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Living with your partner’s irritating habits – Part 2


Bishop Charles Ighele

Last Sunday, I wrote about how one of my wife’s younger brothers thrilled us with a story some days earlier. For those who might not have read my last Sunday article in this column, it was the story (as told by my brother in-law) of a man from Akwa Ibom State, who asked an Ijaw man for direction. The Akwa Ibom man pronounced the word ‘gentle’ as ‘yentle,’ while the Ijaw man pronounced ‘gentle’ as ‘zentle.’

The Akwa Ibom man pronounced junction as ‘yonyon,’ while the Ijaw man pronounced ‘junction’ as ‘zonson.’ When, therefore, the Akwa Ibom man asked a man, who incidentally happened to be an Ijaw man on how to get to a particular place, the Ijaw man said, “as you get to that zonson, turn left, that is the street.” He replied “Na yonyon you dey call zonson?’ I then made reference to Judges 12:5,6, when there was war between the Ephraimites and the Gileadites. When the Gileadites would ask a suspect “are you an Ephraimite? If he said no, then they said unto him, pronounce shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and killed him…and forty two thousand of them were killed.” I further went on to say that even at the risk of death, these forty-two thousand men could not force themselves to pronounce “Shibboleth.” I concluded by saying that you may have to live AMUSINGLY with certain irritating habits put up by your spouse, which you may not be able to change.


Last Sunday’s article generated a lot of interest from singles and married people. While some insisted that there are no bad habits or pronunciation of words that cannot be changed, if the person wants to change, another person (a 24-year-old woman) informed us that she had been married to her husband for years and that each time her husband eats okra soup, the soup will spill on his body and on the table just like a baby. She said she had given up on correcting her husband on how to eat okra soup. Instead of her getting angry and irritated about an adult staining his clothes and table with (draw) soup, she now gets amused about how a grown man may need to wear bibs like a baby in order not to get his clothes and table stained.

When I newly got married, I had two ugly mealtime disagreements with my wife. She told me that my mouth made too much noise, while chewing food. I reminded her that I attended one of the best mission schools, where we were taught table manners, a federal government school and one of the best Universities in Africa and this is how I have been chewing. But when she decided not to give up by telling me some annoying proverbs, such as, “it’s only somebody who loves you that will tell you your mouth is smelling,” it was then I started learning how to chew to her satisfaction, so that I could become the ‘yentle’ man or ‘zentle’ man or the gentle man she wanted me to be. But the fact still remains that there are one or two mannerisms that I have been unable to change and one or two that she has been unable to change.

In your marriage, I pray that God will give you the wisdom to lovingly change the changeable habits of your spouse and the wisdom and patience to allow the mannerisms you cannot change be a source of AMUSEMENT to you and not irritate you.

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Charles Ighele
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