Caesar says, “She makes me better”
Dr Mwangi is a graduate of the University of Johannesburg – PhD. in Organizational Performance and Change Management (2004), the University of the Witwatersrand – Wits Business School in Johannesburg – MBA (1995) and the University of Nairobi (Kenya) – BA Econ. (1988). Dr Mwangi is also a Certified Public Accountant and an accredited Organizational Assessor with the UK based Investors in People Organizational Performance standard. His career spanning a period of 25 years has been varied and enriching in terms of Management and Leadership experience. He was also the Managing Director of Sasini Ltd, a publicly listed Agribusiness involved in the growing processing and marketing of Tea, Coffee and Dairy Products in Kenya.
Pendotalk met Caesar during a life master class where he was motivating a group of young individuals and he is one of the only people who could not help but mention his wife in the session. It was clear he loved and appreciated her and Pendotalk followed up with him and his wife Anne to find out the secrets of such a great marriage!
Pendotalk:How did the two of you meet?
Caesar: We met at University of Nairobi. When Anne joined first year I was in my final year and she happened to be the cousin of my room mate Dan. She thus came to visit Dan and that was the first time I set my eyes on her and I remember saying to myself..wow!! That’s one fine young lady! She looked gorgeous, and I remember she had a shy killer smile which she still has and that just somehow got to me and I never totally got her off my mind. I remember saying to myself that….. I hope one day I will be worthy of such a lady and eventually, I gathered the courage to approach her as a friend and ask her for a date and we eventually got married.
Pendotalk: How old were you when you started dating?
Caesar and Anne: We started dating when I (Caesar) was about 26 years and she (Anne) was about 24 years. This was after we both left University and I was working and she had gone back to do a Masters Program.
Pendotalk: What made you decide that this is the woman you are going to marry? Which of her qualities were you attracted to?
Caesar: Well firstly I did not date her immediately after I was introduced to her but I somehow observed her from afar in different occasions for some time and she seemed to be someone who seemed to be free from the rampant crowd and materialistic mentality despite being a very pretty girl. I also spotted her several times in Church and realized she also took her spiritual life seriously. I eventually had an opportunity to ask her out on a date and I realized she was a basically honest and down to earth young lady who did not seem dazzled by the typical materialistic tendencies of some young pretty ladies. On one occasion I remember taking her for a boat ride at Uhuru Park and enjoying the blissful moments with her. As I got to know her, I felt that I could easily trust her as a reliable person. All these observations made me realize that that this is the type of woman I could trust and most important get married to and she would become the mother of my children. I have been brought up in a loving family and I also realized she also came from a strong family background and hence had the necessary family values needed to make a strong commitment and stick to it.
Pendotalk:At what age did you get married?
Caesar: I was 29 about to turn 30 (3days after our wedding) and she had just turned 28 earlier that year in 1995.
Pendotalk:At what age would you advise young people to get married?
Caesar: I would suggest anytime between 25-30 give or take a few years. Anne: I would suggest any time from 24 for ladies and maybe 30 for men. Caesar and Anne: These are merely our suggestions as some may prefer to wait longer
Pendotalk: Do you think it is better for a man to become financially stable before getting married or do you believe in ‘growing together’?
Caesar: I believe in growing together. It might take a lifetime to be financially stable and it is better to struggle together. I also do not know what the benchmark for financial stability is and hence it is usually an illusion which might never be reached. I think a man is fortunate to marry a lady when he has nothing. This way he is sure that the lady really loves him. When marriage is built on Financial security, then there is the risk that the marriage may break up when the financial security disappears. Fortunately Anne married me when I literally had nothing in my name. Slowly we have managed to struggle together.
Pendotalk: How long have you been married?
Caesar and Anne: We shall be married 20 years in October 2015
Pendotalk:What are the challenges of being married to a busy man?
Anne: It is just that I have to ensure I keep on top of issues involving the children and the home which he may not have time to deal with. This is ongoing and I am used to it so I cannot call it a challenge. I also need to remind him on some of the things that may skip his attention and which he needs to sort out.
Pendotalk: What led to your decision to become a house wife?
Anne: When we moved to South Africa, I found that the environment was not conducive to work and at the same time look after the family. We did not know many people, did not have good social support and the workplace I realized was also very complex with race issues complicating work. On top of this we led a simple life and hence could survive on one income which adequately provided for our needs. This continues to be the case as sometimes we go out seeking two incomes and lose much more in the process.
Pendotalk: Do you ever regret your decision to become a house wife?
Anne: I do not regret. I have had the privilege of looking after each of our children and passing on the values I feel are important for them to grow up and become good human beings without relying on house helps whose values I may not know. I have also enjoyed looking after our home and making it comfortable for everyone and this has been personally satisfying.
I enjoy planning my own time and spending time on my priorities and being there for the family even when my husband is busy working outside the home. This is a life which I do not regret and the other option of giving it up in exchange for some money from a job is something I do not think about.
Pendotalk: What would you do if you were not a house wife?
Anne: I suppose I would be working in my profession as a land Economist and not enjoying the flexibility of focusing on my priorities which is my family and my home. It can be very demanding juggling family and work so I realize I am very fortunate.
Pendotalk: What do you do when you do not agree with a decision your husband has made?
Anne: I try to discuss and understand his point of view and I have come to realize that usually his decisions are for the greater good of the family.
Pendotalk: Do you agree with the concept of submissiveness of a wife? If so, to what extent do you think a woman should submit to her husband? Give us an example
Anne: I suppose I do believe that the husband is the head of the home and if this means submissiveness then I do agree with it. In my view I think that I need to respect him and affirm his leadership in the home as a man. For example, I often take time to listen to his views on a particular issue and he would often take the lead in making the final decision especially in relation to the big decisions that affect the entire family such as when we had to decide whether we would continue living in South Africa where we had a comfortable home and a successful business in an organized environment. He felt that it was better to move back to Kenya and educate the children in Kenya and reconnect with the rest of the family and I agreed with this decision even though it had some major inconveniences and risks. Before we came back to Kenya, we moved to Ethiopia as he had an opportunity to take up a consulting contract there. It was a drastic change moving from Johannesburg to Addis Ababa, but I obliged as this was the best way of eventually moving back home even if it was very inconvenient. The other option was for him to move alone to Ethiopia and leave the family in Johannesburg…but this was unthinkable as far as we were concerned. We had to be together.
Pendotalk: How do you keep the sparks alive despite your busy schedule?
– I try to make time for Anne and to pay attention to her needs.
– I try to be considerate and also surprise her occasionally with some gifts. She loves flowers and chocolates and I do not wait for Valentine’s day to buy her flowers and Chocolates.
– I tend to know what she likes and I try to make her happy by ensuring I give her time and share with her all that is going on in my life. This way we have become very close.
– I have a very special name for her which I use regularly and she knows this is special and connotes my love for her.
– We also take holidays together to different places when we have a chance.
– We also occasionally go out for outings either together or with friends and these vary.
– Most important we ensure we always forgive any wrongs and get over disagreements and we thus have many wonderful intimate moments together.
Pendotalk: Give us an example of a way your wife has shown you great support over the years.
Caesar: She sacrificed greatly for me and my work when we got married. She left her job and joined me in South Africa. When we decided to leave South Africa, we had to pack up and travel to Ethiopia where we lived for two years before moving back to Kenya. She never once complained about all the inconveniences which were huge. But she stood by me and ensure all arrangements went as well as possible
Simple examples of her support…many times when I get home she knows the kind of fresh juice I love and she has this ready for me. She keeps tabs on all the household expenses and makes sure these are paid for when due and she is just on top of the many things that make the house warm and wonderful.
Pendotalk: What does your wife do that always puts a smile on your face?
Caesar: Her thoughtfulness on small things puts a smile on my face as she always seems ahead of me in planning for my comfort. I also have a big smile on my face when I realise that she has agreed to be a mother of our five wonderful children and she is fully available to them AS A FULL TIME HOUSEWIFE. This is a gift I cannot take for granted as it is rare in this day and age where many women look up to professional careers and look down on motherhood as an unfortunate inconvenience. When I see the joy in our children from having a full time mother I feel delighted. I also happen to love her cooking as she is a magician in the Kitchen. I have a hard time managing my weight and enjoying food outside our home as she is a wizard when it comes to cooking and knowing what I enjoy.
When we pray together I also realize that we grow together in faith and this also puts a smile on my face as we place our trust in God together and we can overcome all challenges in this knowledge.
Many things do put a smile on my face……
Pendotalk: Do you think you could have achieved much more as a single man without the “demands” that a marriage requires?
Caesar:I would have wasted much time and money as a single man and hence would not have achieved much I suspect. The demands of marriage are many but they are meaningful and I do not think I miss the demand less life of a single man. Meaningful demands require great sacrifice and great sacrifice also brings great joy and this is my experience which I find results in a much more fulfilling life as opposed to a life of mere self-indulgence.
Pendotalk:What advice would you give to men who take their wives’ efforts for granted?
Caesar: Simple…Never take your wife for granted! She is the only woman in the entire world who has agreed to stick by you for the rest of her life till death does you part and she has proclaimed this in front of all her relatives and friends. Yet you are a mere human being with so many shortcomings and hang-ups. This is a real honor and she needs to be respected, loved and honored all the days of her life. On top of this she has gone through the process of pregnancy and childbirth and is the mother of your children. This is a great sacrifice and she needs to be cherished for this noble task which many women these days even consider shunning.
If you focus on making your wife happy and you forget yourself, then she is likely to do the same and you will both be happy and have a happy home despite challenges that always come up in life.
Pendotalk: What advice would you like to give to young couples out there?
Caesar and Anne: Marriage and family is God given so please do not trivialize it and adopt the soap opera versions that are shoved in your face by the media. It is a beautiful adventure and vocation which enables the begetting and education of the next generation and you collaborate with God’s plan which is the greatest task you will achieve if you do it well. Do not fear! It is natural and enjoyable despite what may seem like huge challenges. Also remember that money is not what makes marriage work, it is the commitment from both of you to serve one another and strive to make one another happy. You thus have to be more selfless and think of the needs of the other.
Pendotalk: What advice would you like to give to married couples out there?
Caesar and Anne: Keep on keeping on, quitting is not an option. Focus on the happiness of your spouse and forget yourself. You will be much happier as the more you give the more you will receive. Give 100% all the time and not 50%. Pay attention to each other on a daily basis. Remember your marriage and parenthood is your full time job and your job or business is your part time job. You cannot afford to fail in your full time job so ensure you pay attention to it and prioritize it over everything else. If you do fail in marriage, you have failed in life so give it your best shot and you will never regret. It gets better and better with time.