They walked down the aisle to renew vows they made to each other when they first married 50 years ago.
Memories of the event which took place at the Kiamunyeki Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) in Nakuru County have come back to the memory of Michael Ndonge and his wife, Sarah Wambui.
âWe first exchanged our wedding vows in 1971 at this same church. Our fifty years as a couple have come with many challenges, but we have overcome them, âsaid Ndonge.
He said their dream of celebrating 100 years is still bright.
Ndonge, 78, and Wambui, 75, entered the church with calculated steps. They were holding hands and their eyes were shining with excitement for their success.
The event was also attended by young people including Tom Kinyanjui and Hellen Moraa, whose wedding is in three weeks.
With the increase in cases of homicide, divorce and separation, such events have become rare, but the couple believe the celebration is a testament that marriage can last a lifetime.
In the event marked with pomp and color, the young people had the opportunity to tap into the wisdom of the couple.
âThe secret to a successful marriage lies in the ideals of tolerance, mutual understanding and patience, which have become scarce in today’s society,â Ndonge said.
While these values ââwere primarily instilled in young couples by their parents, the father-of-seven said young people should heed the changing tides.
âThe values ââneeded to keep a marriage together are the same that have bound us. The only difference is that today we have professional advice that our young people should not ignore, âhe said.
Wambui said they met while they were students at a teacher’s college. She cited being honest, respectful and committed to a person and their shared dreams as a recipe for their happy marriage.
âLiving with a person to whom you have not been related by blood for half a century is not easy. This was made possible through persistence, open communication and forgiveness, âsaid Wambui.
Marriage counselor Njoroge Githaiga said many young couples in today’s society consider counseling when it is too late.
âIt is never too late to consult a professional. But late advice exposes disgruntled partners to damage, which sometimes becomes irreparable, âGithaiga said.
He said the environment is dynamic therefore requires different approaches to the same marital challenges.
âSolutions for one family may not work for another family. It requires an open minded approach to the challenges of a marriage, âsaid Githaiga.
He stressed the need for churches and county governments to initiate and maintain counseling services to make them accessible to all.
Her feelings were echoed by Rev. George Kagima, who stressed the need for more counseling centers, where young married couples can also meet and share their experiences.
âBy sharing their challenges, they have the opportunity to relieve the pressure on themselves and think about how best to meet them. Suffering in silence often results in domestic violence and sometimes in the murder of a spouse, âKagima said.