Though the husband protects the wife, the latter protects the husband in a very important way. This is nicely illustrated in the story of King Puranjana described in the Srimad Bhagwatam. Srila Prabhupada explains in his purport that the body is like a fort, the senses are like plunderers and the wife is the commander of the fort. In other words, when one’s consciousness is attacked by the call of the senses, then the wife, commander of the fort (durgapati), comes to one’s rescue. She is the protection of the husband who would otherwise go astray and perform irreligious activities. She controls her husband not by harsh words, not by challenging him, not by arrogance but by her affection, her chastity, and her serving spirit. This way, she makes the grihastha ashram safest among the ashramas.
The wife can advise her husband when he is going on a wrong track. Mandodari, who was epitome of a chaste wife gave good advice to Ravana who did not heed her good advice. Similarly, Dhretrashtra received good counsel from Gandhari. Vali’s wife, Tara, knew there was danger for Vali when Sugriva challenged him but the arrogant and proud Vali disregarded his chaste and wise wife’s advice and was killed.
The wife should give good counsel to her husband in a humble and sweet way without bruising his feelings. If he stubbornly disregards her good advice, then he alone has to suffer the results of his karma.
Reproduced from the Grahastha Manual by Radhanath Swami Maharaj.