Alex and Eridah look like a relatively young couple still chasing after their dreams. So it is always a surprise when one finds out that they have 6 children. 6 children!…yet somehow they manage the family quite well.
Pendotalk visited their home on a Saturday morning, and found the family sitting together in the living room watching a recorded interview of the late Myles Munroe with Sheila Mwanyigha of Ntv. “We get a lot of inspiration from him,” Alex whispers to me as everyone else is keenly listening to what Myles has to say about the unemployment situation in Kenya. It is only after the interview that they start chatting and also singing along to the Christian music playing in the background. One can easily tell that Alex and Eridah have gone out of their way to raise a good, Christian family.
Here is their story about falling in love, growing their family and forgiving each other for past mistakes.
About Alex and Eridah
Pendotalk: What do you do for a living?
Eridah: I am a full time house wife.
Alex: I am a swimming coach
Pendotalk: How long have you been married?
Alex and Eridah: We met in 1999, but we have been married for 15 years.
Pendotalk: Eridah, What attracted you to Alex?
Eridah: I went to school with his relatives and I met him through his cousin, Doreen. Doreen said he was a good man and that he needed a woman like me in his life and I discovered it was true…
Pendotalk: Alex, What attracted you to your Eridah?
Alex: Her beauty attracted me to her. With time it grew from beauty to much more as I got to know her.I also really like how laid back she is.
In addition to that, I had an accident with my eye when I was 3 years old. My parents had taken me to the hospital too late because they did not have money, so I lost one eye. However, Eridah never looked at me weirdly like other people did. She never even asked me what was wrong with my eye.She just acted like it was normal.That is what made me think that she was different.
Pendotalk: How did you woo Eridah? (Ulimuingiza box aje? 🙂 )
I used to go completely out of my way to get a chance to see her.
We met back in the day when mobile phones were not common. I used to walk 8km to her house only to find that she was not home. Sometimes she would be home but her parents were there so I would just go back. This was in the village and we were very traditional.
Overcoming past challenges
Pendotalk: Alex, Tell us about the drinking and clubbing habits you used to have…
Alex: After high school, I had 2 years of doing nothing. I was initiated into drinking through peer pressure. It was a problem because it was taking time in my life that should have been for something else. 2 years of doing nothing was like a vacuum which is very dangerous!! DO NOT ever give children a vacuum.
I met Eridah during this “vacuum” period and she got pregnant shortly after
Pendotalk: Did you feel like having a child and getting married automatically “forced you” to slow down on your social life?
Alex: I met Eridah immediately after high school and soon after she got pregnant, so she defined my ‘social life’. I was 20 years old when she got pregnant, so my partying habits were short-lived.
Pendotalk: How did your loved ones react to the pregnancy?
Eridah: My mother had wanted me away from our home to avoid the embarrassment.It didn’t help that I had to quit school to have the baby. I had the baby in Mombasa.
At the time we did not have mobile phones so we could not communicate. Alex and I were separated for a year before we got back together.
Pendotalk: Tell us about the times when you would get angry and become violent towards your Eridah. Why were you so angry? Do you have any regrets? If you could go back, what would you do differently?
Alex: I just didn’t realize how easy it was to make a baby! The hardships made me feel angry and like life was not fair. So at that point I felt like it was Eridah’s fault and that she should have known better because we were not ready for a child! I would drink and become angry when I got home because drinking would make me feel more ‘aware’ about all the problems we had.
I had been being preached to by a brother about what was right but I did not make much of it. I wish I had listened.
Pendotalk: What made you stay despite the difficult marriage? How did you manage to forgive Alex?
Eridah: The pressure of raising a family at such a young age was intense and he would get angry. I would just want to leave him. When I wanted to leave I would think about the fact that I had made a commitment and I was not planning on going against it. I also thought about the ‘good man in him’ that I had known and loved.
Pendotalk: What advice would you give to other women going through a similar situation?
Eridah: The tough times are temporary. Take heart and PRAY!
Pendotalk: What inspired you to become saved? How has this changed your marriage?
Alex: You know, when you do wrong you know it is wrong.My spirit was being choked. I was doing things without thinking about how they hurt other people. The words of the brother who had been preaching to me finally started to sink in and I finally admitted to myself the wrong I had been doing . I realized that I had a responsibility to provide for my family. I decided to depart from my old “friends” who I used to drink with and turn a new leaf. I got saved in the year 2002.
After becoming saved, I was taught what marriage really is in the church. I learnt that our marriage is valid in God’s eyes. I also realized that Eridah does not exist to make me happy. We both have our responsibilities and we must love each other. We have forgotten the past because it is gone and it has nothing to do with our future. Our lives have become prayer lives.
Eridah:I became saved to find myself. Becoming saved made me know myself better and know how to do my duties. Becoming saved also enabled me to relate better with others.
Our marriage has definitely changed after we became saved. We are happier and we laugh a lot more.
Pendotalk: Raising 6 children must not be easy! Was it planned?
Alex and Eridah: No it was not planned. In fact, after having 4 children we thought they were enough. We even almost carried out a procedure to prevent further pregnancies. Ironically, just before we did that, we got pregnant with twins.
Pendotalk: How do you cope with the pressure of raising the children?
Alex and Eridah: It is difficult, but when God gives you a responsibility, he will provide for it. We hold on to that hope to be able to cope.
Pendotalk: Do you manage to get time to spend alone without the children? If so, when?
Alex and Eridah: It is difficult at the moment because we do not have a house help so we rarely spend time alone without the kids. We had planned to spend more time together before the twins came, but it seems we may need to wait a little longer to have alone time more often.
Pendotalk: What guides your parenting approach? Eg. Your own parents’ approach? Religion? Trial and Error? & also, who keeps you accountable for your parenting approach?
Alex and Eridah: We use Christian teaching to guide our parenting approach. We also strive to show the children good examples through our actions.
Pendotalk: What kind of decision making process do you carry out regarding your children’s activities, for example, the schools they will attend?
Eridah: The children usually tell me what they need or want and then I communicate the same to Alex. Alex then decides the best course of action. He is the final decision maker in our family.
Pendotalk: What kind of lessons do you teach your children? Including those about marriage?
We teach them how to work hard and save money. They all have piggy banks from National bank. We also teach them that it is good to give, among other lessons.
Regarding marriage, we have already started to teach the boys how to identify a woman of good character. For the girls, we teach them to work hard so that they can earn their own possessions.
Pendotalk: If any one of your children ever developed violent or bad drinking habits, how would you respond to this?
Our job is to groom them now as they grow up to prevent that from happening. We believe that if we groom them well, even if they may fall into bad habits they will realize it and go back to doing what is right.
Pendotalk: If you could write a letter to your children, what would it be about?
Alex and Eridah: About how to live a good Christian life. Like Proverbs 22:6 states, ” Start children off on the way they should go,and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Pendotalk: What is your main wish for your children?
Alex: To never forget the truth about Christ
Eridah: I wish them well in the Lord
Pendotalk: Do you have any family traditions?
Alex and Eridah: Every new year we go with the children to NPC valley road. Here we get promise cards for the year with a scripture. Each person gets a card with a different scripture which they are to live by through the year.
Also, when we have time we like to take the children to play sports. Our eldest daughter likes swimming and the boys enjoy cricket.
Last but not least, no tv on weekdays for the children is a standard rule in our household.
Pendotalk: What general advice would you give to couples regarding overcoming challenges in a marriage?
Alec and Eridah: First of all, pray about it. Secondly, seek the real source of the issue. Many times people either expect too much or they focuc on their partners’ weaknesses. Focusing on a partner’s weaknesses will bring a house down! It is important to build each other’s strengths as you grow old together.
For the younger couples yet to get married, know that you will only get to learn all about your partner’s weaknesses after marriage. Sometimes your spouse will be upset, sick or low in spirits. Sometimes some accidents will happen, your partner could lose a finger, a tooth, or worse… Go into the marriage with realistic expectations and fight for the family to be FAMILY. This way you will be able to happily grow old together.