When the Bible talks about servants, there are two types that really stand out: wives, and sons. There are daughters, bondservants, soldiers, concubines, chancellors, handmaidens, and plain ol’ slaves, but–if we give weight to the occurrences and stressed relationships of scripture–the wives and sons have it. I think that is because there is a permanence to these relationships that does not exist for others. Slaves can be sold, and soldiers dismissed, but a man’s son is always his son; even if they hate each other. No one else will forget that fact. Sons are marked by their fathers.
Daughters are peculiar. They come about the same way as sons, but when they marry they go through an alchemical process that abjures the daughter (in solicitate of gold) and evokes a wife. It’s magic. And the weirdness continues! Even though the wife follows the husband (because the husband is the head), the husband has joined to the wife–and that means becoming part of her family. Any man who has tried to move his wife across country from her family knows what I’m talking about.
There’s a sort of justification by adoption that occurs. “You wish to take my daughter? Very well: I want a son in return. Oh, there’s only you…well, I guess it will have to be you, then.” Looking on from a distance, and if we had the numinous sight to see the bursts and whorls of magic taking place in a marriage, it would look very much like a man submitting his daughter to a ritual by which she is turned into a much more capable son–a son who can produce more sons and wives.
Additionally, there are two times of real celebration which are remarkably in not keeping with the modern times, and yet irrepressible: marriage, and when a son is born. I was honestly shocked at how much more exuberant everyone was when my son was born. We had three daughters already, but a son is simply celebrated more; which strongly indicates he is valued more–contrary to everything we have been taught, or even might experience when they come of age. More is expected of them. More is expected of wives, too.
A foolish son is ruin to his father,
and a wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.
House and wealth are inherited from fathers,
but a prudent wife is from the Lord.
Wives can make a man’s house heaven or hell because we expect more of them. Daughters, we hope, can at least be married off so they become some other man’s primary concern…we’ll still see her at Sunday dinners.
So, if you have a wife and she’s not prudent, you can know she’s not of the Lord. What are you going to do about this?