193. (8) A woman is actually transformed into a wife according to the description in the book of creation. We are told in this book that woman was created from the rib of a man, and that when she was brought to him, the man said,
She...is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'Ishshah (Woman) because she was taken from 'Ish (Man). (Genesis 2:22-24)
In the Word, a rib from the breast symbolically means, in its spiritual sense, not a rib but natural truth. This is the symbolism of the ribs which the bear carried between its teeth in Daniel 7:5; for bears symbolize people who read the Word in its natural sense and see truths there without understanding. The breast of a man symbolizes that essential and distinctive quality which makes it different in character from the breast of a woman. This quality is wisdom, as may be seen above in no. 187; for truth supports wisdom, as a rib supports the breast. These distinctive qualities are symbolized, because the breast is where all the qualities of a person are, so to speak, at their center.  It follows from this that woman was created from man by a transmission and replication of his distinctive wisdom, which is formed from natural truth, and that man's love for this wisdom was transferred to woman so as to become conjugial love; moreover, that the purpose of this was to replace love of self in man with love for his wife, who, from a nature innate in her, cannot help but turn the love of self in man to his love for her. I have been told, too, that this comes about as a result of the wife's love, without either the man or the wife being conscious of it. It is because of this that no one is ever able to love his partner with a truly conjugial love so long as he is possessed of a conceit in his own intelligence from a love of self.  Once this secret of the creation of woman from man has been understood, it can be seen that in marriage a woman is similarly created or formed, so to speak, from her husband, and that this transformation is brought about by the wife - or rather, through the wife by the Lord, who infuses into women the inclination to achieve it. For a wife receives into her an image of her husband by assimilating his affections into her (see above, no. 173); by uniting the internal will of her husband with hers (concerning which below); and also by incorporating into her the propagations of his soul (of which also below). It is apparent from this that a woman is transformed into a wife according to the description in the book of creation understood in respect to its inner meaning, and that she is transformed through the qualities she takes from her husband and his "breast" and implants in herself.