(guest post by my husband)
1 Peter 3:7
You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman, and show her honour as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
(Note: The following has been adapted by a sermon from James MacDonald called Reality Check for Husbands)
Whereas God gave wives the equivalent of six verses to describe their relationship to their husbands, He made the instructions to men short and straight to the point.
1. Spend time with your wife
The phrase “live with your wives’ has the idea of sharing life with your wife. Just like any relationship, the marriage relationship requires an investment of time. Nothing will transform your marriage like time spent working on your marriage. A good guideline is 15 minutes a day, one night a week, one day a month, and one weekend a year of intentionally investing in your marriage.
2. Study your wife
Peter tells husbands to “live with your wives in an understanding way.” This literally means to live with her according to knowledge. Men, study everything the Bible has to say about marriage and women. Also, gain knowledge through observation of your wife. What are her likes and dislikes, her interests, her goals and dreams? What frustrates her? What fills her with joy? As you put the time and effort in to obtain your PhD in the study your wife, you will begin to know her intimately and your marriage will be transformed.
3. Honour your wife
The idea behind the Greek word used here for “honour” has the idea of public recognition in a military setting. Husbands are to publically recognize and praise their wives. This involves appreciating her with words in front of the children, telling them what a blessing God has given the family in their mother. It also involves praising her for who she is and the work God is doing in and through her. This goes beyond just praising her actions of being a good cook and doing our laundry. It is also a recognition of who she is as a person: her loving nature, caring heart, patience, insight, peacemaking abilities…this list is extensive if you really think about it.
4. Protect your wife (physically)
The phrase “as the weaker vessel” refers to physically. Notice that in using the word “weaker” this implies that the husband is also weak. From God’s perspective, all human beings are weak, however the physical body of the woman is generally weaker than the man’s. Protecting your wife is more than merely going downstairs in the middle of the night to investigate a noise. Protecting your wife involves showing patience when things seem dangerous to her (kids getting injured playing sports), ensuring her safety in your absence, and managing your aggression during conflict. In short—does your wife feel safe around you? Does she feel protected and secure by your presence? Does she feel these things in good times AND in times of struggle in your marriage?
5. Open up to your wife
Husbands and wives are “fellow heir(s) of the grace of life”, which refers to the good things God has given us. Women have equal access to all the graces of God. Since you experience God’s grace together, intentionally share and open up to your wife. Self-disclosure is the gold of relationships. Here are a couple starters to get the ball rolling for you: “The reason I find it hard to open up is…”, “My greatest desire is…”, “If our marriage could improve in this one area…”.
6. Pray with your wife
Failing to be the husband God has called you to be will hinder your prayers. Praying with your wife requires being open and vulnerable with her, which is sometimes a risky thing. However, intimacy is born when husbands and wives plead together in prayer over a situation in their lives. This has been my weakest area in marriage by far so I know how intimidating and difficult this can be. The best cure for this is a pretty easy actually…pray. The more you pray, the easier it gets. Step up and start, it just gets easier after that.