When I was single and Rev. Mike Babatunde would tell us ordinary toothpaste can lead to divorce, I thought he was exaggerating. Until a fish-head nearly caused a quarrel between me and my wife.

I’m a typical Ejigbo man. In my town, it is the man of the house who eats the head of a fish. The man is the head, so it’s believed that he deserves nothing but the head. Whenever anything is slaughtered, be it fish or goat or cow, the head belongs to the man of the house. The only time he eats other parts is when the head has been eaten by him.

So I went into marriage with that “fish-head-belongs-to-me” mentality.

The first day my wife cooked, I was expecting a big fish-head, only to see the tail in the soup. What! I looked at her side, she served herself the middle. Why would she leave heads in the pot? I wondered. Who else is more important than me that wants to eat those orí-ẹja?

It was too early to complain. So I didn’t talk.

The following day. She served me the middle. She also ate another middle. I was angry, but I didn’t talk.

When my anger reached the peak was when she wanted to eat and put one head on her food. I concluded my wife was arrogant. How would she take what belonged to me, the husband?

Then I asked, “Why do you want to eat the head when it actually belongs to me?” She was surprised. “You mean you like fish-head?” she simply asked.

Where she came from, the head of a fish is no-fish at all. It’s usually left till all other parts are eaten before it’s served. So the head is the least important part of a fish in their house.

Strange. Clash of cultures. Clash of upbringings. Clash of orientations.

She actually wanted to serve me the best. In order to achieve that, she took the least important for herself. But here I was fuming that she was arrogant. Come to think of it, why can’t my wife eat what belongs to me?

Many have scattered their homes all in the name of assumptions. Many have quarreled all in the name of ego. Many have accused their spouses all in the name of culture. Many have divorced all in the name of little things that children would laugh over.

Why? Lack of effective communication.

Don’t assume. Ask questions. Don’t boil. Don’t be mad. Just ask. Talk to him. Talk to her. By the time s/he tells you what really happened, you’d realise it’s actually something you both should laugh over.

Your marriage will prosper.

Ladi Alebiosu