No sex before marriage: The love story of actress Joy 'Kawira' & Ephantus Wahome

"I met my husband, Ephantus Wahome at a function where he was the event manager and I was the emcee," begins Joy, channeling her TV character's accent.

She is a happy girl. She smiles lovingly at her husband seated beside her, placing her hand in his. They are a picture of contentment.

"The first time I met Joy, I was awed by her character and the dignity she portrayed," confesses Ephantus.

He didn't feel like she was a total stranger having watched her on TV before. "I loved the character she played. I asked her out for dinner in a city restaurant but she declined my offer."

"He looked neat and presentable so I assumed that he was a married man. He wore a grey suit," she says as she breaks into laughter.

"The first intimate thing he told me, after a stint of friendship was, 'You are my wife'. I found that strange."

They started talking frequently and it was then she realised that this man was different from any other man she had met.

"He was very caring. We soon became best friends and would talk endlessly for hours. I was excited about meeting a man who took time to search for God. He was a serious born-again man and very prayerful. That sealed the deal."

For Ephantus the connection was instant.

"The first person I told that I had found a wife was my friend and sister Pastor Lilian Young," he says.

Messy past

"Like most men, I had a bitter past," reveals Ephantus. "My past relationships taught me that a good wife comes from the Lord. It's not about how well a man can seduce a woman. For three years, I had been praying for a wife and Joy showed up."

What was it like dating a girl who was recognised by people? I prod.

"I've never been jealous of her fans," says Ephantus. "In fact, I choose to build her talent and push her to greater heights."

However, he finds it offensive when strangers invade their privacy.

"We could be in a mall shopping and bump into people who on recognising her, start saying, 'Ndio ule Kawira na bwanake,' he says.

No sex before marriage

Ephantus says the best thing he remembers about their courtship is that they did not fall into sexual sin. "Our salvation made all the difference," explains Joy on how they managed to keep their hands off each other before marriage.

It however doesn't mean that it was all peachy.

"We were held up by work and our schedules were different. We sat down and discussed on how to make quality time for each other when Ephy noticed we were in a 'long distance relationship' though living in the same town," she says.

Ephantus, an ordained Church minister says that preaching can be emotionally draining but he always makes time for his wife.

"I value my family. Ministry should not be an issue in a relationship. I was well taught."

He says that Joy is so down to earth and does not allow her fame to interfere with their relationship. "In fact I realise she is famous only when we are in public and everyone is celebrating her," he says.

Joy, who has transformed her fresh-faced bald headed school girl look she sported on TV to a long locked beautiful woman, says that a change is as good as a rest.

"I felt the need to change my look since I had had the bald head for quite a while. After discussing with Ephy and my producers, I went ahead and here we are," she says of her new more feminine and fashionable look.

"Having been married slightly over two years now, I have learned that women are precious jewels that need to be taken care of. Joy gets emotional at times and she loves attention," Ephantus says with a laugh.

He also confesses that marriage could gain one some foes, "Of course when you fully commit to your partner, there are those people you lose, which is fine because at the end of the day, you can only be a husband to one."

The proposal

"We were celebrating his birthday and as I was having fun and sipping my drink, I noticed something sparkly in my glass," says Joy. "It was the ring. I was totally surprised," she exclaims.

They kept their marriage announcement a private affair.

"I didn't want the negativity. We announced it to a few friends and family."

Joy confesses that marriage is hard work.

"Growing up without a dad (she lost her dad at the age of four) and with no brother, living with a man was alien to me. I felt overwhelmed," she confesses. "The first few months were really challenging. Now I know when and where to say what," says Joy. "You can break your home with your own mouth," she continues. She advises women not to listen to outsiders but to remember that their home's stability is in their hands.