As provocative as it may sound to some, it was a well argued view in some circles that marriage for most woman is glorified prostitution. For these people, often Western feminists, marriage from a cold and cynical view was most times a contract of women selling their bodies for financial return and economic stability. The woman gave sex and their reproductive functions in return for the house, etc etc.
While this view held up really well up to a few decades ago for most women, does it still hold now? For some women around the world, marriage can still be described aptly as a contract with their financial benefactor, a husband. The husband provides for them financially. He is the only one who can own property so he provides the shelter. They women usually 'work' at or around the home and they may get money actual dollars to support this 'work'.
But for modern day women in the Western world this can't apply? The women I know earn their own money, most times are an active partner in their marriages. They certainly don't get matched up with the highest bidder. The terms and conditions of their marriage contracts are negotiated partly on their terms. They have much say about reproduction and their partners share in the traditionally unpaid women's house/home work.
As women gain more economic power and share in the financial and economic responsibilities of marriage, family and home, the old definition of wife equals glorified prostitution no longer holds its sting; at least not for the majority of Western women.