Deciding when to walk down the wedding aisle is a deeply personal choice for many Christians, but that doesn’t stop family, friends, coworkers and perfect strangers from chiming in with their two cents, especially about couples they deem “too young” to tie the knot.
Masinde Gerald Rovis, the lead Pastor at Bethel Covenant Connection and former Program Director at 104.1 Power FM was 25 years of age when he married Veronica, then 23.
The couple’s decision to marry drew mixed reactions as critics thought they were making the biggest mistake of their lives. 10 years down the road, Gerald and Veronica have never regretted, and still can’t imagine living life without each other.
The couple has moved past all odds, including poverty, to build a strong family and establish an international gospel ministry offering hope through God’s word to countless believers.
In an exclusive Interview with UG Christian News, Pastor Gerald Rovis speaks out on how he met Veronica, and what they went through to their 10th marriage anniversary.
How did the two of you meet?
I first met Veronica at Uganda Christian University, Mukono in 2002. She attended one of the fellowships I was leading, and caught my eye. Slowly, I started to see her, and later discovered we were actually in the same class.
We started serious dating in our second year, before finally graduating in 2005. I dated her for another three (3) years, and we exchanged our marriage vows on the 10th May, 2008 at Jubilee Christian life Church. I was youth pastor at this Church at that time. Veronica was the Personal Assistant (PA) to the Pastor. In 2013 that is when I got a job with Power 104.1 FM, so we moved.
It was a very hard decision because literally our kids were born in that Church, our friends were there. It was hard to just move on, but it was clear, the Lord had spoken.
Everything that happened showed it was time for us to go, and this is something I have learnt in life; if you over stay your season, things go bad. We left and God opened an opportunity for me to serve with City Church Kampala as an associate Pastor for 4 years. In about 2016, we left City Church. The Lord laid it on our hearts to start a ministry.
What qualities do you like most about Veronica?
When I was praying to God for a wife, I was looking for someone that has certain traits. Veronica is a very patient woman. To effectively carry out what God had commanded me to do, I needed a patient woman. You will not know a patient woman until you start relating with her.
I was also looking out for a prayerful woman. Prayer can be learnt but for some it takes years to learn how to pray. Patience and prayerfulness are the major traits that I looked out for in a woman.
How about beauty?
(Laughs) Of course she was beautiful.
Were there no other girls that came your way before, and during that time before marriage?
I dated other girls casually before I met her. One of them was a white girl.
I always believed that God cares about me, and that he would not allow me to get into things that are going to destroy me. Every time I was getting into a relationship, I used to pray about it. Even when these relationships ended, it was clear to both of us that this is not going anywhere.
What was your marriage proposal like?
I proposed to her moments after preaching at a UCU law fellowship. I went and ministered, it was very powerful, we left the meeting and in my mind I was like, “I have been seeing this girl all this time, now we are in third year, I need to tell her something.”
A best friend had suggested a plan on how to propose, but it didn’t work for me. I resorted to my own plan. I asked her out. It was nothing very fancy; I didn’t have money (Laughs).
She said; I will pray about it, and give you an answer. It took like 2 months before she said ‘Yes’ to my proposal. We then dated seriously, talking about marriage and when I would go and meet her parents.
On your wedding day, did it ever occur to you that you would still be married 10 years later?
It didn’t, the funny thing is that when we went on our honey moon, we went to two places, however we run short of funds, so we went to withdraw more from a bank. Reaching there, one of the ladies looked at us, we were very young – I was 25, Veronica was 23. The woman said; I don’t see this marriage working out.
Many people doubted our relationship, and thought it would never work.
How did you deal with such negativity?
We were very young that’s for sure, but we always put God at the center of our relationship. 10 years for me is God’s faithfulness. This has nothing to do with us. It is purely God. There are of course things we have done to keep our marriage rolling, but God has been at the top of everything.
Marriage is hardest in the first year – True or false?
I want to say ‘Yes’ and ‘No’.
Like any relationship, both of you have been raised differently. Your culture and the other’s could be different. We received marriage counseling, but the best counseling you receive is when you are married. You experience it. Marriage is not a theory, it is a practical.
The first three years of our marriage were tough. Right now, I counsel and wed couples, but I always tell them the first few years are going to be tough – you will have to adjust many things, which we did. I learnt to come home early. Veronica is an early riser, I am not, but had to adjust. I had friends who would call, text me late in the night, but had to adjust. The first few years were training ground.
Does pre-marital counseling help?
It helps. No one gets into a car without basic information on how to drive it. Someone had to tell me; when you get into a car, you ignite the engine. Marriage counseling is that training you receive about the basics of marriage, things that you must know.
Marriage doesn’t entirely depend on it because even the people who counsel us share their own experiences, but each marriage has its own share of experiences. This might have worked for you, but it may not work for us.
Are there things that have shocked you about marriage?
A lot of young people enter this institution thinking it’s about having a good time. Marriage should not be a place where you quench your sexual desires. If that is the reason you intend to get married, it’s going to be tough for you because times will be there when you cannot have it for reasons among others children, health issues and distance factors.
Personally, we are ministers. Half of the year I am out of the country. So if my motivation was sex, I would be in trouble.
One of the things I have learnt is that the whole thing of “two become one” is real. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Ephesians 5:31
We are knitted in the spirit. There are things that will happen to me, I feel them, and my wife feels the same way. There are things the Lord will speak to me about, and even before I tell her, the Lord has already told her. We have become one.
The other thing that will probably shock people reading this is, when you fail in your marriage, other areas of your life begin to suffer. It’s relatable to what scripture says; He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. Right now if I walked away from my wife (God forbid) for whatever reason, I don’t think I would be as effective as I am with her, especially in ministry.
Have the last 10 years of your marriage been memorable?
I thank God for my wife, she has been very supportive. When we started ministry we basically had nothing in terms of physical stuff. But we have seen God bless us. There were moments we were leaving in lack. There were days when we literally had no food. I remember when we gave birth to our first child; literally everything we used on that boy was donated to us by people. We were not at a level where we were able to provide luxuriously. There were moments we didn’t have schools fees and had to go to school to plead for them to retain our son. I remember one time my son fell sick of pneumonia, and we didn’t have money to take him to hospital. I prayed for my son to be healed; I said, God this is a test for me.
There were times I wanted to ‘spoil’ my wife and buy her stuff and take her out for our anniversary dinner, but I couldn’t afford. So we would just stay home, pray. But now I can afford to take her out to any place of our choice. There were also moments when the enemy could attack us, through her family or my family. People would say words that would demean her – the man is poor, but she stayed faithful.
Those moments brought us close to each other. Now, God has been good to us and has opened doors. However, I still remember where we came from.
Get money then find a wife Vs Get a wife as you look for money: Which plan is most appropriate?
My wife married me at a time I didn’t have much but I had the basics. In this day and era young girls are jumping onto men that have things, when there is no commitment.
I would rather that the focus is on who the man is; his character and values, before the many things he has. Having said that does not negate the fact that there are basic things. For example, even in my humble beginnings, I had a job. There are basic things you start with if you are going to start a family. That is why Adam, before God creating Eve, He had to teach him a few things. These men who tell women I married you to cook for me; what was Adam eating before Eve came? You mean he was sleeping hungry? No!
You don’t marry a woman to cook for you; a woman is bigger than just cooking. Be responsible. I have a daughter, but I cannot allow her to go with a man when I don’t know where he is staying. There are practical things you must do as a man. It is like starting a company; you must have the basic things. There are tools of trade, even for marriage, there are things that must help you start a marriage.
How have you been able to balance marriage, ministry and work?
To be sincere, balancing is not easy, but I do what they call rhythm. By this I mean, if it is time for ministry, it is ministry, if it is time for my family, I don’t bring in ministry again. I make time for family, and my wife supports me a lot when I travel. During my ministry journey, I am blessed by God. She knows how we survive. I am very open to her, we talk everything through.
Of recent, celebrity marriages are falling apart, why?
Marriage is an institution that the devil attacks. He does not want two people to walk in agreement. He will do everything possible to make sure that that union is destroyed. When you have a great friend and you understand each other, the devil will always try to sow seeds of discord. Let me make it clear that Satan hates marriage, so he attacks it.
The other issue is expectations: Most of the Christian couples I have seen have set very high expectations. First of all, before you become a Christian, you are a human being. I am not going to heaven because I am a pastor; I am going there because I am a Christian who gave my life to Jesus. That is the first prerequisite.
You first ministry a servant of God is your family. Many of us want to be celebrities at home. You are a believer first, even before you become a pastor. So do things that grow you as Christian. Take away the titles and be a husband to your wife, every marriage goes through issues whether you are a Pastor, worship leader, Bishop or Cardinal. The same things that attack the other man, who does not know God, can attack you as well. The difference is that the man, who knows God, knows how to respond to these challenges.
That is very insightful.
I know we cannot fully exhaust whatever transpired during the last 10 years of your marriage to Veronica, however as time goes by we hope you, and her, can share more with the readers. Happy 10th anniversary Pastor Gerald!
Absolutely, thank you so much.