If money, sex, and a comfortable lifestyle were the basis of a successful marriage then Hollywood would be the gold standard, but you and I both know that is not true. Hollywood is the laughing stock of broken marriages. Because God is the architect of marriage, we would do well to see what His original blueprints for a successful marriage looks like.
When Peter penned these words to first century Christians, it was completely new and vivid language for them. Marriages were not seen as loving and nurturing. So the language Peter uses causes husbands to think twice about the way we are to love our wives. I will attempt to explain this verse phrase by phrase so we can see if our own marriages are in alignment with what the Bible paints as a successful marriage.
Husbands, Be Kind & Considerate
When Peter commands husbands to be understanding toward their wives it is asking men to do what most men are not naturally included to do. The word understanding means to be sensitive and considerate. This is important because God has wired men and women completely different. It is easy for men to dismiss their wives feelings, but if we are going to be godly men, the Bible says we must work to be considerate toward our wives.
I like the word, “Understanding” because there are times I do not understand my wife. I do not understand how she thinks or how she feels. But nonetheless, it is my responsibility to seek to understand.
The Greek word live is sunoikountes, which means to, “Dwell together.” It carries the idea of living in intimacy. It means that you are building a special and unique life together. How can there be room for arguments or anger if we are seeking to “live” in an understanding way toward our spouse?
Husbands, Honor Her
I understand Peter saying we should honor our wives, but why would he say because she is the “weaker vessel”? Is this not an insult to women…especially today’s woman? Well, another way our culture has twisted Scripture is to get away from the Biblical roles between men and women.
Peter is in no way insulting women by referring to them as the weaker vessel. I know many women who are far stronger spiritually, emotionally as well as in character than their male counterparts. However, we are talking about Biblical marriage…not simply men versus women.
When Scripture refers to women as the “weaker vessel” I think it again compliments the differences between men and women. For example, my wife worries far more than I do. She worries more about our children. She worries if they are being cared for, protected and educated far more than I. I think Peter is saying because God puts these things in her heart, I am to show her greater honor as her husband. How honorable to care for our kids the way she does.
My wife also hates to be at home at night by herself. Now, the world would scoff and laugh, but again, this is just another Biblical expression of marriage. When I sense my wife hates to be alone at night by herself, it reinforces what God put in my heart as a husband to serve as the protector of our home.
These are not silly or petty things. This is the difference between men and women and if we are careful and quick to align our lives to Scripture, we will experience and enjoy the type of successful marriage God wants us to have.
Husbands, Be Her Best Friend
Lastly, Peter is going to teach us something quite remarkable. Now remember, in the Roman world, women were considered second-class citizens. When Peter instructs Christians, what he is saying to Christian husbands is completely foreign. So far, he has instructed us to be kind, affectionate, considerate and sensitive toward our wives. Then he is going to instruct us to honor them for the way God has wired our spouses. Next, he is going to tell us to be our wife’s best friend.
When the Bible says our wives are, “heirs with you of the grace of life,” it is calling marriage one of the greatest gifts in life. Heirs mean that you are partners and that you will share life together. In short, it is instructing husbands to make their wives their best friend.
Men, does your marriage look like 1 Peter 3:7? After carefully examining God’s Word, do you live with your wife in an understanding way? Are you kind and considerate? Do you recognize, honor and celebrate her as the weaker vessel? Lastly, are you doing life together? Are you best friends enjoying the grace of God in life?
Peter makes a final link to spiritual growth that cannot be ignored. He says that if we, as husbands, are not treating our wives the way God expects, then it will hinder our praying. So in other words, it doesn’t matter how spiritual you think you are or how spiritual you act around others. God measures your spiritual life within your home…within your marriage.