Peter’s Marriage Manual (1 Peter 3:1-7)

To my dear married sisters or planning to get married sisters,
 
Peter devoted more words for instructing wives in marriage, but he packed a single, pointed verse to husbands with a lifetime’s worth of practical wisdom. In all, verses 1-7 provide the basic outline for a healthy marriage. Difficulties in a relationship can usually be traced back to a violation of one or more of these principles by either husband or wife or both.
Peter summarized a wife’s plan of action to two points:
 
1. Trust God. He made the point that this is a particular challenge when the husband doesn’t seem to “obey the word.” The husband in mind here might be a non-believer or he might simply be an insensitive husband who is not treating his wife in the manner Christ would use. The wife’s key recurring question will be: “Will I decide to manage my husband, or will I decide to let God manage him?”
 
2. Accept the authority of your husband. Since two people cannot form a democrocay, someone in a marriage must have the responsibility for leadership. This is not intended to be “make all decisions” kind of leadership but the duty to share decision-making unless a deadlock occurs, at which time God expects the husband to step up and exercise authority. A man is more likely to give his wife’s perspective serious consideration if he knows that the tough choices really are going to be left to him.

 

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

(1 Peter 3:1-6)

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

( 1 Peter 3:7)

Peter reminded husbands that care for their wives must be practiced in four areas:
1. Emotional (“giving honor”). The term means that a husband respects his wife’s feelings, thoughts, and desires. He may not agree with all her ideas, but he respects and honors her right to speak. He desires her input. He learns that God can guide him through his wife’s sensitivity and natural cautions.
 
2. Intellectual (“with understanding”). Despite the old saw about men not being able to understand women, a husband has the delightful challenge to learn to understand his wife. He must pay attention. A Christian husband must get to know his wife’s moods, feelings, needs, fears, and hopes. He needs to listen with his heart and seek to approach her always in an understanding way.
 
3. Physical (“dwell with them”). This implies much more than sharing the same address. Marriage is fundamentally a physical relationship (“the two shall become one flesh” Eph 5:31). Of course, Christian mates enjoy a deeper spiritual relationship, but the two go together (see 1 Cor. 7:1-5). A truly spiritual husband will fulfill his marital duties and love his wife.
 
4. Spiritual (“being heirs together of the grace of life”). In the central place of life – access to God in relationship – both husband and wife have equal standing. This is why when both are growing closer to God they inevitably grow closer together. Praying together and living spiritual lives in harmony are the too-often neglected building blocks of a strong marriage.
Peter attached an important personal application by indicating that the effectiveness of a husband’s prayer life will be determined by the way he treats his wife.

(Warren W. Wiersbe on 1 Peter 3:1-7)

 

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