Writer: Joseph Tumwesigye.

I am 27 years old and have been single for most of it. So, know that it is an inexperienced wiseacre saying, “date/marry your friend.

Despite what many believe, marriage was not originally based on “true love”. These fantasies from the great stories were employed to sell literary works to dreamers who hope for a Disney happy-ever-after.

The reality, if you look through history, is that marriage was an arrangement designed for companionship and procreation. It was arranged and many times, the two people involved hardly knew each other. You just “learnt to love” but never “fell in love”. Even more menacing is that women suffered the worst from this life-changer considering many were underage and barely understood what the arrangement entailed.

On very rare occasions, there were those blessed by the gods who married the “love of their lives”. But even then, as I emphasised with the quotes, many grew to realise that it was not the case and had instead fallen for fantasy beyond their reach.

But this should not stop dreamers. Marriage/relationships should be a happy ‘place’. It may have its challenges but that shouldn’t stop you from a Bonnie and Clyde union without the obvious dent in that relationship. It was beautiful and epic…but cruel.

And, this is why I write. Though there is no formula to these things, there should be a standard. Your knowledge of your partner is paramount to starting a ‘now and forever”. I believe that many marriages fail because stakeholders did not take their time to get to know each other.

Marry your friend. When you met her for the first time on that day she dressed so plainly and yet you saw a met gala supermodel strut over Kampala’s potholes like they were an emerald carpet, it was an attraction. There is a long way from that to pure love, I believe. In between is friendship. Make her or him your friend.

Friendship is something we enjoy throwing around with words but know very little of. If you are the type to change friends quarterly, then you know nothing of true friendship. It is hard to break because achieving takes time and involves going deep beyond the surface and understanding the cracks within. It is a judgement-free zone where one finds the utmost comfort in you.

The most common joke is about how comfortable he or she would be with you farting loudly in their presence. I mean nobody likes the experience but if they don’t mind… I mean this is a person with whom you wish to share a bed.

One’s flaws are what usually destroys short-term relationships. And yet, we all have them. The issue is with your ‘better half’ living through the flaws. What people do not realise is that our closest friends know our flaws but do not react negatively to them because they may be irrelevant to their lives. That enables them to stick with you, no matter what, because there are a few consequences to face.

If at any one moment in your life you fell in love with such a person, and they, you, there’s a good chance you’ve met your soulmate as the cheesy dramas put it. At this point in life, most of the hardships experienced in relationships have been eliminated. You know him or her well and they, you. Very little can surprise you from the point onwards.

However, this is not the case in the world we live in. Marriages are still being arranged. This time by the partners seeking companionship. Usually with one ready to settle and leave a legacy while another chases a comfortable financial status.

Worse still, some live in the moment. Who rush things because, like Orsino in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, love the idea of being in love. Why wait for a friendship process that may take aeons when you can have it now?

Very well. But, at what cost?

Leah Grace Oketcho, is a highly talented Communication specialist, gifted in leadership with over 3 years of leadership and management experience at different levels. She is a team player and has demonstrated ability in mobilizing and organizing others to achieve desired goals. Oketcho is well vast in the art of creating alternatives for ways to get results. She has over the years grown in the art of corporate communications and also participated in the development of performance management materials for various professional institutions. Leah received training in research, scripting, international relations, and data analysis as well as public relations. She is passionate about solving public health related problems. She has offered training to youth in oral and written communication, people management and mentoring, editing and documentation skills, public speaking.

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