Which wife should you look after most?

I am well aware that Singapore does not endorse the practice of bigamy but nonetheless there is a lesson to be learnt about prioritizing our lives taken from this illustration about a rich merchant who had four wives.

This wealthy man loved his fourth wife the most and took great care of her and gave her nothing but the best.  Although he loved his third wife very much and was always showing her off to his friends, he was in great fear that she might run away with other men.  His second wife was the confidante whom he always turned to whenever he faced problems.  His first wife, who loved him dearly, has always been loyal to him, helping him maintain his wealth and business as well as taking care of the household.  However, the merchant did not love her and hardly took notice of her.

One day, the merchant fell ill and was told that he was going to die soon.  He thought of his luxurious life and told himself, “Now I have four wives with me. But when I die, I’ll be alone. How lonely I’ll be!”

He asked the fourth wife, “I loved you most, endowed you with the finest clothing. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “No way!” she replied and walked away.  This hurt him tremendously.  The sad merchant then asked the third wife the same question and she also replied saying “Life is so good over here! I’m going to remarry when you die!” The merchant’s heart sank and turned cold.  He then asked the second wife, “I always turned to you for help and you’ve always helped me out.  When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?”  She replied “At the very most, I can only send you to your grave.” The merchant was devastated.

Then his first wife called out: “I’ll leave with you. I’ll follow you no matter where you go.” She was so skinny, almost like she suffered from malnutrition. Greatly grieved, the merchant said, “I should have taken much better care of you while I could have!”

What is the moral of this story you may ask?  Well, I’d like all of you to look at it this way.  Consider that all of us have four “wives” in our lives.  The fourth wife is our body.  No matter how much time and effort we lavish upon it to make it look good, it’ll leave us when we die.  Our third wife is our possessions, status and wealth.  When we die, others will take it away from us.  The second wife is our family and friends.  No matter how close they had been there for us when we’re alive, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave. 

The first wife, however, is in fact our soul, the part that will be with us when we die.  The ironical but tragic truth to things is that our soul is often neglected in our selfish pursuit of material, wealth and sensual pleasure.  When we eventually realize how important this is, many of us will regret how we have neglected it throughout the most part of our lives and wish we had paid more attention to it.   

If this story has been a wake-up call for you, today is as good a time as any to re-prioritize your values and pay more attention to your most important spouse.  I’m sure you know now which wife you should look after most!

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