I learned in the גמרא about some of the חכמים who had bad wives that were very troublesome and made their lives difficult. What lesson can I take from that גמרא?
How is it that some אמוראים had bad wives who made their lives miserable? You should know, that none of them had bad wives. They all appreciated their wives. And if their wives made them miserable, they were very happy about that. You have to know that these wives were all honored by them. A תלמיד חכם surely fulfilled the מצוה of הוי אוהב את אשתו כגופו והוי מכבדו יותר מגופו. He would always be careful to honor his wife more than he honored himself. When a wife criticizes a husband, you should know that she is doing a very great thing. Nobody will criticize this great man. Who’s going to tell him the truth outside the house. And after a while he begins to think, “Maybe I really am great.” So he comes home and right away his wife deflates him. She puts a pin in his balloon and it bursts. That’s a tremendous achievement. It’s a שלימות, a perfection. It’s a שלימות to be put down to size once in a while.
So nobody had any bad wives. It never happened by the חכמים that they would just give a get to their wives because of that. The חכמים were pleased with their wives.
And therefore, each great man understood that Hashem had suited his wife to his own character. They understood that they were made for each other. They were made to order. And this was done for the purpose that he should grow perfectly in שלימות. In order that he should grow in self-control, in order that he should grow in good מידות, Hashem gave him a wife who is a נסיון for him. So spends his life practicing self-control, and he becomes better and better. And when he comes to גן עדן, he and his wife will be together in גן עדן.
A wise man understood that his wife was important. His wife cooked for him. She gave him children. She raised the children and fulfilled her duties in the house. Together they brought up a family. There’s no question that every wife did her duty in the Jewish home. Especially in the homes of תלמידי חכמים. And therefore, there’s no such thing as bad wives among the wives of the תנאים and אמוראים. Even though, sometimes the wives would criticize them, or they were not obedient in some details, nevertheless in general they served a most important purpose and they were appreciated.