For a life coach, trust Dr Robert Burale to have seen it all. No wonder his motivational speeches are backed with real-life experiences.
In this lengthy interview, Dr Burale, who recently was in Kampala for the inspiring Personal & Career Transformational Conference, delves deep into issues of life, love, relationships, marriage and sex.
Below are excerpts of the lengthy question-and-answer interview conducted by Charmar News editor Baz Waiswa, in Kampala.
You are internationally renowned for a number of ventures. However, many Ugandans may not know you. Who is Dr Robert Burale?
Well, I am a man who is surviving by the grace of God; who is doing what God has asked me to do. A man who is determined to change lives.
I have tasted death so I give life. That is my life’s journey. That is my life’s purpose. Every time I speak to people, life must come in otherwise I will be wasting my time.
I believe my life’s purpose is to travel the world over, whenever the Lord sends me, to speak life to people and to take people into their places of purpose. I am a pathfinder for lack of a better word.
I grew up very privileged; loving father & mother. My dad has gone to be with the Lord since. My mother turned 70 a few days ago. I am a father to a 17-year-old.
I am an author. I do the Men’s Conference in Kenya. And I run the Robert Burale School of Leadership. I’m just that guy who wants to give life wherever I go.
Well, I’m from Kenya. I live in Nairobi, the capital city, but my home is in Busia, which is the border of Kenya and Uganda. I’m 100% Kenyan.
You are the founder of the Naked Truth Movement. What is this movement all about?
The Naked Truth Movement is a movement where we give people platforms to hear things and to speak about things that society has whispered about or ostracized about.
The Naked Truth was born after my marriage failed. I realized that there was a lot of judgment; people at some point didn’t want to associate with somebody who’s divorced.
And one time in prayer, I had the Lord telling me, I will give you a platform that you will be able to express things to people who feel they cannot be used or life has passed them by.
People like former drug addicts and alcohol abusers. And they want to get something out of their life.
Society can be very judgmental. So, the Naked Truth offers that platform to discuss matters of life.
And of course, it has grown into many other things within the training and PR field but it is a platform to discuss relationships and purpose and bringing people into their place of purpose even when they had missed a little bit.
And what can you say has been the journey so far for the Naked Truth Movement?
It has been, absolutely, fantastic. When I first had the first meeting, I remember a day before, there was uncertainty. We were tense, how would it be received? But we are grateful to God that it was very successful. And now, we’ve been able to go to Botswana, Tanzania, Rwanda and other countries. We have gone to Florida and Dallas; we have gone to many states in the US.
You previously said that love is not enough reason to marry. Isn’t love the all-conquering factor of life?
If anybody marries for love, that is a confused person. Love cannot be the main thing; purpose is the main thing.
Because if you talk to a couple right now, they don’t always feel like they love each other. That loving feeling is not always there.
And I hear this statement, oh I fell in love. Did you trip? Were you walking then you fell? You don’t stumble into love. You are intentional about love, about loving somebody, and the person you’re loving must be somebody in line with your purpose.
For example, if you’re called to care for the orphans, even if you are attracted to a woman but she does not like orphans, love will not count because then your purpose is affected.
A woman will not marry a violent when she wants to start a GBV recovery centre. So it’s not just about love.
I mean, people can fall in love with murderers because they’re tall and handsome. Whatever, it is purpose that should bring people together, and then you are intentional.
Once purpose connects the two of you, then you make it your intention to love that person. But this thing of saying I saw you and the hair at the back of my neck started standing; we leave that for Mexican soaps and Big Brother. They are scripted things but not real-life issues.
When you say purpose, what are you meaning? What do you mean by purpose?
The purpose is the reason you’re born. If I ask you, what is this one thing that you can do for free? What is this one thing that, if I woke you up at 3:00 o’clock in the morning and I told you to do, you would do without asking how much?
What is that thing that annoys you? Do you get annoyed when you see widows suffering? Do you feel disturbed when you see orphans starving? Do you get annoyed when you see dirty places? Then what annoys you, you’re called to.
And from purpose, passion comes in because you will do it to the best of your ability. And after passion, profits will come in.
You give me the microphone at 3:00 o’clock in the morning; ask me to speak life to people, I will speak while I’m even brushing my teeth.
But if you tell me now, wake up and pay your billion shillings to be an accountant, I will struggle.
But you can’t really throw away love. The feelings you get when you meet a woman, the affection you have, the kindness you have towards this woman, you can’t get rid of all that.
No, you cannot throw away love. Those are the attractions but it’s not what will hold your relationship together.
When you first met your wife, she could do nothing wrong. If she smiles, you say that’s the best smile.
Three years later, you’ll be asking ‘why are you smiling? So yes, love is important, but cannot be the bedrock of the relationship.
For example, if I find a girl, we have the same passion. We love caring for the community and doing things that bring us together – if we are Christians, we go to preach together. But there’s no mutual feelings for each other, if you choose to stay with this woman, can the purpose bond you into a successful marriage?
Yes and no. Yes because if you are brought together for a common purpose and succeed then the bond is there and you are forced to work within the parameters of what brought you together.
Then you start seeing the good side of everybody.
And sometimes it might not work because we cannot entirely ignore the attraction. After all, when two people come together they must be physically and spiritually compatible.
So I am not dismissing those things. I mean, even for me, there is a type of girl I like.
The attraction cannot be ignored because we are social beings but these are things that die off.
Couples don’t wake up and feel like they love each other every day but they say ‘we are in this together’ and we are in purpose together.
If someone said marriage has no formula for it to successfully work, would that person be correct?
Not, even the Bible says I will give you a partner suitable to yourself – suitability. If a couple doesn’t communicate, trust me, there is a problem.
Put in place parameters for the in-laws because in-laws play a big role in divorces, especially mothers-in-law.
So, there is a formula for a successful marriage. Every couple is different but there are common things people who have been married for long will tell you – communication, forgiveness and being on the same side even in disagreement.
Those are things that hold for successful marriages. Other things like my wife don’t like movies, my husband doesn’t like going out – those are things that are tailor-made to people based on their personality, their likes and their dislikes.
If you had 100 couples here who have been married for 50 years and you asked them what their secret is, I’m sure communication, forgiveness and how they fight their battles will be a common thread in their responses.
Marriages are an important aspect of a balanced community. The key to marriage life is sex. In Uganda & indeed globally, couples are seemingly struggling with fertility and their sex lives have taken a nose dive. What advice do you give to struggling couples?
We need to understand that there are seasons and stages. When you get married, for example, you’ll enjoy your sex life but then don’t put yourself under pressure at 55 to do things you were doing at 25.
You don’t expect your wife to be somersaulting from the bathroom to the bedroom. You’ll be taking her to casualty for an emergency all the time she does it.
So you have to understand that seasons and times change.
Infertility is a thing that has happened, maybe because of diet or the genetic makeup of somebody’s family and all that.
But we are also moving to a world of ideas and technology. So there’s no harm in looking for help even if your sex life has gone down.
I love watching football and there was a player for Manchester United called Ryan Giggs. He played for almost, I think up to 42 years.
He would run from box to box and run back and score goals. So when he got to 35 he decided fine, I have the brains but not the legs so I’ll reduce my running but work on my accuracy in passing the ball.
So as time goes by, reduce your running and work on your accuracy.
Understand that life has moved on, children have come, age is catching up, and you cannot be doing the things you used to do when you were young.
And if there are issues, for example, health issues that are affecting the bedroom matters, there is no harm in going to a professional seeking help.
Then there’s the financial aspect where couples disagree on how to save money and who contributes what to run the home. In Uganda, women tend to tell their husbands that my money is my money; your money is our money. You find the man footing all the bills in the home. How should couples handle financial issues? What’s the best way to deal with money issues in a relationship, especially in a marriage?
We have also heard that statement here in Kenya where women say my money is my money, your money is our money. I think that statement was marinated from the pits of Hell.
Yes, the man is the provider, the priest and prophet of the home, the leader but there is no harm in sometimes the woman providing.
Let me tell you, there are times when, as a man, you have your highs and lows. There is no harm in your wife saying this month let me buy food as you’re paying rent.
There is nothing wrong. I mean we are twosome; even when we have children. I have given you my seed and you have given me your womb and we are working together for results.
There’s this gospel that has come in this new age that has come to try to affect the family unit by saying my money is my money, your money is our money.
That’s a stable that can bring division and can also make men arrogant. A man will say, ‘ok, I’m paying all the bills, I’ll pay for everything, but don’t control me.’
When he comes home after two days, you’ll hear a man saying don’t I provide? Don’t you have a roof over your head? Are you going hungry? Are the kids going to school? It starts bringing a supremacy battle.
But I would love it when couples just agree. Where a partner, say a woman, would say, honey, let me do this, I know it’s been a tough month for you, I know business was not good for you this month, so let me step in.
When couples do that, we’ll have a very happy society. So these statements from the West, we have to kill them.
Recently, we had a court of appeal ruling here in Uganda. It came from a divorce ruling about 10 years ago. In the lower court ruling, the judge said the couple should split their wealth 50-50 but the man appealed saying he paid school fees for the woman and she never contributed financially to the creation of the family properties. The court of appeal ruled that it is wrong to split 50-50. It said the woman’s take should be assessed depending on her contribution while she was married to the man. Every of her contribution was going to be quantified and monetized to arrive at her percentage share. From you as a Christian and pastor, with such judgments coming, what is the future of marriage because; now women fear to contribute directly or are under pressure to contribute?
It is sad even from a Pastoral point of view. The Bible says why two believers should take their matters to a non-believer to be decided for them!
You are saying the woman was a stay home wife? Be as it may, and the man has made a lot of money, you cannot quantify the peace that woman brought to that man.
You cannot quantify the fact that she stayed home and made the home beautiful and peaceful for the man to prosper.
There is a way peace makes a man make upward mobility. A man with a peaceful home can conquer anything because as a stay home mom, she was taking care of this man’s children.
Yes, he was paying the bills, but the woman was inculcating values in the children and made them well-behaved so that the man is not stressed and can go out there to work and make money.
She deserved quite a bit. She might not have brought money but she created an environment for wealth to be made. But then, I am a divorced man, I don’t advocate for divorce. Marriage is a good idea.
You said you are divorced. What does divorce bring into someone’s life? Does it bring liberation, freedom, anger or loneliness? From your experience, what does divorce offer?
Divorce is like death. You might throw words at each other during the process of the case but when you are handed the final document, you feel like something has died and will never be recovered again.
But then you have to go through the process. There’s a process of anger, bitterness and self-pity. And then you get over it, where now you can meet your ex-spouse and not feel pain or bitterness towards that person and you can talk.
So divorce has all those things and many people say oh liberation, what liberation?
When you’re used to being with somebody and working as a team, when that is taken away from you, let nobody lie to you that it’s all good.
It will be good for a while, that you can go home anytime. You can sit at home and do whatever you want. You can eat whatever you want, but after some time, your system starts asking for that which your system was created for. Divorce is not freedom, no.
Does the institution of marriage need cushioning or some sort of saving from all these destructive things? Should there be a movement or deliberate effort to save marriage?
Yes, sir. And I think, I used the right word, there has to be a movement to save the marriages because if you realize, the last few years, there’s an agenda, through media and many other forms and mediums where you see couples saying it is ok to step outside, go and have somebody else but we’re still together for the sake of our union and our children.
We have issues of LGBTQ coming in. All those things are targeted to attack the marriage institution. Do you understand what I’m saying?
I saw an interview by Your Excellency, President Museveni, interviewed by Western media, and he was asked about the LGBTQ and I love the fact that he created a very strong stand.
Marriage is an institution ordained by God but people are even sleeping with animals.
And some of these things are coming in movies. Those things enter into our mind and our system where we start accepting the unacceptable, where we start normalizing the abnormal.
If you watch an abnormal thing that has been normalized by media, in 10 years, you’ll think it’s normal. So they start attacking our children from the age of 10. When that person is 20 or 25, they already think what is abnormal is normal.
That is why now you see a man saying I was born like this. You’re not born like that. It was played in your mind and your system, and you accepted it.
And then we see a number of youths shying away from marriage life and a rise in exploration of alternative Sex options. What advice do you give young people eying marriage?
The advice that I give young people going to marriage is that marriage is hard work and should enter into marriage for the right reasons not just to take care of their sexual urges.
Sex is an important part of marriage but it’s not the be-all and end-all. Let your purpose bring you together. Respect each other.
Make sure you don’t allow too many people into your marriage because that’s a recipe for a breakup when your friends come in. Not all friends wish you well.