Two different kinds of homes are shown to us in this proverb - the first in verse 13, and the second in verse 14. These two different homes will make the difference between a life that is a joy - and one that is most likely pure drudgery.
The first home has a son - a foolish son who is a destruction to his father. The word used here for fool is different than we are used to seeing. It is the Hebrew word "kestyl" and refers to one of several types of fools who are spoken of in Scripture. He is a fool, according to Ecclesiastes 4:5, 13 who is unable to live life in a successful, practical way. He is a fool who according to Proverbs 1:22, 32 who scoffs at the things of God and as a result has a lifestyle that is very self-destructive. Other passages refer to this fool as someone who is rash in his decision making - who pursue foolishness - and who will not have honor but will experience shame due to their decisions and lifestyle. The father of this fool watches his own life destroyed due to this son. The word for destruction here refers to destruction that comes because of a rejection of God and a rejection of God's ways and truth. The father's life is destroyed because of the consequences of his son's life wreaking havoc on his heart and most likely his finances. To look at an example of this we have to go no further than the story of the prodigal son. This son was a fool - and demanded half the estate of his father - who chose to give it to him. Even though this son eventually returned - in the time of his discipline and foolishness he consumed not only half of his father's estate with his ungodly lifestyle - he also consumed numerous hours of his father's concern and heartbroken intercession. Remember that his father was watching for him - longing for him to return from his godless choices and lifestyle.
This passage also reminds us that the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping to a man as well. The picture painted for us by Solomon is that of a wife who is unhappy - and who poures out her unhappiness upon her husband in contentious attitudes and words. Fascinating is the definition of "madon" the Hebrew word for contention here. It refers to quarrels and disputes that cannot be stopped once they are set in motion. They are arguments that create barriers between people - usually caused by a person with a bad temper. Imagine the poor man who has this to look forward to each day of his life. He does not have a help-meet - but someone who tears him down every day when he comes home. Like a dripping leak in the ceiling or a faucet that drives you crazy with the drip, drip, drip sound that never stops - so this man has to deal with an ungrateful, unloving wife who creates tension and dissention in the home rather than an atmosphere of love and peace.
Contrasted to this kind of home, we see in verse 14 the true wealth that God can bring to our lives. Where a house and wealth can be given to us in the inheritance from our fathers - there is something far more valuable that we should long to receive. I've watched as people have receieved a large inheritance from their parents. If gratefully received it can be a huge blessing to the family for generations to come. But without the second blessing that is mentioned here - entire families can be destroyed for multiple generations. Whereas we can receive an inheritance from our fathers, a prudent wife is a gift from God Himself.
The prudent wife is one who is discerning and filled with godly insight. She acts wisely, having understanding and wisdom from which to make her decisions and guide the things that she does each day. She is intelligent - but with far more than just book-learning. She is intelligent in the things of the Lord - which allows her to bless her husband and children not just with her teaching, but with the example of her life 24 hours every day. Her wise prudence allows her to see what is coming - how choices will effect the future - and what choices will make for God's greatest blessing on her and her family. Truly the gift of this kind of woman in a man's wife is a gift from God. Whereas money can be good or bad for us - a prudent wife will be blessing at all times. Her influence on a home and on children and grandchildren will bless a family for multiple generations. When the Scriptures tell us that her worth is beyond gold, silver, and precious stones - it is not kidding us. When you have a prudent wife - you are being blessing with a fortune that will last long after the money and things in your life are rusted and dust.
A man needs to look at these two verses and grasp wisdom. Wisdom means choosing eternal things - such as the blessing of your family for generations to come by submitting your "love life" fully into the hands of God. It means choosing a wife under His direction and with His values fully guiding your thinking. It may mean waiting - or turning away from a relationship with a young lady who looks good on the outside - but whose lack of discernment and godly wisdom will make her a serious liablilty to you and your family in the future. The wise man surrenders himself to God in every area - including the choice of a future wife. Remember you can have a constant dripping and a destructive son - or a purdent wife whose worth cannot be measured in gold, silver, and precious stones. The choice is yours - choose wisely!