Today it’s increasingly becoming hard to find a couple lasting together for a significant number of years, more so a couple in the limelight. However, Antoinette Niyongira, a presenter at Kiss Fm and her long time love, Aime Patrick Kigenza, an IT specialist in Kigali, have beaten the odds. It’s been now seven years down the road and the two are still going strong.
Kigenza first set eyes on his wife in 2009, but only picked up the courage to pour out his heart to her after two years, and since then there was no turning back. They two tied the knot on November 28, 2015. Sunday Times’ Donah Mbabazi had a chat with them.
What would you say was the reason you got married?
I loved Patrick and I knew he was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. But besides having found the right person, I accepted marrying my husband because I felt like it was the right time for us to take a step and start a family.
With today’s relationships, it’s becoming hard for couples to stay together for long; how did you make it?
I think compatibility plays a huge role in this. We are compatible with each other because for the years we have spent together, we’ve rarely had fights. We are also aware of each other’s weaknesses and strengths and this helps us to avoid pressing each other’s buttons. Keeping a stronger communication between us has also helped a lot.
You’ve been married for over a year now; do you find marriage what you had pictured it to be?
I always thought marriage was hard, but what I have seen is totally different from what I thought; marriage is sweet. However, I think this also depends on one’s partner, and I personally haven’t found it to be complicated in any way.
A journalist’s schedule is always tight; doesn’t it interfere with your wifely duties?
Well it’s tricky but I get to programme myself. As soon as I am done with my work, I head home to take care of my family. My work rarely does interfere with my wifely duties.
That day you walked down the aisle; how did it feel watching Patrick at the altar?
(Smiles)…I was in a haze and so nervous, mostly because of the excitement. After reaching the altar and taking our vows, I knew I had become Mrs Kigenza and it was exciting.
How did you spend your honeymoon?
We took off three weeks and had part of it here and outside Rwanda. It was relaxing and I was so happy because I was at the point of starting a new life and you know when you are with someone you love it feels awesome.
How do you plan on maintaining the sparkle in your marriage?
Surprising my husband. I always do this by taking him out once in a while and this keeps the sparkle because we get to have ample time just for the two of us.
What are some of the biggest adjustments you made from being single to married?
Taking up more responsibilities; when you’re still single it’s mostly you and nothing more, but when you’re married, responsibilities double. You worry about whether he has eaten, what he is to wear, the kids; all this you get to be responsible for. Managing a home is not that easy.
Wasn’t it hard for you marrying a famous figure?
It wasn’t hard for me actually because I had known Antoinette for a long time even way before she became famous. Deciding to start a family with her was because I trusted her, her nature and personality assured me that she was the right woman for me.
Some men have a belief that for one to get married they first own a certain mass of wealth. What’s your take on this?
Well, that’s not necessarily true because this depends on one’s definition of wealth. However, for one to start a family they have to own some kind of stability financially because it comes with more responsibilities. However, I don’t think one should wait to own things like fancy cars or houses to marry.
Men are known to conceal their feelings; how do you deal with this in terms of communication in your marriage?
I don’t think I fall in that group because if I am happy with something my wife gets to know it, the same with if I am not pleased with something I tell her. I am that kind of person who is open.
How do you keep the fire burning in your relationship?
I still take my wife on dates, and this helps us not to be caught up with the routine of life. This way, we get to spend time together and share wonderful moments as a couple.
Why do you think some marriages break up?
Poor communication, this is a key issue in marriage and when it fails trouble sets in. I always ensure an open communication such that if one f us has an issue there is a platform to discuss it because it’s small matters that later bring about a bigger mess.
Do you help your wife with house chores?
Yes I do. I sometimes cook; I love cooking (laughs). My wife and I share responsibilities at home; she can make the bed as I do the dishes.
What is the most romantic thing you’ve ever done for your wife?
It was the proposal, it happened a few days after her birthday on the August 30, 2014. We held a party for her at her home in Nyamirambo. I had a ring, but it was in a beautiful box that looked like a flower, no one could suspect I had a ring. I later asked for a speech and as I expressed my birthday wishes I went on my knees and asked her to marry me. Amidst her being emotional, my partner in crime, my cousin had champagne and after she said ‘yes’ we toasted to the proposal.
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