A Married Woman (wife) is a female partner in a continuing marital relationship. A wife may also be referred to as a spouse, which is a gender-neutral term. The term continues to be applied to a woman who has separated from her partner and ceases to be applied to such a woman only when her marriage has come to an end following a legally recognized divorce or the death of her spouse. On the death of her partner, a wife is referred to as a widow, but not after she is divorced from her partner.
The rights and obligations of the wife in relation to her partner and her status in the community and in law varies between cultures and has varied over time.