A foolish son is the ruin of his father, And the contentions of a wife are a continual dripping. Pro 19:13
Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, Than in a house shared with a contentious woman. Pro 21:9
Better to dwell in the wilderness, Than with a contentious and angry woman. Pro 21:19
It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, Than in a house shared with a contentious woman. Pro 25:24
A continual dripping on a very rainy day And a contentious woman are alike; Whoever restrains her restrains the wind, And grasps oil with his right hand. Pro 27:15-16
The supremely unflattering picture painted of the contentious woman in Proverbs is a primary encouragement for wives to be on guard against contentiousness. But what causes contentions? Isn’t it fascinating that contentious and contentment share content, the same root word?
To be contented is to be satisfied with one’s possessions, status, or situation, not needing more (Webster’s). To be contentious is to be perversely argumentative and quarrelsome (Webster’s). I would add, to be contentious is to be dissatisfied with one’s possessions, status, or situation. The contentious woman’s dissatisfaction is at the root of her arguments and quarrels.
One woman is satisfied with the content of her life, so she is content. Another woman is dissatisfied with the content of her life, so she is contentious.
But here is the rub: satisfaction and dissatisfaction have nothing to do with the content of a life, with the amount or quality of someone’s possessions, status or situation! I’m sure we have all heard of examples of women who have all the possessions and status a person could want, who are still unhappy and dissatisfied. And I’m sure we have all heard of examples of women who have far less favorable possessions or situations than we ourselves do, who are sincerely content! So what is at the root of dissatisfaction and contentions, and what is the secret to satisfaction and contentment? The Scripture gives us the key.
Continued in keys to contentment, part two