By Lavern Nissley
Ronda got the results of her 23andMe DNA Genetic Testing & Analysis last week. I was quite amused at the text she sent me indicating a genetic trait she apparently has calledmisophonia.
It refers to something she is predisposed to disliking intensely. Definitely NOT a surprise to either of us! In fact, she has communicated this intense dislike to me at least a dozen times in our 40 years of marriage. And I always thought that she was over-reacting. Until now. From here on everything changes!
Here is the screenshot text Ronda sent me last week.
So misophonia is a hatred of chewing sounds. It explains why she has called me out when, for example, I munch on carrots or eat an apple when we're driving together in our car. And when she's not munching on something herself. Because that would mute my chewing sounds.
It's interesting that her siblings and father seem to share this trait, as well. Toward the end of a Facebook thread where she posted this information, her brother, Jerryl Miller, commented some advice for me: "Publish a cookbook of 'quiet' foods for people with misophonia. Recipes for Jell-O, rice pudding, over cooked veggies, and fish sticks. Sure to be a money maker."
How does this new information about misophonia being an actual genetic trait affect our relationship?
Well, we've been able to have some fun with it. It's given us greater respect for the incredible details like this within our genetic code. There are some things that are apparently hardwired into our hearts and minds. However, fortunately we still have the gift of choice in how we respond to predetermined trait tendencies. Ronda, to her credit, has never become nasty with me about how my chewing sounds may annoy her. I kind of regret that I've chosen not to take her as seriously as I could have. Sorry, babe!
I'll still munch on carrots and eat apples. But I'll choose to lower the volume or do it where it's not annoying to her.
Thanks, 23andMe, for enriching our marriage!
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.