12/1/15: Married Folks’ Conduct
In chapter 2 of Peter’s first epistle, he admonishes us as believers as to how we ought to live out our faith through our honorable actions. By this will all men will know that we are Christians. He continues to exhort us toward right living in chapter 3 by focusing on the conduct of married believers.
To the women, Peter says, “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” 1 Peter 3:1-2 (NKJ). Wives are to voluntarily place themselves under the authority of their husbands. That should be easy to do if the husband is also saved, but Peter tells us here that even if he isn’t (or isn’t acting like it), the wife’s submissive demeanor will win over her contrary husband because her chaste and honorable conduct, empowered by the Holy Spirit, will simply be impossible for him to ignore.
To the men, Peter says, “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 (NKJ). Husbands are to conduct their relationship with their wives “with understanding.” The Greek word used here carries with it the idea of knowing her, studying her scientifically, and being perceptive and aware of her feelings. Honoring her means you esteem her as precious and handle her with dignity. This is required of husbands, not only for the comfort of the relationship, but for a broader purpose: so that your prayers, both as an individual and as a couple, would not be hindered.
Remember the context of these instructions: not only are we to obey for the sake of the health of the relationship, but we are to do so as a witness to those outside the body of Christ. Every aspect of our lives, including our marriage, belongs to God and is to be viewed, lived, and used as a witness to His glory and goodness. Wives, we don’t submit because our husbands are always right, loving, and honorable; we submit because God said we should and He’ll ultimately get the glory from it. Husbands, you don’t struggle to understand your wives because they’re always rational, calm, and beautiful; you are understanding because God said you should be and He’ll ultimately get the glory from it.
We may have our lapses, but let’s take care that we aren’t both off at the same time. Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt if he or she is having a bad day. He loves the Lord and she’s a child of God, so he’ll/she’ll be back. If you want it smooth, just remember this: It’s easy to be a submissive and chaste wife to an understanding and honoring husband. And it’s easy to be an understanding and honoring husband to a submissive and chaste wife. Why can’t we see that when we both do our part to honor God in our marriage, we both get what we want and need?
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