saw in God. You will fight, yes. You will have frustrating days like any other person. But you will feel a formidable love for one another through it. And you will find it easy to forgive and move on. You will find hope in a source much, much greater than you. That is reassuring.
G: Love is a choice not a feeling. Sometimes because of a fight, I wouldn’t feel love toward my husband because I am angry with him. But, I have to act like I still love him because deep down I really do. Also, I can’t predict the future. I can only change the now. We have agreed as a couple to not allow conflict to get the better of us or cloud what we love about each other. Marriage is a journey, take it one day at a time and remember to love deliberately. Put your trust in God for a happily ever after. It won’t happen now but when you look back after being married 10, 20 or 50 years then you will be glad you loved. Also, follow NdoaPoa on facebook and sign up for newsletters on ndoapoa.com to get updates on more lessons I share.