Joseph Mwangi and Nelly Njoki describe their honeymoon as a “great start to their blended family”. This is not a typical way of describing a romantic gateway, but there’s nothing ordinary about their four-year union.
They both had children from previous relationships when they got married four years ago, and wanted a honeymoon destination that would accommodate all their children aged from eight to 16.
Nelly had an eight-year-old daughter from a past relationship while Joseph, a widower, had a nine-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son.
They wanted their children to get to know each other during the honeymoon.
“We figured that we were the ones who loved each and chose each other, the children did not, and so we had to make a deliberate effort to have them know each other well,” says Nelly.
Ups and downs
“The fun part was that we got the most beautiful house that came with a chef and it was by the beach. The walks on the sandy beaches and swimming in the ocean was fantastic,” she says.
“For the children, this was the first time they were spending an extended period together. They would argue and makeup, each would be clingy to their respective parent at the start of the honeymoon, but by the time we were going back, they had bonded, they argued less, and when they did, we did not even get to know about it,” she adds.
Joseph and Nelly’s romance dates back four years ago. For Nelly, the journey to having a family leave alone a blended one was accidental. She found love at a time when she had made peace with the fact that she might never get married.
“I had already told God if He wanted me to spend my life as a single person and much as I desired marriage, I would accept his will,” she says.
“So I started working on me and my daughter, I embarked on investing and buying assets to secure her future.”
When she met her current husband who had lost his wife to cancer a year earlier, her main concern was offering emotional support.
“My husband is a friend to my elder brother, and at that time, I feared and respected both of them very much,” she says, smiling at the memory.
“He was a pastor, and I had never imagined a life where I was a pastor’s wife. He was way out of my league too, and my interaction with him before was very formal, so at no point did I imagine I would be his wife,” she adds.
Lost his wife to cancer
Joseph said when he lost his wife to cancer, people kept telling him to remarry, and friends would try to hook him up with their female friends. He was, however, very particular about the woman he wanted. He was looking for a mature and very spiritual woman.
“I did not want to marry a very young woman, and I was also looking for a God-fearing lady who read the Bible and was a fiery preacher. Looking back now, I think I was looking for a perfect person when I am not even perfect myself,” he says.
A longer version of this story first ran on Daily Nation DN2 Parenting. Click here to read