The Roles of Husbands and Wives
By: Rev. Joe Kramer
The feminist movement has done some good things, but some bad things as well. They have marred what the roles of husbands and wives should be in relation to each other. Find out what God has to say!
(1) 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, (2) when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. (3) Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— (4) 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. (5) For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, (6) as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. (7) 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 3:1-7 (NKJV)
This portion of scripture has come under attack by many in the world and has been misused by men for many years. We must remember that interpretation of scripture must be done in its’ context. If we do this then we are less likely to come up with errors. This is especially important with such a controversial passage.
Notice how Peter starts out verse one, he says “likewise” (or “in the same way,” depending on your translation) this points back to the previous section; the one about slaves and their conduct in whatever situation they find themselves. In other words “be of the same spirit;” a spirit of humility and trusting God.
In the same verse Peter uses the word “submit” or “be submissive.” This word today makes people’s hair stand up on the back of their necks, but it shouldn’t! Why? Because if we understand the concept properly then we would see that this is a symbiotic loving submission toward the husband and likewise the husband loves the wife. This term submit here used by Peter is actually a military phrase; meaning to bring you under an authority. Just as Jesus was brought under authority of His earthly parents and to The Father, so Peter is telling women to submit to their husbands out of love and endearment.
Why would Peter tell them this? Remember God has a purpose involved in everything. It is one word, EVANGELISM. During this time more women had joined the Christian faith that had unbelieving husbands, so Peter is telling them to submit to them as unto God so that without a single word the men may be won over to the Gospel. I have seen many men personally come to Christ due to the change that they saw in their wives. Is this always the case? No, but a lot of the time it is.
Now in verses two and three Peter starts to give some practical commands to believing women. He says to not let the way a woman looks to be the only thing that people see. Women should focus on conduct and the inward person. Peter says that a woman should not be crude/harsh but gentle and of a quiet spirit. The way a woman dresses and behaves should be one of bringing Glory to God for the purpose of EVANGELISM. It is your life that can win people to Christ or can push them away from Christ.
Peter, in verses five and six, cites some Biblical authority for what he is talking about. He talks about the women of the Old Testament, how they behaved. He shows how Sarah submitted to Abraham and how God blessed her for it. He is telling them to use the Old Testament women as examples to follow and to take those principles and put them into practice.
Men, you aren’t off the hook, verse seven is all about men. A man should not lord his authority over a woman! The men’s section here may be shorter but men have a lot to of responsibilities that must be fulfilled. The part here that calls women the “weaker vessel” is not mentally or spiritually it means physically. I know that there are some muscular women who could bench press me, but for the most part women are physically weaker than men. Husbands, because of this you need to protect your wives and care for them.
Peter also states that we should show them honor, because they are our equals in Christ. We are partners in this life and men must remember that. A man who doesn’t listen/dialog with his wife is a fool! Women have insight into situations and people that, frankly, men just don’t have most of the time. When my wife says I need to stop and listen, buddy you better believe that I stop and listen because what she is about to say is very important.
Now in this part is we are told to do this so that our prayers may not be hindered before God! WOW! You mean to tell me that if I do not protect, cherishing, and treat my wife right God won’t hear my prayers? YES!! That is exactly what I am telling you! Marriage is a partnership not a dictatorship. As a matter of fact in Ephesians chapter five (KJV) Paul echoes what is written here by saying, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.”
Ladies and Gents are you doing what God has called you to do in your marriages? Women are submitting to your husbands as you would the Lord? Men are you willing to give your life for her? If there is a problem here maybe you need to seek Christ and let Him work in you to change your relationships. Maybe you need to repent, and if need be, get good Christian Counseling. The Choice is yours.