This is what keeps the flame of our marriage burning

Soila Wamalwa.

Couples from left: Cyrus Kithele and Betty Kithele,  Samuel Maangi and Michelle Maangi and Curtis and Soila Wamalwa.

Photo credit: Pool

Love, with its intricate layers and complex emotions, often finds its most authentic expression not in grand gestures but in the simplicity of small actions.

These minute expressions of care and affection—be it a warm smile, a gentle touch, or a thoughtful note—carry with them the power to deeply connect hearts. They serve as a quiet yet potent language of love, going beyond the need for words, and highlighting the beauty of sharing life's seemingly mundane moments with someone special.

Meet the Kitheles – Cyrus, a Resident Pastor at Destiny Life church Syokimau, and Betty, a Counselling Psychologist at Nova Pioneer Tatu Primary and International School. For the five years they've been married, good morning and good night kisses have remained a consistent part of their routine. Also, after every text or call, the two sign out with a sincere, 'I love you,' which reinforces their affection in every interaction.

Beyond words, their actions toward each other speak volumes about how much they care about each other. Betty packs breakfast for Cyrus every day and makes follow-up calls to find out if he has eaten the food. Cyrus also ensures Betty is fully prepared before he leaves for work.

Cyrus Kithele,

Cyrus Kithele, a Resident Pastor at Destiny Life church Syokimau, and Betty Kithele, a Counselling Psychologist at Nova Pioneer School.

Photo credit: Pool

"He wakes up at 4 am to press my clothes and get me ready for work daily. Not that I hate ironing, but I always allow his unique expressions of love," she says.

House shopping is a task Betty seldom undertakes herself. That is a responsibility her husband has willingly assumed to relieve her of the burden.

"On his way from work, he always calls to find out if there's anything I need in the house. Most of the time, hubby does grocery shopping for us. It is in these shopping runs that he also sneaks in random new clothes, jewellery, and white chocolates."

Cyrus reveals that Betty never misses an opportunity to affirm and compliment him.

"If there is a problem with our pipes, for instance, she will motivate me by saying, 'fix the plumbing. You're the best plumber in Nairobi!' This makes me feel like going out to fix all the plumbing issues in our estate," he laughs.

Additionally, Betty ensures chapati (his favourite dish) is on the menu twice a week.

"Seriously though, insisting on chapati to be on the menu twice a week makes me feel very married!"

Betty is dropped at the bust stop by her husband every day, including on Mondays when he doesn’t go to work.

"Even on days we don’t have our car for one reason or another, he walks me to the stage and ensures that I safely board a vehicle to work,” Betty says.

One small act of love that will forever be etched in Betty's mind is when Cyrus brought a nail spa at home, and did her manicure.

"One day last year, my husband decided that I didn't need to go to my usual nail spa. He bought all the things necessary to pamper my feet and did so excellently (although he didn't know how to apply nail polish). But generally, this was such a thoughtful and refreshing moment for me. I really felt proud to have him as my husband!"

Since marriage is all about servitude, an act of love that Cyrus has learned from Betty which they now practice regularly is cuddling on the couch and watching a movie together once in a while.

"Oh, and also tickling each other. My wife doesn't find it funny sometimes, but I certainly love it!"

Samuel Maangi

Samuel Maangi is a communication and content curator, while Michelle Maangi is a veterinary surgeon.

Photo credit: Pool

For the Maangis, Samuel, a communication and content curator, and Michelle, a veterinary surgeon, small acts of love that have been holding them together for the 10 months they have been married revolve around spontaneity.

Michelle reveals, "On a random day, my hubby can wake up, do dishes, make me breakfast and serve it in bed for me."

Understanding each other's love languages has also played a pivotal role in nurturing their bond.

"For instance, my hubby's love language is quality time. So, every day we strive to create moments of heart-to-heart conversation, or even play board games or cards."

Samuel is big on giving compliments and heartfelt messages.

"A ‘good morning babe’ every morning followed by an admiration of the outfit she has chosen really makes her feel loved and beautiful. Such messages, whether verbal or via texts, go a long way."

Gratitude also goes a long way in their relationship. Michelle says, "I can wipe the table or even his shoes (yeah small chores like those) and he will tell me, 'Thank you so much babe, I really love you.

"I’ve become so used to compliments that nowadays if I do something for someone and they don't appreciate me, I get bothered. My husband will be grateful even if I pass him a toothpick from the holder."

Samuel says that his wife's selfless nature, where she prioritises his needs above her own, makes him fall head over heels with her all over again.

"For example, if she notices that I'm out of socks, she will make it her top priority to get me new ones regardless of her needs at the time," he explains.

Because iron sharpens iron, Michelle has learned to be grateful even for the smallest of deeds done to her by either her husband or friends.

Michelle admits that since she loves surprises, she buys Samuel a new pair of shoes, a cap, clothes, and watches on random occasions.

He confirms, "A week or two will not pass by without her surprising me with something. This shows me that she is still present and active. Albeit controversial, having heated debates about happenings around us also helps us know each other's insights since we are growing every day. We get to note when our world views are shifting, and understand each other better."

Michelle adds that Samuel's affinity for cleanliness pushes her to maintain their space to his standard.

"Not that I don't know that as a woman I should be clean and tidy, but I never allow our house to be messy."

One of the small ways Samuel shows his love for Michelle is when he helps to do chores around the house. He also carries her handbag when they are going to church.

"Pulling the seat for me to sit, opening the car door for me, cooking ugali as I prepare meat...such acts make me so happy."

Samuel says nothing brings a smile to his face like when Michelle cooks for him.

"Not that she does not cook every day, but there are those days she will tell me not to go in the kitchen and prepare me a lovely, special meal."

As a part-time content creator, Michelle recalls that one act of love that has had a big impact on their relationship is how he affirms her creativity.

"For example, there was this video I really wanted to shoot for the 'of course’ challenge. He actually shot the video for me!"

Curtis and Soila Wamalwa,

Curtis and Soila Wamalwa, both content creators, have been married for seven years.

Photo credit: Pool

For the Wamalwas, Curtis and Soila, both content creators who have been married for seven years, intentionality is the butter that spreads easily on their marriage bread.

Apart from packing his breakfast, Soila ensures that the daily calls she makes to Curtis cater to his heart, mind, and body.

"Other than the reminders of the agreements we made in the morning like you have to wash the car, I touch some aspects of his heart and mind. For example, I ask him what he is thinking about, what is stressing him, and how I can be of help to him," she elaborates.

To stay connected at all times, Soila keeps Curtis company even when he is doing something that does not involve her.

"Like editing a video or when I want to play a video game, she will just look for something to do and sit with me. I really enjoy that because Soila loves her sleep a lot. I greatly appreciate that she sacrifices that to be with me," he says.

Since relationships thrive on shared memories, the Wamalwas say they place high importance on creating memorable moments through regular tea or dinner dates.

"Although he likes to choose the days we are not having meat for dinner," she laughs.

The Wamalwas also have 'Dream Tuesdays'. During these sessions, they focus on discussing their aspirations and objectives, evaluate their progress toward these goals, and devise strategies to achieve them.

"When she randomly tells me to remove my socks, dip my legs in a basin of warm water, and serves me a delicious meal, I wonder what I am being marinated for, but it is really memorable. It just reminds me of her humility," Curtis notes.

One memory engraved in Soila's mind that proved to her that she got married to her friend was when Curtis would bathe her and their then five-month-old baby when she broke her arm.

"I had to stop breastfeeding because of the medication I was taking and he would still wake up in the middle of the night to change the diapers and feed her the bottle, over and above also caring for me," she reveals.

For Curtis, this is when Soila was actively engaged in the planning of their first live event.

"Sitting together and brainstorming on something and seeing it unfold warmed my heart."

While service is the oil that greases a relationship, Curtis acknowledges that Soila's unsolicited acts of service always put a smile on his face.

"I like it when he handwrites love notes for me. Curtis can just buy me chocolate and write a nice love letter and even go ahead and perfumes it for me, like high school times, and because he is an artist, he adds an emoji. Those small acts really warm my heart," Soila shares.

Often, it is the unnoticed gestures within the Wamalwas relationship that have a lasting impact. Curtis reveals that engaging in activities he may not personally enjoy, but which his wife appreciates, significantly contributes to the wellbeing of their marriage.

"Like making the bed. If I was a bachelor, I would just be throwing the blanket, and the way it falls it's how I will pick it up in the evening. But because it will please her to straighten the bed, I just do it."

Soila reveals that it is Curtis’s willingness to have an open discussion that carried her through during a period when they experienced a series of miscarriages.

"Every evening and morning he would ask me, 'How are you feeling today? What thoughts are you battling?' I felt that I truly had a present person in my life."