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Difference Between Husband and Wife

Husband vs Wife

In a relationship between a man and a woman, when both of them decide to get married, following the ceremonies which are considered valid by law and society, the man becomes a husband and the woman becomes the wife. The concept of husband and wife is as old as the concept of marriage.

There are varied cultures and societies in the world which have different social obligations accepted by husbands and wives. In some cultures, a husband can have many wives. This is called polygamy. In many cultures, only one wife to one husband and one husband to one wife are considered legal which is called monogamy.

The basic obligation of a husband, in ancient times, was to provide for and protect his family including his wife and other members of the family as well as animals and land. The origin of the word “husband” has been derived from Middle English word “huseband” which came from the Old English “husbonda” which primarily originated from the Old Norse word “husbondi.” When we break apart this word, it refers to “hus,” meaning “house” and “buandi” which was the present participle of the word “bua,” which meant “to dwell,” meaning a “householder.”

A husband is basically a man who has been married and has a wife after marriage. A man is called a husband only while he remains married to his spouse or his wife. In modern times, if the marriage does not work and husband and wife are divorced, the husband is called an ex-husband and not just a husband. “Husband” refers to a man who stays married and is obligated to the institutionalized roles of a male who is married.

The word “husband” also means “a manager, to conserve, to manage, etc.,” but in this article we are discussing its meaning with reference to marriage and his spouse the “wife.”

“Wife” refers to the woman who gets married legally to a man who becomes her husband, and she becomes the wife of the man. The origin of the word “wife” is Germanic from the word “wibam” which meant “woman.” In Middle English the word “wif” was used. “Wife” is related more closely to the modern German word “weib” which again means “woman.”

The obligations of a wife towards her husband and his family are different in different cultures and different societies. In modern times, a woman is called a wife only for the time she stays married to her husband. In case the husband and wife have a divorce, the woman is referred to as an ex-wife and not just a wife.


In the institution of marriage, the male who gets married legally and according to the norms of the society is the husband, and the female who gets married is the wife.

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