Both Dr. Primrose and his wife Deborah are good-hearted people who love their children dearly and want the best for them. They are happy because they have their children and each other and have lived good lives. Dr. Primrose says to his wife, even after they have lost their money,
What thanks do we not owe to heaven for thus bestowing tranquillity, health, and competence. I think myself happier now than the greatest monarch upon earth .... Yes, Deborah, we are now growing old; but the evening of our life is likely to be happy. We are descended from ancestors that knew no stain, and we shall leave a good and virtuous race of children behind us.
Neither one, as he puts it, is angry at each other or the world. They are, at least at first, the kind of contented people who have had little to disturb their tranquility. Both have been dedicated to helping the poor in their parish.
Dr. Primrose is more preoccupied with theological and sometimes inconsequential points of church doctrine than his wife, who is more practical and focused on such housekeeping tasks such as cooking and putting up preserves. She is more preoccupied than her husband is with getting her daughters well married. She is overly ambitious in trying to acquire for them good matches with wealthy, high-status men.
Both are proud of their children, but Deborah feels more vanity about them than does Dr. Primrose. The more practical Deborah also feels more of spirit of vengeance against the evil Squire Thornhill for his seduction of Olivia.
Both characters are based on "types" and act as precursors for the more well-developed, realistic characters developed by nineteenth-century writers such as Jane Austen. Dr. Primrose is the gentle, good, kind pastor whose flaw is having his head too much in the clouds and being too trusting and honorable. Deborah is the good-hearted and practical wife and mother whose flaw is being too ambitious for her children.