The Seven Cow Wife

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A friend of us shared this inspiring story he heard during the husbands' session at Family Life Weekend to Remember Conference
In a small, rural town in Africa, a young man decided to get married. It was the custom in that area that when a young man decided sought a woman in marriage, he would pay the bride’s parents a dowry in cows. If a woman was of average appearance and ability, the dowry might be two or three cows. If less than average, fewer cows. And if a particular young lady was extremely beautiful and talented, a young man might pay as high as four cows. In rare situations, he’d offer as many as five.

How many cows a man was willing to pay for his wife became a bragging point for the women. As the story goes, George found a young lady who struck his fancy but who was rather plain and ordinary. George approached her father and offered to pay him seven cows for her hand in marriage. Seven cows! No one could ever remember anyone paying that much for a wife. The whole town mocked George for being so foolish. Well, the wedding day was set, and everyone in the town was there. The bride’s father put on quite a party, but the conversations all day revolved around how foolish everyone thought George was for having paid seven cows for such an ordinary and plain wife.

Several years later, a traveling missionary came to town and began hearing all the stories about George and his seven-cow wife — how this young man had paid so much for such an ordinary woman and how the whole town had mocked them to the point they had moved away. The traveling missionary decided he must see for himself how this story had played out. When he knocked on the door of George’s house that first evening, he was impressed with the appearance of the entryway. George’s face lit up when the missionary introduced himself at the door and quickly invited the visitor into his home. He introduced the missionary to his four young children. All handsome young boys, and very well behaved, thought the missionary. He was also impressed with the cleanliness and order in the home. After entering the living room, George’s carried in a drink from the kitchen, where she was preparing dinner. The missionary was taken aback at her beauty, poise and grace. He thought to himself that George must have gotten another wife, as this woman was anything but plain and ordinary.

George invited the missionary to stay for dinner. After a lovely meal, the two men retired to some chairs on the front porch. The missionary complimented George on his beautiful wife, great family and immaculate house. “But what happened to the woman you had paid seven cows for?” George replied that this was the same woman.

The missionary marveled and said that he had heard the stories from the other village about the plain, ordinary wife George had married. “What changed?” he asked. George replied that he had always wanted a seven-cow wife, that she knew he considered her a seven-cow wife, and that she had risen to the bride price. She believed in her worth.

"The value we put on other people greatly affects the way they value themselves."


  1. I love this story too, ci. Denger dari ko Cendra waktu itu. Thanks for sharing =)

  2. Wahh... thank you for sharing. A new lesson for me :)

  3. My fiancée shared this with me and touched me to the core..thanks for sharing