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A wife is a spouse, or participant in a marriage.


The best way to worship God is to love your wife. ~ Victor Hugo
  • The impurity of the eyes is to gaze upon the beauty of another man's wife, and his wealth.
  • Without thee, I am all unblessed,
    And wholly blessed in thee alone.
    • George Washington Bethune, "To My Wife", line 15, in Lays of Love and Faith, with Other Fugitive Poems (Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blakiston, 1847), p. 21.
  • Kiss not thy neighbor's wife, unless
Thine own thy neighbor doth caress.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • Use great prudence and circumspection, in choosing thy wife, for from thence will spring all thy future good or evil; and it is an action of life like unto a stratagem of war, wherein a man can err but once.
  • Let the husband render to his wife the affection owed her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.
    • 1 Corinthians 7:3 (First Letter of Saint Paul to Corinthians, 7:3).
  • The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband. And in like manner the husband also hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
    • 1 Corinthians 7:4 (First Letter of Saint Paul to Corinthians, 7:4).
  • The wife of thy bosom.
    • Deuteronomy, XIII. 6.
  • "George", says Mr. Baguet. "You Know me. It's my old girl that advises. She has the head. But I never own to it before her. Discipline must be maintained. Wait till the greens is off her mind. Thens we'll consult. Whatever the old girl says, do - do it!
    • Charles Dickens, Bleak House (1852-1853), Chapter XXVII. Page 272. Publisher London : Bradbury and Evans, 1853.
  • You know I met you,
    Kist you, and prest you close within my arms,
    With all the tenderness of wifely love.
  • Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life.
  • A. You make sure: 1. That my clothes and laundry are kept in good order and repair; 2. that I receive my three meals regularly in my room; 3. that my bedroom and my office are always kept neat, in particular, that the desk is available to me alone.
    B. You renounce all personal relations with me as far as maintaining them is not absolutely required for social reasons. Specifically, you do without: 1. my sitting at home with you; 2. my going out or traveling together with you.
    C. In you relations with me you commit yourself explicitly to adhering to the following points: 1.You are neither to expect intimacy from me nor to reproach me in any way. 2. You must desist immediately from addressing me, if I request it. 3. You must leave my bedroom or office immediately without protest if I so request.
    D. You commit yourself not to disparage me either in word or in deed in front of my children.
    • Albert Einstein, quoted in, Einstein: A Biography, 2007, Jürgen Neffe, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN 0374146640 ISBN 978-0374146641, p. 101 [1]. Albert Einstein's estranged first wife, Mileva, arrived in Berlin in April 1914 with their two sons. As a condition of their living together, Albert imposed a set of rules on her which he expected to be strictly obeyed.
  • Do you think it is so easy to get a divorce, when one does not have any proof of the guilt of the other party, when the latter is cunning and - I must say - mendacious? And I really don't even have proof that convinces me of the existence of facts that a court would regard as 'adultery'... On the other hand, I treat my wife like an employee which I cannot dismiss. I have my own bedroom, and I avoid being alone with her. … It is true that I committed adultery. I am living since about 41/2 years ago with my cousin, the widow Elsa Einstein, divorced Löwenthal, and have been in intimate relations with her continuously since then. My wife, the complainant, has known since summer 1914 that I am in intimate relations with my cousin. She has made me aware of her indignation about that.
  • An undutiful Daughter will prove an unmanageable Wife.
  • Rich widows are the only secondhand goods that sell at first-class prices.
    • Attributed to Benjamin Franklin in A. K. Adams, ed., The Home Book of Humorous Quotations (1969), p. 378. Reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
  • One wife is too much for most husbands to bear,
    But two at a time there's no mortal can bear.
    • John Gay, Beggar's Opera (1728), Act II, scene 2.
  • The best way to worship God is to love your wife.
    • Victor Hugo, Les Misérables (1862), page 1190, as translated by Charles Wilbour and provided by A.L. Bert Publishers. Source: Shawn Thomas (June 24, 2013): Quotes & Illustrations From Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. Archived from the original on March 11, 2023.
  • Gentlemen, to the lady without whom I should never have survived for eighty, nor sixty, nor yet thirty years. Her smile has been my lyric, her understanding, the rhythm of the stanza. She has been the spring wherefrom I have drawn the power to write the words. She is the poem of my life.
    • Attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.. Not verified in works about him nor in Magnificent Yankee, the film about him. He expressed a similar sentiment in a letter to Sir Frederick Pollock (May 24, 1929): "For sixty years she made life poetry for me". Mark De Wolfe Howe, ed., Holmes-Pollock Letters (1941), vol. 2, p. 243.
  • I am a wife-made man.
    • Danny Kaye, referring to the contributions that his wife Sylvia Fine's songs made to his career
    • Halliwell, Leslie (2001). Who's Who in the Movies. HarperCollins Entertainment. pp. p. 242 (of 593). ISBN 0002572141. 
  • I do not think it altogether inappropriate to introduce myself to this audience. I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris, and I have enjoyed it.
    • John F. Kennedy, remarks at a press luncheon, Paris, France, June 2, 1961. The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1961, p. 429.
  • Sail forth into the sea of life,
    O gentle, loving, trusting wife,
    And safe from all adversity
    Upon the bosom of that sea
    Thy comings and thy goings be!
    For gentleness and love and trust
    Prevail o'er angry wave and gust;
    And in the wreck of noble lives
    Something immortal still survives.
  • An incautious congressman playfully ran his hand over Nick's shiny scalp and commented, "It feels just like my wife's backside". Nick instantly repeated the gesture. "So it does", he replied.
    • Nicholas Longworth. This episode was recounted in James Brough, Princess Alice (1975), p. 273. A slightly different version is repeated in an article by E. Raymond Lewis in Capitol Studies (Fall 1975), p. 125, and still later in R. B. and L. V. Cheney, Kings of the Hill (1893), p. 157.
  • How much the wife is dearer than the bride.
  • O wretched is the dame, to whom the sound,
    "Your lord will soon return," no pleasure brings.
  • What thou bidd'st
    Unargu'd I obey, so God ordains;
    God is thy law, thou mine; to know no more
    Is woman's happiest knowledge and her praise.
  • Awake,
    My fairest, my espous'd, my latest found,
    Heaven's last best gift, my ever new delight!
  • For nothing lovelier can be found
    In woman, than to study household good,
    And good works in her husband to promote.
  • For what thou art is mine:
    Our state cannot be sever'd; we are one,
    One flesh; to lose thee were to lose myself.
  • He who loves his wife loves himself.
    • Letter of Saint Paul to Ephesians, extract from 5:28 .
  • Giving honour unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel.
    • I Peter, III. 7.
  • She who ne'er answers till a husband cools,
    Or, if she rules him, never shews she rules;
    Charms by accepting, by submitting sways,
    Yet has her humour most when she obeys.
  • The contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.
    • Proverbs, XIX. 13.
  • She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
    • Proverbs, XXXI. 27.
  • Regarding the treatment. of wives, the following verse in the Qur'an (Surah iv. 38) allows the husband absolute power to correct them: "Chide those whose refractoriness you have cause to fear. Remove them into sleeping chambers apart, and beat them. But if they are obedient to you, then seek not occasion against them."
    • quoted from T.P. Hughes: Dictionary of Islam.
  • "That is the moat perfect Muslim whose disposition is the best, and the best of you is he who behaves best to his wives."
    • Muhammad's teaching on wives, as given in the Traditions. Quoted from T.P. Hughes: Dictionary of Islam.
  • "When a man has two wives and does not treat them equally, he will come on the Day of Resurrection with half his body fallen off."
    • Muhammad's teaching on wives, as given in the Traditions. Quoted from T.P. Hughes: Dictionary of Islam.
  • "When a man calls his wife, she must come, although she be at an oven."
    • Muhammad's teaching on wives, as given in the Traditions. Quoted from T.P. Hughes: Dictionary of Islam.
  • "The Prophet used to divide his time equally amongst his wives, and he would say, 'O God, I divide impartially that which thou hast put in my power.'"
    • Muhammad's teaching on wives, as given in the Traditions. Quoted from T.P. Hughes: Dictionary of Islam.
  • Admonish your wives with kindness, because woman were created from a crooked bone of the side; therefore, if you wish to straighten it, you will break it, and if you let it alone, it will always be crooked."
    • Muhammad's teaching on wives, as given in the Traditions. Quoted from T.P. Hughes: Dictionary of Islam.
  • "Not one of you must whip his wife like whipping a slave."
    • Muhammad's teaching on wives, as given in the Traditions. Quoted from T.P. Hughes: Dictionary of Islam.
  • "A Muslim must not hate his wife, for if he be displeased with one bad quality in her, thou let him he pleased with another that is good."
    • Muhammad's teaching on wives, as given in the Traditions. Quoted from T.P. Hughes: Dictionary of Islam.
  • "A Muslim cannot obtain anything better than an amiable and beautiful wife, such a wife who, when ordered by her husband to do a thing, will obey, and if her husband looks at her will be happy; and if her husband swears by her, she will make him a swearer of truth; and if ha be absent from her, she will honour him with her own person and property."
    • Muhammad's teaching on wives, as given in the Traditions. Quoted from T.P. Hughes: Dictionary of Islam.
  • It is related that on one occasion the Prophet said': "Beat not your wives." Then Umar came to the Prophet and said, "Our wives have got. the upper hand of the their husbands from hearing this." Then the Prophet permitted beating of wives. Then an immense number of women collected round the Prophet's family, and complained of their husbands beating them. And the Prophet said," Verily a great number of women are assembled in my home complaining of their husbands, and those men who beat their wives do not behave well. He is not of my way who teach a woman to go astray and who entices a slave from his master.
    • Muhammad's teaching on wives, as given in the Traditions. Quoted from T.P. Hughes: Dictionary of Islam.
  • We also know today why “wives” would be one of the resources over which men should compete. In most animal species, the female makes a greater investment in offspring than the male. This is especially true of mammals, where the mother gestates her offspring inside her body and nurses them after they are born. A male can multiply the number of his offspring by mating with several females—which will leave other males childless—while a female cannot multiply the number of her offspring by mating with several males. This makes female reproductive capacity a scarce resource over which the males of many species, including humans, compete. None of this, by the way, implies that men are robots controlled by their genes, that they may be morally excused for raping or fighting, that women are passive sexual prizes, that people try to have as many babies as possible, or that people are impervious to influences from their culture, to take some of the common misunderstandings of the theory of sexual selection.
  • As for my wife,
    I would you had her spirit in such another;
    The third o' the world is yours; which with a snaffle
    You may pace easy, but not such a wife.
  • Happy in this, she is not yet so old
    But she may learn; happier than this,
    She is not bred so dull but she can learn;
    Happiest of all is, that her gentle spirit
    Commits itself to yours to be directed.
  • I will be master of what is mine own;
    She is my goods, my chattels; she is my house,
    My household stuff, my field, my barn,
    My horse, my ox, my ass, my anything;
    And here she stands, touch her whoever dare.
  • Why, man, she is mine own,
    And I as rich in having such a jewel
    As twenty seas, if all their sand were pearl,
    The water nectar and the rocks pure gold.
  • It is the duty of both men and women to honour their parents. However, a married woman, who owes devotion to her husband, is exempt from the precept of honouring her parents. Yet, she is obliged to do for the parents, all she can, if her husband does not object.
  • Light household duties evermore inwrought
    With placid fancies of one trusting heart
    That lives but in her smile, and turns
    From Life's cold seeming, and the busy mart,
    With tenderness, that ever homeward yearns
    To be refreshed where one pure altar burns.
    Shut out from hence, the mockery of life—
    Thus liveth she content, the meek, fond, trusting wife.
    • Elizabeth Oakes Smith, "The Wife", line 7, in The Lover's Gift; or Tributes to the Beautiful: American Series, ed. Elizabeth Oakes Smith (Hartford: Henry S. Parsons, 1848), p. 100.
  • Nothing, Cyrnus, is more delightful than a good wife; to the truth of this I am witness to thee and do thou become witness to me.
    • Theognis of Megara, lines 1225-1226. Elegy and Iambus. English Translation by. J. M. Edmonds. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press. London. William Heinemann Ltd. 1931.
  • Look you, Amanda, you may build Castles in the Air, and fume, and fret, and grow thin and lean, and pale and ugly, if you please. But I tell you, no Man worth having is true to his Wife, or can be true to his Wife, or ever was, or ever will be so.
    • Sir John Vanbrugh, "The Relapse; or, Virtue in Danger" (1759), act III, scene ii, Plays, p. 56. Berinthia is speaking.
  • The world well tried—the sweetest thing in life
    Is the unclouded welcome of a wife.
    • Nathaniel Parker Willis, The Lady Jane, Canto II, Stanza 11, in Poems of Early and After Years (Philadelphia: Carey and Hart, 1848), p. 378.
  • My own experience of mescalin is described in the appendix of Beyond the Outsider. My 'trip' was pleasant enough, although I experienced none of the visual effects described by Huxley; I was plunged into an agreeable but sluggish dreaminess. In this torpid state, I became aware of the problem mentioned by Huxley: 'How was this cleansed perception to be reconciled with a proper concern with human relations . . . ?' -- in my case, with my concern for my wife and three-year-old daughter? Although I personally felt nothing but a sense of relaxation and trustfulness, I was aware that, in practice, the world is full of dangers, and in this state, I was incapable of the necessary vigilance; it made me feel guilty. I was neglecting my job of looking after them. Moreover, my ability to think was impaired. Huxley remarks that he found his own ability to remember and 'think straight' to be little, if at all, reduced. I could 'think straight', but I could not think to any purpose. Even the feeling of universal love was not particularly pleasant; I compared it to having a large alsation dog who puts his paws on your shoulder and licks your face.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 868-71.
  • She would rather be an old man's darling than a young man's warling.
    • Harrison Ainsworth, Miser's Daughter, Book III, Chapter XV. Swift—Polite Conversation. Dialog. I. Also in Camden's Remaines, p. 293. (Ed. 5.) Ram Alley, Act II, scene 1. of Hazlitt's Dodsley.
  • Wives are young men's mistresses; companions for middle age; and old men's nurses.
  • Now voe me I can zing on my business abrode:
    Though the storm do beat down on my poll,
    There's a wife brighten'd vire at the end of my road,
    An' her love, voe the jaÿ o' my soul.
  • And while the wicket falls behind
    Her steps, I thought if I could find
    A wife I need not blush to show
    I've little further now to go.
  • My fond affection thou hast seen,
    Then judge of my regret
    To think more happy thou hadst been
    If we had never met!

    And has that thought been shared by thee?
    Ah, no! that smiling cheek
    Proves more unchanging love for me
    Than labor'd words could speak.
  • So bent on self-sanctifying,—
    That she never thought of trying
    To save her poor husband as well.
  • Were such the wife had fallen to my part,
    I'd break her spirit, or I'd break her heart.
  • She is a winsome wee thing,
    She is a handsome wee thing,
    She is a bonny wee thing,
    This sweet wee wife o' mine.
  • Be thou the rainbow to the storms of life!
    The evening beam that smiles the clouds away
    And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray!
    • Lord Byron, The Bride of Abydos (1813), Canto II, Stanza 20.
  • Thy wife is a constellation of virtues; she's the moon, and thou art the man in the moon.
  • What is there in the vale of life
    Half so delightful as a wife,
    When friendship, love, and peace combine
    To stamp the marriage-bond divine?
  • Oh! 'tis a precious thing, when wives are dead,
    To find such numbers who will serve instead:
    And in whatever state a man be thrown,
    'Tis that precisely they would wish their own.
  • The wife was pretty, trifling, childish, weak;
    She could not think, but would not cease to speak.
  • In every mess I find a friend,
    In every port a wife.
  • They'll tell thee, sailors, when away,
    In every port a mistress find.
  • Roy's wife of Aldivalloch,
    Roy's wife of Aldivalloch,
    Wat ye how she cheated me
    As I cam o'er the braes of Balloch.
    • Attributed to Mrs. Grant, of Carron, but claimed for a shoemaker in Cabrach (c. 1727).
  • Now die the dream, or come the wife,
    The past is not in vain,
    For wholly as it was your life
    Can never be again, my dear,
    Can never be again.
  • Andromache! my soul's far better part.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book VI, line 624. Pope's translation.
  • A wife, domestic, good, and pure,
    Like snail, should keep within her door;
    But not, like snail, with silver track,
    Place all her wealth upon her back.
  • Alas! another instance of the triumph of hope over experience.
    • Samuel Johnson. Referring to the second marriage of a friend who had been unfortunate in his first wife. Sir J. Hawkins's Collective Ed. of Johnson, 1787.
  • Being married to those sleepy-souled women is just like playing at cards for nothing: no passion is excited and the time is filled up. I do not, however, envy a fellow one of those honeysuckle wives for my part, as they are but creepers at best and commonly destroy the tree they so tenderly cling about.
  • He knew whose gentle hand was at the latch,
    Before the door had given her to his eyes.
  • But thou dost make the very night itself
    Brighter than day.
  • Le ciel me prive d'une épouse qui ne m'a jamais donné d'autre chagrin que celui de sa mort.
    • Heaven deprives me of a wife who never caused me any other grief than that of her death.
    • Louis XIV.
  • In the election of a wife, as in
    A project of war, to err but once is
    To be undone forever.
  • Here were we fallen in a greate question of ye lawe whyther ye grey mare may be the better horse or not.
    • Thomas More, The Dial, Book II, Chapter V. The saying, "the grey mare is the better horse," is found in Camden's Remains, Proverb concerning Britain. (1605, reprint of 7th ed. 1870.) Also in A Treatyse shewing and declaring the Pryde and Abuse of Women Now a Dayse. (1550).
  • The best among you are those who are best to their wives.
    • Muhammad narrated in Ibn Majah, #1978, and Al-Tirmizi, #3895.
  • The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife.
  • Uxorem accepi, dote imperium vendidi.
    • I have taken a wife, I have sold my sovereignty for a dowry.
    • Plautus, Asinaria, Act I, scene 1.
  • But what so pure, which envious tongues will spare?
    Some wicked wits have libell'd all the fair.
    With matchless impudence they style a wife
    The dear-bought curse, and lawful plague of life;
    A bosom-serpent, a domestic evil,
    A night-invasion and a mid-day-devil.
    Let not the wife these sland'rous words regard,
    But curse the bones of ev'ry living bard.
  • All other goods by fortune's hand are given,
    A wife is the peculiar gift of heaven.
  • Fat, fair and forty.
    • Walter Scott, St. Ronan's Well, Chapter VII. Prince Regent's description of what a wife should be. Found in an old song, The One Horse Shay. Sung by Sam Cowell in the sixties.
  • It is a woman's business to get married as soon as possible, and a man's to keep unmarried as long as he can.
  • Of earthly goods, the best is a good wife;
    A bad, the bitterest curse of human life.
    • Semonides Iambic frag. 6, quoting Hesiod, Works and Days, 702f. ]].
  • Thou art mine, thou hast given thy word,
    Close, close in my arms thou art clinging;
    Alone for my ear thou art singing
    A song which no stranger hath heard:
    But afar from me yet, like a bird,
    Thy soul in some region unstirr'd
    On its mystical circuit is winging.
  • Casta ad virum matrona parendo imperat.
    • A virtuous wife when she obeys her husband obtains the command over him.
    • Syrus, Maxims.
  • When choosing a wife look down the social scale; when selecting a friend, look upwards.
  • A love still burning upward, giving light
    To read those laws; an accent very low
    In blandishment, but a most silver flow
    Of subtle-paced counsel in distress.
    Right to the heart and brain, tho' undescried,
    Winning its way with extreme gentleness
    Thro' all the outworks of suspicious pride;
    A courage to endure and to obey:
    A hate of gossip parlance and of sway,
    Crown'd Isabel, thro' all her placid life,
    The queen of marriage, a most perfect wife.
  • A fat, fair and fifty card-playing resident of the Crescent.
  • My winsome marrow.
    • William Wordsworth, Yarrow Revisited. Quoting from "Busk ye, busk ye, my winsome marrow," an old song, The Braes of Yarrow.

See also


Hurt Unhappy Wife Quotes

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