The Man's Prudence
Better to live on a corner of a roof than to share a house with a quarrelsome wife - Proverbs 21:9
As funny as it sounds, this verse actually appears in identical or similar forms in other segments of Proverbs (19:13, 21:19, 25:24, 26:21, 27:15). At first glance, it seems that these verses target to tell the men how unpleasant a quarrelsome wife is in their household. However, as I was pondering on these amusing verses (we have been joking on these verses since our university days), I can't help but wonder if these verses direct more to the men's prudence in choosing their own wives.
Written in a culture when the guys usually look for their own wives, and in a culture when arranged marriages were normally the norms, I suppose the guys had to be very clear what they were looking for in a wife before making the decision who to marry. But from the Scripture, we know how foolish we men can be. Sometimes, we are willing to be deceived by charm and beauty but fail to look one step deeper. This is not to say that beauty and charm is not important but shouldn't we look somewhere beyond those aspects before we decide who we should be marrying? Looking at one example in my own family, I can testify that this is very true indeed that we do not know at times why and how we fall in love with certain quarrelsome women.
(That being said, I have to qualify that these women may not be quarrelsome if matched with the right man. How right is the man exactly, is another question by itself.)
Hence, I would conclude that what the Proverbs teach is really more for the guys to be prudent and careful in choosing their own wives. I will want to say that if a wife is quarrelsome, it is the man's fault for not opening up his own eye before marriage. Why do I say so? This is because if the woman is already a wife, this must have assumed that the guy had previously made the decision to go through whatever ceremonies and rituals to legally take the woman as his lawful wife. In the first place, if the wife becomes quarrelsome, then why on earth did the guy marry her in the first place? My one hypothesis is that he did not open his eyes wide in the first place.
Of course, there is another possibility, which I first heard of it in a church wedding a few years back. The preacher was telling the groom, in order for the wife to be quarrelsome, there must have been something in the man that has prompted her to be quarrelsome. This means to avoid this situation, the man needs to be a man who gives the woman no reason to be quarrelsome. This dawns upon my mind that the man is still ultimately a prime reason for a peaceful family. Either he opens up his eyes before marriage, or he bucks up and gives the wife no reason to be quarrelsome after marriage.
Nonetheless, prevention is better than cure. I urge all guys to open up your eyes if you are looking for a wife. If it is taking time, it is taking time but at the end of the day, you will find the time taken worthwhile when you find a woman of noble character.