Next to the vow of commitment, you take to the Lord, the marriage vow is the most sacred and intimate on earth. The Lord cares about your relationship as man and wife.
We are entering Chapter 3 of 1st Peter, and immediately we’re given instruction on how to behave in God’s presence – in marriage. He uses Peter to speak first to the wife and then to the husband.
1st Peter 3:1-2, 4, & 7
A Wife is to submit – accept the authority of your husband
Approaching this subject of submission is not easy. Everyone has a different story – a different background. The husband is the head of the house, not the slave driver. He is given authority and not given to abuse it. Power struggles between the man and wife should not be a struggle. The husband needs respect and the wife love. We submit wholeheartedly to the Lord in love – a good example to how a wife should submit to her husband.
The Lord recognizes His faithful love to the wife and the husband should remember it too. More than his wife, the wife is the daughter of God.
She is an heir, a joint-heir, with her husband of the most gracious gift of life. As she lives the “with-God” life, the Lord has treasured her inner soul and transformed her to a pure, gentle, and quiet woman. As she submits to her husband, she entrusts her life and her soul to the God. She lives the “with-God” life, so her inner soul is pure, gentle, and quiet.
As she submits to her husband, she trusts God to take care of her.
Sadly, many Christian wives today and in the past have lived with and loved unbelieving and unfaithful husbands. They have been physically, mentally, and verbally abused – sometimes even a believing husband can be abusive. They have been treated, in some cases, less than a slave and there for nothing more than to gratify the sexual desires of her husband.
Feminism and the “me too” generation were not born over night, they have their foundation in pain and heartache.
Maybe we need to define this word, submission, for ourselves.
Submission is voluntary selflessness. It is death to pride and a desire to serve. It is not fear, but love. Yielding to a husband’s authority and judgment out of respect and reverence, not fear. Bottom line, when a wife submits, she defers to or consents to abide by the opinion and authority of her husband.
But in the Christian wife’s heart, there is something more in that move of submission. It is an understanding that her husband is ultimately responsible to God for how he treats her, God’s daughter.
It’s not easy, but let’s not forget that the act of submission is done also in the presence of the Lord. He is watching and will take care of you. You can trust for that – He is trustworthy.
Note how the wife is not told to leave her husband, preach, or even argue. The wife’s personal relationship with Christ gives us the courage, patience, and love to endure in situations even where the husband is out of line.
The Lord holds him accountable and even refuses to hear the husband’s prayer when he is disobedient.
If the prayer of a righteous man – in right standing with God is effective then how much harm is there when a man’s prayer is hindered?
Respect vs. love
1st Peter is not the only place that the Lord speaks to the man and wife relationship.
Ephesians 5:22-25 & 28-29
Even as I write these lines, someone is getting married – someone is getting divorced. The death of marriage is real. If we could spend some time analyzing the deep things that cause divorce we might find it boils down to lack of respect from the wife and deadening love from the husband.
If every Christian husband and wife took God at His word and followed took these instructions to heart then what would happen to the divorce rate? I don’t know, but I can imagine more homes would find harmony and peace.
Our love relationship with the Lord will have a significant impact on our relationship with others. Anger, resentment, and even fear wound the soul when a husband or wife is out of line. For both the husband and the wife, the gentle and gracious hand of the Lord will make a difference. He will bring comfort and peace for those who wholeheartedly trust Him.
What if a husband is unfaithful/abusive?
Divorce because of infidelity and abuse will happen. And I don’t question the choice. But, God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) and knows that Christian families will see divorce too. It doesn’t lessen his hate for the reason He hates it is because of what it does to the family.
Isn’t our fallen state and unfaithfulness to the Lord something like the Great Divorce?
The husband and wife relationship is important in the eyes of the Lord.
Respect and pray for your husband if you are the wife. Remember, you belong to the Lord, are treasured in His sight. Allow the Lord to deal with both you and your husband or the husband and you.
Christ left us an example
Christ left us a good example when He suffered for doing right. He was abused, but did not return the abuse or threaten. He entrusted Himself to God too (1st Peter 2:23).
Allow God to handle whatever happens in your marriage. Then return, return, and return again to the Shepherd and Guardian of your soul.
Spend more time with the Lord than seeking others advice. This will make a difference.
We live in a fallen world, and some of us live with unfaithful and unbelieving husbands. But God is faithful. Trust Him – over and over again, and continue to trust Him. Remember, He is the Shepherd and Guardian of your soul.
If you do what is right in God’s eyes, then how can you go wrong?
Yours in Christ,