The answer to this question becomes clear when we take a look at the next version [ wording ] narrated by Imam Muslim in his Sahih, which reads:
Abu Huraira [ ra ] narrated that the Prophet [ saw ] said: “The woman was created from a rib. She will not be straight according to your way. If you want to enjoy her, you will have to enjoy her with her twist [crookedness ]and if you try to straighten her, you would break her: and breaking her is divorcing her
Muslim [ 1468 ]. English translation was taken from the book: “The Fragile Vessels” by Shayk Muhammad al-Jibaly [ Al-Kitaab & as-Sunnah Publishing 2005 ] , p. 44
~~Notice very carefully how the Prophet (pbuh) said “......she will not be straight according to your way.....”.
The Prophet (pbuh) only pointed out that from a man's point of view, a woman is “BENT" or not “STRAIGHTt” . Similarly, from a woman's point of view, a man is also not “STRAIGHT”.
The point is that a woman thinks and behaves differently than a man - it's in her nature. So the Prophet is telling men to not try to change her inherent nature, but to understand the differences and enjoy her as she is. The husband should respect her unique feminine nature and accept her the way Allah made her, complete with the “crookedness” that means that she will not be as he wishes in some aspects. If he insists on straightening her and molding her to “his” wishes, it will be like trying to straighten a bent rib: it will break in his hands, and the breaking of a woman is divorce.
In the same way should we read and interprete the next additional statement given by the Holy Prophet : “…and the most crooked part of a rib [ woman ] is its upper part [ head ]…”. This saying refers to the fact that the upper part [ head ] of a woman is most misunderstood by men [ or most in contrast to their male nature ] . In other words a woman is misunderstood by her husband the most in regards to the way she thinks, perceives things and emotionally reacts under various circumstances. She is most not as “HE” wishes her to be in respect to these things [ since “HE” does not understand the way she thinks ].
The husband should realize that although a woman looks “crooked” from his point of view, she was made perfect and from Allah’s point of view there is no “crookedness” in her nature
For this reason men should respect their unique feminine nature and “treat women well and with kindness”. Shayk Faraz Rabbani in his fatwa related to the hadith in question states:
“…...The hadith is referring to the need of women for men and the need for women for men. The rib is from the person themselves; it gives the body, heart, and soul protection; it tells us that neither men nor women complete without the other and need each other; it points to the natural attraction between each. It reminds the husband about the duty to take care of his wife and to be excellent in dealing : she is from him…....”
O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may Take away part of the dower ye have given them, - except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and God brings about through it a great deal of good. [Surah 4:19]
Ab Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: A believing man should not hate a believing woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another.
Saheeh Muslim -Book 008, Hadith Number 3469.Chapter : Advice in regards to woman.
~~*Note: ~~* This reply is extracted from the article of Brother Kevin Abdullah Karim and Brother Bassam Zawad