Show her honor as a fellow heir…
1 Peter 3:7 The wisdom in this single verse from Peter should be required study for any Christian man planning to marry.
”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 honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.“
1 Peter 3:7 NASB1995
I don’t know how many of our readers are married, and if they are, how long they’ve been married. I’ve been fortunate to be married to Barb for almost 45 years, and I think we both owe that longevity to God — even during the time that we were non-believers. The Holy Spirit worked within both of us to realize that even when we had some nasty fights over the years, nothing was worth a divorce. “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matthew 19:6 NASB1995)
In today’s chapter from Peter’s epistle to the churches in Asia Minor, the apostle is giving advice to women and men in a marriage. This particular verse is describing the heart of a godly husband.
Peter starts by saying “live with your wives in an understanding way.” My parents were married for 65 years when my Dad passed, but I can’t say that they really lived together most of the time — it was more like they shared living quarters. The difference can be found in what Paul said in Ephesians 5:28 — “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.”
A husband with a godly mindset realizes that God established a unity between husband and wife. My father, God rest his soul, didn’t really understand my mother, even after 65 years of marriage. I could tell from some of the comments he would make about her (not always out of her hearing, by the way). He lived with her for all of those years, but I still don’t think he really knew her well. If Dad had taken the time to try to truly understand her reasons for acting the way she sometimes did (she suffered from generalized anxiety disorder for most of her life after losing her brother in World War II and her father the same year), he would have been able to demonstrate his love for her much more effectively. With understanding, a husband is directed by God to take that knowledge of his wife and apply it in his daily life.
Another hallmark of a godly husband is to make his wife feel honored. This means that a husband should not treat his wife like an employee or even worse, a slave. In the 1st Century AD, this would have been considered quite radical! At that time, a husband had absolute power over his wife, while the wife had no rights. A man catching his wife with another man could kill her with no repercussions; a woman catching hubby with another woman had no recourse. Peter’s teaching was that the husband has God-ordained duties and obligations to his wife.
Peter is also reminding husbands that their spouses are not just their wives, but also their sisters in Jesus. Bible commentator Wayne Grudem says that this:
“reminds husbands that even though they have been given great authority within marriage, their wives are still equal to them in spiritual privilege and eternal importance: they are ‘joint heirs.’”1
What happens if a husband doesn’t approach marriage in a godly way? Peter says that it can hinder prayer. This spiritual consequence might not be a very effective warning to Christian men who don’t regard prayer as a necessity! To true believers, this is strong motivation. My favorite preacher Charles H. Spurgeon said this of 1 Peter 3:7:
“Indeed, to true believers prayer is so invaluable that the danger of hindering it is used by Peter as a motive why, in their marriage relationships, and household concerns, they should behave themselves with great wisdom. He bids the husband ‘dwell’ with his wife ‘according to knowledge,’ and render loving honor to her, lest their united prayers should be hindered. Anything which hinders prayer must be wrong. If any management of the family, or want of management, is injuring our power in prayer, there is an urgent demand for an alteration.”2
The wisdom in this single verse from Peter should be required study for any Christian man planning to marry. Through God’s infinite grace, Barb and I have patiently — and not always easily — learned this wisdom and applied it to our lives together. I pray that the Lord keeps us safe and healthy for many more years of life together.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Lord, I thank You for the wisdom that Peter wrote in this verse about godly conduct in Christian marriage, and pray that Christian couples seek to honor each other in their roles as husband and wife. I pray that wives not take offense to God’s command for them to be willing to submit to their husbands, and may husbands follow God’s order to be the head of the family and love their wives wholeheartedly. Christ loved the Church and gave His life for her, and Christian husbands love their wives with a similar sacrificial mindset — that they would do anything for her. In the name of my Savior Jesus, AMEN.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. lockman.org.
Grudem, Wayne "The First Epistle of Peter: An Introduction and Commentary" (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries) (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1988)
Spurgeon, Charles Haddon "The New Park Street Pulpit" Volumes 1-6 and "The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit" Volumes 7-63 (Pasadena, Texas: Pilgrim Publications, 1990)