Many years back, twenty five to be exact, I stumbled upon a new universal language used all over the world. Unlike the common languages we are familiar with; this language reshuffles and readjusts itself using existing words, giving new unconventional meaning to those existing words. The complexity of this language both in structure and its form is mind boggling to some species of Homo sapiens, yet to others, it is flawless, straightforward, and easy to learn. Its structure has been used in almost all known or existing tribes meticulously conveying the same message and serving the same purpose. Yet the challenges it has posed to those willing to learn and comprehend it has left them more confused. Language clash in understanding and structure is unheard of, and it, like other world languages, evolves simultaneously with others. The easiest way to explain the complexity of this language is picturing an Englishman speak to a New Zealander native who does not understand English and can only speak in their Māori language. The language further complicates its structure of word usage by the fact that words spoken in anger possess another meaning when spoken in a happy mood. The listener is therefore almost always left at the mercy of the spoken words to first decode the speaker’s mood and then interpret the words in order to get the correct meaning. It’s a language whose transmutation does not end – yet has the same common goal of communicating a message. Unfortunately, my search for scholarly literature on this language was not fruitful, but it gave me the privilege and liberty to name this mutating language using the conventional nomenclature as “wifianese”.
Wifianese is a language spoken by millions of wives all over the world. Unlike other languages, this language thrives in emphasis, tone-ology, and expressionism. No new words are created and this “new” language simply uses existing words to make verbal expressions. It’s interesting to note that a female who is not married does not speak Wifianese, and her words do not require decoding to be understood. She easily communicates in words and language that are easily understood. This scenario changes once she gets married and her words starts having dual or triple meaning. Surprisingly, married womenfolk communicate easily and understand each other – I am still studying which language they speak among themselves, but whatever they use to communicate promotes a spirit of cohesiveness among them.
It’s my suggestion that Eve, the original first lady, spoke wifianese to her husband Adam – and this was probably the first time wifianese was ever spoken. Adam had heard Eve spoke but he took her words at their face value. This time round, they had consequences, she did not want to eat the fruit, she did not care what the serpent had told her, she wanted direction “should or should we not” but what Adam heard was, it’s a good fruit let’s eat, and Adam went for it.
Eve was living with her husband in a large orchard, and all they needed to do was relax walk around the orchard do nothing. The owner of the orchard was taking care of it and had left it to them. They could eat of anything they wanted with the exception of one specific tree positioned at the center of the orchard. Clear instruction indicated that if they ate of that tree, then they would be like God knowing good and evil, according to her husband Adam (אדם), who did not pay much attention when God, the owner of the orchard, was giving him instructions. It is said that one evening, Eve got tired of sitting in one place and asked Adam to accompany her for a stroll, but Adam was feeling a little tired and wanted to seat by the brook watching the young doles drinking playfully with the playful cubs. Eve muttered something and then went for the stroll on her own. An hour later she came back with a basketful of fruits. She lay the fruits down for their dinner as was the custom and started narrating to Adam where she had been and what she had seen. She told him about a serpent that had told her of a fruit with mysterious powers, and if they ate it, it would make them as wise as their creator. She then offered it to Adam who immediately crushed its skin with his teeth without a second thought. Eve took the other fruit and too started munching on it. It wasn’t until they awoke from their nap that they saw they had better view of things than before, something was different. By the time they realized what had happened, it was too late, they were already naked, just like the orchard owner had said would happen.
Later, Adam was to deny that his wife had told him about the fruit. Clearly she had, but he heard nothing because she spoke in wifianese which was foreign to Adam. Adam was taken by surprise when he went back to realize that they had been thrown from the orchard. He needed to learn wifianese, for his sanity. This is an oversimplification of the problem that faced Adam and his wife Eve, but the facts have not changed. And man is forever trying to decode wifianese.
Like any other language, there is a need to learn it if communication in the house is to improve and also for the cohesive existence of these two creatures purporting to live and care for each other. In my observation of thousands of wives in an unscientific observation, I found out that they did not need to learn the new language; it was almost imbedded on them. Their expression changed, their tone-ology and expression changed each time they communicated with their husbands. I also noted that the wives did not use this language on anybody; it was specifically reserved for their husbands. The speakers were able to swiftly inter-change the language modules to accommodate the recipients of the message without any struggle. Lastly, I noticed that most husbands were clueless to what their wives were communicating about. Most ended up simply agreeing to what was being suggested to avoid an unnecessary fight but deep inside them, they were lost and clueless.
Many marriages today are either breaking or on the verge of breaking because of a language barrier. Marriage counselors rightfully insist communication is key to a good marriage but they have not yet come up with a strategy for decoding wifianese. Books and scholarly articles have been written on communication in marriage but no article has directly addressed wifianese, the language wives find themselves speaking without even realizing it.
Dr. Leslie Navran in her article “Communication and adjustment in marriage” suggests that ‘couples who make a good or “happy” marital adjustments are those whose communication skills have been expanded to deal effectively with problems inherent in marriages”. The husband’s challenge is not to speak wifianese, because it’s far too complicated to speak, but to understand it by accurately decoding “wife language” or and acting appropriately and carefully (emphasis mine).
Often husbands, after some time and nasty experiences, start understanding what their wives really mean. Just like if you lived with a person speaking only one language at some point you will have no choice but to start understanding basic words. One husband shared with me some of the words he had decoded. For example; “When your wife says” we need this and that” she actually means “I want this and that…” If you told your wife that you wanted to do something and she replied “sure…go ahead” you better not. She actually means don’t. If she says “do whatever you want,” she actually means “you do it, and you will pay for it later”. If your wife smilingly introduces you to the guests “this is my husband”, don’t rejoice, she means here’s the goon. If your wife calls on your cell phone and asks “where are you”, be truthful, because she has already set you up on her inbuilt “lie detector.” You get the jest and I know you have more examples.
Couples are known to have separated because of the absence of communication. In reality though, the two were communicating but in different languages. They refuse to learn this new language or are not patient and the result is disastrous. It takes effort and commitment to learn a new language even if you are using Rosetta stone (don’t bother looking wifianese is not available in Rosetta stone) and learning wifianese is not any different. The consequences of not learning this language cannot be compared to the benefits. Some husbands have taken the time to learn it and their marriages have improved, but others have ignored this language stubbornly refusing to learn it – the cracks in their marriages are evidence of this ignorance. Embrace it and you will be one happy man – ignore it and your marriage life will continue to be a misery. You have been warned.