At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.Proverbs 21:19
Rather than live with a woman who refuses to be a sweetheart, a man would prefer to go live in the howling wilderness, and to deal with whatever he finds there.
There are two important things we can gather from this, but before getting to that, let us say something else first by way of qualification. I know that there are many wives who might get their hackles up over a proverb like this, and they might want to say that living with a contentious and angry man is not exactly a picnic either. This is exactly right, but even to raise the question reveals one of the more common errors of our generation. This proverb is not a slam against women or wives, but rather a rebuke of those women who are hard to deal with. It is not a claim that women generally are hard to deal with, and that the men are just great. Rather it is an acknowledgement that women can sin, and that it is very destructive when they sin in this way. It is a statement that women who sin are women who sin. You can’t say everything in every proverb, and there are plenty of other places in the book of Proverbs that itemize the foolish things that men do. Nevertheless, this one is about carping women.
So what can we glean from this proverb? The first thing is the importance of peace in the home. Not only so, but we see how important the peace of the home is to men. Men, taken as a class, want to stay out of conflict with their wives. They (usually) hate it. Rather than lead their wives and families the way they were instructed to do, they would rather retreat . . . to man caves, to hunting trips (in the wilderness), to poker night with the boys. Spending time with friends occasionally is of course just fine, but getting away from home is a problem.
The second thing is the nature of the problem. When you are in a wilderness, you can pitch a tent. You can build a fire. You can build an igloo. Even in a wilderness, it is possible to carve out a cozy spot. That cozy spot is in a wilderness, but it can still be a cozy spot. But when a man is dealing with a contentious and angry woman, there is no cozy spot. She is right in there with you. Unlike when you are in the wilderness, there is no place to go.