The Peevish, Discontented, Nagging Wife

Proverbs 21:9; Proverbs 19:13; Proverbs 27:15; Proverbs 21:19
       It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.
       The contentions of a wife are a continual dropping…A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.
       It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): Christian women! Think not these Proverbs unworthy of your attention.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): What a great affliction it is to a man to have a brawling scolding woman for his wife, who upon every occasion, and often upon no occasion, breaks out into a passion, and chides either him or those about her, is fretful to herself and furious to her children and servants, and, in both, vexatious to her husband.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): She is never at rest, always agitated.

MATTHEW HENRY: A cross peevish wife is a great affliction: her contentions are continual; every day, and every hour in the day, she finds some occasion to make herself and those about her uneasy. Those that are accustomed to chide never want something or other to chide at; but it is “a continual dropping,” that is, a continual vexation, as it is to have a house so much out of repair that it rains in and a man cannot lie dry in it.

WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): A quarrel between a man and his wife is, as to the torment which it inflicts, the nearest thing to a quarrel between the man and his own conscience. Next to himself, she lies closest to him, and the pain of a disagreement is proportioned accordingly.

CHARLES BRIDGES: A solitary life without would be better than a quarrelsome life within. Some intervals of comfort might be abroad; none at home. Infinitely greater is this trial, when it comes from a man’s own flesh; when she, who ought to “a crown to her husband,” becomes “rottenness to his bones,” Proverbs 12:4; when she that his bound to be his choicest treasure, becomes his piercing scourge. It cannot be but a miserable thing to behold, that yet they are of necessity compelled to live together, which yet cannot be in quiet together.

J. R. MILLER (1840-1912): A woman’s voice is a wonderful revealer of her character.

ADAM CLARKE: Vain, empty women are those that make the most noise.

J. R. MILLER: The “law of kindness” is on the tongue of the excellent woman, Proverbs 31:26. She has trained her speech to gentle tones.

MATTHEW HENRY: The finest ornament of Christian women is a meek and quiet spirit, a tractable easy temper of mind, void of passion, pride, and immoderate anger, discovering itself in a quiet obliging behaviour towards their husbands and families.

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): Earth has nothing gentler than the female heart in which piety dwells.

CHARLES BRIDGES: Her glory is departed from her, should she lose “the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit,” lovely in the sight of man, and “in the sight of God of great price,” I Peter 3:4…The brawling woman, revolting against her Maker’s rule of subjection, is no less a tormentor to herself than to her husband―the intent of the Divine ordinance is here contravened. For it would seem “good for the man to be alone” rather than that his “help-meet” (Genesis 2:18) should turn to be his hindrance, and his curse.

WILLIAM ARNOT: Specifically, this contention is a continual dropping.
      Let a wife note well that the resulting mischief does not depend on the degree of furiousness which may characterize the conflict. It depends on length rather than loudness. A perennial drop may do more to drive a man to extremities than a sudden flood. A little for ever is more terrible to the imagination than a great outpouring at once. A “continual dropping” is said to have been one of the engines which the wit of man contrived when it was put upon the stretch for the means of torturing his fellows. The victim was so placed that a drop of water continued to fall at regular intervals on his naked head. With length of time, and no hope of relief, the agony becomes excruciating, and either the patient’s reason or his life gives way.
      Let a wife, or a husband, beware. Don’t make home miserable by gloomy looks and taunting discontented words. Don’t deceive yourself with the pleas that your complaints were never immoderate: if your moderate complaints never cease, they will eat through a man’s life at last…Though words of discontent should never rise into the violence of a passion―although they should never be heavier than drops of water―yet, if they continue to drop, drop―dropping so that he sees no prospect of an end, his heart will either be hardened into indifference, or broken into despair. Love cannot be sustained by dislike, administered in moderate quantities; if it does not get positive, manifest, gleaming love to live upon, it will die.

CHARLES BRIDGES: Whether the woman lusts for rule, or repines under the obligation to submit, either principle breaks the rank, in which God has placed her. Occasions always present themselves for the display of this unhappy temper. After the attempts to soothe and pacify her, the “return of clouds after rain” betokens more showers, and dispels the hope which a passing sunbeam may have raised. Unrestrained by Divine grace, she becomes her husband’s torment, and her own shame.

MATTHEW HENRY: It is better to be alone than to be joined to one who, instead of being a meet-help, is a great hindrance to the comfort of life.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Be resolved not to be of a contentious spirit.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): In June, 1742, I rode over to a neighbouring town, to wait upon a justice of the peace, a man of candour and understanding; before whom―I was informed―their angry neighbours had carried a whole wagon-load of [recent Methodist converts]. But when he asked what they had done, there was a deep silence; for that was a point their conductors had forgot. At length one said, “Why, they pretended to be better than other people; and besides, they prayed from morning to night.”
      “But have they done nothing besides?” asked the justice.
      “Yes, sir,” said an old man, “an’it please your worship, they have converted my wife. Till she went among them, she had such a tongue! And now she is as quiet as a lamb.”
      “Carry them back, carry them back,” replied the justice, “and let them convert all the scolds in the town.”


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